Ellen Gallery exhibition takes a conceptualist approach to exploring art making as process
Have you ever wondered, as you meander through an art exhibition, gazing at the works before you, about everything that went into bringing these fascinating representations to be?
This is just one of the many questions that conceptualist drawing artists Sarah Greig and Thérèse Mastroiacovo tackle in their two-person exhibition Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Michèle Thériault, director of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery.
The gallery officially reopened on September 7, premiering the exhibition, which runs until October 29 and is accompanied by a series of public events addressing the many issues it touches on.
Greig and Mastroiacovo both teach drawing in in the Department of Studio Arts at Concordia, but also have individual drawing-based practices. In the texts that accompany the exhibition, they explain: “We both work in a form of conceptual drawing, a kind of process drawing: drawing as doing, as recording, in the present and over time, and to focus on the methods and intentions of artworks — the doing of it more than the end result.”
Queering the system in place
On display are a series of drawings and a long drawing by Mastroiacovo, as well as negative prints and drawings by Greig that explore the notion of reproduction, context, duration and materiality.
Beyond exploring the motivation and outcome of materializing a work of art, one of the most prominent themes present is both examining and shaping experience in relation to the context of our contemporary art world. In the exhibition’s pamphlet, this methodology is referred to as “a discreet form of queering of the system in place.”
As such, perhaps the most engaging or challenging aspect of these works is their sense of “unfinishedness.” Many of the works might seem oddly framed, partial or unfinished, as if no end is clear or determined, suggesting an open-ended process, one that is ongoing.
The open process
In a sense, these conceptual drawings enact the conceptualization of art itself, namely the open process—from conversation to ideation, from creation to public presentation, as well as beyond the exhibition. They wrestle with the apparatus of art, exploring different ways of inhabiting art, and examining the circulation of ideas that go into making and exhibiting works of art.
“This project of working together has been developing quietly and surreptitiously,” explains Thériault, “a long and continual process of accreting, editing, rethinking, and re-forming interposed, over the years, by a series of exhibitionary and performative manifestations.”
Asked about the ongoing experience, Thériault says the project has been “a rich process of questioning, exchanging and sharing between the artists and [herself] that came together not only as an exhibition but as an inquiry into art making and exhibition making in our present times.”
Find out more about Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition, on now until October 29 at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery.