Daniel Borins and Jennifer Marman: Project for a New American Century
28 January – 29 March 2009
Art Gallery of York University, Toronto
A curator friend of ours, whose opinion we value, called this show “the best thing I’ve seen in Toronto in years..”
The first gallery. Image: canadianart.ca
It’s an excellent exhibition, we agree. We were given a tour by curator Philip Monk, whose agenda for the gallery is to offer artists the chance to explore one idea in detail and to offer them a high-quality publication that reflects the show’s concept.
A painting from Project for a New American Century. Image: akimbo.biz
In the first gallery, a large, grey concrete-looking building in the Brutalist style of architecture looms over the viewer. The building has one small window, and if you look inside, you see a small room wallpapered in multicoloured prints – stripes, op-art and graphics – with a mirrored panopticon on the ceiling like a large eye, that seems to observe you while allowing you a bigger glimpse of the room through its reflection.
The second gallery. Image: canadianart.ca
The second gallery holds a floor sculpture. Architectural elements and echoes of Minimalist sculpture have been carefully arranged on the floor, and there are four large abstract paintings on the walls. It’s the first time that Monk has curated a show with paintings at the AGYU.
While it was kind of him to explain the background concept for the show – a reference to prisons operated by anti-Franco anarchists during the Spanish civil war that used “psychotechnic” torture in the form of “coloured cells” based on the principles of abstract and surrealist painting – it wasn’t really necessary.
The strength of the show is that it’s strong enough to convey its idea without needing an explanation.
The feeling that one gets when entering this show is one of alienation (the viewer’s separation from the art) power (the style of architecture itself, and one of the paintings that evokes a clenched fist) and the history of art (echoes of Minimalism, Op art)
Alienation, power and the history of art. An intriguing comment from two of Canada’s most promising young artists.
For the AGYU website, please click HERE
For more on Daniel and Jennifer, please click HERE