K8N Collective at Gallery 1313

K8N Collective – comprised of Steve Armstrong, Elizabeth Fearon, and Rupen – is an artist collective interested in issues around the ongoing influence of Modernism and Post-minimalism. This includes the human scale, the human touch, and evidence of our personal existence.

Installation view of K8N Collective at Gallery 1313, 2021

The exhibition is fresh and minimalist, containing textured and mixed media works. Displayed in the main gallery space are a varied collection of geometric shaped stone sculptures, metal works, and a celebration of wood artworks along the walls – repurposing construction materials to commemorate these resources in their truest form.

Installation view of K8N Collective with Elizabeth Fearon’s Untitled 2 (in front) and Rupen’s works (in the back) at Gallery 1313, 2021

Environmentalism is a feature element of the exhibition. An example of this is the use of MDF (medium density fibre board) made from leftover wood. Additionally, other works use materials such as acid free paper and repurposed plastic. In this exhibition, the materials that are used to create the art pieces are as important as the artworks themselves.

Rupen, in Rebounding Energy, has depicted an angular wall hung sculpture, highlighting the use of negative space. The result of his efforts is movement of vigorous force, cultivated by his skills in carpentry and cabinet making, as a self-taught artist.

Rupen, Rebounding Energy, 2020, architectural paint on primed MDF, 45” X 45’

Elizabeth Fearon’s work has been realized through many mediums over the years, from video installations to the simplified alabaster depicted in Untitled 1. In this collective exhibition, she uses elements of the Earth to colour contrast light and dark.

Elizabeth Fearon, Untitled 1, alabaster, 8” x 6 ¼”v x 6 ¼”

Steve Armstrong’s Untitled works appear as if the blue hues from planet Earth were projected onto textured plastic. He is primarily concerned with surfaces and creating an illusion of depth within such an exterior as corrugated plastic. Armstrong’s works encourage ambiguity, through his unconventional method of paint application.

Steve Armstrong Untitled, 2000, acrylic on canvas mounted on corrugated plastic, 25” x 56″

While Armstrong, Fearon and Rupen individually have their unique style and artistic purpose, cohesively, the three artists share a commonality: an appreciation for raw material, as well as a modern design focused aesthetic. For those wondering what K8N stands for, it’s the postal code for Bellville – where Steve Armstrong and Elizabeth Fearon are from, which serves as a reminder of the importance “place” plays in human connection.

Installation view of K8N Collective at Gallery 1313, 2021

Ultimately, K8N Collective has a powerful-shared vision by projecting the idea that minimalism can also be maximal, expansive, layered and fancifully complicated.

Georgia Gardner

Images are courtesy of Gallery 1313

*Exhibition information: November 10 – 21, 2021, Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat 1 – 5 pm.

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