For immediate release
Ali Basiedji - Pulsating & Feral: Plowed Fields – painting exhibition
April 28 to May 26, 2012
Opening: Saturday April 28 4-7 pm
Art Talk: Thursday May 17, 6-9 pm
Presented by TeodoraART Gallery, Toronto http://teodoraartgallery.com/?p=994
As Ali Basiedji's exhibition title indicates, "Pulsating and Feral: Plowed Fields" comprises expressionistic oil paintings of fields, which are paradoxically cultivated yet untamed, potentially bountiful yet empty. Come springtime Ali Basiedji eagerly anticipates painting because he only works en plein air. First- hand observation is paramount; nothing is reworked or copied in the studio, meaning he will return for as many as four to five daylong sessions
Ali Basiedji's statement: Through the last five years, I have made numerous day trips to the expropriated lands for the proposed Pickering Airport project, painting and interacting with the locals. I have come to know many of the current farmers on these lands personally, enjoyed their hospitality, painted in their fields and have acquired a particular feel for the stories of loss and hope associated with the history of these lands that circulate among them; 'homes were lost, communities disappeared, people committed suicide, new people prospered renting and working the lands and so on...' real life events that are now folk stories. All this created a unique outlook to the essence of humanity and the nature of change in itself, attached to these particular sites for me. That to me is something worth exploring and painting.
Looking at my paintings one does not readily see the story as that is not my aim; these paintings are not meant to be narrative in any way. Rather, they pose questions inherent in the painting process itself: How would such impending change feel and translate into painting, how would a painter paint a scene which is marked for obliteration? How does a painter concentrate in painting the poetry, beauty, mystery and peace that are still present in these fields, in spite of their known history and the almost sealed future of them?
I have tried to infuse a sense of instability, agitation and irrevocability in these paintings that speak of the eventual disappearance of these fields and the host of ecological systems they support, turning them into housing and industrial projects for an ever growing Toronto.
For now, there is an ever present feral and at the same time domesticated force in these lands in constant opposition of each other and a silent but palpable plea that wants to keep them part of nature.
I see and feel that transiency loom over these lands, but for the moment I enjoy them and paint them as they are.
Ali Basiedji BIO: Basiedji is presently a MA graduate student at OCADU and the 2012 recipient of two OCADU scholarships. He has exhibited in Italy - at Cassiopeia Art Gallery and Il Mondo dell'Arte in Rome, at the Jason Dean Art Gallery in London, at Toose Art Gallery and Teodora Art Gallery in Toronto. He has participated in summer artists' residencies in Rome and Transylvania. Additionally, his work is included in collections in Italy, the United States, Canada and Iran.
Expropriated lands of the proposed Pickering Airport project: During the 1970's the federal government expropriated 7430 hectares of farmland that included some small villages like Altona, which is now, all but a ghost town and a historical Huron 15th century site, for the proposed Pickering Airport project. The original plans for the Pickering airport was part of an extensive federal government plan to improve air travel across Canada. Expropriation of the lands went into effect in 1972, but opposition to the expansion along with the surprising provincial government's position that it would not build the roads and sewers needed to service the site brought the project to a standstill in 1975. The proposed airport site would be located in the North West corner of Pickering Ontario. Parts of the airport would expand into Markham and Uxbridge. Of the communities that would most readily be affected, not to mention those that are already lost, would be Claremont village of around 2800 residents to the north east of the airport lands and Stoufville. As one of the hasty outcomes of preparations for the anticipated airport, a significant fifteenth century Huron ancestral village (the Draper site) was completely excavated in 1975 and 1978.
These lands for the most part have remained to be farmlands in the interim and are still cultivated today.
Plowed Fields Catalog: http://www.blurb.com/books/3105465
Wed-Fr 12-6 pm
Sat 12- 4:30 pm
For off-hours gallery visits please call: 647.340.5832