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Stephanie Vegh
Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
June 18, 2013

For all the rich threads of reference woven throughout The Collaborationists, it is the stripping away of information that gives Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins' exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton its sharpest, brightest bite. Simulated paper is expelled blank from an inscrutable machine in collapsing ribbons that are swallowed up again, stolen away before anyone can dare take a closer look. A split-flap display board of the sort once used for train schedules presents a hypnotic spectacle of colour that flickers in phases from grim white and grey to a lively rainbow of gradations, reducing the movement of functional data to a modernist dance of so many butterfly wings.



Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins, Flip Out, 2012, split-flap display board, powder coated metal, electronics, custom software (photo: Mike Lalich)

Beneath the brilliant play of visual pleasure, all this uneasy silence carries deathly weight – especially in the uncanny construction of a fluorescent-lit office and server room in a neighbouring gallery where tempting headphones offer only white noise. Even so, a necessary levity still prevails through the sort of wordplay that charges the minimalist and comical Google: an overlarge pair of googly-eyes presides over a near-empty room in a disarmingly ridiculous nod to the ubiquitous corporation. The camera that allows the flat black pupils to latch upon and follow the viewer's movement, on other hand, delivers a predatory punch line to the joke.

Achieving this balance of humour and haunting discomfort without succumbing to either extreme is the crowning achievement of this finely tuned exhibition. Razor-sharp precision sings from every decision, every turn of a brightly coloured window blind performing a slow dance of concealment that demands to be seen.


Art Gallery of Hamilton: http://www.artgalleryofhamilton.com/
Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins: The Collaborationists continues until September 29.


Stephanie Vegh is a Hamilton-based visual artist and writer whose criticism has appeared in Scotland's Map Magazine, Canadian Art, C Magazine, and Hamilton Arts & Letters, in addition to her own blog. Her drawings and installations have shown most recently at the upArt Contemporary Art Fair and Nathaniel Hughson Gallery in Hamilton. She is the Executive Director of the Hamilton Arts Council and a member of the Curatorial Committee for Hamilton's annual Supercrawl. She is also Akimblog's Hamilton correspondent and can be followed @Stephanie_Vegh on Twitter.

 

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