Ilyn Wong, Ingrid Tremblay, Joan Oh, Olivia Valentine & Paula Matthusen
Curated by Danny Floyd for ACRE Projects, November 3-24, 2017
Image theorist WJT Mitchell tells us, “you can hang a picture, but you can’t hang an image.” This adage calls attention to the difference between material and meaning. An image is visual (or maybe we should say sensory), and yet isn’t seen directly. It is understood as being somewhere metaphorically inside the picture, floating around it, or lurking behind it. It can survive the physical destruction of the picture through memory and imagination. In his book Image Science, Mitchell says the image is the “element of a picture that elicits cognition and especially recognition, the awareness that ‘this is that,’ the perception if the nameable, identifiable object that appears as a virtual presence, the paradoxical ‘absent presence’ that is fundamental to all representational entities.”
This definition stretches our idea of what an image is beyond the colloquial use of the word image more closely related photography without, of course, excluding photography. “All representational entities” include music, performance, bodily actions, text, and objects either commonplace or unfamiliar. All of these forms, or for our purposes pictures, carry the psycho-sensory presence of an image, and this exhibition focuses on how the image gets “inside” the picture.
In these works, the images entered the picture by hand. It is through retracing, modeling, digging in, manipulating mechanics that materials make the ontological leap from being just a physical thing to the carrier of a deeply emotional reflection on the self and our interfacing with our surroundings. Cultural histories emerge between the artists’ bodies and the material through touch. On the other hand, what the works not not share is the same pictorial qualities, rather they demonstrate together diversity of images emerging form the hand-eye relationship, from the clearly representational to the mysterious and abstract.