Hazel Eckert & Annyen Lam at Open Studio

Artist talks: Friday, October 24, 6 – 7 p m. followed by Reception from 7 – 9 p.m.
Open Studio

On the evening of Thursday October 24th, Open Studio, hosted an artist talk and gallery opening reception. This talk was meant to introduce the recent work of two artists; Hazel Eckert and Annyen Lam, who had each been awarded Scholarship/Fellowship residencies by the studio following a juried selection process. Both Eckert and Lam could be considered emerging artists, with Lam receiving the Don Philips Scholarship awarded to recently graduated students coming from a major in printmaking, and Eckert receiving the Nick Novak fellowship which is awarded to artists currently involved in Open Studio as active members. Along with the artist talk and solo exhibitions, both artists were given free use of, and access to Open Studio’s facilities. The work on display was the final result of those residencies.

Hazel Eckert with Present Tension. Courtesy of Open Studio.

After a few brief introductions, Eckert opened up the artist talk with a slideshow presentation meant to outline some of her influences and reasons for making the work that she did. She explained that her part-time job at a commercial print shop often influenced her work and her direction in different ways. Eckert stated that she often collects the scraps and by-products that accumulate as various printmaking processes unfold. Thus, she took an interest in materiality and found objects, and chose to incorporate these things into the work she made over the course of her residency. Eckert chose to call her exhibition Traces, a fitting title for a collection of mixed media print and installation work that utilizes found objects and examines the material qualities of various printed media and paper. The mixed media work that Eckert chose to display in Traces was unified through what seemed to be a refined and specific attention to composition.

Hazel Eckert, Offcuts, 2014

Following some technical difficulties with the projection system, Lam concluded the artist presentation by discussing the path she followed in order to arrive at the work she produced for her show, entitled Wayfinding. Lam suggested that her affinity for narratives led her to create a body of work that was both whimsical and labour intensive. A handful of her framed prints were hung across from two installations that had been set inside the wall, and could be viewed through a portal resembling a pair of goggles. Lam’s work involved precision cutting prints to create textured landscapes and delicate natural forms. Her two installation pieces Portent (2014) and Passage (2014) were accompanied by lighting configurations, and were reminiscent of otherworldly museum dioramas.

Portal view of Annyen Lam’s installation Portent, 2014

Annyen Lam next to one of her cut-out prints

Both Eckert and Lam’s exhibitions had something unique and promising to offer the viewer, with Eckert’s show being rooted in physical and material based processes and Lam’s being centered around an imaginative land that exists in a reality outside our own.

Text and photo: Madeleine Till

*Exhibition information: Hazel Eckert: Traces and Annyen Lam: Wayfinding, October 24 – November 22, 2014,  Open Studio, 401 Richmond St. West Suite 104, Toronto. Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 p.m.

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