Art Gallery 175B
Curated by Lorraine Simms for 175 B
Laura Millard’s practice combines drawing, photography and painting. Informed by conceptual and minimal art, Millard’s work is inspired by contemporary representations of the landscape.
Laura Millard has exhibited in artist-run, commercial and public galleries across Canada and internationally; including Where Where Exhibition Space, (Beijing, China), Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Glenbow Museum Calgary, Sookmyung Women’s University (Korea), and St. Lawrence University Art Gallery (New York). She has been a visiting artist and panelist in various university and gallery settings including the Banff Centre, the University of Waterloo, the University of Victoria, the University of Western Ontario, the Mendel Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. An artist, writer and educator, Laura Millard lives and works in Toronto.
Ross Racine creates his art by drawing freehand on a computer, without photographs or scans. Ross Racine’s prints have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, in venues such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège (Belgium), the International Print Biennale (Newcastle, UK), the International Print Triennial (Vienna), the Des Moines Art Center (Des Moines, Iowa), the Shengzhi Culture Space (Beijing), and the International Print Center (New York).
His work is in public and private collections, including the New York Public Library Print Collection, the Des Moines Art Center (Iowa), the Johnson & Johnson collection (New Jersey). Racine’s work received the biennial prize at the Biennale internationale de Gravure contemporaine in Liège, Belgium, and several grants from the Canada Council. Born in Montreal, Racine divides his time between Montreal and New York.
A labyrinth of trees, empty spaces, fractured architectural forms… we try to find our bearings in a vast terrain.
From above, the land provides a larger surface to inscribe our presence. Google earth and drone technology have turned the earth into a giant canvas. Leaving traces of our presence we sketch strange geometries onto the land.
In Strange Geometries three artists invoke these ideas through painting, photography and video. Compelling an investigation of the landscape from different vantage points the works in this exhibition conjure the myriad ways we attempt to tame our environment and reshape the land to reflect our reasoning.
In her paintings Sylvie Bouchard juxtaposes references taken from historical paintings with natural and architectural forms. Depicted in somber tones, these mysterious environments seem frozen in silence. Evoking mazes, with no apparent way in or out, her richly symbolic landscapes riddle the viewer with clues. A circular stairway that leads nowhere, a tree bounded by a scraps of twisted metal, all remnants of a failed utopia blown to bits by natural processes. Blindfolded, a lone figure tries to find a way through a barren forest in her large, foreboding painting entitled Vision.
Laura Millard works with drone technology to produce video projections and photo-paintings. Using a frozen lake as her canvas, Millard draws patterns with a snowmobile and documents them from high above. The scale of these works is disorienting; the regularity of her circular patterns evoke the steady hand of an artist working with compass rather than an individual spiraling across a vast expanse of ice. Millard over-paints her aerial photographs to obscure and highlight different features of these compelling scenarios. In a related video projection entitled Passing, Millard’s drone skims close to the ground in a slow mesmerizing dance with richly coloured, blowing Fall leaves.
Ross Racine’s digitally painted prints seem as familiar as Earth View. On closer inspection the impossibility of his invented suburban communities is revealed: streets meander into dead ends or form improbable Celtic knot patterns with no beginning or end. Racine bases his street plans on freehand drawings, some are carefully designed while others record the jerky movements of his hand sketching lines in a moving subway car. No one who has negotiated Montreal’s labyrinth of road works can fail to smile at the circular logic of his improbable topographies.