January 17 – March 17, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 26 at 1pm
Wall Gazing represents the emergence of a new form of expression in Dimitri Papatheodorou’s artwork. It has evolved gradually out of the artist’s architectural paintings and hand-built sculptures, as this exhibition demonstrates. Wall Gazing is also the embodiment of a deeply personal narrative.
Papatheodorou conceived the large painted structures that inhabit the centre of the gallery as having an ambiguous quality. They are both painting and sculpture. The richly textured, hand-painted surfaces were inspired by ancient Roman walls, the large colour field canvases of American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, and the gouged plywood paintings of Canadian artist Paterson Ewen. Viewed from the side, the series of similar components is reminiscent of Minimalist sculpture of the 1960s and conjures up images of the proposed U.S.-Mexico wall, or the walls of people who form the caravan of emigrants making their way north from Central America.
The paintings, however, are not displayed traditionally—on the gallery walls like Papatheodorou’s architectural paintings—but have been painted directly onto the surfaces of Wall Gazing like a skin. The visitor must move through the installation, following a meandering path around and between the walls in order to take in the entire presentation. The artist has choreographed how we will experience his paintings—as a gradual unfolding over time, as we move between the walls.
Wall Gazing may evoke memories. Many different responses are possible. Sometimes the walls embrace us, providing sheltering spaces. At other times, they turn their backs on us. Their history is written all over them. They may even give form to the invisible walls we carry inside us.
So it is with walls.