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Terence Dick
Craig Fahner & Steve Gurysh at 8-11, Toronto
July 21, 2015

I’m not a sports guy, so the overlap between athletics and art is often lost on me, but an afternoon spent watching gymnastics competitions at the Pan Am Games was enough to get me thinking about the shared obsession with self presentation, refining small gestures, parading symbolic imagery, and both the process and product of intense physical and mental discipline (I should be a colour commentator, right?). I was hoping to find a corresponding instance of athleticism in art in a gallery setting, but none of the official Panamania exhibitions grabbed me, so it was a relief when the folks at 8-11 contacted me about their current and not uncoincidentally timed exhibition The Radiant by Calgary-based artist Craig Fahner in collaboration with American artist Steve Gurysh.

Craig Fahner, Basic Orbital Maneouvres, 2015, Le Corbusier LC4 chaise longue, virtual reality headset, 3D assets

The leaping off point for this duo is the set of elemental and mythological associations tied to the Olympics, but any old highly ritualized, global competition involving meaningless actions will do. Gurysh’s Carbohydrocarbon sculptures in the front window – a trio of partially melted Nike sneakers that float magically over their plinths – adds a layer of commodity culture to the transcendent themes. Things get downright creepy in the gallery’s basement simply because of the serial killer décor, which shouldn’t have anything to do with the virtual reality experience of Fahner’s animation Basic Orbital Maneouvres, but it certainly lends a sense of dread to the disorienting experience. The final piece is a short video that recreates a torch relay across the Canadian landscape through a series of transformations of energy. For my purposes, this works as a handy metaphor for the actions, transformations, and journeys found in art, but there’s a lot more going on here as well.

8- 11:
Craig Fahner & Steve Gurysh: The Radiant continues until August 5.

Terence Dick is a freelance writer living in Toronto. His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, Prefix Photo, Camera Austria, Fuse, Mix, C Magazine, Azure, and The Globe and Mail. He is the editor of Akimblog. You can follow his quickie reviews and art news announcements on Twitter @TerenceDick.



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