For centuries, artists have been recording, altering, and reconfiguring natural phenomena for aesthetic and philosophical means. From the mapping impulses of 17th century Flemish masters, to Alberto Burri’s as-yet-unfinished Grande Cretto, the visual arts have dedicated centuries of artistic expression to the various landscapes and forms that surround us. Whole stylistic epochs and geographical hubs are historically linked to subject matter constructed from naturally occurring things. loop Gallery’s latest dual exhibition finds Candida Girling and Kelly Cade looking outward to the bucolic sprawls, serpentine streams, and other environmental matter for their disparate artistic explorations.
Kelly Cade’s conceptual fall ● stream ● wake finds the artist fusing psychological ponderings with artistic impulses. Cade’s installation visualizes “water dreams,” which are unrestrained, constantly shifting streams with no formal beginning or end point, and without any clearly defined meaning or purpose. Furthermore, the artist examines how images can be indicative of subliminal impressions, fashioning her work around psychoanalytic underpinnings. The viewer is called to stare at these painterly fragments and contemplate the randomness of thoughts and dreams, and how our cerebral impulses slide down a proverbial stream that continually renews itself.
Candida Girling’s Shifting Landscapes explores the notion of the contemporary landscape in a world so thoroughly altered by human intervention. Using a kaleidoscopic multi-media approach that includes ink drawings, wood etching and laser cut sculpture; Girling vividly recreates the modification of natural settings through technological means. Here, the artist recalls the entropic work of Robert Smithson, who similarly focused his efforts on mankind’s irreversible mediation on our environmental surroundings. While Smithson’s work was monumental and site-specific, Girling tones down the ambitions of her land art forebear in favour of something quainter and more institutionally appropriate with these peculiar objects.
As attention to environmental concerns has become engrained in the discourse of politics and activism, loop Gallery presents two separate artistic explorations of similar subject matter. From Girling’s outward examination of fragile physical appearances, to Cade’s inward probing of the uncanny relationship between the mind and streams, these exhibitions manifest vivid considerations about the world that surrounds us.
Exhibition information: September 10 – October 2, 2016, loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Thur 12 – 5, Fri -Sat 12 – 6, Sun 1 – 4 pm.