Dynamic Hieroglyphic

August 16 - September 22, 2018


Shaheer ZazaiNadine BelliveauMatt Beasant
Nevena NiagolovaEmily CarriereHarrison Taylor
Lori BirkbeckPearl Van GeestKarla Schaus

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 16, 6:00–9:00pm

Coldstream Fine Art is pleased to present Dynamic Hieroglyphic, a group exhibition curated by Dmitri Potemkin. The exhibition borrows its name from Gino Severini’s painting Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin (1912), which used insurgent Cubist techniques to depict a semi-abstract scene of fractured signifiers and wayward referents in rapidly modernizing pre-war Europe. Although abstraction has long lost its novelty, transposed from the avant-garde to the quotidian, its lineage persists a century later, and artists continue to reimagine and retool long-employed genres and techniques. Ironically, within today’s boundless sea of nonstop decontextualized imagery, abstraction provides a relatively safe harbour, necessarily negotiable and sincere.

The works in this exhibition blur the line between “fine” and “decorative” art, sublating overt critique and instead engaging in subtle technical and aesthetic exploration. Myriad materials (such as lipstick, sheer fabric and commercial vinyl) and processes (including distinct techniques in painting and printing) are used to achieve the mesmerizing visual effects. The result is a group of artists continuing to push the idea of abstraction beyond its breaking point, reminding us that stories of discovery are always unfolding. Our symbolic language never languishes—it remains, now more than ever, dynamic.

About the Artists:

Matt Beasant is a Toronto-based painter originally from northwestern Ontario. His work revolves around reimagination within the genre of landscape, inspired by his explorations of nature, spirituality and sexuality during adolescence.

Nadine Belliveau is a Nova Scotia-based painter whose work explores the the essence of nature through abstraction and decorative expression. Vibrant colour and a keen eye for form distinguish her work, which spans from semi-figurative to almost wholly abstract.

Lori Birkbeck is a Toronto-based multimedia artist whose work uses photography, unorthodox printing media and layering to create delicate, ethereal images. Sheer fabric allows her to experiment with imagery in a way that mirrors the imperfection of memory.

Emily Carriere is a Toronto-based mixed media artist. Drawing from her experience as a designer in the signage industry and her access to commercial materials, Carriere creates ambiguous forms reminiscent of Rohrschach blots and natural fractals.

Nevena Niagolova is a Toronto-based painter that uses expressive brushwork to create spontaneous compositions of watercolour and ink. Line and colour are used to depict a kind of captive energy in the abstractions, coaxing motion out of stillness.

Karla Schaus is a Toronto-based painter and blogger. Her work plays with fluid dynamics to create flows reminiscent of geographic features. The compositions are both familiar and otherworldly, appearing as procedurally created landscapes and nebulae.

Harrison Taylor is a Toronto-based artist whose work pushes the limitations of photography, discovering abstraction and visual magic in the natural and built worlds. In his work, he seeks to reframe our understanding of the physical structures around us.

Pearl Van Geest is a Guelph-based artist, art writer and visual arts educator. Her work uses distinct colour and layered brushwork to create the sensation of precipice—the moment before a huge shift, whether it is miracle or disaster.

Shaheer Zazai is a Toronto-based artist whose work includes painting and digital media. His practice focuses on exploring and investigating the development of cultural identity within diaspora in the present-day geopolitical climate.