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Outside The Frame

April 29, 2015 - Aug. 25, 2015

Outside the Frame is a show that explores ways contemporary artists are taking photo-based imagery off the page and expanding it into 3D forms and moving image. With site specific installations, sculptures and videos, these works show photographs in untraditional ways, referencing memory, art history and the digital age.

The show begins on the street with a site specific installation by photographer, sculptor and performance artist Matthew Stone. Recently named by the Sunday Times as the most influential British artist under 30, Stone is known for his photo-based installations and a commitment to a personalized definition of optimism that infuses all of his work.

Installed across the front windows are his tightly composed studies, presented in mural-scale. Recalling the idealized forms of Greco-Roman nudes, bodies are seen intertwined like something Michelangelo would have admired and set in striking chiaroscuro, akin to the effect of a strobe-lit dance floor. In creating these works Stone uses the camera as a shamanic tool, bringing people together (often for the first time) to create momentary social sculptures, the stillness of the resulting photographs connecting those fleeting moments to an art historical context.

Stone’s work continues inside the hotel with a large scale photograph printed on wood, where a torso takes on the character of draped fabric, expanding the Greco-Roman influence. Presented with two sculptures that offer contrast to that fluidity. These hinged wood structures are reminiscent of oversized sheets of folded paper, each plane featuring tightly cropped photos of nude bodies. The effect blends the post-modern with cubism, where images of bodies are wrapped around sculptural planes and hinged to mimic the joints of the body, following the lines of elbows, shoulders and knees. The installation is accompanied by a haunting sound installation by Jordan Hunt. Experimenting with various vocal techniques and layered with electronic production, the British musician and composer creates a soundscape in response to the adjacent sculptures. Hunt is a frequent collaborator of Stones, pictured in the images on the Lounge windows.

In the lobby, Toronto-based artist Talia Shipman has covered the wall in a marble wallpaper and mounted over it photo collages that suggest nude female models. It’s a play of textures and patterns that come together to create an evocative installation where modern materiality and abstraction are contrasted with ‘classical’ poses, set against the Italianate-inspired stone patterns.

At the top of the Hotel stairs is a large piece by Sarah Anne Johnson. Celebrated for her painted photographs, she extends the picture plane by including expressive gestural strokes and colour blocking that in this case obscures the subjects faces in vibrant hues and defines their figures from the background. The white lines and delicate painted halos interrupting the documentary nature of the photograph and creating a hybrid space.

The back lobby features a pulsing hexagonal form - a video from NYC-based Chilean artist, Andrea Wolf. Compiled from found Super-8 footage, this digital video features flickering patterns around a central image of children playing in the grass, invoking childhood memories through a digital lens.

Lala Abaddon’s intricately woven photographs continue the digital influence and fill the café in brilliant CMYK hues and dense patterns. The artist cuts two large-scale photographs (often shot from her computer screen) into thin strips and then weaves them into intricate patterns that mimic tapestries, creating unique hybrid images that call to craft traditions yet simultaneously invoke the digital age (and beyond). You can observe her technique up close in a series of small works housed in the glass vitrine table in the lobby.

This show aims to illustrate how photographs are becoming increasingly mutable. No longer a sealed document of ‘real life’ they are part of the artist’s arsenal, a tool used to create hybrid images that reflect the past, present and future.

Many thanks to the artists for creating this show and to Stephen Bulger Gallery for their support.

— Mia Nielsen, Head of Cultural Programming