O'Born Contemporary



Group Exhibition

February 4 – March 13, 2009


As we move into our second year at O'Born Contemporary we look forward to continuing to showcase the best of emergent and mid-career artists working across the aesthetic, conceptual and technical terrains of contemporary photography. Additionally we will be focusing our attention on our educational mandate in 2009/10, introducing information sessions, discussions and workshops to the Gallery's programming. We actively encourage our audience to take advantage of soon-to-be-announced upcoming events, many of which will be free of charge and open to the public.

We are starting our second year with O'Born Contemporary's annual summer exhibition, HOT!, opening June 13th 2009. You are invited to join us in celebrating a successful and dynamic first year as we introduce four gifted young artists to what has proven to be an exceptional audience. Kyohei Abe, Alex Fischer, Davida Kidd and Alina Skyson are dedicated explorers of visual paradigms in the photograph itself; the depth of their investigations are made richer through layers of meaning and investigations of alternate processes. They make beautiful hybrid work that will delight the intelligent viewer interested in current HOT! topics in the art world such as appropriation, spatial constructs, distortions of the real, and the authority of the eternal object.

Kyohei Abe came to our attention through portfolio reviews in Portland, Oregon. He is a Japanese-born artist with a background in architecture and photography, who currently lives and teaches in Detroit. Abe's aesthetic is defined through his use of simple objects placed in unadorned visual fields containing barely perceptible shifted perspectives. His photographs are highly evocative of drawing, conscious and poetic choices soften both the literal and physical hard edges of being a citizen at the edges of an idealized American culture.

Alex Fischer is an artist with a considerable online reputation for being a trailblazer in current digital image-making discourse. Trained as both painter and photographer, he is an artist who embraces hybrid practices, moving easily from painting studio to digital darkroom. The resulting work is an astonishingly beautiful and complex amalgam of layered visual and theoretical data, borrowing heavily from contemporary art history while remaining unique in character. One must spend time with the abstraction and chaos in his work in order to discover the richness of details lying beneath the painterly surface.

Alina Skyson addresses the challenges of transitions in analog and digital photographic processes and wrestles them into submission. Her actions for the images we are showing in HOT! began with Skyson taking photographs of a dollhouse brought to Canada from her childhood home near Chernobyl, in Ukraine. She has painted the dollhouse white in order to erase the marks of childhood and then photographed it with expired expired instant Polaroid film. The exposed film, both negative and positive, is placed onto expired digital photo paper. The generic brand paper and expired photo-chemistry bond in an alchemical marriage that gives unexpected colour to the absent space of the disrupted image. This is contemporary image making at the conceptual margins of the image itself, and as with the future of photography the monoprints may or may not be stable. The processes of Skyson's work are provocative statements about the future of photography as well as delightful reminders of the transience of now-vanished latent images that were made during the birth of photography, almost 200 years ago.

Davida Kidd's single large-scale image selected for this group exhibition is a remarkable companion to the other works. Kidd is a mid-career artist currently living and working on the west coast of Canada. While her image appears to be a highly manipulated product of a digital darkroom, it is in fact a constructed image created by Kidd in her studio using a doll, a highly reflective surface, sculptural cones and a fabric backdrop. The space of the composition is the space of dreams, the figure with its back turned neutralizes our ability to see what she is seeing, instead we observe her as she navigates a topsy-turvy shimmering threshold of possibilities. I like to think of her as being the frontrunner for the adventures that are ahead as we move forward into the unknown. Welcome to our second year! Let's enjoy the long and hopefully HOT! season together!

- P Elaine Sharpe – January 2008