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Current Exhibition


  • John McEwen

    John McEwen

  • John McEwen

    John McEwen

  • Veronica Verkley

    Veronica Verkley

  • Veronica Verkley

    Veronica Verkley

Stardust and Time

John McEwen
Veronica Verkley

January 26 - March 18, 2018

Both John McEwen and Veronica Verkley think with animals. Animals are the primary protagonists in Verkley's animation, shaping and being shaped by their environment. McEwen's figures are formed by an envelope of stars, stars that both contain the figure and spill from it, like stardust. Stardust understood here as a metaphor for the matrix from which all vibrant matter and life evolved.

A continuous wall-like surface of negative stars both divides and unites the gallery space, linking the animation and the rising figures. The porous surface allows for light and sound to pass through so that there is no inside or outside, creating an installation within which the narratives become inseparable but distinct. Verkley's animation reads like a time lapse in which, over seemingly many years, a once well-constructed house slowly decays and finally recedes back into its natural environment. Yet this is not a story of desolation but one of vibrant life. Although abandoned by humans, the environment is a dynamic one filled with weather, regeneration, animals, and the vibrating sound of the natural world.

McEwen's figures are both animals, one human, one non-human. The figures are rising, the dolphin stretched up to its full height, and the human pushing herself up from the ground. Like the fifth element that gives life to matter, arrows emit like breath from her mouth. Both she and the dolphin appear to be singing.

The human figure, the dolphin, the material screen, and the animation are on an even plane. Both artists advocate for a lateral relationship between human and non-human animals and the environments in which we are all embedded. Healthy ecosystems require considering the whole: nature / culture, mind / body, the human and non- human animal as entangled and inseparable. Allowing for the intertwining of different elements creates a stronger system wherein cooperation, respect, and acknowledgment, lead to flourishing environments. Hierarchical thinking and competition for survival has led us to disregard the unique nature of others to the detriment of clean air, water, and species survival. A dismantling of these dichotomies can produce a more holistic way of being in the world.

Stardust and Time plays out on shifting grounds where relationships are lateral and the cycles of life and death, degeneration and rebirth, are all present. The interdependent energy of life flows through the 'skins' containing McEwen's figures. Against the backdrop of a crumbling structure, natural growth and animal life thrive in Verkley's Second Nature. The proposition is to celebrate dynamic life and resilience, both human and non human, living and inert. Embedded in McEwen's forms are arrows illustrating lines of energy, the power of life itself. Verkley's house, once wholly retaken by its surroundings, gains new vitality from the animals that now inhabit it. Beauty pervades. - Corinna Ghaznavi, guest curator

Corinna Ghaznavi is an independent curator and freelance writer who lives and works in Grey County. Since 1997 she has curated exhibitions across Canada and in the Netherlands. Her writing has been published in Canadian and European art magazines as well as in numerous exhibition catalogues. Ghaznavi was the Artistic Director of the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film between 201 2 and 2015.

John McEwen, one of Canada's most prominent sculptors, lives and works in Hillsdale, Ontario. His monumental sculptures are in numerous public space locations in Toronto and across Canada; his smaller works can be found in the collections of several major Canadian museums including the National Gallery of Canada. McEwen is represented by the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto.
http://www.olgakorpergallery.com/artists/john-mcewen

Veronica Verkley is a sculptor and filmmaker based in Dawson City, Yukon. She is founding faculty of the Yukon School of Visual Arts where she teaches 2D and 3D studio. Verkley has an extensive exhibition and international screening record, and maintains her practice out of an off-grid bush cabin.