The Introverts / Mélanie Myers, Robert Taite, Dave Woodward

Friday, June 17, 2016 to Friday, July 29, 2016

Forest City Gallery is proud to present the Introverts featuring works by Mélanie Myers (Hull, Québec), Robert Taite (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and David Woodward (Toronto, Ontario). This exhibition was curated by FCG’s Director, Jenna Faye Powell. 

Opening Reception: Friday, June 17th 2016 from 8- 10 PM

About the Exhibition: 

Works in this exhibition consider the short story, the Introverts. Using the story as material and/or conceptual inspiration, artists Mélanie Myers, Robert Taite, and David Woodward created original works in response to its themes and imagery. In reacting to this story, the artists were asked to consider how memory informs their practice, as well as ideas of colour and sanctuary. The exhibiting artists were invited to follow the conceptual thread as they saw fit. 

Omnipresent in the Introverts, colour volunteers itself as the story’s protagonist, a deep, affecting blue. Blue becomes a catalyst, a character. A place to find solace, a place to lose your footing. Blue reflects on all of the characters and objects involved in this abbreviated memory. As you soak into it, it soaks into you.

Works in the Introverts do not use blue strictly as a personality or mentality, but as a marker of a moment. This story is not universal. Blue is a sharp pin, that shuffles you back to a designated, earmarked moment that you’ve called upon before. A feeling you visit from time to time. A feeling that fits snuggly into another feeling. A texture that can’t be put into words, but you can feel it in the back of your throat when that specific smell, or noise, or notion crosses you. When something hits against your shin, but you feel it up your spine or as an itch on your elbow. Resisting the urge to simply depict the narrative, the Introverts contemplates what form memories can take. Works in this exhibition negotiate between the shared and the intimate, between simple symbolism and the profoundly personal - it is astonishing there isn’t more blue in it. 

The Story: 

the Introverts / written by Jenna Faye Powell

His bedroom was painted a deep navy blue and where they spent most of their time. The colour was way too dark for the small space and it dimmed every object in there. It usually took a few minutes for her eyes to adjust to the atmosphere. In stark contrast to the easy beige of the rest of the house, his bedroom blue was wet and rich. In the daytime the whole space was blanketed in a comforting haze. At night it was too dark to navigate, even with a lamp on. They never figured out how to reconcile the depth of the space. She often banged her right knee on his computer chair even after he strategically moved it as far into the corner as possible. The consistent bruise on her leg was a different color blue. 

It was a colour you’d expect to see in the dining room of an interior-design magazine, not in a child’s bedroom. This particular color was a mis-tint purchased at a hardware store for an 80% discount. A colour that another family had carefully selected but never picked up.

Over the course of their friendship they’d save their allowances and walk to the mall to purchase packs of glow-in-dark stars. They both fixed the stars onto the ceilings in their respective bedrooms. The ceiling in her room was finished with an extra-textured stucco coating, so they never stayed up for long. When the stars fell they brought a large dusting of old stucco with them onto her pillowcases.  She eventually gave up trying to keep them mounted and one year for his birthday, she gifted hundreds of her old stars in a wrapped shoebox. His dad swore, told her it was a waste of petroleum, and helped hang them all the next day.

Before catching the bus in the morning, he would open his blinds to let the sun at the stars. The stars closer to the window recharged faster, and always shone a saturated, alien green. Further from the energizing light, the stars above his bed emitted the familiar hazy blue. Blue darkened the stars, and the stars casted back onto Blue. 

About the Artists: 

Mélanie Myers is an emerging artist based in Hull, Qc. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), and a Masters of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University. Myers’ work presents a broad spectrum of regional landscapes, municipal buildings and aborted ambitions: elements to be observed between two places while travelling by car. In constructing objects or images, she brings out the high points that surface from daily comings and goings, paying particular attention to temporality and places where private and public spaces overlap. Isolated from their original context, the images are altered using strategies in nature: exaggeration, duplication, replacement or removing fundamental aspects, with the intention of reconsidering of the biting boredom of our familiar universe so often to be repeated. 

"It usually took a few minutes for her eyes to adjust to the atmosphere." Inspired by this phrase from the Introverts, she replicated different obstructing filters that prevent us from adequately discerning a familiar scene. Based on poor photographs, the series of drawings shows a door that opens to a dark corner, wet and shimmering asphalt, a background plated on a forefront, and other misty visions. 

David Woodward is a multi-disciplinary artist currently working in Toronto, ON. Since graduating with a BFA from Queen's University in 2013, he has exhibited in Toronto, Montréal and Berlin. In 2015 he participated in the Roundtable Residency in Toronto, during which time he expanded his practice into the field of sculpture working with concrete and found materials. 

With a history of working predominantly in the two-dimensional field, David Woodward’s current practice spans a diversity of media including collage, drawing, sculpture and installation. Formally, his practice seeks to synthesize different media with the goal of attaining a cohesive, visual language that gives commentary on concepts of progress, meaning-construction and how we see what we see.  Often working with found materials, Woodward finds that the repurposing of old books, magazines and papers allows for the composition of a sub-story that speaks to the erosion of time, and to the lost relevance of past ways of being. Since expanding into the field of sculpture, his work has experimented with the translation between drawn and collaged 2D-forms, and physical objects - exploring the relationship between object, image and visual encounter. In working with forms and imagery that are vague, but in a sense 'elemental', he is interested in how works can be interpreted by viewers who may come to the experience from varying cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds.  Works in the Introverts respond to the way in which a colour can play protagonist in both written and visual work. Formally, this use of colour-as-character adapts the conventional role of descriptive prose or palette into one that speaks a narrative of its own. 

Robert Taite received a BFA from the University of Manitoba in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include at a.k.a artist-run, Saskatoon; ACTUAL Gallery and aceartinc., Winnipeg; and L'Œil de Poisson, Quebec City, where he participated in a three-month residency program. Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna, BC in September 2016. Taite was a finalist for the 16th and 17th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competitions in 2014 & 2015. He lives and works in Winnipeg where he is represented by Lisa Kehler Art + Projects.

Robert Taite constructs paintings that begin as experiments in reductive formal and material possibilities, typically involving mis-tinted latex house paint, canvas and wood. When the unfinished pieces start to pile up in his studio, their original, individual purposes get muddled and lost, as they are recycled to solve problems created by new assemblages. The work often subtley suggests other spaces or worlds, but inevitably self-destructs into the here and now. Specifically, for the Introverts, Taite allowed a playfulness to seep into his examination of the poetics of space. The story, which accompanies the exhibition, triggered memories of spaces experienced as a child and the seemingly elastic, vulnerable, translucent natures of architecture.