Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens & at Centennial Square
To propose, to proposition, to prop up: Propped explores the varied functions and meanings of the prop in the work of contemporary Canadian artists, examining how objects make and shape history. The word “prop" suggests an inanimate but moveable object that must be activated by a human subject, one that is neither autonomous, nor a backdrop for human activity, but something in between: a “thing" that gains meaning through the context of its use.
And yet, these artists' works demonstrate that props are more than mere things. Through strategies of archival research, staged photography, stand-up comedy, and assemblage, the artists in Propped position props as highly charged objects that mediate identities and frame our relationship to politics and the landscape.
Several works treat props as the supplementary materials of statecraft: the objects that set the stage for histories to be written and rewritten. In others, props are vital to processes of self-definition, working to create personae through human-object relations that are comedic, heartfelt or implicitly violent. Props can also take on a life of their own, acting on human subjects rather than being activated by them.
Through these diverse practices, props emerge as tools for proposing alternative pasts and new futures for objects, revealing the unexpected power everyday things can wield.
Participants from Abbas Akhavan's work will be present at Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens each day between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
Propped is made possible in part through the support of volunteers in the Oakville-Milton-Halton Hills St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.