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Vancouver
Steffanie Ling
Steve Hubert at Duplex
September 14, 2016

The inaugural exhibition at Duplex, a newly established studio and project space in Fraserview, is a modest group of works by Steve Hubert with the oblique title Dragging the Deleted Block into the Deleted Shape Input: DONT REMIND ME!!!. Paintings, reliefs, and sculptural accents arranged on the largest wall suggest a loose storyboard that teases at much loftier meditations. However, as one moves from one work to the next, any burgeoning logic is consistently jammed by a steady accumulation of references, symbols, and scenes.



Steve Hubert

Simulated brick, concrete, rusty nails, and other textures that might potentially resonate aggressively are alleviated by Hubert’s intuitive and curved line work and mostly quiet imagery: a potter throws a vessel in the company of shadows, a striped couch, a lesser neon sign fashioned from pouring resin over nails arranged to read “Computer Fixing Shop”. There are moments of subliminal messaging. A phantasmic “GO IN” is written next to the potter’s head. A meandering line of text that reads “TRANSFORMATIVE VISION” leads the eye from a painting based on the famous street fight scene in John Carpenter’s satirical sci-fi action movie They Live up to a clenched fist. In this film, a drifter inherits a pair of “truth” sunglasses and when he looks at members of the ruling class, they are revealed to be aliens that have infiltrated human society to perpetuate capitalism. Is this fist one of revolution or machismo? What’s the difference?

A text written by Hubert’s alter-ego Greg X Voltz, a has-been Christian rock star, ruminates self-consciously about false enlightenment: “I’m thinking now that a more transgressive approach might be a total return to the mainstream…. How far afield can resistance go before it gets cut off from cultural relevance?” At times saccharine: “We are all clouds exchanging water droplets. That’s my idea of life and opinions.” But also sincere: “Better to love all people in a cloud, than fall apart alone in a storm.” The text is a fiction, but it reveals the artist’s excitement for (and faith in?) breadcrumbs – those mundane things in the other room that might lead to something of higher value or meaning, perhaps a profane illumination. It’s uncertain whether these are clues or distractions, but I feel content to look at the exhibition as if to gaze out the window of a moving car and see a fertile and undetermined landscape.


Duplex: http://projectduplex.ca/
Steve Hubert: Dragging the Deleted Block into the Deleted Shape Input: DONT REMIND ME!!! continues until October 6.


Steffanie Ling's essays, criticism, and art writing have been published alongside exhibitions, in print, and online in Canada and the United States. She is the editor of Bartleby Review, an occasional pamphlet of criticism and writing in Vancouver, and a curator at CSA Space. She is Akimblog’s Vancouver correspondent and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram @steffbao.

 

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