Saturday, January 28, 2012

Globe and Mail: R.M. Vaughan's review of the Wilson and Genda exhibitions

R.M. Vaughan
Globe and Mail: Jan 28, 2012

Dagmara Genda and Jay Wilson at KWT Contemporary:

"Painter Dagmara Genda and sculptor Jay Wilson are an odd couple, or coupling.No sensible curator would put Genda’s mad, cacophonous paintings of worlds flooded in flesh-pink waves next to Wilson’s meticulous toothpick towers and laser-cut steel assemblages. But common sense is a bore.

Genda is a part of a burgeoning school of painting I am dubbing the New Neo-Expressionists (okay, yes, that tag needs work). In such paintings, the strategy is to draw the viewer in via a whirlwind (or whirlpool) of kineticism, with bold flourishes of blended colours, and then hold the viewer tight with feverish daub-and-swipe brushwork juxtaposed against clusters of maniacally detailed illustration.

Wilson, on the other hand, is about as open to accident as a heart surgeon. His works are so exquisitely crafted and make no gesture toward covering their labour-intensiveness, so that they make you a bit light-headed and cause the hands to tremble in a sympathetic attack of nerves.

The connection between the two artists is thus one of point-counterpoint. Genda masks her labours with decoying, bold strokes. Wilson practically sits you down and makes the work with you.

Pick your favourite style of high-wire act."

Opening Night Scene for Genda and Wilson: January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dagmara Genda and Jay Wilson: Jan 12-Feb 19, 2012

               KWT contemporary is proud to present two solo exhibitions of new work
by Jay Wilson and Dagmara Genda

                                    opening reception with artists present:
                                Thursday, January 12, 2012 from 6 - 8 p.m.

Lower Gallery
Jay Wilson: "Yes. Yes. Try Less."

Jay Wilson, "Sterling Mountain 2",  2012: solid sterling silver,  approx. 9" x 9",
"This show of recent work consists of both labour-intensive toothpick pieces as well as graphic, colour-field, wall-mounted foam and aluminum abstractions. The work is at once obsessively detailed while being approachable in both colour and materialiality.
The toothpick works depict herds of elk with typographic declarations held high in their antlers that vaguely announce sentiments such as Above All Else and Reckless Abandon, spelled out with twigs and safety matches respectively. For me, these declarations are not only words to heed but also evocations of both optimism and hope in a non-hierachical battle of suggestion vs. meaning.
Contradictions abound in the exhibition. Hand-pencil-crayon-coloured toothpick elk pairs read YesYes, or Try Less, while assuming push-me-pull-you configurations. Ordinary toothpicks are re-envisioned as cast sterling silver toothpick structures; one a Tatlin-esque sketch, the other a facetted mountain. The pieces speak of a process that is both highly structured and the developmentally random.
Other works entitled Patternpattern are inclusive collisions of pattern and colour. A decade ago, I saved orange peels that I had peeled all in one piece, the results of which have been enlarged and laser cut in aluminum. Each silhouette is mapped with colourful sheets of craft foam. The resulting topographies resemble islands but more importantly to me, are simple, almost gestural declarations of two structures overlapping and informing one another."                     
 -Jay Wilson (January 2012)
Jay Wilson is an artist/educator from Toronto, Canada. He is a full-time professor of Design in Art and Art History, a joint program between Sheridan College and the University of Toronto, Mississauga. He has shown both internationally and locally and served on the Board of Mercer Union, Toronto and Oakville Galleries, Oakville. He was the inaugural recipient of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Artist Prize.
He would like to acknowledge the support of Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.
Jay Wilson is represented by KWT contemporary.

