Wednesday, 28 September 2016
subtle fragments at Propeller gallery
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> > > > > > subtle fragments
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> > > > > > by the site of the old meteoric crater lake, under the unending skies that spread over the prairies and the western edge of the Canadian shield, Paul Reichert, long-distance birthday caller (he always called me Sambo) friend of my mother's family (he also said that Paul Simon was a fool for only making one album with Ladysmith Black Mambazo), a (wo)man of the woods who was also known as the Bear, passed away last week. My aunt Ann, Nora and I convened to commemorate over food and drinks at the Passenger, and I was spotted there by Helen Driefelds. We worked together at Hopgoods a couple summers ago. We exchange numbers, and a couple days later she invites me to the closing reception for a showing of her textile works at the new Propeller gallery, in a cluster of condos south of the Drake.
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> > > > > > A jazz trio is playing in the open air on a square filled with gravel and lined with benches. There is food here , dips from Stasis and Culture City, for the launching of a new café, OMG, seriously, that's what it's called, but I am drawn to the sweet treats, cashews, and cheeses of the gallery. It's hard to tell when food is free in condoland. People stand around like they're in charge of Lisgar Park. A park with no grass and deep benches. The jazzers sound legit better from the middle of the square, tenor sax reverberating just like on TV in those old clubs. Just like live vinyl...
> > > > > > I stop sniping and smoke a cigarette. Running low. Good. That's ok. My own habits of creative chaos are running out of my control. As selective construction engages, self destruction's reach and appeal diminish. A guy named Maurice demands my attention for what seems like hours. His mother is a jazz pianist and he grills me on metrosexuality.
> > > > > > Alix Voz is featured in the south Propeller gallery, exhibiting three large and subtly effective abstract landscapes in pastel tones, painted onto wooden panels in the open air.
Also on display is a large montage made of dozens of postcards, collaged from photos of downtown Toronto, drawn and painted over and around in a convincing balance of colour and texture, hung amongst envelopes addressed to the artist, running almost the width of the wall on a mesh of wire. It looks messy from a distance, but almost every component of the piece catches the eye and bears notice.
Voz herself is a stunning French (wo)man, who receives friends and gallery visitors in a striped green dress and elegant heels, explaining the meanings of home and place in the sources and choices behind her work.
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is on display in the north gallery, a collaboration between Driefelds and anahita azrahimi. Their works co-present extremely well, and share the space effectively. If Helen hadn't pointed out her own handiwork, I would have been flummoxed by the south wall, a seamless alternation of Driefelds' fabrics and azrahimi's small, framed collage works. One pairing of the two artist's works actually seems like a planned collaboration, though the pieces were completed severally, and only hung together.
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> > > azrahimi has paid her dues collaging dense, layered works out of many fragments, and her current work is a delicate balance of line and form, built upon singular samples of traditional collage materials (fashion magazines) and examines, naturally enough, the textures of textiles, paired, as casually as can be managed, with a delicate, linear inkwork commentary. She is investigating the nature of implied physicality in veiled forms, and explains that these selections from her 'collage diet' series, or practise, were chosen from dozens, perhaps even hundreds of works, completed as part of a daily/ weekly collage ritual she began last fall.
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> > > Driefelds' installation of hanging fabrics, canvas works in which the same fabrics are used as stencils, and a few pieces of dense plexiglass, through which all the other elements can be perceived, is intended as an interactive, walk-around, find-your-own-perspective affair. Hand-woven strips of fabric trail from ceiling to floor and waver in the wind. Her friends are cool. I have to stroll home and prepare for a house concert. AJ is almost done his brunch shift at the Cadillac. Up the street, a sign points to the Northern Lights gallery. At Dufferin and Quenn, a man named Gregg Allan Mcgivern has set up his own art shop, in a greenish amphitheatre space beside the tracks. I have to hurry home to get ready for the salon. I catch Rory Lavelle's set at motel, chat up the bartender just long enough to realise we had the same grade 11 English teacher, ten years apart. Winnipeg is funny that way.