Monday, June 6, 2016

Rebound exhibition by Sheila R. Alonzo

On Friday, October 17th at 5pm, the building on 1580 Cook Street will permanently close its doors as a gallery to become a dispensary.  “Rebound” is the last exhibition to showcase at the Gallery 1580.  Though the title is optimistic, it’s still a sad affair for the artist collective to say good-bye to the affordable and convenient rental studios located in North Park.  It is with these thoughts and feelings that I review “Rebound”.   

 Connie Morey’s installation called “Spectacle” greeted me at the lobby as soon as I walked in.  Morey’s obsession with strings and textiles make nuanced sensitive subject matters tangible.  I like that Morey’s art is contemplative in nature.  There’s usually an element of surprise in her creations, I find, when a connection is made.  Morey’s art explores the intersection between the intellect and the visceral in very clever ways.  Morey’s contribution to the “Rebound” exhibition appears scientific in methodology.  She uses text to classify each round ‘planetary’ paper folds with inserts and cut images from encyclopaedias.  “Spectacle” is a poem about suspended reservoirs of knowing.


In the room adjacent, stood a column of cardboard stacked by Luis Mario Guerra-Veliz at about 5ft tall bringing my gaze down.  Next to the stack hung the “English Patient” wound in hospital tubes from the ceiling, allowing my eyes to follow the walls where temporary shelves held objects in varying shapes, sizes and materials in waiting, come to view.  The name of the exhibition is “Rebound” –the theme for 18 local artists to experiment and explore the idea of the book as a contemporary art form.  ‘Handle with care’ and ‘please do not touch’ instructed viewers to discriminate interactive art from the rest.

 I was naturally drawn to Caren Willms’ “Daily Knots Preserved” out of fabric and string in a glass jar.  A piece of paper tagged the knotted fabric coming out of the jar with pencil handwriting: “Oct 11 Celebration”.  I walked over to Kyle Labinsky’s book “The History of Naïve Paintings” where he filled pages with paint marking effigy, an act of defacing it, but only one quarter of the way in.  The remaining quarter of the book revealed a long black serpentine character, like an index or visual after thought.  I perceived it as political in nature, not naïve.

Caren Willms


In my twenty-minute visit, I kept circling back to the book of “Testament” by Diana Weymar.  It was one of those ‘handle with care’ objects.  So I picked up the little booklet dated 1866 and carefully flipped through it.  Loose colourful threads became rebound text-sewn messages on the book’s yellow-with age pages.  Sewed in one were yellow, pink, blue, green and brown was the text: BE KIND, and at the bottom: “For Liz”.  The quote by Joan Didion spanned three pages, fit for the Gallery 1580’s ending and closing exhibition.

“We are not idealized wild things.  We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that immortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses, we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves.  As we were.  As we are no longer.  As we will one day not be at all.”

Diana Weymar

Photos by Sheila R. Alonzo (except for building image via "UsedVictoria" )

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