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Ways of Thinking is designed for anyone interested in exploring contemporary art and its exhibition frameworks.

It offers contextualizing information on the concepts of the Gallery’s exhibitions and programs, the artists and the works featured. You can find a general presentation, areas of inquiry and ideas to reflect upon as well as suggested Internet links and bibliographic references that allow you to gain a general understanding of the artist’s approach to artmaking, the works featured and the curatorial framework adopted. It also offers a forum in which “ways of thinking” can be shared and compared: Within the ongoing program of the Gallery, and amongst the artists, curators, writers, and other contributors and participants including visitors. This takes on facets of physical and virtual forms, all of which are being collected here. Together, they form an information database and research repository that is accessible to students, teachers and anyone interested in the Gallery’s programs. This archive is an active one, because it renders the meeting points between the individual parts of the Gallery’s programs tangible.

Produced with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund

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Ways of Thinking is designed for anyone interested in exploring contemporary art and its exhibition frameworks. It offers contextualizing information on the concepts of the Gallery’s exhibitions and programs, the artists and the works featured. You can find a general presentation, areas of inquiry and ideas to reflect upon as well as suggested Internet links and bibliographic references that allow you to gain a general understanding of the artist’s approach to artmaking, the works featured and the curatorial framework adopted. It also offers a forum in which “ways of thinking” can be shared and compared: Within the ongoing program of the Gallery, and amongst the artists, curators, writers, and other contributors and participants including visitors. This takes on facets of physical and virtual forms, all of which are being collected here. Together, they form an information database and research repository that is accessible to students, teachers and anyone interested in the Gallery’s programs. This archive is an active one, because it renders the meeting points between the individual parts of the Gallery’s programs tangible.

Produced with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund

Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition
Sarah Greig + Thérèse Mastroiacovo
Sarah Greig, Former Display Camera Test, silver gelatin print, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.
Thérèse Mastroiacovo, Art Now (2005 to present) in the storage vault, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Sarah Greig
Open

September 7 – November 19, 2022

Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition
Sarah Greig + Thérèse Mastroiacovo

Curator : Michèle Thériault

Produced with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund

This exhibition brings together two bodies of work by Sarah Greig and Thérèse Mastroiacovo. In their respective practices each artist is focused on process, the material properties of the mediums they work with, and an expanded understanding of drawing. The results are open ended, leading to continuous series and the reworking of past projects into new works. Accordingly, time, in particular extended time, is an important condition in both their practices. For Greig this is guided by her investigations into photography, examining the camera’s technical make-up and the development process. For Mastroiacovo, time is embedded in the labour of transposing pre-made objects—the covers of published books—into enlarged pencil drawings.

Time approached as material and experience also opens on to questions of artists’ labour and the market driven pace of contemporary art. In the exchange between curator Michèle Thériault, Greig, and Mastroiacovo, you will find discussion on the interval as a critical strategy, elaborated as a break, a pause, a slowing down, as well as a position and space. The exhibition too, Thériault highlights, is an interval, or as she names it: a stopover. What follows is an invitation to you as a visitor to spend time in this interval. As you do, remain attentive for the ways Greig and Mastroiacovo stay close to and broaden the concepts emerging from their practices and choice of materials.

Artist

Sarah Greig and Thérèse Mastroiacovo

Sarah Greig holds a BFA in Drawing from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and an MFA in Open Media from Concordia University. For many years, she has made work in peripheral or inherently temporary sites. Using something from the site to make an image, the work in the end is a record of the process, a composition. And although it is manifested most often in photography, it is essentially process-based drawing. The making becomes the drawing itself, the parameters of its condition become its eventual form. These experiences of being within a particular place reveal another kind of space, at a distance and in relation. Image and action relate to each other as part of what is—where the action of the image and action in general are closely intertwined.

Thérèse Mastroiacovo has a BFA in Sculpture and Photography from York University and an MFA in Open Media from Concordia University. Her work is about art as an idea, artistic process as methodology, and the precarious relationship art has to its own definition, open, half open, or slightly open for re-classification at any given time. With a focus on performative documents, she draws out self-perpetuating systems, creating a space of potential in the middle of preexisting structures. A succession of variable constants raises the question of where a work ends or how it continues.

Thérèse and Sarah also both teach drawing at Concordia. As part-time faculty they are part of a concurrent activity that happens within and outside the university. They also share a studio together (amongst other things) and spend much of their time talking about and working through the many variant forms of drawing. They live and work in Montréal.

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Commentaries

Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition [Excerpt]

The curator wrote three commentaries to which the two artists responded.

