Crevice at The White Gallery
I moved into this place about 2 years ago. Nice Portuguese working class neighborhood, near the market and all the amenities. Within a few days I had met my neighbor, a lawyer bent on avoiding the law, and we immediately starting talking about music. He had a amassed the kind of collection I could only have dreamed of moving around with me. Until then, I was like a deadhead following the bonfires of Internet venture capitalists' money around the planet. And here I had landed, in a shared backyard with BBQs, hammocks, and music. It was nice. Every once in a while my neighbor would gather out back with a group of his friends for something he called "Crevice". I never understood what they were talking about, and being generally averse to meetings of any kind, I left them alone. They were a bright bunch of architects, programmers, and enthusiasts hell bent on collaborating all their ideas into something strange and wonderful. Months later they exhibited a device called the Look Bot during a 3-day vacant window in the schedule of the DeLeon-White Gallery in Toronto. The Look Bot, being for me the most fascinating piece of gear in the Crevice arsenal, is essentially a tripod with brains and brawn.
Upon the Look Bot, crevice members mount a camera and shoot footage of scenes. All movements of the tripods engine are simultaneously being recorded into the computer. Then during their performance, they replace the camera with a projector and feed the video back onto the walls of the gallery. So for example, they could film a fully decorated room one day, and the next day remove all furnishing, shut off all the lights and project yesterday's room back onto today's. Or follow a person walking around the room with the camera and project that person back later. Stunning and full of potential.
And crevice members started making things happen. Non-club style visuals for live events become common place. A record release for twotoprecords (twotoprecords.com), a mini studio for Shift magazine's State of the Net party, and even creating the visuals for Montreal's world famous Mutek.But what landed their most recent gigs at the MOMA in San Francisco and at the Art Gallery of Ontario was the word-of-mouth created by their White Room installation at the Gallery Stratford.
White Room was mega-collaboration between the many members all packed into a tiny white room. With the help of the crevice drama queen, a narrative involving a couple's relationship was developed and shot in a fully furnished room. It was then sliced apart, and set to project within a reconstructed white room. Sensors were set all over the room, which would trigger different parts of the narrative. It was up to the viewer to experience and navigate the video by navigating through the physical room. A table in the middle of the room had a pen like instrument laying on it. Drawing lines on the table would allow you to scrub through sections of the video. All the while, it should be noted, that a seamless interactive soundtrack is playing that is transitions smoothly depending on in which direction you move within the room. In the words of a crevice member, their goal is to simply "put our toys to work, to tap each other’s brains, have fun, and fill the void. X
A doily is perhaps the epitome of pointlessness. A highly intricate decorative pattern is painstakingly carved from paper, lace, or other insubstantial materials. The resulting ornament has some pretense of functionality: it can be used as a coaster, place setting, or to dress up a credenza or a similar surface. Unfortunately, the doily's flimsy structure is easily compromised by the slightest bit of condensation or tension, rendering it essentially useless.
The disconnection between form and function is what makes the doily such an intriguing medium for artist Simon Periton. In his recent exhibition at the Gorney Bravin + Lee gallery in New York City, Periton's infuses his cutouts with imagery that is antithetical to the doily's decorative nature, defying viewer expectations of presentation and content.
Periton's large-scale doilies appear sturdy from a distance, commanding a presence that initially masks their fragility. Up close, their vulnerability is exposed by the way the cutouts sway the in the currents of the gallery air, their edges curling from traces of humidity. Most striking is the spatial depth Periton is able to achieve by layering three sheets of varying colors, creating optical illusions of glowing edges and strong contrasts of highlights and shadows.
Periton's work embodies the disparity between surface constructs and their actual meaning in a variety of subjects: animate floras, geometric patterns, stylized people, and animals. Mistletoe is a sinuous, organic composition of a gravid, ova-like form. Spindly arms radiate from around the incubating sphere, keeping it aloft. With its free-form feel, the piece defies the geometric mold characteristic of a doily; it seems to transcend artificiality. At the same time, its name recalls the somewhat banal Christmastime tradition of hanging mistletoe.
Catholicism again emerges as a theme in pieces such as
Adam, which shows the letter "A" repeated around a
circle, growing smaller towards the center. The resulting pattern of fonts
is reminiscent of pagan religious iconography, such as Celtic symbols
or the iconoclastic forms that adorn mosques.
Photos by Kai
The photographs of Kai Regan, reflect in black and white, religion and how it relates to a very specific set of youth culture. Regan combines popular images with old fashion christian icons. Often a dirty violence is seen. For me it brought back images of Harpo's in Detroit, Michigan. Harpo's is a massive club on the outskirts of the city.
The neighborhood it's in is pretty sketchy but if you
want to see Slayer you've got to go to Harpo's. The club, as I remember
it, was soaked in beer, cigarette smoke and kids looking for an outlet.
Regan's photos are of people and well worn objects that live inside that
world. I used to live there so the subjects of the photos are very familiar
to me, like a high school year book from a decade ago. In a way it was
like church because the experience was very ritualized. Everyone was
together and frenzied about the scene. I lost track of
what's going on in that world, but Regan is documenting it. In this place
it's all about sex, drugs, violence, money, rock and roll and no religion
(in the traditional sense). Regan captures stark images that are quick
fist punches of reality for anyone that's been there or going through
the lifestyle. X
As if they go hand in hand, Periton's religious images are followed by pieces that, despite their beautiful surfaces, suggest anger, violence, and even death. Among them are Axe Minster (in a garishly effective hot-pink), Skull and Crossbones, Domestic Violence, and Rebel with Pipe. Detailed cutout jungle leaves frame a faceless man in Rebel with Pipe. Only his eyes are visible, which glance nonchalantly outward, oddly neutral; he seems neither threatening nor friendly. Depending on one's perspective, this rebel might represent a brave soldier serving his country or a dangerous guerrilla hell-bent on terror. It is this ambiguousness, this dualism that characterizes much of life that Periton captures so well.
As a symbol of affected social etiquette, the doily dresses up surfaces masking what lies beneath. By appropriating the doily's formal qualities, Periton finds a visually striking medium that also serves to disrupt our conditioned perspectives. X
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