Mezzanine and Upper Gallery

Dagmara Genda: "Tracing Tomorrow"
 Dagmara Genda, "Palace with Apartments", 2012 (detail). ink and acrylic on paper,  29.5" x 73"
"Tracing Tomorrow is the latest iteration of my interest in the production of space and identity. I explore these notions through tracing lines to make new territories, surfaces, definitions and objects. I'm interested in one line in particular, the historically problematic and shifting division between East and West. I make use of this blurry division by tracing Soviet architecture that bears an uncanny resemblance to American capitalist buildings. These structures, so pregnant with the promise of a better tomorrow in their time, are drawn together to form perversely patterned spaces that lack a centre of gravity.
Yesterday's future and how it might leave us wanting today, is a common idea in post-communist and Eastern European scholarship. A post-communist world is often described as a terrain of broken promises, nostalgia, competing narratives and instability. Increasingly this description applies to the so-called Western world. The global financial crisis, coupled with environmental crises and the persistence of war, has not only fuelled doubt in a system that was to mark the "end of history" but has brought up the question of what sort of system, what kind of tomorrow, awaits us?
Tracing Tomorrow tries to delineate, through a literal act of tracing, what the future might look like but not as a futuristic, identifiable territory. Instead it highlights the problem of producing a totalizing vision of a future space. This act of delineation is the main problem I wish to address in my drawings. To delineate is to define, to mark a territory or to create a space-how we do so is informed by a myriad of factors. My drawings are made from a complex system of tracing that starts from traced architecture and ends with traced paint strokes. Forms weave in and out of each other, mixing foreground and background, delineating features and dissolving into nothingness. The way we identify things is tentative, always hovering at the edge of non-existence. This formal aspect of the drawings is a way for me to find new ways of identifying what we see while also pointing our attention to the very contingency of our sightlines."                 
 -Dagmara Genda (January, 2012)
Dagmara Genda was born in 1981 in Koszalin, Poland, and now lives and works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Western Ontario. In addition to her studio practise, Genda is active as an arts writer and is Director at AKA Gallery, an artist-run centre in Saskatoon. Genda has received many awards and honours, including most recently, the 3rd Ward Artist in Residence, Brooklyn, NY (2011).
Dagmara Genda is represented by KWT contemporary.
KWT contemporary
624 Richmond Street West
Toronto, ON
M5V 1Y9
tel. 416-646-2706
gallery hours: wed-sat 12-6
Media inquiries:
Aurelie K. Collings, Ph.D.
Director and Curator

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Upcoming: Dagmara Genda and Jay Wilson

My holiday reading has included John Roberts' The Intangibilities of Form, in which he discusses the role of labour, skill and "de-skilling" in contemporary art. Fitting then, that with Jay Wilson and Dagmara Genda, the 2012 exhibition schedule at KWT contemporary opens with work that is so  labour-intensive, so skilled, and frankly, so beautiful, that it makes my heart ache. Spinning straw into gold, each of these artists takes humble material as inspiration (paper and ink for Genda, and toothpicks and orange peels for Wilson), and through their skill and transformational vision, elevates the everyday to the extraordinary.

Jay Wilson, "Yes. Yes. Try Less." and Dagmara Genda "Tracing Tomorrow" opens on Jan. 12.

If you saw our booth at The Toronto International Art Fair a couple of months ago, you'll no doubt have a vivid visual memory for Wilson's tall "stalagmite" or tower built of toothpicks, and Genda's remarkably detailed large scale drawing. Click here for our earlier post with installation shots. Here is a close-up of the tower under construction:
Jay Wilson: JayAlbertNandiniDrewMarkEmmaJesseCynthiaManojMattAngelaShelleyHowardKathleenChris
HeatherBrentKatherineLauraGwenMeilMalloryLilyanMatthiewEdithMartynaMoira (detail) toothpicks, white glue; 98cmx415cmx102cm

 And here is the Genda drawing we showed at TIAF, followed by a close-up detail:
Dagmara Genda: 
UNTITLED (wallpaper) (2009) mac-tac, acrylic, pen and ink; 60x 48in (sold)

A very close detail of Genda's "UNTITLED (wallpaper)"

Here is a teaser of what is to come in their upcoming solo exhibitions:

Jay Wilson: no title for this work yet. It is a small sculpture, made of toothpicks cast in solid sterling silver.

A frustratingly small image of a very large drawing by Dagmara Genda.
PALACE WITH FLESH AND HAIR (2010), latex paint, pen and ink, paper, 60x48in

More info., and images, to come...

"Yes. Yes. Try Less" and "Tracing Tomorrow" will open on January 12, 2012, and run until February 19, 2012. Opening Reception Thursday Jan 12 fro 6 to 8 at KWT contemporary.