I

UNWINDING A BALL

Michèle Thériault

Let’s begin with a ball of thread or wool (expandable, with a capacity for absorption and retention) that we agree will never be completely unwound. I think about working with you in this way: an ongoing process in time, toward the site of the exhibition as a kind of stopover marked by new and other relationalities. It seems as a good place to start as any—rather than the exhibition as endpoint—a dense ball, which unwinds but also responds to actions of pulling and tugging, with pauses here and there. We have known each other for a long time marked by infrequent encounters, collaborations, and conversations. This exchange in words and sentences, interrupted by in-person encounters, discussions, document sharing, readings, emails, and text messages is a way or a process for you and me to reflect on and inquire into the mechanisms of working together, circulating thoughts, relationality, and giving materiality to a common project that we have named: Thinking again and supposing. Trajectory of an exhibition.

This project of working together has been developing quietly and surreptitiously: a long and continual process of accreting, editing, rethinking, and re-forming interposed, over the years, by a series of exhibitionary and performative manifestations.

How do I think again with you? A temporal consideration is at the heart of your work. For Thérèse, it is taking what is there—documentation of works by other artists, all conceptualists, book references—and re-presenting it, re-framing it by way, mainly, of the gesture of drawing. For Sarah, it is locating a context, and letting or enabling the passage of time to determine the form of the work within it or off of it. Of necessity, there is redistribution of the present—what is there, was there, is here now: the drawings making up the series Art Now(TM), the images resulting from Picture Transitions (SG). And this now is slowly moving toward the now of an (this) exhibition, for a moment. Slow and measured absorption of historical referents, and spatial and social context, is a way toward a form of recirculation. Context is an agent of change, whether it be an empty office space (Picture Transition (Corner Office) — SG) or the appropriation of another artist’s work (Following Following Piece — TM); or the very context for the claims of actuality (books and articles that provide the parameters for the art of today, Art Now — TM); and, of course, the place of exhibition itself, with which the above intersect and negotiate (this gallery, the Fonderie Darling, the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin). You both wrangle with history (ies): Thérèse has engaged with specific works of the conceptual canon and, through drawing, its very dense heritage; while Sarah has also engaged with drawing but manifested as photography and, in the last few years specifically, the analogic process of the pinhole camera an early form of photographic reproduction. Underlying the nature of your processes is a stance (literally a way of standing or being placed) fully embraced in relation to artmaking in our time, to what is the outcome of a practice, to how a practice is given form and what motivates its realization. You tussle and spar with the apparatus of art, while considering and proposing ways of inhabiting it that entertain an open and sustained conversation with it, according to different frequencies.

[…]

The complete essay can be viewed on the exhibition’s page and downloaded in the Texts and Documents section. A printed version is also available at the Gallery.

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Explore

How do practice overlap?

In their response to curator Michèle Thériault’s accompanying commentary, Greig and Mastroiacovo note that their working relationship is found in the overlap between their practices. Considering their shared commitment to conceptual drawing, Greig and Mastroiacovo’s description suggests a familiar diagram of two overlapping circles exposing the commonalities and differences between sets of data.

Imagine navigating the exhibition following a similar diagram and take note of when you are among Greig’s works and when you are among Mastroiacovo’s:

What elements do you find that they share?

How would you describe their working methods?

How do you as a visitor negotiate this overlapping of two artists who work closely but do not co-author their works?

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What do analogies produce?

Important to Greig’s and Mastroiacovo’s practices is an expanded understanding of drawing and photography. Interested in open-ended processes, Greig and Mastroiacovo each approach drawing and photography as acts guided by close observation, contemplation, and citation. Rather than producing copies, their drawings and photographs create analogies. Likeness is then used to invite comparison, to look again and train the eye for variation, and to guide our sense for the relations between objects. In effect, transference from one medium to another takes on as much importance as reproduction in these processes.

Think about drawings and photographs as objects that relate to another object be it a physical item, a concept, or a context:

Can you identify what the drawing or photograph is referencing?

How would you describe the changes that happen when moving from one medium to another, for example from print to drawing?

In what ways do Greig and Mastroiacovo reference their own artmaking practices and position as artists?

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How long is the present?

To produce her photographs Greig uses pinhole and photogram techniques. With the first, she constructs makeshift cameras lined with photosensitive paper that require extended exposure to light to produce an image. For the second, she produces images of inverted silhouettes of these same cameras, positioning them front of large sheets of photosensitive paper or collapsing them and laying them on top of the paper before exposing the arrangement to light. Both processes result in unique, one-time prints. Drawing with pencil, Mastroiacovo prolongs time spent with book covers. Displayed along two platforms in the gallery are drawings of two publications: one on the ethics of hospitality and the other on academic debates and claims for intersectionality. Her book Unfinished After collects further drawings of covers of books surveying contemporary art. On its own cover is a commentary about drawing, time, and the constant pursuit for the new.

Think about time, exposure, and repetition: 

How do you see these concepts at play in Greig’s and Mastroiacovo’s work?

What forms of thinking and looking arise from long exposure to a particular idea, object, or action?  

How is the body involved?

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What forms does reading take?

