JANET JONES | Playtimes
Cactus Jack | VSVSVS

This exhibition observes the here and the now. It requires the viewer to engage with two idiosyncratic visual renderings of the destabilizing urban matrix. With Janet Jones, it is about the Playtimes that engulf the consciousness when immersed in the techno-sublime. For VSVSVS, it is the unstable desire for cautious disorder within a construct where one waits relentlessly in expectancy for the next, undermined shift. For Katzman Contemporary, it is the reference “a snug crotch is always a teaser.”*

EXHIBITION DATES: March 27 to April 25, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, March 27 from 6 – 8 p

Janet Jones and the members of VSVSVS will be present. Remarks from the artists will take place at 7:30 p.

  Janet Jones,  Playtime #2 , oil and acrylic on canvas, 52" x 94", 2015

Janet Jones, Playtime #2, oil and acrylic on canvas, 52" x 94", 2015

Janet Jones’ new series of paintings, Playtimes, evoke abstract representations of a contemporary urban existence on the brink of a techno-sublime explosion. Here, the real and the virtual, the social and the intimate, overtly overlay, careen and collide. Her manipulation of kinetic space immerses the viewer directly into the midst of a visual space-time joyride that simultaneously is both thrilling and frightening.

Jones’ application of high key fluorescent gouache/acrylic paint penetrates the matt surfaces that are then overlaid with glistening oil glaze. The sharp edged volumes of interactive geometric forms punctuate passages of subtle, monochromatic greys, painted in sleek, finely gradated tones. Select planes host evanescent, floating ellipses in perspective, evoking the sensation of the myriad of electronic media that bombards one’s senses with haunting phantasmagoria. Edge colors, glowing beyond their frames, cast impressionistic auras on adjacent white walls, like the neon light of contemporary nocturnes.

Playtimes proposes that “play” is serious – seductive yet terrifying, mesmerizing yet delirious – and depicts the actuality of existence and its tangible consequences.


  VSVSVS,  Obelisk Burn , onsite installation, 2014

VSVSVS, Obelisk Burn, onsite installation, 2014

For this exhibition, VSVSVS is constructing columned forms of plaster widgets banding together as protruding and heterogeneous fuzzy masses. They repeat themselves, again, and again, and again, climbing over each other in piles and stacks, extending into the ambiguous nether regions of space itself. They are prickly, precarious, and carefully disorganized. The viewer is encouraged to indulge Cactus Jack and to watch in anticipation of the next move.


Janet Jones is a Toronto based painter whose work has been exhibited across Canada, in Los Angeles, New York, as well as England, Germany, France and China. Her recent projects include: Joyride, a solo exhibition of her paintings at Katzman Kamen Gallery, participation in the Empire of Dreams exhibition at MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art), and a site-specific painting installation, Waiting for ... Zabriskie, at the opening of the new Katzman Contemporary Gallery, Toronto. An extensive colour print catalogue accompanied a national touring exhibition of her paintings, DaDa Delirium. Jones received her MFA from York University and her PhD from New York University in art theory and criticism. Her dissertation focused on Clement Greenberg and the artist/critic relationship. Jones has been a visiting artist in France, England, Russia, China, the Netherlands, and Cuba. Jones is also a Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Art History, York University, Toronto. Her paintings are part of major corporate and public collections in Canada.

VSVSVS is a seven-person collective and artist-run centre based out of a warehouse in the port lands of Toronto. Formed in 2010, VSVSVS’ activities encompass collective art making, a residency program, a formal exhibition space, and individual studio practices. Current members include: Stephen McLeod, Laura Simon, James Gardner, Miles Stemp, Wallis Cheung, Ryan Clayton, and Anthony Cooper. Their collective work focuses on the collaborative production of multiples, drawings, video works, sculpture, installations, and performance.

VSVSVS is included in a yearlong group exhibition at the Jackman Humanities Institute, through the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, curated by Yan Wu. This past February, the collective travelled to Centre Bang in Chicoutimi for a late winter residency with exhibition. VSVSVS is also excited about its upcoming summer exhibition at Mercer Union.


* This quotation derives from Nagg’s story in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame about the Englishman who has commissioned a Tailor to fashion a pair of trousers. The end of the story, which aptly describes the purview of this exhibition, is as follows: “[Customer’s voice.] ‘God damn you to hell, Sir, no, it’s indecent, there are limits! In six days, do you hear me, six days, God made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of making me a pair of trousers in three months!’ [Tailor’s voice, scandalized.] ‘But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look – [disdainful gesture, disgustedly] – at the world – [pause] – and look – [lowering gesture, proudly] – at my TROUSERS!’”