Union Gallery

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project room

The Last Resort

Kevin Rodgers

November 17, 2015 - January 23rd, 2016
Reception: Friday, November 20, 5-7 pm.

The Last Resort, mixed media/collage, 2015

The Last Resort (2015), a new installation by Kingston-based artist Kevin Rodgers, explores the PDF as an aesthetic form, a mode of circulation, and a critically referential object accrued from various sites of dissemination. Building on his ongoing series The Free Dependent (2014-15), which draws largely from political theorist Hannah Arendt’s 1961 text Between Past and Future, here, Rodgers’ site-specific iteration presents brand new montages that expand on notions of reading as a reclusive, locative, non-linear, and transportive practice. Using both text and image as sites of interrogation, The Last Resort presents a unique examination of how these forms can both collectivize and disperse.

The scanned page within PDFs paradoxically withdraws as it also engages. It provides a place unto which things can be thought of in relation to each other, where the “gaps between speaking and feeling, thinking and language” become most visible. However, these interstices come into view only through their invisibility, such as with the banal aesthetic of the poor quality of scans, leftover fingerprints, illegible handwritten notes, carefully forged dates, or incomplete areas of montage. These strategies of refusal are deliberately employed, and in subtle ways allow Rodgers the ability to contest the stability, completion or singularity of his materials’ visual narratives. Through this process of mediation and/or re-negotiation, Rodgers demonstrates how reading in-and-of-itself functions as a process of montage: as [it] enables “the collusion of times and geographies, ideas and peoples” and accrues meaning through “its ability to occupy incompatible sites?locales, histories, thoughts”.

For Rodgers, who is admittedly an ascetic and avid reader, the collision of possible ‘readings’ one can draw from his work mirrors the indeterminable line he straddles between relation and retreat, and between learning and knowing. One text decipherable within the installation reads, "What I fear the most is if one day I'm able to put my feelings into words, because when I do..." This sentiment aptly reflects the tension that unites Rodgers work within The Last Resort and as a whole: a continuous pull between what feels like a determined seduction and a desperate refusal.

Kevin Rodgers is an artist whose varied practice examines the tensions between two seemingly diametrical opposites—withdrawal (physical, spiritual, political, aesthetic) and action. In 2012, he received his PhD in Art and Visual Culture from Western University--one of the few programs of its kind in Canada. He is also a 2008 graduate of the master of fine arts program at the University of Guelph. Rodgers is the former Artistic Director of Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre in Kingston, Ontario.

Rodgers has exhibited work widely, including Netwerk Center for Contemporary Art, Aalst, Belgium (2015), Dazibao, Montreal (2014), G Gallery, Toronto (2012), goodwater, Toronto (2008), Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, Belgium (2010), and McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario (2012). He has collaborated with diverse artists such as Marilou Lemmens and Richard Ibghy, Cynthia Girard and Derek Sullivan, as well as curated two exhibitions: THE FOX (2011) and IF DESTROYED... (2010). His writings have appeared in numerous publications, including FUSE, C Magazine, Border Crossings, Artpapers, Millions and Prism of Reality. In 2014, Rodgers completed a three-month residency at FLACC (Genk, Belgium) and in 2016, will participate in a two-month residency at the Nida Art Colony (Lithuania).