Prompts to start reading, but not necessarily to stop, can be found throughout this exhibition. Placed along two long platforms, Mastroiacovo’s book cover drawings show only incomplete titles. Her book Unfinished After at the back of the gallery is filled with pages of covers. On the walls nearby are select drawings from this same book, or variations on them, now presented as framed works. Drawn on graph paper are Greig’s preparatory studies towards a graphic score to be performed in the Gallery by the string quartet, Quatuor Bozzini. Of common use in the graphic design industry, the paper uses a hue of blue that disappears if photocopied. Elsewhere, Greig’s drawings on paper, along with her photographs, take on instructional, near practical qualities. While the black panels making up her cameras, now run thorough with perforated lines, exhibit their own illustrative qualities.

Consider the invitations to read as you encounter them in the exhibition:  

How do you read a fragment, an enlarged view, or a text estranged from its source?

Can you easily distinguish between writing and drawing?

Is a technical illustration a more suitable object for reading compared to one freely drawn by hand?

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Works

List

Order of works corresponding to the exhibition floor plan

1. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
ON NOW? CONTEMPLA-, 2022
Drawing, graphite on paper and wood fibre base
76 x 732 cm
Courtesy of the artist

2. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
ism reimagined after intersec, 2022
Drawings, graphite on paper, wood and trestles
112 x 1 341 cm
Courtesy of the artist

3. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
Unfinished After, 2019
Book, 126 page, 60 black and white plates and bench
30 x 24 cm
Courtesy of the artist

4. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
Art Now (It’s darker than an hour ago. It’s darker than ago, 2005), 2013
From the series Art Now (2005 to present), 2005—
2 drawings, graphite on paper
55.9 cm x 76.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist

5. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
Art Now, Unfinished After, 2013
From the series Art Now (2005 to present), 2005—
3 drawings, graphite on paper
55.9 cm x 76.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist

6. Thérèse Mastroiacovo
Art Now, Unfinished After, 2015
From the series Art Now (2005 to present), 2005—
4 drawings, graphite on paper
55.9 cm x 76.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist

7. Sarah Greig
Working Studies for an Unfixed Form, 2022
6 drawings, graphite on paper
34.5 x 28 cm each
Courtesy of the artist

8. Sarah Greig
Study for Graphic Score, 2022
3 drawings, graphite on paper
42.5 x 34 cm each
Courtesy of the artist

9. Sarah Greig
Tall View Former Display Camera, 2016, 2022
Contact print from paper negative, silver gelatin print
160 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

10. Sarah Greig
Test Tall View Former Display Camera, 2016, 2022
Contact print from paper negative, silver gelatin print
171 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

11. Sarah Greig
Picture Transition, 2013—
Davey board, book cloth, tape, tin, clips, paper negative silver gelatin prints
Various dimensions
Courtesy of the artist

12. Sarah Greig
Long View Study, 2022
From the series Shadows of an Unfixed Form, 2022
4 paper negatives, silver gelatin prints
205.5 x 106.68 cm; 225 x 106.68 cm; 225 x 106.68 cm; 205.5 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

13. Sarah Greig
Long View Former Display Camera, 2016, 2022
Contact print from paper negative, silver gelatin print
153 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

14. Sarah Greig
Short View Study, 2022
From the series Shadows of an Unfixed Form, 2022
2 paper negatives, silver gelatin prints
172 x 106.68 cm, 164 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

15. Sarah Greig
Test Camera Study, 2022
From the series Shadows of an Unfixed Form, 2022
Paper negative, silver gelatin print
158 x 106.68 cm
Courtesy of the artist

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Bibliography

List

Alberro, Alexander and Sabeth Buchmann, eds., Art After Conceptual Art. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.

Bellini, Andrea and Sarah Lombardi, eds. Writing by Drawing: When Language Seeks Its Other. Milan: Skira, 2020.

Boltanski, Luc and Ève Chiapello.  The New Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Gregory Elliott. New York: Verso, 2018.

Berlant, Lauren and Kathleen Stewart. The Hundreds. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019.

Chiapello, Ève. “Evolution and Cooptation: The ‘Artist Critique’ of Management and Capitalism,” Third Text 18, no. 6 (2004), 585–94.

Daston, Lorraine and Peter Galison. Objectivity.  New York : Zone Books, 2007.

Drucker, Johanna. Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics. New York: Granary Books, 1998.

Kotz, Liz. Words to Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007.

Flusser, Vilém. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. London: Reaktion Books, 2006.

Greimer, Peter. Inadvertent Images: A History of Photographic Apparitions. Translated by Gerrit Jackson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Lonzi, Carla. Self-Portrait. London: Divided Publishing, 2021.

Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Pleasure of Drawing. Translated from the French by Philip Armstrong. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.

Osborne, Peter. The Postconceptual Condition. New York: Verso, 2018.

Reid, Martine, ed. Boundaries: Writing and Drawing. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

Voorhies, James. Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form Since 1968. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017.

Zonnenberg, Nathalie. Conceptual Art in a Curatorial Perspective: Between Dematerialization and Documentation. Amsterdam: Valiz, 2019.

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