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7 June - 20 July, 2013

JOHN PLAYER and GLENDA LEON



face   
pfoac

JOHN PLAYER / GLENDA LEON



Musique   Musique

Musique   Musique

Musique   Musique

Musique    


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JOHN PLAYER

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Reconstruction   Module   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Predator View
2012
oil on canvas
122 x 152 cm. (48" x 60")
  Surplus Reserve
2013
oil on canvas
102 x 152 cm. (40" x 60")



  Housing Complex
2013
oil on canvas
91 x 122 cm. (36" x 48")


  Proposed Mine
2012
oil on canvas
107 x 122 cm. (42" x 48")

 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Excavator
2012
oil on canvas
76 x 91 cm. (30" x 36")

  Conference Room
2012
oil on canvas
76 x 102 cm. (30" x 40")



  Security
2012
oil on canvas
76 x 102 cm. (30" x 40")


  Northern Residence
2013
oil on canvas
61 x 76 cm. (24" x 30")

 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Bunker
2011
oil on panel
46 x 61 cm. (18" x 24")
  Orange Gloves
2012
oil on panel
46 x 61 cm. (18" x 24")



  Lineup
2012
oil on panel
46 x 61 cm. (18" x 24")


  Plane
2012
oil on panel
46 x 61 cm. (18" x 24")

 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER          
Drone
2011
oil on canvas
64 x 89 cm. (25" x 35")
  Broke
2012
oil on canvas
40.5 x 51 cm. (16" x 20")



 


 

 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Landing Sequence 1
2012
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")
  Landing Sequence 2
2012
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")



  Landing Sequence 3
2012
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")


  Landing Sequence 4
2012
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")

 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Porte de Paris 1
2013
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")
  Porte de Paris 2
2013
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")



  Porte de Paris 3
2013
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")


  Porte de Paris 4
2013
watercolour on paper
13 x 18 cm. (5" x 7")
 

JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER   JOHN_PLAYER  
Grid
2012
watercolour on paper
46 x 61 cm. (18" x 24")
  Drone
2012
watercolour on paper
36 x 53 cm. (14" x 21")


  Bunker
2013
watercolour on paper
18 x 24 cm. (7" x 9.5")


  Bunker
2013
watercolour on paper
18 x 24 cm. (7" x 9.5")

 

JOHN_PLAYER              
Target
2012
watercolour on paper
18 x 24 cm. (7" x 9.5")

 


 


 

 


"John Player states: “I look for something that gives me fear in the paintings.” His work conjures an understated sense of paranoia, of suffocation even.

There is a spare, even minimal quality to his work – a limited palette and often banal or uneventful subject matter. In one aspect, however, Player’s work is incredibly Baroque, which is in the pervasive aura of distance that weaves a complex counterpoint through all of his paintings.

Distance appears on multiple levels in his work. There is visual distance in his images of resource extraction and tar sands mining, giving the viewer a sense of the projects’ horrifying magnitude, and at the same time neutralizing them, making them into maquettes, objects of dispassionate contemplation as we view them from some detached and safe vantage point. They illustrate a contradiction of our media-saturated world: the twenty-four hour news cycle instantaneously brings us closer to events, conflicts and tragedies happening around the world – brings them into our homes, but sanitizes them through the screen or the page – makes them seem contained and distant. This is conceptually important, especially for issues of global significance like climate change, as we are constantly alerted to looming crises that will affect our lives directly, yet simultaneously they become distant, commonplace, almost banal, even unreal as they pass through multiple channels of mediation.

Secondly, Player’s works express a sense of emotional distance. In the innocuously titled Conference Room we are brought into a meeting of indeterminate purpose, the hall emptied for some non-disclosed recess. It could be a city planning meeting or some kind of military preparation. It is indisputably a seat of power, resplendently quotidian and boring, the sort of detached space where people make decisions of crucial import that affect the lives of many. It invites us to look on with passive impotence, able to observe the space with a sort of calculated intimacy and yet remain forever barred, not only from participating in whatever decisional process is going on, but also from the slightest understanding of what is taking place. It is naked power, rendered superficially accessible and given a false closeness through media, yet ultimately opaque and unreachable by the common person. Emotional distance and dullness play an important role in the maintenance of power, prompting people to remain disengaged and uninformed. Excitement and emotional engagement is reserved for more politically inconsequential acts like sports, movies and fashion. Player’s works invite us to consider this juxtaposition.

