Tara Cooper and Jenn Law at loop

Loop Gallery on Dundas West is simultaneously exhibiting two shows from multi-disciplinary artists Jenn Law and Tara Cooper. The two separate shows from two seemingly unassociated artists, namely Cooper’s God Love Brigus and Law’s Means & Ends, become unified as a result of their common interest: the use of synergy.

Despite the fact that the two shows are not directly related in terms of theme, they both possess a multi-disciplinary focus and quasi-interactive ‘diorama’ features. Cooper’s work God Love Brigus, for instance, was highly influenced by her residency at Landfall Trust in Brigus, Newfoundland, an artist in residency program. Landfall Trust is committed to preserving the passing wish of the late Bradley Jacob Folensbee Jr., in supporting the practice of the arts and humanities to benefit the heritage of Newfoundland. Cooper’s work created during her Landfall residency brings together the study of meteorology and creative non-fiction intended to enhance spectator experience and to provoke evocative memories placed in rural Canadian settings. The exhibition’s overall layout mixes pieces such as framed photographs and colourful fabric flags aboard – what is referred to as a wooden “floating raft” – of sculpture, print and photography. The raft is laden with excerpts from observational stories and personal testimonies.

Tara Cooper, God Love Brigus, Detail

Tara Cooper, God Love Brigus, Installation view

Jenn Law, on the other hand, takes her synergistic approach less in the interactive storytelling direction and more towards the archival mode of documentation. Law’s multi faceted background in visual art and writing, as well as her extensive anthropological research all affect Means & Ends. Law’s display emphasizes artifacts that are key objects in print manufacturing and print culture. Her commentary is centered around “reinvention” technologies that may appear outmoded. She suggests that the modern attitude to “reinvent” oneself in the social media context – using technology to change the persona – has in fact been around for several decades. Reinvention in the form of “morphing” is rendered visually through the “melting” black mounds positioned through her exhibit. Law’s exhibit also include objects of horologic technology, the science of time keeping. In particular, Law uses the ink bottle and the pocket watch to prove that objects from the past can be brought into the future. Her use of 3D printing mixes innovations from different eras.

Jenn Law, Means & Ends, Installation view from front and from sideway

Jenn Law, Means & Ends, Installation view

Both Means & Ends and God Love Brigus are eye-catching projects and I enjoyed viewing them.

Text and photo: Katie Armstrong

*Exhibition information: October 10 – November 1, 2015, loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto, (three doors west of Dovercourt). Gallery hours: Wed – Sat 12 – 5, Sun 1 – 4 p.m.

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