Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens & at Centennial Square
'Collage' finds its root in the French verb coller: 'to stick.' As a tradition readily associated with harnessing dissonance, a certain kind of 'stickiness' or adhesion has generally been seen as customary to collage. From cubism and surrealism to post-war modernism, collage has fragmented and connected images, staged oppositional tensions and generated sprawling psychological landscapes.
While all manner of collage has been a fixture of art production since the early twentieth-century avant-garde, recent years have seen its notable resurgence-and expansion into new territories. From traditional cut-and-paste techniques to hybridized sculptural strategies to the use of digital technologies, an expansive collage impulse has become commonplace in countless artists' studios, both across the country and around the globe.
Freedom of Assembly brings together recent works by eighteen Canadian artists that cohere under a broad assessment of this impulse. While vastly different in styles and agendas, the artists assembled here share an exuberance about experimenting with form, content and material. Drawing on the stuff of our everyday lives—such as newspapers, books, and readily available scrap—these artists take up collage as a strategy, rather than merely a medium.
Whether inspired by the desire to unfix meanings, the visual overload of news screens and Internet culture, or the urge to explore the use value of aesthetic systems, these artworks fracture, transform and regenerate images and forms to open, often provocative ends. What emerges ranges from biting social commentary to formal innovation. Indeed, what binds these works isn't method or content, but a vital engagement with the conditions of our current moment, unstable, conflicted and overwhelmed as that moment may be.