Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jon Sasaki at the Ottawa Art Gallery

Jon Sasaki has followed the spirit of the letter in Two Roads Diverged in a Wood, the most recent of a series of exhibitions at the Ottawa Art Gallery that invites artists to make interventions in the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art. One of Sasaki’s works for the show literally interferes with items in the collection, placing, as in its title, Three Works by George Thomson 180 Degrees Out of Phase. With an ingenious set-up, Sasaki has projected a day-for-night filter onto three mid-century oil paintings by Tom Thomson’s less celebrated older brother, turning anodyne landscapes into brooding nocturnes. Sasaki’s disruptive conceit is configured to simulate daylight twelve hours out of sync with local clocks, enforcing an untimely consideration of the elder Thomson’s work.

Jon Sasaki, Three Works by George Thomson 180 Degrees Out Of Phase, 2015, three paintings from the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, projected day-for-night masks, daylight fixture, timer

The two diverging roads in the title of the exhibition could be used to refer to the parallel fortunes of the Thomson brothers, but they could be equally applied to the marked difference in approach between Sasaki and his quarry. Instead of making the same painting over and over again, as George Thomson appears to have done, Sasaki takes the road less travelled, inventing new approaches with each undertaking to test the limits of representation.

The complete text of my review of the exhibition was published here on the January 27 Akimblog.