Artist Peter Alexander Por at the opening reception, April 21, 2018. Photo: David Waldman
Hosted at the Canadian Sculpture Centre by the Sculptors’ Society of Canada is Peter Alexander Por’s Catharsis. This solo exhibition features a multitude of original pieces constructed with varying combinations of ready-made and fabricated materials, illiciting fine and crude aesthetic qualities harmoniously. The use of various metals and woods further create unique visual aspects that distinguish each work from another. Por’s works range from the small and intricate, such as is seen in “Conundrum 2,” to the sizable and impressive, as in “Bombrella.” Some are more representative of existing objects, if only marginally to allow immediate recognition, while others strive to be more obscure and nondescript by incorporating unfamiliar components and assuming abstract forms. All of the works’ complexities and features are evoked in both their aesthetics and imbedded meanings.
Peter Alexander Por, Conundrum, mixed media. Photo: David Waldman
Peter Alexander Por, Bombrella, mixed media, detail. Photo: Simon Termine
Por’s works does not circle around a singular theme nor does it explicitly compel the audience to assume a particular stance. He encourages open discourse and interpretation on a variety of topics, political and apolitical. As suggested by the exhibition’s title, the collection as a whole, as well as it separate components, is intended to provide relief from otherwise difficult thoughts and issues stemming from societal anxieties. Por wishes to ask the audience: “What do these sculptures remind you of? Do they recollect visceral experiences? Do they convey strong emotions? Do they remind you of a person or place?” The emphasis here is subjectivity, appealing to people’s own memories, experiences, and emotions in order to derive their personal meanings from the works and examine Por’s artistic decisions in each sculpture.
Peter Alexander Por, Earthly Delight, mixed-media. Photo: Simon Termine
Peter Alexander Por, Golden Shower (left) and Karma #7, (right) both mixed media. Photo: Simon Termine
According to Por, “sculpting for me is the most direct and powerful means of relating to and coping with the complexities of life. Our culture, dreams, world events, family issues, and found objects often find resonance in my eclectic projects and become participants in my cathartic experience!” In essence, the works serve as a shared connection between the artist and the audience, offering both an opportunity to express themselves on personally and publicly controversial matters without imposition. Just as the works can represent Por’s own ideas and communicate them, they can likewise draw the same effects from the viewers. When coupled with their aesthetic variety, the exhibition’s appeal seems limitless.
Installation view with Peter Alexander Por, (from left to right) Nene, Fertility Fetish and Winged Victory. Photo: Simon Termine
When perusing Catharsis, the sheer variety of works – each with their own sense of individuality yet still unified under a common ambiguity behind their laden meanings as the artist intended – continuously offers something new and interesting to explore.
*Exhibition information: Peter Alexander Por, Catharsis, April 12 – May 4, 2018, Canadian Sculpture Centre, 500 Church Street. Gallery hours: Tue – Fri: 12 – 6, Sat: 11 – 4 pm.