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Patrick Howlett: unitholders

Opening on Thursday, 21 May from 7 to 9 p.m. and continuing through to 27 June, Susan Hobbs Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Patrick Howlett.

You know the cliché, so let's not waste time with what a unitholder might exactly be, or what it might do, precisely. We can assume a unit, of some sort, is being held, but for or by whom or what, who can say. I heard someone from Vancouver (not an artist) say that it is their role to make profits for their unitholders. Perhaps, if we use our imaginations, the vast range of implications may begin to accumulate. If we were to make a diagram, the unitholder will be placed in the middle, of course. From the middle we branch out to productive failures, old investments and other new trends. We should atomize the units from holders and draw a line between the real and the financial and between industry and people simply having an experience. Let's draw another larger shape around all this and label it 'intrinsic uncertainty'. Our diagram is real, but our units are metaphysical.

"Human consciousness is in perpetual pursuit of a language and a style. To assume consciousness is to assume form" (Henri Focillon, The Life of Forms in Art). Or, from Itten: “How can a hand express a characteristic feeling in a line, when hand and arm are cramped?” (Design and Form)

Following on the high returns of last year’s show 'Improving Your Squash', in which Howlett thematically linked a sports strategy to ideas of making a painting, or Part-time Offerings, in which contract work inspired a diverse 'body' of work, the work for 'unitholders' continues an investment and divestment of abstract form. Ranging in scale and medium, the works include large paintings in distemper and oil paint, and smaller works in oil, egg tempera, and silverpoint. Made from processes of layering, and with a focus on 'framing', one of Howlett's considerations is the role a painting, as image and object, might play in relation to a digital culture. The metamorphoses these paintings go through (some of them over years) relates more to an 'old labour' of the alchemical, than to the manufactured (where things are also made). Yet, coupled with a lack of a new plan to follow, their pursuit may also be aligned with the innovative activities of the ‘immaterial’ sector, and thereby participate in creating added value.

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


Patrick Howlett: unitholders

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