Promises and Threats: The Strange Other-worldliness of Jasmine Reimer
I have always felt this feeling of a slow burn when in the room with Jasmine Reimer’s work. The burn is much like the love for a favourite music group, one who keeps inventing themselves over and over and each album you listen to, you love for completely different reasons. Yet you know that the essence of them remains the same throughout the ages.
Small Obstructions, is Reimer’s second solo exhibition with Georgia Scherman Projects and her re-invention is complete with a haunting new array of sculptures. In her new work Reimer diverts from mixing the hard, smooth surface of Apoxie-sculpt with the contrasting surfaces of cushions and household objects to create a new world of sand and papier-mâché totems.
Throughout these various works there are cast fruits and delights protruding from the surfaces of some of sculptures. Slick ruby tomatoes emerge from black sand that looks like a dried lava stalagmite. Others have chocolates, blueberries and avocados, but do not betray their identities until you have spent an appropriate amount of time looking at them. These small pieces of fruits within the works and sculptures are the small obstructions that give the exhibition its title. Indeed, they offer points of interruption in the flesh and stone-like monoliths. I immediately was drawn to the science-fiction aesthetic created by these obstructions and the front space of the gallery that is stylishly painted in a complementary eigengrau grey, building the atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic beach scene. Accordingly, Reimer’s sculptures look like signposts of troubles and hopes from a time past.
Ultimately, the most pleasant aspect of Reimer’s new work is the pronounced anthropomorphic quality of each sculpture. Like a good novel, Reimer sees herself in the work. She takes on the role of both the protagonist and the antagonist in searching for answers and self-actualization in this metaphorical and literal greyness between the various sculptures. Appropriately, the titles of the works are didactic, one being “Promises and Threats” for the two opposing black, cherry-tomato sculptures. However, she allows for the viewers to extract what they will from her immersive world and see as many layers to the work as they want. It is an amazing treat, since I find this increasingly hard to do in Toronto; many of the works exhibited in different galleries mean to trap the viewer’s head inside of a box, rather than set them free to make their own connections.
Luckily, Reimer allows you take it or leave it; you can buy a book with the images of the works accompanied by poems she has written, published by Swimmers Group in Toronto. I looked through this book, although being an artist myself means I have limited dollars to spend. However, I would recommend this publication. It is simple and not overpowering, but acts like a field guide as you walk through the strange and entrancing forms of this other world.
*Exhibition information: February 2 – March 2, 2017, Georgia Scherman Projects, 133 Tecumseth Street, Toronto. Gallery hours: Gallery hours: Wed – Fri 10 am – 5 pm, Sat 11 am – 5 pm.