A Noble Line
1 December 2013 – 16 February 2014

Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens

After an extended sea voyage in 1787, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recounted in his diary the particular sensation of being entirely surrounded by water with no reference point other than the horizon. He describes the horizon as a “simple, noble line" that profoundly affected his self-conception and defined his relationship to the world.

This urge to know beyond the immediately conceivable—to grapple with the limits of vision, life and knowledge—continues to be powerful, making contemporary renditions of the horizon as compelling as ever. Appearing and disappearing depending on one's vantage point, the place where the sky meets land or sea has effectively instilled fear, wonder and sublime contemplation throughout the ages.

The artworks assembled here engage the blurry boundaries that separate the here and now from what lies beyond. They demonstrate how the horizon can be imagined—as a literal line of reflection for analyzing experience, as in Goethe's account, or as a metaphor for presence, absence and human longing in the face of the infinite. Whether abstract or representational, the works in the exhibition demonstrate how a simple, noble line can prompt limitless journeys of the imagination.

Participating artists

Robert Burley, Dan Flavin, Yves Gaucher, April Hickox, David Rokeby, Soft Turns, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Colette Whiten, Kevin Yates