Ian Wal­lace

18 October–17 Novem­ber 2007

Ian Wallace

This solo exhi­bi­tion of works by inter­na­tion­ally acclaimed Van­cou­ver artist Ian Wal­lace re-examined cer­tain tech­ni­cal and con­cep­tual shifts devel­oped in the early works of 1967–1971 while con­sid­er­ing these tran­si­tional strate­gies in rela­tion to recent works.

In 1967, Wal­lace pro­duced a series of long, nar­row colour-edged mono­chromes that objec­ti­fied the lim­its of paint­ing qua paint­ing. Influ­enced by the recent appear­ance of min­i­mal­ism and the black paint­ings of Frank Stella, Ad Rein­hardt and Bar­nett New­man, the works pro­nounce pure pres­ence, exis­ten­tial mean­ing­less­ness and the lim­its or bounds of the work of art. This autonomous, self-referential capac­ity of the mono­chromes was com­pli­cated by a meta­phys­i­cal read­ing sur­round­ing abstract paint­ing at the time, which Wal­lace sought to ame­lio­rate in his sub­se­quent body of work, the Floor Sculp­tures of 1968–1969.

Com­posed of stan­dard ele­ments that mimic the con­stituents of paint­ing reduced to sur­face and sup­port (lum­ber lengths and vinyl sheet­ing), the Floor Sculp­tures set forth the hori­zon of paint­ing in the form of par­tially assem­bled, lit­er­ally grounded com­po­nents. A vari­ant on these are the “white line” works con­sist­ing of a lin­ear arrange­ment of white shiplap planks laid end-to-end in the imme­di­ate envi­ron­ment of the Dol­lar­ton mud­flats. The three large ply­wood mono­print on can­vas works on dis­play in this exhi­bi­tion are a direct con­tin­u­a­tion of this lit­er­al­ist strategy.

Wal­lace reasserts the sim­ple, ser­ial arrange­ment of stan­dard mate­ri­als that func­tion in the Floor Sculp­tures as a cri­tique of the “meta­phys­i­cal” space of mono­chrome paint­ing in the Mag­a­zine Pieces pro­duced from 1970 to the present and in his so-called “pho­to­con­cep­tual” works of 1969–1971. Uni­form con­fig­u­ra­tions of pages removed from mass cir­cu­la­tion mag­a­zines are pinned at inter­vals on an expanse of gallery wall which would have been for­merly the priv­i­lege of paint­ing on a heroic scale. Street Reflec­tions (1970/1991) applies the strat­egy of seri­al­ity to pic­to­r­ial imag­ing in a par­al­lel way, using pho­tographs of ser­ial aspects of the built urban envi­ron­ment, its human agents and their mim­ics in adver­tis­ing. In the mid-1980s, Wal­lace adopted the newly avail­able tech­nique of large-scale pho­to­lam­i­na­tion in order to bind the ref­er­en­tial sta­tus of doc­u­men­tary pho­to­graph to the indif­fer­ence of the painted mono­chrome; to repo­si­tion the mod­ernist ide­al­ity of the mono­chrome within the ide­o­log­i­cally inflected con­di­tions of its mak­ing. In recent works, the inten­tional ground­ing of one tech­nique in the frame­work of the other col­lides their his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance so these become vis­i­ble. By pre­sent­ing works that evince a series of tech­ni­cal and for­mal shifts in rela­tion to more recent works, this exhi­bi­tion aimed to reg­is­ter their his­tor­i­cal corol­lar­ies and implications.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.