IF NOT NOW THEN WHEN by Gillian Iles
February 27 to March 21, 2020
Extended Gallery Hours: Friday, March 20, 12 – 8 PM
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 27, 6 to 8 PM
Building walls, actual, or cerebral to contain, preserve and protect. Whether they are deliberate or an unintentional outcome they require a whole to be split, a division to be determined. Disassociation is created.
To keep something out you keep something in. Trapped.
The work examines the sensation of disassociation, unfamiliarity and the related qualities of distrust and fear – but also the allure of what was once known and the mysteries it contains. The work expresses the moment that is the opportunity to cross the divide hanging on the decision that needs to be made.
Alongside this idea is the presentation of the frail and failing old guard – established Western, colonial canons of power, authority and perceived ideals – struggling to maintain a tenuous persistence within the shadow of their inexorable demise. They are trapped and held hostage by the very nature of their philosophy.
Although fuelled by geo-political events, the work references the individual experience. Divisions and philosophical entrenchment are presently occurring like I have not been aware of before within my own lifetime. Likewise, a significant push for change and confrontation of what, until recently, has been viewed as inalterable, is occurring.
The content embraces the duality of the divide, the idealized and the unknown and the inevitability of change that looms larger than either.
The installation is a response to the dichotomy – both the fear and the hope.
It combines large paintings, small-scale intimate imagery, constructions and 3-D objects. The installation is environmental in scope, with 2-D, 3-D and video work assembled, staggered and clustered, constructing spaces and incorporating both real and illusionary environments as extensions of each other.
The presentation and context for the work references the unreliability of unbiased portrayal, “objective record” and dissemination of fact within the digital age. Bias variables like point of view, scale, clarity of definition, proximity and content relativity, as well as the use of obstructions and strategic positioning of imagery demands the viewer interact in particular ways with the work, influencing perception, inspiring objective inconsistency and highlighting the malleability of response. By tapping into primal sensations and providing visceral opportunities, the viewer is always considered to be an active player within the scenario.
Symbolic imagery derives from reoccurring themes within contemporary media, digital culture and still relevant historical contexts. The composite imagery presents an array of contradictions as a sensory collage of fleeting instants that shape greater social identity & individual perception.
The work draws on the existence of social ideals, social orders, idealized lifestyles and beliefs especially as they pertain to colonial Western culture. Their manufactured existence, illusionary value, tenuous persistence and questionable motives are of particular importance. Tenuous social constructs, precarious systems of belief, ephemeral perceptions and the transient nature of opinion are relevant. The inevitability of change as an innate and implacable inclination of all systems is an underlying theme.
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, Mix Magazine, Toronto Life Magazine, as well as the National Post and The Globe and Mail. She is featured in the book Carte Blanche Volume 2: Painting. 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 in Canada.
Her environmental scale installations include combinations of paintings, sculptures, constructions video and projection, creating installations incorporating both real and illusionary space, transforming exhibition spaces into a composite of alternate realities. The viewer is always considered to be the final element within the installation.
401 Richmond St West Suite 115, Toronto, ON, M5V 3A8
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Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 PM
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