Oliver Husain: beside the point

Opening on Thursday, 15 January from 7 to 9 p.m. and continuing through to 21 February, the Susan Hobbs Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works on paper by Oliver Husain.

Husain’s exhibition hinges on essayist Wayne Koestenbaum’s characterization of drawing as a foundational component of image making never meant to see the light of day. In Koestenbaum’s words drawing is (shamelessly) “the incomplete, the incomprehensible, the noncitizen, the error, the throwaway.” In beside the point, Husain’s title for the show, he investigates the medium’s potential as a deliberately diffuse stance capable of avoiding any “centrist” position. What Husain’s drawings point to (or don’t point to) are those multiple subject positions “nobly outside category”: the monstrous, the queer, the “otherized” body. In the first series, Husain paints caricatures, idiosyncratic forms, or exquisite corpse-like figures in black and turquoise ink. Imitating the stutter of film, these forms morph, repeat and pulse over the paper, developing their own syntax of repeating patterns. Alternately, in Husain’s Deepak series, which depict movements excerpted from a videotaped performance by dancer and choreographer Deepak Kurki Shivaswami, the dancer’s repeated contortions articulate a different language altogether.

Oliver Husain is a filmmaker and artist based in Toronto. He uses a wide range of cinematic languages and visual codes—such as dance, puppetry, and animation—to disassemble and subvert fixed readings of the original material. His installations, performances and films set up narratives that charm or fold the viewers into questioning their role as a spectator or subject.

“I often begin with a portrait of a person or place. The outcome is a video or film, a text or a textile; something foldable that can be stored away easily, or something standing on thin chopstick legs. Something that might collapse under the eyes of the viewer - in a film, this could be its fragile narrative structure. The viewers are left with holding up their side by themselves. In this way, I am constructing attractive traps.”

Recent solo exhibitions include Gebimsel at Susan Hobbs Gallery and Pandy Ramada's Bendable Displex at Gallery TPW R&D, Toronto. In 2013, his films were included in shows at MAK Vienna, Surrey Art Gallery and NKV Wiesbaden and screened at Reel Asian Film Festival, Toronto, Mumbai International Film Festival and Bangalore Queer Film Festival.

Susan Hobbs Gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery is located at 137 Tecumseth Street, Toronto.

For more information about this exhibition or the Susan Hobbs Gallery, please give us a call at (416) 504.3699 or visit www.susanhobbs.com.

Oliver Husain: beside the point

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