James Gardner: Here To Go

January 21 – March 8, 2024
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 21, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Glenhyrst Art Gallery, Brantford, Ontario

Curated by Matthew Ryan Smith

James Gardner, Idle, 2020-2023 (ongoing), oil and marble dust on canvas with sculptures, found objects, and rocks. Image courtesy of the artist.

In this exhibition, James Gardner explores Western esotericism, the field of study that considers neglected or “secret” knowledge in Western culture. Western esotericism covers important aspects of Gardner’s research, such as the legacy of astrology in visual culture, the influence of Alchemy in the early sciences, and occult influences on early abstract art. Gardner’s paintings are repeatedly layered, deconstructed, and recombined, echoing the ethos of collage and assemblage. These oscillating states of becoming and decay reference ancient alchemical procedures as well as speculative fields of contemporary image philosophy. A byproduct of his laborious painting processes are large accumulations of debris and dross: image fragments, conglomerates of paint and insulation foam, and stones that have been used as weights or props in the studio. Rather than discard it, this “image matter” makes its way into sculptural installations that help to contextualize his paintings and the ecology in which they are created. The slow accumulation of debris and other found objects ensures that his installations remain dynamic and continuously evolving. Ultimately, Gardner’s complex body of work examines the agency of images and their slow deterioration as they pass through time.

About the Artist
Born in Kitchener and raised in Brantford, James Gardner is a visual artist currently living in Montreal. After completing his MFA at Concordia University in 2020, Gardner’s thesis work was awarded both the Petry Award and William Blair Bruce European Travel Scholarship. In Summer 2023, as a component of his scholarship, he visited Greece and Turkey to conduct research on Byzantine Icon painting traditions. His graduate work and recent research is centred on collaborating with institutions like the Warburg Institute and other image archives and historical sites related to the study of Western esoteric image traditions. Previous to Montreal, Gardner completed his undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Art History at the University of Guelph, and was a founding member of the Toronto collective and artist-run centre VSVSVS (2010-2017). Gardner’s work has been supported by several scholarships, prizes, and awards including the TFVA Artist Prize, the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Master’s Scholarship, and multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council. Gardner’s work is represented in Toronto and Montreal by Galerie Nicolas Robert.

James Gardner acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples and symbolises the agreement to share, protect our resources, and not to engage in conflict. The City of Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.

Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please call us.

Admission is free (donations are accepted) and everyone is welcome.

Contact Information:
Glenhyrst Art Gallery
20 Ava Rd., Brantford ON
N3T 5G9
(519) 756-5932

Social Media
Facebook: @glenhyrst
Instagram: @glenhyrst