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Halifax
Lizzy Hill
Jamie Q at Parentheses
November 20, 2012

Jamie Q's doodles and art works leap out in playful Crayola palettes and are made using materials you'd find in a kindergarten class, like paper-mâché and cardboard, but that doesn't mean they should be taken lightly. In Q's exhibition The Possibilities Are Endless at (((Parentheses))) Gallery + Art Projects, the artist exhibits a series of imaginative, playful sculptures, zines, multiples, and wall-hangings that have serious underpinnings. For this exhibition, Q (who prefers to be referred to by the pronoun "they", rather than the gendered "he" or "she") has created a series of open-ended works that are intentionally accessible and blur boundaries between aesthetic, stylized art and political, revolutionary art.



Jamie Q, The Money Tree, 2011, paper-mâché

The first piece that grabbed my attention as I wandered into the packed opening last Thursday was the Dr. Seuss-esque paper-mâché sculpture The Money Tree. Consisting of three bulbous turquoise forms with black spots and multi-coloured spikes, this unnatural, cartoon-like tree is depicted in a manner that's both childlike and threatening—maybe the spots are symptomatic of some virus, or maybe the spikes are there to ward off anyone hoping to harvest the tree's bounty. Vogue, made with paper-mâché, cardboard, wood, aluminum foil, and acrylic-gouache, lured me in next with its pinball-like dips and tunnels—but it soon became clear that this was an impossible game board, full of dead ends and drop-offs.

It's easy to get lost in Q's In the Details, an Acryla-gouache painting on paper; I found my eyes climbing through tangled red, blue, and brown geometric forms, as if plotting my escape on a Snakes and Ladders board. Some pieces employ a dark humour: paintings Modified Milk Ingredients and Heirloom Variety both feature unidentifiable blobs—perhaps some futuristic food products—that are equal parts playful and creepy. Indeed, at the opening, it wasn't uncommon to hear gallery-goers inventing their own on-the-spot interpretations for each work. That's precisely the point. Q likes to work intuitively, with no end-goal in sight. That's how their work should be digested as well.


(((Parentheses))) Gallery + Art Projects: http://parentheseshfx.tumblr.com/
Jamie Q: The Possibilities Are Endless continues until December 15.


Lizzy Hill is an internationally published writer and the editor of Visual Arts News, Atlantic Canada's only magazine focusing on the work of visual artists. Lizzy loves her community in Halifax's artistic north end, a wonderful summer camp for grown ups full of underground restaurants and pop-up galleries. She is Akimblog's Halifax correspondent and can be followed @LizzyFHill on Twitter.

 

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