Curated by Noor Bhangu
September 17 – October 28
Opening Reception on Friday, September 16 at 7-9pm
Ornament and Crime is a curatorial flashback to the troubling legacy of Austrian architect Adolf Loos, who in his canonical text of the same name, attempted to move modernist aesthetics out of the dump and despair of the anachronistic ornament. He wrote, “Modern ornament has no parents and no progeny, no past and no future.”
Through our collective orientation to loss, we return to ornament as a site of agency and pleasure, which has the potential to be reinstated within our contemporary visual cultures. Ornament and Crime locates itself in the use and abuse of the ornament to challenge past, present, and future mistranslations of the ornament and collectively participate in historical recuperation.
This group exhibition speaks back to the ghostly Loosian archive, through which minimalism and cultural evolution worked together to erase the aesthetic labours of the ornament and the ornamented peoples of Asia, Africa, and its vast diasporas.Exhibiting artists include Raneece Buddan, Riaz Mehmood, Harvey Nichol, Ayesha Singh, and Alize Zorlutuna.
Image Credits: Riaz Mehmood, Tawiz II, 2022. Digital Painting.
Raneece Buddan is a Jamaican artist who moved to Alberta in 2015. She completed her BFA in Art and Design with Distinction at the University of Alberta in 2020. In her work, she focuses on her cultural identity as a Jamaican woman of Afro and Indo-Caribbean ancestry. Her work is a self-portrait in many forms and mediums. They show her exploration and merging of these cultures within her, as well as, the biases and discomfort she experienced around her hair and skin tone from childhood to her teens having dark skin with long “good” hair. She depicts this in her work by replacing her skin tone with fabrics meant to represent each ethnicity and incorporating synthetic hair. Her process is based on material exploration and finding figures within the wood grains and mounds of clay. In combining abstraction and representation her primary mediums are oil paint, clay, wood and fabric.
Riaz Mehmood is a multidisciplinary artist who uses video, photography and computer programming as his primary means of expression. His practice often visits themes of multiple and fluid identities, geographical, psychological and cultural displacement, magic realism, and the development of knowledge. His ancestral home is a small village located between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Riaz immigrated to Canada in 2000 as a professional engineer and decided to pursue a career in the arts. Riaz holds an MFA from the University of Windsor (2012) and completed the Integrated Media program at the Ontario College of Art and Design (2005). He has participated in several international and national artist residencies and workshops, and has earned numerous grants, scholarships, and awards over the years. Riaz has also been involved with several artist-run centers and served on the boards of SAVAC (Toronto) and articule (Montréal). He currently serves on the board of Latitude 53 artist-run centre. His works have been shown nationally and internationally.
Harvey Nichol is a first-generation immigrant and multidisciplinary artist who is currently pursuing a BFA at Alberta University of the Arts, majoring in Sculpture and minoring in printmaking.
His work embodies elements of various art movements such as neo-expressionism, social realism (in the Philippines), street and folk art which he married to create his version, which he coined as “Street Folk Expressionist Art.”
Harvey moves between different art-making practices such as painting, sculptures, clothing design & storytelling. Inspired by his life experiences as an immigrant, becoming homeless as a youth, and living through the foster system, he channels all of this through visual auto ethnography (self-reflection exploring personal experience and connecting it to a wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings) along with elements of folklore and mythologies and socio-political commentary on today’s world.
Ayesha Singh’s practice involves subversive actions that highlight socio-political hierarchies and the assertion of established systems of power in architecture. Singh’s research is contextualized within the continuities of colonial monuments and presence of contemporary empires, capitalist as well as political. Through critical spatial interventions that emphasize collaboration and coexistence, Singh’s works aim to counter established narratives to unpack layers of architectural decisions induced by the authority of states and by the voluntary and involuntary displacement of people. Singh is a co-founder of Art Chain India, a peer-support movement for visual artists living and working in the subcontinent that creates spaces for community interaction to cultivate a politics of autonomy and collaboration, and to de-centre conversation, economy, and resources in the arts.
Alize Zorlutuna is a queer interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator whose work explores relationships to land, culture and the more-than-human, while thinking through, history, ancestral wisdom and healing. Having moved between Tkarón:to and Anatolia (present-day Turkey) both physically and culturally throughout their life has informed Alize’s practice—making them attentive to spaces of encounter. Alize enlists poetics and a sensitivity to materials in works that span video, installation, printed matter, performance and sculpture. The body and its sensorial capacities are central to their work.
Alize has presented work in galleries and artist-run centres across Turtle Island, including: Plug In ICA, InterAccess, Gallery TPW, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Mercer union Centre For Contemporary Art, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Art Gallery of Burlington, XPACE, Audain Art Museum, Access Gallery, as well as internationally at The New School: Parsons (NY), Mind Art core (Chicago) and Club Cultural Matienzo (Argentina). Alize has been a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University since 2015.
Noor Bhangu is a curator and scholar, whose practice is rooted in relational curatorial aesthetics and practices. Through curatorial intervention, she hopes to involve politics of history, memory and materiality to problematize dominant histories of representation. She completed her BA in the History of Art and her MA in Cultural Studies: Curatorial Practices at the University of Winnipeg. In 2018, she began her PhD in Communication and Culture at Toronto Metropolitan University and York University in Tkaronto, Toronto.
She is one of three co-curators for Window Winnipeg (CA), a 24-hour art space for site-responsive presentations of contemporary art, with Mariana Muñoz Gomez and Jennifer Smith. Her independent curatorial practice includes projects: womenofcolour@soagallery (2018), Not the Camera, But the Filing Cabinet: Performative Body Archives in Contemporary Art (2018), Lines of Difference: The Art of Translating Islam (2019), Digitalia (2019/2020), even the birds are walking (2020), Gives-on-and-with: Decolonial Moves of the Transcultural (2021), and Ornamenting Relation (2022).
Documentation by Han Sungpil.