FORECAST I is a collection of Toronto-based artists with upcoming solo and duo exhibitions at Project Gallery, each bringing with them their own unique styles, themes, and subjects that together create a rich and intriguing experience.
Delving into the realm of the illusory, Peter Chan’s body of works entitled “Mirage” incorporates subtle and clever distortions in time and space with his memories and journeys in Quebec. These pieces immerse the audience into these moments while donning the ethereality of a past recollection. For example, “Study for Ste. Julianne”, conveys the story of a local butcher shop where a St. Bernard would periodically travel to the shop, interacting and playing with customers as they came. A year later, he returned to that butcher shop yet the dog never visited, and sadly never would. “Study for Ste. Julienne” demonstrates Chan’s ability to fully capture these personal narratives, in all of its sentimentality.
Colin Davis reimagines natural settings and arrangements into surrealistic still-lifes, elevating the natural beauty by imbuing it with vibrancy and intrigue. These dreams are representations of Davis’ childhood as viewed through the fragments of memories. As an artist now living in an urban jungle, he conveys the lingering sense of nostalgia that strives to return to this natural world.
Following the prevailing phenomenon of memory and nature, Ki Sung Koh integrates his reverence of animals into dream-like sanctuaries, where the residents remain separate and secure from human intervention. His works appeal to the sense of respect that everyone should have for the natural world, a virtue that has wavered since our embrace of technology and the presumed predominance of mankind. He urges the deserved eminence of nature and encourages our interaction with it, which can simultaneously reveal more about the self.
Dominique Fung, addressing the themes of personal and cultural identity, focuses on the tensions between her Canadian upbringing and her Chinese heritage. She utilizes the imagery of indigenous fauna – historically a popular theme in Canadian art – in conjunction with traditional symbolism to depict the hegemony of Western ideology dominating her own origins. Her work, entitled “Golden toad”, shows the encroaching overgrowth, with its warm autumn palette, overtaking her visage and the golden toad, a folk symbol, whose appearance usually indicates good news and fortune.
Ted Zourntos’ paintings spiritedly transforms artificial materials, such as streamers, toys, and police tapes, into flower-like forms in order to imitate natural elements using mundane items – a sort of integration of the two fields into one, just as we strive to reconstruct and dominate our earthly domain. Though his earlier works have simultaneously depicted the natural alongside the manufactured, this particular piece abandons any direct representations and instead alludes to them through an accumulation of superfluous materials, perhaps as a recollection of past festivities.
Straying away from realism in favor of a more child-like, almost satirical style, Tessar Lo’s works are reminiscent of the “doodles” from the school days when simple drawings covered desks, walls, and notebooks. His works depict dream-like scenes of frivolity, as if a surreal playground imagined and manipulated through a child’s daydreams. Though initially enigmatic, the simplicity of the characters and the simultaneous complexity of the entire setting soon manifests into a realm of vibrant imagination.
Last but certainly not least are the portraits of Sarah Letovsky, which expertly use gestural brushstrokes and negative space to create powerful, resonating figures. They emerge as ghostly apparitions: features faded of color and definition with piercing eyes gazing back at the viewer, as if they were both within and beyond our reality.
FORECAST I is an enriching assemblage of talent upcoming to the Toronto local art scene. Project Gallery has had a keen eye for promising artists, and this show is certainly no exception.
*Exhibition information: January 22 – February 7, 2016, Project Gallery Studios, 184 Munro Street, unit 6 (accessible through the back entrance). Gallery hours: by appointment only – contact Callen Schaub email@example.com 0r 647.377.1677.