Skin Deep, Skimming the Pages
Drake One Fifty, September 2017 - September 2018
Featured artists: Susy Oliveira, Elizabeth Zvonar, Steven Beckly, Rebecca Ladds, Chris Lux + Nando Alvarez-Perez Artists have long studied classical painting and sculptures of the body to master techniques and turn that skill to the present, it’s a centuries-old process that has shifted over the last decade with the advancement of digital tools. Now some artists are using the vast catalogs of images available online and the continued refinement of photoshop to reinvent the past with a contemporary lens through dense collage, others use it as inspiration for masterful murals and drawings. Skin Deep, Skimming the Pages brings together artists from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and San Francisco to examine ways the body is portrayed and the intersection of art history and the here-and-now. Whether in spare photos of a lover, sensual figure painting, vibrant collage of Roman replicas or a graphite installation of delicately drawn hands. This is a show that casts Drake One Fifty in a metaphorical ‘red light’. The Tavern A site-specific vinyl installation spans the frosted glass windows of The Tavern, immediately visible upon entering. Digital images of crushed, scanned flowers are carefully composed by artist Susy Oliveira. Amidst the flowers, figures emerge: male models culled from fashion spreads and vintage erotica. Behind the booths, similar images can be seen mounted on the walls. Oliveira is based in Toronto, with recent exhibitions at The Hole (New York), and Erin Stump Projects (Toronto). Oliveira was a 2016 recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Grant. Front Vestibule Large digital images on silk fill the front vestibule. Collaging art historical images with supermodels, Elizabeth Zvonar's elegant images are infused with pop culture. The suspended silks give them an air of garments. This Vancouver-based artist was shortlisted for the AIMIA Prize in 2016 and has shown at the AGO, Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as group shows in China, Japan, Germany, Sweden and more. The Cove In a mural that blends colour field painting with the figure, Chris Lux explores erotic and comedic themes, with subtle references to American folk mythology. Expect to sit within a painted space that swirls with lush painting in vibrant colours and sexy silhouettes. As a youth, Lux developed interests in graffiti and figure painting at the same time. Following studies at the San Francisco Institute, he has since exhibited across the US and Europe. The artist is based in San Francisco. The Dining Room A maximalist installation fills the dining room wall with a dense pattern of tropical flowers, mirrored across the length of the wall. Photos of Greek and Roman statuary, seen in books or reproduction appear to float on the wallpaper, in a near frenzy of ancient beauty seen through a contemporary lens. Nando Alvarez-Perez is an emerging artist based in Oakland. His work was recently featured in the Creators Project, and he’s beginning to show internationally with exhibitions in Mexico and Switzerland in 2017. The Kitchen Pass Emerging artist, Rebecca Ladds has a photo-realistic drawing style, her large pencil drawings are almost indistinguishable from black and white photographs. Trimmed to the shape of the image and mounted onto board, the drawings appear to float on the wall, giving them a sculptural quality. At Drake One Fifty, they will be presented against a site-specific printed patterned backdrop, to give them a installation quality.When the restaurant is renovated, new works of Ladds will be included in the addition. Ladds is based in Montreal after graduating from OCAD in 2014.