October 24 – October 27, 2014
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Fazakas Gallery will visit Art Toronto for the first time this year, bringing fresh new perspectives and commentary about Contemporary Art in the space where western and aboriginal cultures meet.
The Fazakas Gallery booth exhibition “Iconography, Narrative And Other Cultural Connections In Our Small World.” features cross-cultural works by acclaimed artists Carlos Colín, Rande Cook, Beau Dick and Trace Yeomans.
Iconography, Narrative, and Other Cultural Connections in Our Small World
The era we live in is the most visually stimulated era ever. Through media we have all become very well-trained to read implied meaning or irony in imagery. When the message is overt as in advertising, we tend to quickly “get it” and usually we arrive at the maker’s intended message.
Art, however, likes to dig deeper and get you thinking, inviting you to be part of the discussion. Artists like Carlos Colin, Rande Cook, Beau Dick and Trace Yeomans have created cross-cultural works that give just enough social cues to reach a broad audience and not so much that they don’t leave room for the viewer’s input and investigation.
The works of these artists make reference to each of their specific cultural background yet imply narratives that may be understood cross-culturally. The works use visual cues that imply notions and narratives that are part of the shared readable culture codex. However, they also contain bread crumbs that lead to very particular cultural knowledge that, with colonization, has had to evolve and struggle to continue to exist today.
In many instances these artists have used mask culture, traditional to the West Coast and Mexico, to both conceal and create identity. The anonymous wearer and the created Character coexist to conjure up notions about identity, culture and individuality such as in Carlos Colin’s Mascaras and Rande Cook’s Travel-A lot-I-C series. The use of photography and the current social and political state we live in also stirs questions about rebellion, resistance and the fight of traditional cultures to persevere.
These works also evoke notions of the place of mythology in contemporary life, as well as, the place and definition of art for colonized people. The purpose for the creation of imagery (art), sculptural or two-dimensional, has evolved and changed with colonialism; and yet myth and traditions that are at the foundation of production continues to be part of the dialogue for the artist. Characters and story telling are part of the context in which these artists experience modern life. Beau Dick’s Tsonaqua is a manifestation of many human traits and her stories create a lens through which he and other Kwakwaka’wakw artists like Rande cook see the world. Her stories and lessons about greed, kindness, and proper Chiefly behavior continue to be examples today. And the questions about and examinations of the human condition that are prevalent in these myths are not culturally bound even if the stories themselves are specific to the originating culture.
The noble raven wearing stilettos in on of Trace Yeomans’ “In Her Shoes” series connotes nature, myth and contemporary life in a beautiful way. Yeomans is Haida from the Raven clan and thus it speaks to her cultural heritage and the tales of Raven’s adventures; and then takes a turn to bring Raven into the present. Yeomans connects with the playful and curious characteristics of the Haida culture hero Raven. These characteristics need explanation in order to be shared outside the culture. However, cross culturally one can connect with the image without this knowledge. Ideas of nature are signified by the detailed painting of the Raven and the ironic contrast of a bird in both a natural and unnatural state occur when Yeomans places shoes upon its feet. Nature and contemporary life together without tension much like the artist who is confident in her life and traditional background.
Carlos Colin, Rande Cook, Beau Dick and Trace Yeomans are all artists exploring tradition, culture and the lack there of in a world that gets smaller each day. They have graciously invited viewers to join them.
Founded in 2000, Art Toronto: Toronto International Art Fair is Canada’s only modern and contemporary fine art fair, providing unique access to the Canadian art market. This event is considered the country’s must-attend event for art collectors and industry professionals.