K8N Collective at Gallery 1313
The K8N Collective, comprised of Steve Armstrong, Elizabeth Fearon, and Rupen is interested in issues around the ongoing influence of Modernism and Postminimalism. These include human scale, the human touch, and evidence of our personal existence.
Armstrong’s work is primarily concerned with surfaces, which is ultimately the only thing we have access to. For example, drilling a hole in an object doesn’t reveal an interior, all it does is increase the surface area. He mostly works with plywood and considers paint, and the grain of raw wood to be completely equivalent. His application of paint avoids the ‘painterly’, and instead the paint appears to be literally substantial, to be seen as an object just as much the plywood. Nonetheless, it is inevitable that the surfaces will tend to have a virtual, illusory depth. The goal is to encourage the ambiguity of seeing something in two conflicting ways at the same time – an impenetrable surface and something that can be looked through.
In Fearon’s sculptures the compositional decisions assert a claim, or proof of her existence. The raw physical effort inherent in the reductive practice of carving is a mark of the hand and a measure of time. While the hand's efforts are momentary, the resulting marks are captured in the permanence of the stone. Though Fearon’s hand manipulates the stone, the veins in the stone speak of a hidden interior which can never be revealed. These new works are just as diaristic as her realistic sculptures, though they explore existence rather than lived moments. Specifically, they talk about her existence in the modernist/minimalist language she has grown through. Rupen’s most recent project begins as a blueprint-like drawing of forms, spaces, divisions, angle lines, etc. When that part of the work is complete, gouache paint is applied to selected areas. It is with this finished painting that he decides if the work will also be formed into a wall hung sculpture covering an area of about 4’x4’. Visually these works may be identified with a post minimalist practice. They also support the concepts of copyright and chance formations.
Steve Armstrong is a visual artist, writer, and magazine Editor/Publisher based in Belleville Ontario. He is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art (AOCA) and has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He has been exhibiting in Canada and internationally since 1977. His blog, Wegway and the Institute for the Separation of Theory from Practice, is available at wegway.wordpress.com. His magazine, Wegway Primary Culture is presently in deep hibernation, and its original website url was hijacked. A new site is developing at wegway.ca. Instagram @wegway
Elizabeth Fearon was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1970. Her formal art education has included a BFA from York University (1995) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Post Production from Humber College (2002), a welding techniques diploma from Loyalist College (2019), and CWB ticket, flat stick (2019). Fearon’s work has been realized through many media over the years, most recently through sculpture, video, and installation. Her work has been shown in many galleries and festivals, including A Space (Toronto, Canada), The Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul, South Korea), MOT Gallery (London, England), Video Pool (Winnipeg, Canada), The Natural Light Window (Toronto, Canada), and 25hrs (Barcelona, Spain). Fearon has also spoken publicly about her work in a variety of venues, including The Alberta College of Art and Design, BUS Gallery, and Vtape. She is also on instagram @elizabethfearon1970 Website: elizabethfearon.com
Rupen is a self-taught artist with no formal training other than a few successful evening courses at O.C.A.D. and a print making summer session at Central Tech, Toronto. His visual art is enriched with the experience of working with the same tools he uses from the two trades that he has mastered: carpentry and cabinet making. These skills assist him to produce wall hung sculptures, often painted, that are physically and conceptually challenging and invite differing interpretations. He has taken part in more than fifty group shows and over a dozen solo exhibitions in Toronto. He has exhibited in Seoul and New York City on several occasions. His solo exhibit “Survey”, in 2011, curated by John Blaise at Open Gallery in Toronto, was a fifteen year retrospective of selected works. He has also curated many local artists at five different venues including Off the Map Gallery and his previous space Natural Light Window, with installations receiving over twenty-five reviews by various local media.
The members of the K8N collective do not collaborate on individual works, each has their own practice, but they have a shared vision.