Onions, Life, and Hotdogs on Parade

June 10 - July 15, 2017

Louis Bouvier
David Poolman
Kerri Reid
Marjan Verstappen

For certain artists, the act of drawing is the act of chronicling the observable world. For others, it is a means to explore the less perceptible facets of lived experience. This exhibition presents a series of drawings that revel in the wonder, absurdity, and pageantry of everyday life.

Marjan Verstappen’s seductive drawings of vegetables are not about vegetables per se but the industrial packaging designed to preserve, protect and enhance the appearance of food. Plastic membranes used to wrap lettuce and orange sack-shaped mesh for onions have all become supermarket simulacra for produce in the 21st century. Ironically, the artist’s razor-sharp realism renders the pencil-crayon vegetables as delectably tantalizing as was the designed intention of the grocery store packaging she documents.

For the artist Kerri Reid, to draw is to observe and make sense of the world around her. In 2013, after moving to Sointula (a small fishing village off the coast of B.C.) the artist began working on her version of a traditional “field guide.” The idea was simple: to record and catalogue characteristics unique to Sointula and, in the process, to become better acquainted with her new home. The first series she has produced, based on local bumper stickers, reveals a community proud of its Finnish heritage, fervently opposed to salmon farming and rather intolerant of bullshit.

Montreal-based artist Louis Bouvier has become known for his large-scale photorealistic drawings rendered entirely in pencil. The landscape on display in the gallery presents the moment when the sun breaks clear of a cluster of clouds to shine onto a lake. This magnificent vista, however, is interrupted by the words "drag and drop" and the sudden realization that what we see is in fact being mediated by a digital screen. The work is a poignant reminder of our paradoxical desire to digitally record and yet fully experience life’s more remarkable moments.

The least tethered to reality are the subtle graphite drawings of David Poolman. Through a repertoire of absurdist imagery and highly unlikely scenarios, humour and pathos are served up in equal measure. In the drawing titled “all these things must come to pass,” tiny figures find themselves trapped together under the weight of a single over-sized hotdog. The scene is legible, but the broader narrative is not. In this way Poolman’s work is best read like riddles scheming to be unraveled.

Artist Biographies

Louis Bouvier is a Montreal-based artist who received a BA and most recently an MFA from the University of Québec in Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Toujours en quete de la comprehension totale et absolue at Centre Clark, Montreal (2017) and TOUT n’est pas un sandwich presented at Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton (2017) and at Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal (2015). His work has also appeared in a number of group exhibitions most notably; Pangée Gallery, Montreal (2016), Parisian Laundry, Montreal (2015), Guido Molinari Foundation, Montreal (2014), D21 Kusnstraum, Leipzig (2010) and Nuit Blanche, Montreal (2009). Later this year he will be participating in an artist residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta.

David Poolman is an artist living in Toronto.

Kerri Reid is a visual artist living and working in the remote fishing village of Sointula, BC. Recent exhibitions include Rocks, Stones, and Dust at the University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto (2015), From What Remains at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2014), and Black Diamond Dust at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo (2014). Her work has also been presented at Mercer Union and the Power Plant in Toronto, ON, The Kitchen in New York, NY, the Yukon Art Centre in Whitehorse, YT, The Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge, Alberta, and the Or Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Reid has participated in residencies in Banff, Iceland, Dawson City, and Vermont. Since 2013, she and her husband Tyler Brett have been living in Sointula, where they are raising their son and co-directing The Sointula Art Shed, a small artist-run residency/window gallery/project space. They also play Tyler’s music as The Department, with past shows in Dawson City, YT, Reykjavik, Iceland, and at SFMOMA in San Francisco, CA.

Marjan Verstappen is a visual artist based in Toronto. Recent exhibitions include Gallery Galleria curated by Aisle 4 at Galleria Shopping Centre, Toronto (2016), The Fung Wah Biennial at Flux Factory, New York (2016) and Toronto Harbour at Xpace Cultural Centre, Toronto (2014). Verstappen will be included in the upcoming AGO exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood marking Canada's 150th curated by Andrew Hunter, in collaboration with Quill Christie and Anique Jordan. Her drawings have also been featured in Art Works! A CBC series about emerging artists in Canada. Verstappen grew up in New Zealand, where she received her BFA in Sculpture from Dunedin School of Art. She moved to Canada in 2012 and graduated from OCAD University with an MFA in 2014. She is co-director of Younger Than Beyoncé (YTB) Gallery.

Marjan Verstappen would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Kerri Reid would like to acknowledge the support of the British Columbia Arts Council.