Jacob Robert Whibley: to kiss the lip of the horizon
March 24 - April 21, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday March 24, 4 - 6PM
As you are falling, your sense of orientation may start to play additional tricks on you. The horizon quivers in a maze of collapsing lines and you may lose any sense of above and below, of before and after, of yourself and your boundaries... Traditional modes of seeing and feeling are shattered. Any sense of balance is disrupted. Perspectives are twisted and multiplied. New types of visuality arise.
—Hito Steyerl, "In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective"
Jacob Robert Whibley’s practice has long been rooted in material investigations of temporality, technology and shifting cultural paradigms. For his first solo exhibition at the gallery, the artist has chosen to explore the concept of the horizon (also known as “linear perspective”); how it had once afforded humanity with a singular and traditional sense of orientation and how now, with the advent of 3D technology and aerial surveillance, that dominance has cracked. Working through sculpture, tintype photography and collage, Whibley mines the nuanced philosophical terrain occupied by that edge, the horizon, and with it our ability to see or to know.
At the far end of the gallery, the sculpture “tightrope walker” appears, composed of steel bars painted with enamel. Through a reductively elegant arrangement of lines, a figure can be observed in an attempt to traverse a rope lengthwise in opposition to the horizon. The rigid alignment and stationary aspect of the sculpture belies, of course, the precarious nature of the balancing act being performed. Here, the figure/ground relationship is evident even though the success (or failure) of the tightrope walker is not. And what if the figure were to fall? What then?
Along the walls and in stark contrast to the three-dimensional sculpture, Whibley’s collages appear like windows to distorted realities. Vacillating between fields seen from high above and architectural constructions seen from eye-level, the works fully destabilize traditional one-point perspective. Assembled from paper ephemera collected over several years and belonging to different time periods, Whibley's collages perform on time—via anachronism—the same destabilization they perform on space. In contemplating them, we are made to consider what happens to our internal compass when the views around us alternately collapse and expand, diverge or converge, and appear to poke at each other playfully from across great distances.
Jacob Robert Whibley (b. 1978) is a Toronto-based artist who works predominantly in sculpture and collage. His practice roots through modernist art, architecture and design concepts to address issues of temporality, labour and technology. Whibley is a graduate of OCAD University and a former member of the Toronto art collective Team Macho. Notable exhibitions include dot-dot-dot at 8-11 Gallery, Toronto (2017), unchained melody at Galerie Nicolas Robert, Montreal (2017), imperfect aspect at Open Studio, Toronto (2016), More than Two (Let it Make Itself) at The Power Plant, Toronto (2013), and Freedom of Assembly at Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2012). His work has been acquired by the RBC Collection, BMO Collection, TD Collection and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Sam Cotter: Day for Night
April 28 - June 2, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday April 28, 4 - 6PM
*Feature Exhibition during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival*