Gillian Iles: Within the Forest


Gillian Iles, You may be a winner (detail). Photo: Gillian Iles

Gillian Iles
Within the Forest

September 13 – November 12, 2021
Redeemer University Art Gallery

Opening Reception / Walkabout with Artist / simultaneous Zoom event
Wednesday September 22, 2021, 5 – 7 pm ET
Join Zoom reception here
Meeting ID: 848 1824 3626

Gillian Iles’ paintings place you at moments of decision and consequence. She is a formidable painter, but also a constructor of spaces that engage and implicate you. Perhaps you are immersed in an exotic forest scene – but then you find clues and hints, interruptions of your expectations, evidence that worldly power is at play.

These works demand that you move to see them. Paintings are installed at oblique angles and scales, perhaps overlapping or elevated overhead. From across the room you can discern a painting of brutalist architecture, but the miniscule figures (are they snipers? protestors?) are only seen at close range. Meanings keep shifting as you move.

Systems of power, status, and value seethe within these works. The works, at once, reference geopolitical maneuvers, the unbridled force of capital, and the shifting perceptions of an embodied individual. By flickering between points of view, or moments in time, the hubris and vanity of our systems are laid bare. We are caught between desire and revulsion, wondering how the story will unfold.

Fitting for this university setting, several of Iles’ works feature young protagonists. Perhaps disenfranchised within a world not of their making, these characters are at points of decision. Will they be co-opted into a compromised world, or is another world possible?

Within the Forest draws projects from four related bodies of work: IF NOT NOW THEN WHEN, Towards Eternal Glory, You may be a winner, and We found ourselves within a dark forest. This exhibition enables viewers to follow the evolution of her sustained thematic interests and her ongoing inventiveness with the forms of painting, sculpture, and installation.

Gillian Iles’ practice consists of painting, sculpture and video/projection. She has exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Chicago, Miami, Montreal and Toronto in public institutions, university galleries, artist-run-centres and commercial galleries. Her work has been highlighted in Canadian Art, Toronto Life Magazine, as well as the National Post and The Globe and Mail. Gillian was a founding member of two artist-run galleries in Toronto – Propeller and Loop, and is currently a member of the Red Head Gallery in Toronto. Gillian teaches at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Sheridan College and the Toronto School of Art.

Due to Covid, the exhibition is not currently open for spontaneous visits. Please join us for the Zoom reception.

Media Contact: Shannon McBride
Phone: 1-877-779-0913 x 4326

Redeemer Art Gallery
Redeemer University
777 Garner Road East
Ancaster ON L9K 1J4