Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square
Anxiety and apprehension are hardly new concerns in contemporary art, but they are quickly gaining currency in light of present global woes. Uneasy Pieces showcases works from Oakville Galleries' permanent collection that grapple with the fragile state of our world. From anxiety about economic recession, warfare and the violence of international terrorism, to concerns about consumerism and the decentered world of global capitalism, the pieces in this exhibition examine states of uncertainty and unease in contemporary life.
It would seem that in the current global landscape, many of our deepest belief have collapsed and given way to new realities, with just a touch of Cold War paranoia added in for good measure. Yet creative endeavours of all kinds operate in this flux. Artists derive content from a need to question contemporary life and, hopefully, leave a larger, more definitive intellectual and moral footprint on this new age of muddled discontent.
The works in Uneasy Pieces point us toward a curious tension in the contemporary experience of anxiety: between those worries that are localized and external, attached to a given event or concern—such as terrorism or environmental collapse—and those apprehensions that are inchoate, inwardly-focused—perhaps existential rather than reactive. This split strikes at larger questions about the ubiquitous nature of the anxious, its ability to permeate, shift shape and attach itself to everything and nothing at all.
These artists burrow into troubled states of mind without presenting cathartic or utopian solutions. Instead, our anxieties, tensions and apprehensions of our contemporary world are parsed relentlessly. Like bifocal vision, they permit us to observe the troubled particulars of places and events, as well as those persistent anxieties that are entangled with our deepest fears.
Ed Burtynsky, Wendy Coburn, Colin Darke, Susanna Heller, Deirdre Logue, Ken Lum, Liz Magor, Kim Moodie, Monika Napier, Louise Noguchi, Ed Pien, Glenn Rudolph, John Scott