In 2010, Jason Schwartzman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live wearing what appeared to be a Cheeto on his lapel. Stuck to his flat suit jacket was that highly processed, bumpy, near-neon, crunchy snack that leaves indulgent fingers covered in a sticky orange. Sebastian Butt, the artist behind this absurd accessory, excels at playfully creating shifting contexts for this everyday object. Transforming the Cheeto from utilitarian (an after-school snack) to aesthetic (an artwork) echoes back to ready-mades, Fluxus, and Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes. Butt confuses viewers and prompts them to wonder about what is real or not, endowing a joke with philosophical depth. The same degree of humour and pathos defines CN Tower Liquidation, the Toronto-based creative trio of Sebastian Butt, Xan Hawes, and Charlie Murray. As a “service-oriented company,” CNTL specializes in “the dematerialization and reconstitution of customers cherished objects into archival cubes,” which come in three sizes and can be cast in three different materials, either concrete, plaster, or clear-cast resin. The cubes offer a kind of emotional release while playing on the Modernist tropes of ideal form, reduction, and repetition. CNTL has yet to cube a Cheeto.
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Trained as a graphic designer and photographer, Sara Cwynar channels her desire to create a tangible record of experience by compulsively collecting and ordering visual material. Her now-expansive image bank is comprised of photographs she takes herself, pictures culled from the internet, shorn from books, picked up at flea markets, and photocopied in libraries. This personal archive provides the source material for her projects, in which she bridges photography, graphic design, book-making, sculptural installation, collage and video to test the relationship of image and memory. Certain references recur throughout her work, as she uses, for example, theoretical explorations of kitsch and nostalgia (via Kundera, Barthes and Baudrillard) to visually negotiate deeper questions of paranoia, obsession, memory and alienation. The result is a body of work equally driven by concept and aesthetics, and teeming with haunting qualities, whether through surreal photography, hoarder-style accumulations or collaged compositions evoking stylish sci-fi fantasies. Cwynar’s installations thrive on this layering of materials, mediums, and stories: photographs (her own) are affixed en masse to the wall, thickly layered with found imagery, objects of sentimental value, and detritus, creating through the deluge, portraits of imagined collectors exhibiting behaviour not unlike her own compulsive gathering.
Brendan Flanagan’s latest series of oil and acrylic paintings (shown recently at New York’s Thierry Goldberg Projects and Toronto’s Angell Gallery) see the young Toronto-based artist trading landscapes for interior views. What might be considered tame subject matter, until one is faced with his strange, surreal, epically scaled panels. Working within a long tradition of figurative expressionism (think the tortured, alienated characters of Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon; Julian Schnabel’s 80s neo-expressionism or more recently, Daniel Richter’s thermal-tinged tableaux), Flanagan’s wildly clashing compositions, at their best, evince similar psychological affect.
A foundation in photography and an interest in architecture has lead Bomford to create massive installations like his Toronto exhibit which was made of materials found in the gallery and the surrounding neighbourhood.
(THE ART OF…)
Nate Larson turns the invisible into art. By capturing electrical fields surrounding everyday objects, this revolutionary artist shows the natural beauty we can’t see.
image courtesy artist
wordsby nicholas brown
“Photography has long been understood as a method of indexing that which exists in the world—recording as opposed to creating an image, the way a painter might. Of course, since the days of Muybridge and his horses we’ve seen endless forms of manipulation through digital and otherwise artificial means. But Chicago (soon to be Baltimore)-based photographer Nate Larson is less interested in manipulating that which is visible, but rather illuminating what is invisible…”
“As a small time ‘zine maker, Hlavacek grew up in Wichita, Kansas, moving to Kansas City in 2007 to attend Kansas City Art Institute. He started skateboarding in ‘99 and says it “has all but consumed my life ever since.” He’s been shooting skating for about four years and he says it’s still his favourite thing to shoot…”