The Closer Together Things Are
The Closer Together Things Are explores the space between difference and similarity that arises from intense observation and consideration. It focuses on proximity – that of time, heredity, frottage, palette, concept and presentation. The closer together things are, the more the differences appear.
People are compelled yet discomforted by nearness. We love looking at images of older people when they were young, drawing the connections between then and now, and finding traces of similarity across generations. If we encounter a face that we can’t quite recognize, we are quickly caught in the struggle to relocate them in time and place. Looking at the present for traces of the recent past allows memory to compare that which we see and know to that which we thought we saw and took as truth. When it comes to studying other people, the similarities of the human condition pull us in, despite a conflicting need to define any distinctive individuality.
In the process of observation, the most mundane objects and situations can compel us, drawing our full attention for no particular reason. Like the still-lifes of Giorgio Morandi, the more we look, the more variations surface; differences arise from things that once seemed identical, and sameness arises from things that once seemed unrelated. The Closer Together Things Are visually organizes the ephemeral and makes sense of stuttering imagery to introduce meaning into the friction where same meets different.
By confronting nearness, it gives voice to a collective noticing. The project follows a loose trajectory from narrative to formal interpretations of nearness, bookended by Kathleen Hearn’s coming of age video explorations and Roula Partheniou’s minimalist acts of mimicry. We’ve aimed to carry through this exploration of closeness into our curatorial process, letting it guide the works we selected from each artist and how they interact with each other in the physical space of the gallery. Through proximity, mirroring, repetition and reinterpretation, strange bedfellows are made and unforeseen connections arise. These artists take stock of how little we need to see in order to feel like we’ve seen this somewhere before, only this time— suddenly clearer.
The Closer Together Things Are is curated by Shannon Anderson and Jay Wilson in collaboration with the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario; Owens Art Gallery, New Brunswick; Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge.
The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.