Union Gallery

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MAin Space

Strange Reverie
Martin Golland, Ufuk Gueray, Chris Millar
July 3 - September 21, 2012
September 21, 2012, 7-9 pm

The Union Gallery welcomes artists Martin Golland, Ufuk Gueray, and Samantha Mogelonsky as they discuss their work and the current exhibition. A closing reception will be held immediately following the presentations.

Ufuk Gueray, Ministry, oil and floor paint on canvas, 2011

Strange Reverie seeks to consider the ways in which the works of Chris Millar, Martin Golland and Ufuk Gueray obfuscate the boundaries between the real and the imagined through the distortion of physical spaces. Through the evocation of physical space within the work, the manipulation of the materiality of the work’s media, or a combination thereof, these artists skew familiar spaces and objects, provoking a sense of unease and disorientation. The bizarre, dream-like worlds concocted within each work hover on the precipice between construction and destruction, lucidity and hallucination, ultimately creating an alternate spatial reality.

Chris Millar, Dave and Becca's Sunday, acrylic paint sculpture, 2008

Chris Millar’s chaotically alluring sculptures and paintings fuse an idiosyncratic, derisive view of pop culture with exceptional detail and technical skill. His intricately detailed work presents a cacophony of references to popular culture that evoke the everyday with a profoundly bizarre twist. The labyrinthine, architectural quality of Millar’s work compels the viewer to attempt to visually deconstruct the work and its accompanying narrative – further immersing the viewer in the absurd world Millar creates with each sculpture and amplifying a sense of both familiarity and discomfort. For example, Dave and Becca’s Sunday, a sculpture which is composed entirely of acrylic paint, presents a picnic table replete with board games and snacks – a weekend afternoon entirely within the realm of possibility. However the objects populating Millar’s sculpture appear to have plans of their own. Tortilla chips spiral uncontrollably out of their bag to form a helicopter hovering above the picnic table while hot dogs slither eagerly out of a game box and leap onto the playing board. The intense detail and quotidian nature of these objects is betrayed only by the utter strangeness of their activity.

Martin Golland, Traverse, oil on canvas, 2010

In contrast, the paintings of Martin Golland and Ufuk Gueray impart unease through their distortion of architectural spaces on a two-dimensional plane – a strangeness which is magnified through the physical manipulation of their chosen media. Golland’s paintings combine fragments of an urban landscape with wildly skewed perspectives and kaleidoscopic colour palettes. His fantastical “assembled environments” appear to be on the brink of transformation or complete dissolution. Bundle, for example, with its deliberately slipshod depiction of splinters of an urban landscape, seems to capture the instant before the scene dissolves into abstracted fragments of its former self. The effect is jarring, ultimately reminding the viewer of the ephemeral nature of their own surroundings.

Gueray, similarly, combines common architectural elements with intense, acerbic colours and insistent surface detail to create paintings that impart a powerful sense of surreal disorientation. A suggestion of looming chaos is imparted by the utilization and manipulation of the chosen media of both painters. The matte finishes in Call Me Irresponsible compete fiercely with exaggerated surface details in acidic colours; a contrast that simultaneously immerses and distances the viewer into and from his post-apocalyptic dream-worlds. Likewise, the stains and scrapes of Golland’s aggressive paint treatment further warps and distorts his structural compositions while also emphasizing the paint’s physicality and materiality. This tendency to create dream-worlds which carefully occupy the line between reverie and reality characterizes the work of all three artists. More compelling, however, is their ability to manipulate their chosen media in such a way that further emphasizes the surreal qualities of their works, while simultaneously highlighting the transience and strangeness of the viewer’s own reality.

Martin Golland is an Ottawa artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Birch Libralato in Toronto, the Felix Ringel Galerie in Dusseldorf, the MacDonald Stewart Art Center in Guelph and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Ufuk Gueray is an emerging artist who completed an MFA at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland and currently lives and works in Guelph, Ontario. He has exhibited in several group shows since graduating.

Chris Millar lives and works in Calgary, Alberta and has exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions in 2012 include Oh, Canada, at Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA, The Untimely Transmogrification of the Problem, at the Art Gallery of Alberta, and in 2010, It Is What It Is, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

The exhibition is co-curated by Queen’s University MA student Elizabeth Diggon and Jocelyn Purdie, gallery Director.