This summer Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present a group show of five Toronto-based artists: Derek Coulombe, Nestor Krüger, Kristie MacDonald, Janine Miedzik and Haley Uyeda. Coulombe, Kruger and MacDonald unpack the abstract nature of language, developing codified systems not necessarily meant to be deciphered by the viewer, embedded as internal structures. Miedzik and Uyeda pursue abstract forms that combine the vocabularies of painting and sculpture to create compositions that ultimately cleave to their own materiality. Each of the artists in this exhibition looks at methods of translation, whether language/image transitions, borrowed sign systems or the cross-pollination of technique across disciplines.
Derek Coulombe’s practice is concerned with destabilizing representations of the body through transgressive material acts. This radical re-articulation of the body is enacted through the combination of collage, xerography, and silkscreen printing techniques. These processes allow for a graphic gestation to occur through repetition and reprocessing, wherein the figurative enters into slippage with the abstract, establishing a liminal seam that implicates both pictorial modes.
Nestor Krüger’s current project involves a series of text works that use a simple cryptographic method to collapse a message into an image. The formal appearance of the work intentionally resembles a series of paintings by Jasper Johns referred to as “Flagstones” Kruger’s paintings involve transition from font to noise pattern to algorithm, culminating in works that “get close” in appearance to the Jasper Johns paintings while also encoding a text into an image resembling a stone pattern. The work contains both a desire to reproduce the formal puzzle of the Jasper Johns paintings and the form of a parable –- an abbreviated story of daily life with an often cryptic moral message -- encoded in the image.
Kristie MacDonald engages the evolving meanings and contextual histories of images and artifacts in her work. This project, Siiri Juliana Hillervo Pelkonen, is an exploration of language as it moves across geography, nations, and bureaucratic processes. This work generates and manipulates images of a found passport filled with markings that trace its holder’s immigration to Canada from Finland in 1952. The passport is photographically documented in its entirety; each page exhibited in numerical sequence in a two-page spread with the first image being a straightforward photograph of the object, and the second digitally manipulated to transform all of its English text into Finnish (Pelkonen’s native tongue).
Janine Miedzik’s work straddles painting and sculpture, using coloured adhesive tape as a primary medium. Each applied strip of tape acts as an instantaneous brushstroke, unmodulated, opaque, pure and consistent, with each work conceived as a flat rectangular plane, subsequently transformed into sculptural object by being folded, crumpled or crushed. Her visually striking propositions are generated with geometric patterns gleaned from an attention to cities and highways, parking lots, maps and signage.
Haley Uyeda’s practice negotiates the liminal spaces between painting and other disciplines through exploring the intricacies of perceptual awareness. Some recent permutations of this include paintings created through meticulously cut canvas, which are then used as the basis to create photo, video and collage work. Interested in the relationship between ephemerality and painting, her work presents painting as a fluid and responsive proposition rather than a fixed, permanent gesture.
Derek Coulombe, Kristie MacDonald, and Haley Uyeda all graduated with MFAs from York University in 2016, with Kristie continuing at York to pursue her PhD starting this fall. Janine Miedzik earned an MFA from the University of Guelph in 2015 where Nestor Kruger is currently an associate professor.