Charles Hackbarth & Sung Ja Kim-Chisholm at loop

Nestled in Dundas West, LOOP gallery is tucked in-between commercial spaces and finds itself to be a creative enclave for cutting edge Toronto up-and-comings. The current two exhibitions of Charles Hackbarth and Sung Ja Kim-Chisholm are somewhat of a tension of opposites and have a tricky underlining narrative.

Kim-Chisholm’s rather minimalistic pieces hit you immediately upon entering, hanging well lit on stark white walls. The clean white mixed media pieces cleanse the mental palette. Kim-Chisholm’s explores the interconnectedness of human relationships, appreciating complexities of the individual. There is no particular vantage point in Kim-Chisholm’s pieces; they instead offer a form of contemplation. Their own-layered development recalls the layered development of selfhood. Each piece of work may compliment one another, but there is a quiet strength to each on their own. Kim-Chisholm simultaneously pulls you in a form of captivation, while demanding a sense of ease.

Sung Ja Kim-Chisholm, (from top row, left to right) Leaning, Leaning 2, Layering, Pages

Sung Ja Kim-Chisholm, Layering

While Sung Ja Kim-Chisholms pieces feel cleansing upon entry, they are dutifully gearing you for the psychosomatic experience of Charles Hackbarth’s work. In a mad fit of dream-and-nightmare intertwined, Hackbarth’s charcoal, pastel and acrylic sketches are mesmerizing. It is hard to tell whether Hackbarth intended to scare, seduce or probe. Upon take-in, Hackbarth teases the senses of perception both literally and figuratively. Background and foreground are indistinct as a mesh of animal, human and hybrid characters populate the scenes. There is no clear narrative to follow. Hackbarth’s work is a dark and detailed doodle that seemingly erupted from the subconscious in a violent fit. Although much of the artist’s work has a dark complexity to it, it is also nonetheless inviting and comical.

Charles Hackbarth, Out of the SILENCE there came a beautiful ROAR!

Charles Hackbarth, So… is this the ABYSS?

Installation view with Charles Hackbarth, (from left to right) Into the FIRE, Sleep Unlit The Red Light Fills The Sky, Whatever You Do, DO NOT Look Into The EYE of GOD, Out of the SILENCE there came a beautiful ROAR!

Although told that the artists had no connection to one another, the connection made in the space was interesting by the very least. Both Kim-Chisholm and Hackbarth tickle the mind’s eye in particular ways. The space at LOOP was inviting, well lit and presented, and upon seeing this exhibit you are left with a feeling of  disjointedness albeit curiosity.

Text and photo: Carter Brown and Kate Pendergast

*Exhibition information: October 11 – November 2, 2014, loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours:  Wed – Sat 12 – 5, Sun 1 – 4 p.m.

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