September 19 – November 17, 2019
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Artists: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Gwenaël Bélanger, Sandra Brewster, Hannah Claus, Erika DeFreitas, Julie Favreau, Nicolas Fleming, Iris Häussler, Lucy Howe, Gunilla Josephson, Lewis Kaye, Valerie Kolakis, Heather Nicol, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Birthe Piontek, Yannick Pouliot, Karen Tam, Kevin Yates, Shellie Zhang
Curator: Mona Filip
Art Director/Co-Curator: Nicolas Fleming
Fall Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14, 2019 | 7–9 PM | FREE
Guided by survival instinct, the human impulse to domesticate the environment has transformed landscapes and ecosystems in search of shelter, security and nourishment. With both positive and negative impact, these transformations seek to eradicate or control “the wild” in pursuit of economic as well as psychological benefits. These attitudes toward nature are paralleled in the home environment where domesticating tendencies can fully manifest in a persistent pursuit for comfort and ease.
This exhibition brings together a range of works by Canadian artists who subvert domestic objects and the settings of dwelling spaces, revealing the flawed human attempts at achieving a sense of belonging. Detouring notions of home and domesticity, this project addresses an underlying impossibility to adapt to and conversely tame our environments in order to construct places where our bodies and psyches can fit in.
Engaging with different aspects of the domestic realm and its inherent politics, the artists in the exhibition approach a range of themes and voice diverse critical perspectives. Working in a wide range of media, they transform the everyday to reveal its hidden, unyielding strangeness. Ubiquitous furniture, tools and materials are stripped of their familiarity to access deeper states of engagement.
The exhibition will be extending from the Koffler Gallery into the public spaces of the Artscape Youngplace building, taking over its corridors and stairwells. The presentation and service function of these spaces will be disrupted, in conceptual alignment with the project’s premise. Toronto artist Nicolas Fleming will take on a multifaceted role of co-curator, exhibition designer and art director to disturb and reframe the spatial context of the exhibition, staging the other artists’ works.
Fleming’s artistic practice relies on construction materials and techniques developed in daily work. By diverting the primary functions of commercial building supplies, especially drywall and plaster, he blurs the status of these materials and techniques, whether through sculpture, painting or large-scale installation. The architectural structures he meticulously builds undermine the neutrality of the white cube. At times, construction materials are employed for their functional attributes while in other circumstances, their aesthetic is what motivates their use. As the initial functions of domestic objects are thwarted, the tension between their practical and artistic status generates uncertainty in the viewers, leading them to hesitate and ponder which behavior to adopt towards the environments encountered.
Through intimate investigations of the domestic realm, Undomesticated considers the psychological, political and emotional layers that shape our notions of home and belonging.
Image at top: Nicolas Fleming, Une causeuse, une distributrice d’eau, un vase. Exhibition view, Centre CLARK, Montreal (QC), 2018. Photo credit: Paul Litherland.