James Gardner | Painting Eaters

April Hickox | Provenance Unknown

In Conversation: James Gardner and John Kissick
MARCH 5, 2p

Painting is the focal point of the current exhibitions at Katzman Contemporary.

With James Gardner’s Painting Eaters, the viewer confronts densely layered amorphous paintings. The surfaces glow with effervescent and earthy hues; the raw construction materials expand on top of each other creating inspired imaginary landscapes.

With April Hickox’s Provenance Unknown, the viewer engages with photographs of paintings that are no longer paintings: the canvases were abandoned; the canvases were destroyed; the stretchers were resold; the resulting photographs reveal the void that remains.

These exhibitions indulge in the seductiveness of materiality and juxtapose current reconsiderations of what constitutes the painting-as-object.


Exhibition Statement:

I employ the word ‘cannibalistic’ to describe how my paintings go through states of aesthetic and formal consuming, devouring and absorbing in my studio. Paintings often split in two; paintings get cut up and intermingled; they congeal and divide, mollify and colligate. The studio is as much a place to bring ideas to, as it is a space with its own ecology and architecture in which ideas can happen and take form. My work emphasizes materiality and processes of making, while serving as an index to the happenstance of the studio. I use painting, along with all its physical components and conventions, as a framework to explore materiality, and the possible ways that an engagement with material substance can engender meaning. I have become interested in how a material can mean, how making can make meaning, and the ways in which it may be possible to think through substances and materials.

It is worth noting that my individual studio practice is complemented, compromised, high jacked, and precariously balanced with attempts at collective art making, curatorial pursuits, and varied critically rigorous forms of jackassery through cavorting around with the people of VSVSVS.” – James Gardner (2016)


  April Hickox,  Provenance Unknown (Encaustic) , archival chromogenic print (edition of 5), 19.5" x 20", 2016

Exhibition Statement:

I am fascinated by the artistic process: how ‘art’ is determined; what ‘value’ is placed on art; and what remains ‘unseen’ in the making of art. In Provenance Unknown, I consider concepts of value, authorship, and origin in relation to the odd phenomenon at my workplace where abandoned student paintings are destroyed with huge cuts to the canvas so that the stretchers may be resold. Upon discovering these canvases, I was struck by the paradox of the nurturing and destroying within the artistic process.” – April Hickox (2016)

James and April will be present at the opening reception. For further details please visit our Facebook event page.

Artist Biographies:

James Gardner lives and works in Toronto. He was born on February 20th, 1983 in Kitchener Ontario, and was raised in Brantford. James studied studio art and art history at the University of Guelph, graduating in 2008 with distinction. Recently, James has been making paintings and sculptures, studying art, reading books, and working with the collective VSVSVS. James has exhibited nationally and internationally, including recent shows at Mercer Union (with VSVSVS), and in 2014 James’ work was short listed for the RBC Painting Competition. Upcoming shows include Painting Eaters at Katzman Contemporary and Cured Soil at PDA Projects, and, along with other members of VS, Showroom at The University of Toronto Art Centre/Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

April Hickox is a lens-based artist, teacher, and independent curator who resides on Toronto Island. Her artwork includes: photography, film, video, installation, and site interactions. Hickox's work is based in narratives – the passage from one experience to another in the life process – that encompass history, memory, and place. She has been supported by all levels of funding throughout her career, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. As an active community leader, she is the founding director of the Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography, as well as a founding member of Tenth Muse Studio and Artscape. Hickox is also a co-curator of the Art with Heart fundraiser for Casey House. She holds the position of Associate Professor of Photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU).

For additional information, or to inquire about this exhibition, preview opportunities, and/or general gallery questions, please contact us at info@katzmancontemporary.com.

Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 11 – 4:30 p,
Friday to Saturday 11 – 6 p
or by appointment

James Gardner would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council and The Ontario Arts Council in realizing this exhibition.