5 July – 10 August 2013 I’m only in it for the Manet Jon Knowles Knowles is motivated by a discursive approach that seeks out particular elements from art history and popular culture while subjecting these elements to questions about consumption, cultural distinction and representation, resulting in an inter-media based artistic practice. This exhibition is about painting and art’s subsumption into the capitalist city.  The paintings that preceded the paintings in this show were meant to be a private pursuit made with a pre-determined protocol, all for the strict purpose that other tangential activities might emerge in the studio. In a sense, they were “make-work” artworks without end. They did not signify the traditional pursuit towards either A) transcendence or B) the void, and they were far too small to be confined into the rubric of the sublime. The paintings were meant to provide a path leading to more (possibly unrelated) “projects”.  Now, a year later, we have this exhibition, which is an about face to those original stated aims. The heroicism of monochrome painting continues to be downplayed and the paintings are still put to work in honour of something more casual, but here they are deliberately not conceived of as “make works” and Knowles has actively stolen time from his other art related activities in order to resist the pulverizing melancholy of computer based post-studio production. With these paintings, raw and sometimes gessoed canvas and linen have been uniformly misted with hundreds of layers of diluted acrylic polymer in primary colours.  First a yellow, then red, finally blue. This triad of misty washes is administered over and over, ad infinitum until it reaches a near black. Over the course of this process, the coloured water partly evaporates, but much of it is absorbed into the painting support. So on and so forth, over and over etc. Concentration leads to absorption, which then leads to saturation.  Saturation invariably leads to distraction. As distraction emerges, this sometimes signals a state of completion. Other times, notions of ‘perfection’ pervert the process, and so the painting must continue. Here, process and system are a form of low-level consciousness that seeks to break into a form of total contingency, and possibly negation and critique. Also presented at G Gallery are a series of in-situ sculptures made with found building materials and obsolete musical audio equipment which are harvested locally and contained in contractor bags. These bags are then placed atop of used humidifyers. The artist has mixed mushroom spores into the debris.  This work derives from his collaborative experiments of Knowles Eddy Knowles.  On the G Gallery website, Knowles presents screengrabs taken while perusing images of Facebook’s Analog Research Lab, a collective art studio located at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Facebook staffers are photographed after studio sessions where they have been invited during work hours to express themselves by using screenprinting technology. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Toronto. Knowles’ recent solo exhibitions include Blood Oranges at Galerie Laroche/Joncas and Mixed Misuse at the Darling Foundry.  Knowles has participated in exhibitions at The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Düsseldorf Kunstverein, Pavilion Projects, Cooper Gallery (Dundee Scotland), Eyelevel Gallery, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Dalhousie Art Gallery.  In 2010, Knowles organized (along with Vincent Bonin) Blooming Flowers on the Coffee Table. In 2012, Knowles collaborated with Lorna Bauer on a simultaneous, two-city exhibition at Convenience Gallery and La Vitrine. As a member of Knowles Eddy Knowles he has produced commissions, performances, and exhibitions for TENT, Portikus, Apex Art, Presentation House Gallery, FormContent, Fabrica del Vapore, Centre de Recherche Urbaine de Montréal, Museo Studio del Tessuto, The Store/Vitamin Creative Space in Beijing.  For late 2013 early 2014 Knowles will present upcoming projects at Vox Centre de l’image contemporaine, Dazibao (again in collaboration with Lorna Bauer), Leonhardi Kulturprojekte, as well as a new commission for an exhibition organized by Vincent Bonin and presented at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery. Exhibition coordinated by Stephen F. Fisher
Documentation by Jimmy Limit ARTORONTO.CA review by Amy Luo
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