Material dynamics

Project Gallery
1109 Queen St. East, Toronto
Oct 30 - November 5, 2014

Because of how humans sense the world around them, it is easy, and in many ways convenient, to conceive of surfaces and objects around us as static, enduring “things” in the world. But matter is, of course, dynamic. All of humanity’s creations are temporary arrangements of matter that is itself in a perpetual state of more or less gradual transformation.

Not all of these processes are perceptible to us, but many are by inference: we see rust and understand that exposure to water over time has gradually transformed the smooth grey metal into a rough, orange patina. We see spots on the ceiling and understand that over time moisture within the plaster has allowed mould to grow. Anything we perceive is simply the most recent result of a long, continuous process of material transformation that appears static to us because of the gradual rate at which many such changes take place.

The work in Material Dynamics is about exploring these moments of confrontation with matter broken free of its previous form and transformed into something new by time and environmental factors. These confrontations happen all the time, and though often overlooked or ignored, produce a range of responses.

Certain indications of material change are looked upon as troubling signs of decay – the slow but endless encroachment of natural forces into our designed spaces, which tends to be associated with neglect or uncleanliness. Other such signs give their bearers a privileged status and have been commodified in art and design in a variety of ways, from reclaimed furniture to in-home hired faux-finishers. Not to mention the fact that ruins all over the world, from the ancient sites like Machu Pichu and Angkor Wat, to post-industrial ruins, continue to be places of wonder and businesses are built on our desire to experience them not just in person but through endless artworks and images.

These pieces explore the aesthetic of ruin/decay as divergence from an assumed prior state of being that was more complete, clean, and ordered. The passage of time, and the object's apparent interactions with weather, flora, and fauna, have resulted in unique transformations of outer characteristics. How are what we think and feel different in experiencing material change over time, ruin, or decay aesthetically versus outside of an aesthetic context?