March 19 to May 3, 2009
Koffler Gallery Off-Site
Beaver Hall Gallery, 29 McCaul Street
Curator: Mona Filip

The Magic Shield is the second off-site project for the Koffler Gallery and the first presentation of this recent work by Diane Landry in Toronto. Watch for Koffler Gallery exhibitions in unexpected places all around Toronto over the next three years as the Koffler Centre of the Arts prepares for its brand new 40,000 square foot arts and cultural centre scheduled to open on the Sherman Campus in 2012.

Over the past twenty years, Québec artist Diane Landry has produced a body of playful works inspired by the insignificant gestures and objects that make up our daily existence. Conspiring with cultural and popular imagery, she takes pleasure in swinging between the world’s reality and an imaginary, poetic world on the edge of the absurd.

A multi-disciplinary artist, Landry creates what she calls “oeuvres mouvelles” – works whose full effect is dependent on the passage of time. Invoking the wonder of childhood fantasy, her kinetic projects captivate viewers, causing them to stop, linger and experience. Landry’s installations, sculptures and performances often contain an assortment of ordinary recycled and mass-produced objects drawn from our everyday world: teacups, colanders, coffee pots, skates, die-cast toys. Employing subtle combinations of sound, delicate movement, soft light and moving shadow to transform these ordinary things into unpredictable, seemingly organic entities, she participates in recovering the attendant meaning our material culture lost through mass manufacture.

In The Magic Shield, two futons covered with white crumpled paper are animated and transformed by different mechanisms and objects placed underneath. One of them stirs as countless keys sometimes rouse as a set of chimes, while fourteen encyclopedia volumes rotate beneath the other creating the illusion of two bodies tossing and turning under covers. The beds seem to go momentarily from restfulness to wakefulness, from object to event, creating a dream-like atmosphere. Enhanced by the dramatic play of light and shadow, the different elements explore the contrast between what is perceived on the surface of things and what can be discovered lurking beneath, between rational and intuitive comprehension.

Complementing the three-dimensional installation, the video piece The Lost Shield brings in the human representation, reflecting Landry’s attempt to mix the notions of performance and installation. By drawing attention to neglected aspects of experience, so quickly erased from consciousness, Landry simultaneously alludes to more profound issues of life and death. Offering different screens of perception, her multi-media works invite the viewer to cross to the other side of the looking glass.

Diane Landry lives and works in Québec City. Since 1987, her works have travelled widely across Canada and in major cities in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, many European countries, Australia and China. Her works have been discussed in numerous publications and recognized by important awards in Québec as well as in the United States. She is the first recipient of the prestigious Giverny Capital Prize, a distinction awarded to a visual artist from Québec. She has been an artist in residence in many centres in Canada, the USA, France, Italy and Argentina. She has just completed a six-month stay in the Studio du Québec in New York, sponsored by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Diane Landry holds a MA from Stanford University, California and is represented by SolwayJones Gallery in Los Angeles.