O'Born Contemporary


Second Annual Emergent Artists Exhibition

January 5 – January 19, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, January 4, 6 – 9 PM



Jeff Bierk
Kyle Brohman
Maryanne Casasanta
Candice Davies
Phil Delisle
Benjamin Freedman
Lindsay Lauckner
Aamna Muzaffar
Charlotte Stewardson
Yshia Wallace

exhibition statement

A new year marks a restart to a cycle. The first day of a new year carries with it the burden and the gift of a clean slate: Resolutions are made with sureness, earlier memories are archived as nostalgic bygones and there is a stillness, bloated with the potential of starting anew. The blanketing of snow over much of the Canadian landscape at this time amplifies impressions of this stillness. The morning after a night of snowfall where sound is muted and covered objects take minimalized form, engages a new type of looking. The works featured in O'Born Contemporary's Second Annual Emergent Artists Exhibition parallel this sense of momentary suspension. The artists render the familiar with a delicate, still ambiguity and ask us to find the peculiar in the banal.

Maryanne Casasanta's series The Art of Today Belongs to Us encourages closer inspection to these everyday peculiarities. Her compositions are stark and suggestive, allowing imagination to fill the blanks that her negative spaces leave. Painter Phil Delisle is also concerned with empty space; his simplification of color a nd form suspend the image of a lively artists' studio, creating an objective template for an otherwise subjective space. Jeff Bierk's photographs of hospital curtains serve as a break or pause from a more illustrative scene. Although stripped of almost all context, the photographs, part of a larger body of work exploring the complexities of addiction, prove the presence of life in the stillest of moments.

Candice Davies' small sculptures channel the heavy stillness of a fresh snowfall. Her use of alabaster marble in rendering disposable objects sets a confident permanence to their otherwise fleeting presence. Davies' works stand motionless, manifesting overlooked aspects of material culture. Benjamin Aaron Freedman's photographs from the series TOTEM isolate objects of reverence, reversing Davies' conceptual process. Rather than sourcing from the ordinary, Freedman's Burning Sage and Wishbone are rendered bluntly, suggesting their otherwise mystical connotations flattened and stilled to aesthetic normality.

As bare branches busy clear winter skies, Charlotte Stewardson, Yshia Wallace, and Aamna Muzaffar use repetitive form to engage in a conversation between chaos and order. Muzaffar's paintings apply organic gesture to a dotted grid. However, the result is not a disruption to order, but a validation the grid itself. Wallace's Superorganism 1 sources the complex biological and psychological influences on social behavior, but her porcelain sculpture is condensed to a neat swarm, suggesting the natural inclination to order over disarray. Stewardson's similar concerns of psychological influence on physical space is articulated through photographic heaps of body and cloth, a mountain range of both life and the inanimate objects of our everyday.

Kyle Brohman, another photographer in the exhibition, pushes the photographic 'still frame' with The Misfits. Composed of multiple exposures shot of a crowd at a punk concert. Brohman simultaneously freezes the chaotic environment and turns our attention from the viewed to the viewer. Similarly, Lindsay Lauckner's photographs of estate sale homes focuses on the intermediate state of a home in transition, where remnants of previous inhabitants visibly fade to accommodate others. Lauckner's images have a sense of stilling a time so briefly that it is otherwise likely to be forgotten. Rather than an ideological clean slate, 2013 turns us to a fresh page: Our pasts lay dormant but forever important as the year quickly begins again.