In the basement of 401 Richmond there is an atmospheric gallery space, Yumart’s new place. Gallery Director, Yvonne Whelan sits at her desk with soft jazz playing, welcoming visitors to her inaugural exhibition at the new location: Tim Deverell’s solo show. It is the perfect music to accompany the art since Deverell’s works carry a deceptive musicality through his vibrating and eclectic use of colour.
Amidst the faint new paint smell large and small works are hanging on the walls by Deverell, some paintings but mostly collages. As always, the works are numbered starting from the entrance. “Berkeley #3” is a small collage with fancy, colourful marks. Whether the background music was chosen with the works in mind or not, we feel that the music flows from and through these works. “Berkeley #3” carries a tone suggesting that the collage was spontaneously done during a song, but a closer look reveals that it could not have been a spontaneous making. This small work is covered with little pieces of cut-out images that exemplify the tediousness present in most of Deverell’s works. However interesting are the cut-outs, the most fascinating is the way they were cut and the empty spaces in between them. The ideology of found images become void here with the absence of the image while nonetheless reminding us of its presence.
“Ways of Being” is perhaps the most indicative of Deverell’s style. From a distance, this piece radiates a sense of comfort, with its bright colours and flowing movements. However, what hides underneath is violence, sexuality, corporeality and the word ‘curator’. There is always a layer of deception with nice things to hide the ugliness of the world. Perhaps this is Deverell’s attempt to curate the world as he sees it.
In Deverell’s collages are hints of futility, dissatisfaction, and messiness. His paintings are more resolved, more confident, more internal, and perhaps more personal. Rather than portraying his external surroundings like in his collages, “Dense Square” exist more as an independent and internal source of energy and emotion. Not necessarily a positive emotion per se, but it seems to be more focused. It is a small 10 x 10 inches square with thick application of paint. Looking at it, we get a similar feeling as looking at a box full of crawling insects – the paint constantly moves, causing physical and visceral discomfort. It draws our eyes in deeper and deeper, until looking at it becomes a kind of meditation. “Dense Square” contains everything possible, all the colours and marks – so it seems that nothing exist outside of the painting.
Yumart has succeeded in keeping the comfort of its former location, while moving to a larger and more approachable space. The new gallery is a wonderful place to explore the emotions of Deverell’s pieces. It is easy to forget about time here, and lose yourself in Deverell’s works since they have an enveloping presence with their own time.
*Exhibition information: Tim Deverell, Collage Paintings, September 10 – October 3, 2015, 401 Richmond Street West, Suite B 20, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 6 p.m.