Then there is a more conceptual distance – distance though abstraction, as image passes through multiple levels of mediation. In works like Plane and Lineup, we see a triangle enclosed by a circle painted in the center of each image. More than abstract shapes, they denote the ubiquitous video play symbol, which implies process, but also plays up a kind of abstracted formal detachment. The titles heighten this tension, highlighting abstract forms, but at the same time connote something more political and sinister. In Plane we see a B2 bomber being re-equipped for another mission. In Lineup we see a row of riot-police facing us, though a vast grey field of abstraction obliterates their faces and any identifying features. The triangular play symbol promises us an action – that of playing a video, ostensibly a brief news clip. But we are denied this. Nothing will happen. This is analogous to the source news clip itself – it promises a certain awareness, an engagement with current political realities, but doesn’t deliver, becoming instead so much visual noise in the increasingly cluttered multitude of the internet and satellite twenty-four hour news and entertainment cycle. One is overwhelmed by a sense of concurrent paralysis and activity. It engenders a conceptual breakdown: a passive world of people safely stationed before screens, inertly consuming media, which is simultaneously one where bombs may rain down at any time and freedoms are ever curtailed by increasingly repressive police states, where society faces the threat of environmental collapse, etc… The reaction to such a realization is a scream, but one that can be heard by no one, that projects inwardly and is muffled by walls, by thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable and instantaneous satellite uplinks. Player’s paintings speak to a reality which is faced with numerous, pressing political and economic concerns and yet constructs a visual hierarchy that inspires a sense of apathy and futility as it transforms real-life tragedies and catastrophes into a dazzling barrage of formal abstraction. Player’s works function as both response and reflection on this state of being.

While undeniably influenced by contemporary painters like Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans and Gerhard Richter, his major inspiration is the internet itself. The internet, which allows for unprecedented levels of intercommunication, and yet is simultaneously huge, alienating and almost authorless in its massive scope and information overload. Player’s technique is inspired by the non-technique of the internet - amateur photos and videos, short news clips and the attendant digital artifacting that results from the downsampling and compression necessary to make photos and videos easily available online. He imitates and even exaggerates these artifacts. Player’s works are haunted by passivity, but in the slow, careful, deliberateness of paint he also struggles to move away from the crippling, mediated passivity of our current era. He attempts to humanize experiences which are inherently mechanical and dehumanizing. At the same time he is captivated by the spectacle itself, its beauty and power. Player’s works pass judgment on the unjust, unequal, unreal world of multifaceted domination that we have built through capital and industry, but there is something else as well. When Player speaks of “fear” it is not merely a fear of negative outcomes and ugly futures, it is also a fear of ourselves, that we love this world of spectacle, shallow fame, violence, abusive hierarchy and glimmering power. The works invite a critical reflection on ethics and societal decision making, but they also offer a more open-ended meditation on our desires and their relationship to the media that make us who we are."

- Neal Rockwell

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John Player was born in Victoria, BC in 1983. He holds a BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University and is currently completing his MFA in Painting and Drawing at the same institution. He has participated in various group exhibitions in Montreal, where he has worked and lived since 2004.

Neal Rockwell is a freelance photographer, filmmaker and writer living in Montreal. He completed a BFA at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He has published photos and essays in Poetry is Dead, Beaubien Magazine, Our Times and other magazines. His films and artwork have been shown across Canada and in Berlin.

- John Player's website
- click here to download the artist's recent C.V. (01/2013)
- Eloi Desjardins, "John Player" Un show de mot'arts, July 18, 2013
- Maude Lefebvre "John Player et glenda Leon à Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain" The Belgo Report, July 3, 2013
- Montréalistement "Peinture extrême : second parcours" Montréalistement, July 2, 2013


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GLENDA LEON

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inversion
Inversion
2011
HD video
3 min
edition of 3

This absurd gesture of inhaling money has obvious economical connotations: a reference to the current crisis, and a questioning of society’s most established structure: money as an object of desire.

While most people work for money, working on this video has led me to invest my time and even a certain economical effort in destroying it. Making art, after all, has always been linked to a detachment from usefulness.

This is but a sketch of the multiple meanings this video may have, as I leave a space of silence to be completed by each viewer.

--

Glenda León (La Habana, 1976) is a visual artist based in La Habana and Madrid. Her work expands from drawing to video art, including installation, objects, and photography.

She is interested in interstices between visible and invisible, between sound and silence, between ephemeral and eternal.

Venice - Glenda Leon at the Venice Biennale 2013 Cuban pavilion
- Glenda Leon's website
- click here to download the artist's recent C.V. (04/2013)



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