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Listening Station, 2014, oil on canvas, 76 x 102 cm (30" x 40")

extended until January 24, 2015
John Player

65 George Street, Toronto, M5A 4L8

Opening Thursday November 27th 5:00pm - 7:30pm



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ABOUT THE SHOW  /   WORKS  / LINKS  /  ARTIST'S C.V. /



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ABOUT THE SHOW

The culmination of John Player’s MFA work presents a restrained and detached view of surveillance culture. Endless defense from an unknown but constant threat is unveiled in appropriated images from mass media, newspapers and archives found largely on the Internet. The imagery shares a kind of aesthetic of power and control, as well as a paradoxical inertia – an aesthetics of catastrophe that is now commonplace and even expected. Dominant culture’s obsession with speed and control is confronted with the slow read of painting; the banality and distraction of technology here challenged by painterly care.

The sparse, somewhat minimal work shows dual interior and exterior vantage points of surveillance infrastructure. There is a sense of a system’s internal mechanization and its external physical result. Mostly devoid of people, the emphasis appears to be on the faceless structure of defense and economy. This also points to the network at use in the politics of domination, or the banality of the bureaucratic system in place to administer and finance it. The invisibility and secrecy of entrenched security and mass surveillance informs the work and creates an environment of deception; moreover, the medium of painting adds its own deception. The alternate view of the observer questions who is watching whom; a surveillance of surveillance suggests a sampling of its own voyeuristic culture and implied dominance of the screen.

The idea of the mechanized eye is central to the work: drone warfare and autonomous systems of command and control at a distance, seemingly surgically precise, yet indiscriminately targeting the unknown in panoptical vantages become a mystified narrative. Whether in wide-open landscapes or cavernous bunkers, the threat of preventative and permanent war is apparent. Noting the uncanny relation to archaic 1980s defence technology, the escalation that ended the balance of power, the exhibition as a whole offers a psychologically tense feeling, suggesting an ominous moment of stasis in the progress of destruction. The work shows stark painterly shorthand, almost crafted with an awkward preciousness: the seductiveness of paint is rendered uncannily distressing in the unveiling of tools of power inherently immune to dissent.

Player’s painting slows down the visual of the digital real-time event and reveals deliberation and process. The confusion of unavoidable chaos invariably attached to the source material is erased. The remaining illusion, the repurposed image in yet another removed context develops a meaning devoid of encouraged imperial progress. The painted result is of temporal shift; with the image loop frozen, we are stuck with an illusion of broken technology.

Here, painting brings humanized understanding to the insidious climate of fear, control and militarization – humanity’s attraction to spectacle and war, domination and voyeurism is dissected while being captivated by the apparatus itself. Out of a personal need to question and resist the unrelenting political and economical war drive in media, technology and decision-making, Player disrupts the dehumanizing spectacle with critical reflection of this culture of speed, remaking the narrative and attaching resistance to the normalized way dominant culture views the world.

The Gallery thanks SODEC for its support.



WORKS
John_P   John_P   John_P
Listening Station
2014
oil on canvas
76 x 102 cm (30" x 40")
  Watch Floor
2014
oil on panel
76 x 114 cm (30" x 45")
  Tactical System
2014
oil on canvas
81.25 x 91.5cm (32" x 36")
red_dote


John_P   John_P   John_P
Ground Station
2014
oil on canvas
61 x 61 cm (24" x 24")
  Containers
2014
Oil on canvas
61 x 91.5 cm (24" x 36")
  Land Based
2014
oil on canvas
61 x 61 cm (24" x 24")
red_dote


John_P   John_P   John_P
Fort 1990
2014
oil on panel
61 x 76 cm (24" x 30")
  Summit
2014
oil on canvas
61 x 91.5 cm (24" x 36")
red_dote
  Trade Show
2014
oil on panel
61 x 81 cm (24" x 32")


John_P   John_P   John_P
Remand Centre
2014
oil on canvas
91.5 x 137 cm (36" x 54")
  Monitoring Room
2014
oil on panel
76 x 114 cm (30" x 45")
  Endless
2014
oil on canvas
91.5 x 122 cm (36" x 48")


John_P   John_P  
Predator 1
2014
oil on panel
61 x 91.5 cm (24" x 36")
red_dote
  Untitled
2014
oil on panel
30 x 40 cm (12" x 16")
 


John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P
Untitled 1
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 2
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 3
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 4
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 5
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")


John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P
Untitled 6
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
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  Untitled 7
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 8
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled 9
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")
  Untitled (Summit)
2014
watercolour on paper
15.25 x 23 cm (6" x 9")


John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P
Yucca Airfield
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Camp Lemonier
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Creech Airbase
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  El Mirage Airfield
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Entebbe
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")


John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P   John_P
Holt Airbase
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Monument
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Nellis Airforce Base
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  SOFEX
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")
  Test Site
2014
watercolour on paper
20.25 x 25.5 cm (8" x 10")

LINKS

- Susan Britton, "John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain", blog: annetteandquebec, 20 December 2014
- John Player's page on the PFOAC website
- John Player's Inventory page on the PFOAC website
- John Player's artist website


ARTIST'S C.V.

click here to download the John Player's recent C.V.

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