Exhibition: from February 25 to March 25, 2017
PROJET PANGÉE is pleased to present Shapeshifter, the first solo exhibition of geetha thurairajah in Montreal. Her paintings are theatrical spaces where multiple expressions of identity perform in a single act. Existing between the digital and the physical, her paintings employ abstraction and allegories in order to reflect the irony, complexity and confusion of a diasporic experience. Virtual reality is mimicked as visual referents deny the boundaries of time and space while occupying nondescript spaces. Symbols of an absent Sri Lankan heritage appear next to images stolen from painting’s history. Abstracted forms guide viewers through artificial realities. It is her intention to create stages that invite spectators in as performers through first-person viewpoints while still reminding viewers of their gaze. Believable forms and spaces are shattered when the boundary of the painting’s surface becomes a pictorial ledge or an expressive application of paint becomes a plant. Her painting process begins with digital drawings created on a tablet, which is then rendered into physical paintings using traditional painting techniques as well as technology like the airbrush. The intention of her process is to create paintings that exist in a state of in-betweenness, somewhere between the digital and the physical, the abstracted and the representational.
geetha thurairajah (b. 1986) is a visual artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. Her artwork vacillates between digital and physical form– simplifying narrative into a language of icons. Flat and hard-edged, her symbols push the real into the impossible. thurairajah earned her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2014. In 2016, she was a finalist in the RBC painting competition and held solo exhibitions at 8-11 Gallery (Toronto) and AC Repair Co. (Toronto). She will be presenting new work in solo exhibitions at Projet Pangée (Montreal) in February 2017 and The New Gallery (Calgary) in April 2017. Her work has been featured in Editorial Magazine, Canadian Art and Paper Magazine.
canadianart.ca/features/forward-looking-canadian-artists (print, Winter 2017)
Walter Scott (b. 1985) is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, video, performance and sculpture. In 2011, while living in Montreal, he began a comic book series, Wendy, exploring the narrative of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre who aspires to global success and art stardom but whose dreams are perpetually derailed. Wendy has been featured in Modern Painters, Canadian Art and Mousse Magazine, and Art in America. Recent Exhibitions include Big Toe, Giant Steps at Occidental Temporary, Paris, Ambivalent Pleasures: Vancouver Special, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, and Walter Scott and Barb Choit, at Gallery Weekend, San Francisco.
Bugs Goes to the Mall by Walter Scott
Bugs had a dream that copper coins slid down his spine and collected in a pile in the small of his back. He woke up and googled the meaning of the dream. Copper coins are a sign of healing. “Finally” he thought to himself. He then googled “rose quartz dildo”. They’re pretty expensive. Later on in the afternoon, he left his house (which is shaped like a cactus covered in spikes) and went to his physiotherapist in the Bullfrog mall. His physiotherapist, a taciturn and educated crow, lifted Bugs’ dress and inserted a banana into his ass. For the sake of politeness, she didn’t refer to it as a banana, she called it “the device”. Physiotherapy is needed in the ass-area just as much as anywhere else (look it up if you don’t believe me), but in our weird repressed Protestant society, we dance around the words that would make things easier to understand. Nobody wants to embarrass you with words like “banana” or “coin” or “balls.” When she pulled out the device, there were three copper coins stuck in it. So, the copper coins were there all along eh? The crow spoke up: “The power to heal is within yourself. You have everything you need inside of you to heal. The healing is inside the wound. And so on.” Bugs’ paid the ninety bones at the reception desk, and took a long walk home. There were still coins stuck inside Bugs’ abdomen though. He could feel each of them speaking a different language. One was the language of the dog. It made Bugs’ ears grow longer and hang down. They dragged along the sand as he walked home. The second coin spoke the language of the seeds, which gave Bugs a purple glow. His skin slowly erupted into a sorry, remorseful lavender, like a graceful capsule breaking and releasing, in front of you, for you. The third coin, speaking the cat language, gave Bugs the permission to lie down and look at the sky. In this new long-eared lavender body, home felt both near and far away now. Maybe this was his house? It was; he was lying in the sand of a terrarium, on his kitchen table. “Of course! I never left.” Looking down at her abdomen, Bugs could see that she had always been impaled by a single rose stem. Her eyes followed the stem as it climbed upward past the rim of the terrarium, into the sky. Soon, she realized, the petals would begin to fall on her, one by one, until she and they would decompose together into one long night where we finally said that it’s okay. She felt a little bit sad about it, but she also knew that she would be reborn as her banana. And with the crow’s help, she would finally be invited into herself - into the dark caves of answers she could only speculate about otherwise, when she stares longingly at a photo of you taped to her wall. And in there, in herself, she would finally meet the coins in person.
Installation views: Jean-Michael Seminaro