ISOLATION: Internal Sequence

ISOLATION: Internal Sequence

  • <p>(left), <strong>Betty Goodwin <em>La Memoire Du Corps VI </em></strong>Mixed Media on Geofilm, (right), <strong>Edward Burtynsky <em>Oxford Tiles Pile# 9ab Westly California,</em> 1999 </strong>C-prints</p> <p><strong>Betty Goodwin <em>La Memoire Du Corps VI </em></strong>Mixed Media on Geofilm</p><p>Betty Goodwin produced a striking body of work in her lifetime. She is best known for the powerful, large scale figurative works she made since the early 1980’s. Mortality and loss are always in evidence in her work, yet she continually strives to embody a sense of renewal and possibility within the work itself. As Goodwin said about her work:"I deal with the human body..., other times it is like the memory of the body..... But it is true my concerns do take in the body and its various aspects, even in terms of time or passage. ... It's all concerning humanity." Goodwin's art aches with deep understanding and compassion for a suffering world. Behind the dull, distinct pain and unobtrusive dread, there is a resilient beauty. For this work, Goodwin drew with graphite, pastels and oil sticks on Geofilm, a translucent mylar that she chose for its resilience and skin-like quality. <em>La Mémoire Du Corps</em> (Memory of the Body) is a strong, moving statement but also a sign of life. A variation on a theme that Goodwin has explored in her art over three decades. Her work reminds us of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s quote:"It is the inner space one never sees, the brain and heart and other caverns where thought and feeling dance their sabbath.”<br><br><strong>Edward Burtynsky <em>Oxford Tiles Pile# 9ab Westly California,</em> 1999 </strong>C-prints</p><p>Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most respected photographers and is well known for his remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes. Burtynsky said that in this body of work, he wants to represent the automobile — one of the most significant features of this century — and what impact it has left behind on our environment. In his opinion, the automobile is the main basis for our modern industrial world. Some say that Burtynsky is a futurist, even if he does not know it. His images of corrupted landscapes portend the likely fate of the planet and the destiny of a rogue species should the world continue to ignore the scientists’ warnings of what lies ahead: “ A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.” Rising incomes has caused resource use and material consumption to increase faster than ever before. Industrial production has exploded more than 40 fold in putting strain on natural function causing destruction. This series of photos were taken at Westley California - Tire Mountains, California. Mountains of discarded tires blight this landscape. Until the mid-1990s, it was common to dump waste tires because recycling options were limited. Shortly after Edward Burtynsky made this photograph, lightning struck the tire dump, creating a fire that burned for thirty days. The fire released toxic contaminants into the air and heavy metals and other pollutants threatened soil and ground water resources. The state completed an environmental clean-up of the site in 2007, at a cost of twenty million dollars.</p>
  • <p><strong>Jean McEwen <em>Ni Plus Ni Moins </em>1993</strong> Oil on canvas</p> <p>Jean McEwen has a distinctive and textured approach to colour and applies expressive and energetic use of the paintbrush. While working with large formats to achieve a field effect, he experiments with the properties and visual depth of colour and light and explores their relationships. McEwen’s work generally has symmetrical compositions, referring to bodily movements and its relationship to nature. Being a poet as well as a painter he started to give his work poetic titles such as this one. McEwen said that his paintings are based on the sensations one’s get while looking at a picture, rather than on criteria and theories of art. As a self-taught artist he was most interested in the feelings that paintings gave him through his exploration. While his paintings are abstract in nature, some may find that their eyes piece together imagery., such as water damage or ice-covered windows with the inviting glow of a fireplace showing through and many other different depictions. Our human eye allows us to see things in McEwen's non-figurative work. This work is from his series <em>Ni Plus Ni Moins </em>(No More No Less) and evokes feelings of deterioration, destruction and sadness.</p>
  • <p>Pierre Coupey is a painter, writer and editor. For Coupey writing poetry is a similar process to the series of things which happen naturally in the making of a painting. Coupey thinks of paintings as embodiments of energy. He communicates his experiences by manipulation of colour, light and gesture. In the painting <em>Ramp,</em> Coupey uses only black and white colours to create different tones of gray. This painting relates to the dark times of the Holocaust and the period around World War II — Atrocious times in history that tested humankind. In this particular painting he is engrossed in what happens to human bodies through extreme violence and the disaster of wars. He is investigating how to respond to such events through painting. Coupey is thinking and making, questioning and remembering, knowing and not knowing. He believes that art can help rebuild.</p>
  • <p>Gathie Falk Venice Sinks With Postcards (triptych) 1991 A/E: Oil on linen</p> <p>Gathie Falk has shared that most of her good work is quite removed from reality but undoubtedly has roots in her daily living. It has been said that her work reveres the ordinary. Falk has worked in various mediums, including ceramics, papier-mâché, installation, performance art, painting, drawing. She builds on an idea by mentally experimenting with different things until everything fits and the work is ready to be made both emotionally and visually. Gathie is obsessed with shiny, sticky surfaces. She gives charm to an image or an object as if trying to hide from us a darker aspect of her work. In her work <em>Venice Sinks With Postcards </em>the viewer is presented to both chaos and the emphasis on organic processes of decay and regeneration, and also metaphorical allusions to death. She calls something to mind without mentioning it alludes to things explicitly, indirectly or passing reference. In my understanding of the work, she was also impacted by the holocaust and had recalls arguments with her friends over the Nazis actions.</p>

ISOLATION: INTERNAL SEQUENCE

Curated by Orly Ashkenazy

This portion of the exhibition explores isolation and death through the art and artists within AFK and the Gordon Smith Gallery of Art’s permanent collection. When you are in isolation, your exciting moments go unshared just as when you’re lonely, during a lockdown that doesn’t seem to end. When you research the definition of the term “isolation” online, one of the first results that shows up is “staying home when you have symptoms of covid 19”. In other words, it is the process of being isolated and secluded. Synonyms for it are words like separation, segregation and quarantine. This is what isolation for the entire world has been like for the past year. Isolation can lead to loneliness and it is scientifically proven that it increases death rates. This feeling of being completely alone is very similar to death. When you die, no one comes with you. Unfortunately, this pandemic has also led to millions of deaths. This virus has shown the entire world that we are all human. We are all equal. The virus doesn’t care about race or ethnicity or political beliefs. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old. The only thing it relies on is the fact that we are human. Unlike the holocaust, or many other genocides in history, people are dying for unnecessary and unexplainable reasons. The artwork I chose from the collection speaks to these ideas of isolation and death and to the impact of mass death. With that in mind, how can we use art to connect, collect, inspire, rebuild and unite — after all we are all the same.