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FLATMEN: ALEXANDER IRVING
Jan 28 through Mar 3, 2012
Opening Reception Sat Jan 28 from 3 to 6 pm

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GENERAL HARDWARE CONTEMPORARY

1520 Queen St. W.Toronto M6R 1A4
generalhardware.ca
416 516 6876
Hours: Wed – Sat 12 to 6pm and by appointment

General Hardware Contemporary is pleased to present Flatmen, recent paintings by Alexander Irving.

Alexander Irving's recent paintings are not flat; or, more precisely, the Flatmen have shown us that "flat" means so much more than what we assumed. The Flatmen are full. Irving's paintings explore the fullness of the flat—the ways in which flatness can be ripe and round, rough and uneven.

The nature of Irving's exploration of the fullness of the flat was clearly expressed in his remarks on the genesis of his paintings. He had started out sketching cardboard—the cardboard packaging from men's shirts, cardboard boxes disassembled post-move. During the painting process, when he began crafting on the canvas these "folding patterns," the human figures first appeared. The resulting Flatmen became figures through which Irving could nurture in his viewers the experiences of wonder that flatness, in its many forms, can provoke.

These experiences of wonder—wonder as both speculation and awe—arise from what Irving called "the irony of painting" and, to borrow another one of his turns of phrase, "looking as doodling." In the genesis of Irving's project, the irony of painting was suggested by a line from the literary works that inspired the title of the show, Anne Carson's "Flatman" poems. In "Flatman, 1st Draft" one of Carson's own Flatmen states, "My ironies move flatly." This line of poetry, inverted, stirred Irving to attend to the irony of the flat. These paintings, as he put it, portray "flat things on a flat surface and yet they suggest a depth, shadow, another dimension."

Excerpts from essay by The Baildon Writers' Co-Op (compiled and arranged by Daniel Scott Tysdal)

Toronto based artist Alexander Irving holds an MFA from York University and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Irving has exhibited his work since 1986 and has shown at Birch Libralato, Blackwood Gallery and Diaz Contemporary. In 2009 Irving's work was included in Carte Blanche 2: Painting – a survey of new Canadian painting.

Irving has taught at the Ontario College of Art and Design and, at present, holds the post of Lecturer at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus.

image: Flatmen 7, 2008 - 2010, oil on canvas, 62 x 62 cm