ANGELL GALLERY presents Today’s Paper, a survey of new artworks on paper by some of Canada’s best emerging and mid-career artists, selected by associate director Bill Clarke. The exhibition runs from Friday, July 27 to Saturday, August 25, with an opening reception from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 28.
Paper is arguably the oldest material on which artists have made work. Historians haven’t determined an exact date for paper’s invention, but it is believed that paper, as we know it today, first appeared in China around 100 BC. (Canvas, by comparison, appeared in Europe in the 13th Century, but wasn’t commonly used by artists for painting until the 15th.)
Today’s Paper showcases a broad range of recent paper-based works by Canadians based in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Brooklyn and London (U.K.), ranging from Colleen McCarten’s sewn geometric patterns that re-visit the legacy of minimalism to Kim Kennedy Austin’s flocked works based on illustrations from vintage Canadian magazines.
The show emphasizes the variety of styles and subjects conveyed on paper, from Ryan Quast’s humorously abject emojis, Luke Painter’s and Tristram Lansdowne’s architectural flights of fancy, Ted Barker’s graphite works that are easily mistaken for vintage photographs, and Jason McLean’s stamp-pad indexes of Canadian celebrity. Unique and highly personal takes on figuration are produced by Spencer Hatch, Chris Ironside, Andrew Salgado and Sarah Letovsky, while Steve Driscoll, Gavin Lynch and Rebecca Chaperon present visionary interpretations of the landscape.
The Smithsonian, the MoMA New York, the Tate, the Art Gallery of Ontario and many other institutions possess extensive paper-based collections, proving that such works are worth acquiring and looking at. According to a recent article in the online newsletter Artsy, art on paper is an accessible way for new collectors to obtain work and has started appearing more frequently at art fairs because of the intimate experience a work on paper conveys. In a world of digital devices, a pencil or brush making a mark on paper feels comfortingly nostalgic. Paper grounds us in the real world and calls attention to human gestures.
George Passmore (of the internationally renown artist duo Gilbert & George) states in a recent interview in U.K.-based Elephant magazine: “People don’t do a drawing with a pencil. It’s done with their heads, their souls and their sex.” Indeed, drawings, and other paper-based art forms, are enduring, expansive, engaging and experimental.
– Bill Clarke