FEBRUARY 22 - MARCH 29, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION - FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 6-9PM
Evans Contemporary is pleased to present Remix Moderne, an exhibition of paintings and sculptural objects by Toronto artist, John Abrams.
Over the course of his career, the prolific artist has employed pop-cultural and cinematic themes - from seduction and love to art and politics - and has translated screen-based media into the language of painting to recreate iconic scenes from pre-existing, captured narratives on canvas.
"Film acts as a shortcut to reality," Abrams states. "My work seeks to slow down this process, to force the viewer to regard film not as simulacra of reality that moves at the same speed as real time, but as a series of individual, small moments, a chain of stills."
More recently, Abrams has been reconsidering modernist masterworks through paint and wood constructions. These new sculptures derive from an investigation into the modernist forms that arose out of the early 20th century. Constructed using wood from dismantled painting stretchers, the pieces are loosely based on iconic three dimensional works by abstract masters. Through the scale and form of these pieces, the work takes on figurative qualities. This relationship between viewer and sculpture occupying real space at the same time, combined with its long history, leads us to interpret them as figurative, even when the work is labeled abstract.
Abrams states that "the sculptures allow me to invest each surrendered instance with energy and drama. In many ways, I am taking the inherent artificiality of sculpture and infusing it with yet another distancing layer of artifice, as if creating a second skin for the work, a doubled exposure, one meant to both veil and augment the original’s mysteries, subtexts and tensions by exposing different ways of looking, seeing and experiencing the work."
Evans Contemporary will be exhibiting sculptures and paintings from the modernist series as well as a mix of rarely seen paintings which span the artist's career.
John Abrams was born in Montreal in 1959 and lives in Toronto where he received a diploma from the Ontario College of Art and an MFA from York University. His work has been shown extensively throughout Canada and in numerous venues in the United States. Abrams' solo exhibitions include shows at Boltax Gallery on Shelter Island, NY, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, The Tom Thompson Memorial Art Gallery in Owen Sound and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. His work has been extensively showcased in group exhibitions and include show at Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Art Gallery of Windsor, Leo Kaymen Gallery, Toronto, University of Waterloo Art Gallery, the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph and Garnet Press in Toronto. He has been granted numerous production grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and has work in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, University of Toronto Art Gallery, MacDonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Canada Council Art Bank, and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
For the past twenty years, Abrams has also been known for his colourful, iconic murals on the front of the Cameron Public House on Queen St. West in Toronto.