Vikky Alexander, a Canadian Artist whose work has been exhibited globally and gained significant recognition, is well known for her style of combining photography and other media to create larger scale installations, or to create multi-layered images that speak for her narrative. Her photographic series, Between Dreaming and Living, is her second solo exhibition in the Cooper Cole Gallery. The entire series consist 12 photographs that are divided into two sets of six, and diagonally displayed on the walls of the main floor. In this way, the whole installation view becomes immediately visible to all visitors as they enter the gallery from various angles.
Installation view of Vikky Alexander, Between Dreaming and Living, full view of the series, Cooper Cole Gallery, 2018. Photo: Sophie Wang
In this series, Alexander mixed two subjects: natural landscapes and human figures into one image. The two subjects co-exist as one image layered over another one, which allow viewers to see the photos as a unity, or to shift their attention from one subject to another. Even though the photos depict the moments of stillness in nature and human figures, they encourage the dynamic interaction between audiences and the artwork. The multi-layered images also create a sense of mystery and ambiguity.
Vikky Alexander, Between Dreaming & Living #1, (left) and #2 (right) both 1985/2008, Cibachrome print, Edition of 3, 2 AP, 20″ x 24″. Courtesy of Cooper Cole Gallery
Vikky Alexander, Between Dreaming & Living #9, (left) and #10 (right) both 1985/2008, Cibachrome print, Edition of 3, 2 AP, 20″ x 24″. Courtesy of Cooper Cole Gallery
The lower level of the gallery displays Scott Treleaven’s photography series Meson. The photographs are all 4″ x 6”. Each of them is a collage of two disparate photographs, yet they have shared similarities in terms of materiality and colour tones. For example, the upper part of the photo collage that used a parrot as the main subject, depicts wood boards, which corresponds to the tree branch in the lower image, from its material to colouration. The similar association can also be found in other photographs. By doing this, the series successfully illustrate the shifting between two different aspects of viewing the real world. In the process of making the art, the photographs were physically teared apart, and the marks of each piece being detached from their original images are obvious through the white paper lines in the middle of the visual field. Treleaven adapted “Chance” in his collage, that excluded himself from the narrative to certain extend, and encouraged viewers to draw their own conclusion.
Scott Treleaven, Untitled (reversed canvas/sleeping blue parakeet), 2018 (left) & Untitled (chair and white table/books, close up), 2017 (right); both unique photo collage from 35mm, negative prints, archival tape, 7″ X 4″. Courtesy of Cooper Cole Gallery
Scott Treleavan, Untitled (yellow purple sunlight/books), 2017 (left) & Untitled (purple orange sky/Venice foyer), 2017 (right); both both unique photo collage from 35mm, negative prints, archival tape, 7″ X 4″. Photo: Sophie Wang
Besides these two major exhibitions, a preshow of Tau Lewis’s new work series is displayed on the second floor. Lewis’s sculptures are all hand made with the materials that are easily accessible in her daily life. As a Jamaican-Canadian artist, her work is meant to represent her identity and explore the political controversies arise in this multicultural society. The sculptures depict the living human figures in a powerful way that reminds us of traditional African art, creating a strong visual image that captures the viewer’s attention. It is definitely a show that is worth looking forward to.
Sculptures by Tau Lewis. Photo: Sophie Wang
*Exhibition information: Vikky Alexander, Between Dreaming and Living & Scott Treleaven, Meson as well as pre-show of Tau Lewis, March 2 – 31, 2018, Cooper Cole Gallery, 1134 Dupont Street, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Fri: 1 – 6 p.m., Sat: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.