Mark Bell, Pierre Dorion, Dorian FitzGerald, Sara Hartland-Rowe, Maria Hupfield, Denyse Thomasos, and Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky
40 Pages, full colour, softcover, 16.5cm x 23cm
Blackwood Gallery (University of Toronto Mississauga) in 2016
Inside is the catalog produced for the 2015 exhibition at the Blackwood of the same name. Curated by John Armstrong, Inside brought together work by eight artists, using the various technologies and traditions that painting offers to engage the Blackwood Gallery's exhibition spaces and reflect on the established genre of interior painting. This catalog documents the exhibition, considering the myriad ways in which its artists examined and interrogated the gallery space— from murals to easel painting— exploring the physical and emotional dimensions of painting in and about the spaces we inhabit.
Over the past sixty years or so, artists have sought to merge easel painting and its secondary support, the wall, in many ways. Indeed the whole gallery, or “white cube,” has been engaged, questioned, and at times, dramatically altered. Artists have created “wall works”; stridently temporary installations that extend the reach of painting to an architectural scale, physically occupying the viewer’s entire visual field and illusionistically unsettling the gallery architecture. Painting has been placed in conversation with sculpture and space—it may serve as applied relief on the wall, lean against or even break through the wall—in order to intensify physical presence and pictorial illusion. Artists have combined painting with other visual forms such as still photography, projection, performance, and text—again, associations that seek to expand and confound the language of painting.
In creating an experimental exhibition that reflects the diversity evident in contemporary Canadian painting, I thought I might draw on recent painting installation practices in order to avoid some of the problems group exhibitions often present. Paintings are conventionally rendered on a textile support stretched over a rectilinear frame, and a curatorial selection of paintings, even by markedly divergent artists, runs the risk of being undermined by this shared format. The similarities can subtly skew an individuation of each artist’s work. My answer to this potential dilemma was to invite artists to make paintings that, through a variety of formats, physically and conceptually engage the Blackwood Gallery’s two exhibition spaces and the multiple contexts of the University of Toronto Mississauga’s suburban campus.
-Excerpted from the curatorial essay by John Armstrong
Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky
Curated by John Armstrong
Copy editor: Bryne McLaughlin
Photo Credits: John Armstrong
Graphic Design: Drew Lesiuczok
Printing: SONIC PRINT, Markham, Ontario
Cover: Mark Bell, Reverse Obsolescence (Deerfield Hall) (2014)
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This exhibition program and publication were made possible with core financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Department of Visual Studies (UTM), and the Sheridan Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design.