Critical Mass: Sculpture by Shayne Dark
Opening Reception Sunday, May 6, 2012,
2 pm to 4 pm
Critical Mass is an exhibition of new and recent sculpture by Kingston, Ontario based artist Shayne Dark, which speaks to the distinctions we’ve created between representation and abstraction.
The sculpture exhibit opened at Le musee des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke in 2011; after its exhibition at the AGP it will tour to Glenbow Museum (Calgary) and then onto Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston).
Exhibition curator Gil McElroy writes, “Dark’s sculpture is deeply rooted in the materials and forms of natural world. He has, for example, long used the Ironwood trees that grow abundantly on his property as the primary structural component of much of his sculpture. Multiples of these long, thin, stick-like Ironwood trunks form sculptures that bristle with provocative tension, transfiguring space and aggressively confronting visitors. Central to the exhibition is the sculptural installation that lends the show its name. Critical Mass, 2010 – 2011, comprises four apple trees-become-sculptural objects in which elongated limbs are transformed into spindly leg-like supports resting on the gallery floor, into and around which we can and viscerally engage with the piece. Our innate need to see pattern and meaningful form when encountering the non-representational lends these pieces a zoomorphic resemblance to enormous spider-like creatures uncomfortably looming over us. It’s an experience repeated with Out on a Limb (2010), in which Dark has cut a single Ironwood trunk into sections and threaded them back together again to create a sculpture that powerfully plays upon our seemingly inborn fear of the creature that is the snake.
While Dark’s work intentionally pushes our psychological buttons, it subversively counters our need to see representationally through the use of monochromatic colouration. The intense colours of his sculptures prevent them from becoming little more than manipulative triggers of our most primal fears. Instead, these pieces occupy an aesthetic space that straddles the line between abstraction and representation, never fully committing to one or the other.
The exhibition will feature a full colour, bilingual catalogue with essays by AGP Curator Carla Garnet and Guest Curator Gil McElroy.