Heidi Leverty: Surplus in transit / Walnut Contemporary

Installation view. Photo: Elena Iourtaeva

Walnut Contemporary presents SURPLUS in transit, an Open Exhibition of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival featuring the work of Toronto artist, Heidi Leverty. The exhibition is engaging, approachable, and enjoyable for all types of art lovers.

Heidi Leverty, Plastic 36B, 2012. Image: Courtesy of Walnut Contemporary

Walnut Contemporary is a commercial gallery that aims to inspire a conversation around the topic of environmental sustainability by displaying SURPLUS in transit. Besides the interesting theme we admire the aesthetic beauty and decorative aspects of Heidi Leverty’s photographs. Curator, Ibérina Raquel Vilhena, achieves balance between the power and the beauty of this art. SUPRLUS in transit comments on the excess produced by our community’s torrid love affair with mass production.

Curator, Gallery director, Ibérina Raquel Vilhena with Heidi Leverty’s work. Photo: Elena Iourtaeva

Vilhena instigates inquiry by placing bins and blocks of recycled materials beside Leverty’s photographs of the same bits and pieces. They are attractively arranged and maintain the beauty seen in the photographs but also serve to ground the shots. We cannot ignore that what we see in Leverty’s photographs is in fact real refuse of an overwhelming quantity. As I move from photograph to photograph, I am embarking on the most aesthetically pleasing minor guilt trip possible, reminded of my own undeletable environmental footstep.

Installation view with Plastic 18. Photo: Emily Kovacs

Prior to imagining this series of photographs, Leverty traveled to a recycle centre with the innocuous plan of recycling some of her husband’s old sheets of paper. Standing over top of bins of castoffs, she would discover a love for the textures of the refuse surplus materials and would come to draw inspiration from objects many would view as unrepentantly ordinary and without purpose.

 Heidi Leverty, My Wall-E lights. Image: Courtesy of Walnut Contemporary

A moment in the life-cycle of the disposed of disposable is captured in Leverty’s photographs. These ordinary and every-day objects, when amassed in giant recycle centre bins, create pleasing geometric lines and shapes with abstract and sculptural beauty.

Heidi Leverty, Paper 36. Image: Courtesy of Walnut Contemporary

In one of my favourite pieces, “Tincarnation 28”, Leverty photographs flattened misprinted Coke cans. These containers were bound to be considered garbage by consumers eventually, but the misprint prevented them from ever seeing a drop of Coke. These cans were born as garbage, refuse without usefulness. This photo documents the essence of mass-production’s wastefulness. 

 Heidi Leverty, Tincarnation 28. Image: Courtesy of Walnut Contemporary

Leverty’s photographs give purpose to what no longer has a purpose, exposing the simple beauty of a mundane object as it makes its way through the recycling system. 

Emily Kovacs

*Exhibition information: May 1 – 30, 2015, Walnut Contemporary Gallery, 201 Niagara Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 1 – 6 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *