The Curator’s Selection for July / August 2021 is a timely collection of works reflecting on the record-shattering temperatures sweeping North America. Weather warnings on the East Coast advise temperatures of upper 30s to lower 40s, while the Prairies, Mountain Region and West Coast experience an unprecedented, dangerously hot “heat dome” peaking at 42°.
Steeped as much in stifling humidity as we are in the influx of heat indexes and weather maps, what emerges from the proliferation of this visual material are the reiteration of forms and colours that connote heat. This graphic shorthand evokes a heated response, at once discomfiting and appealing, it offers the viewer an invitation to sweat or bask.
In hues of bright, cadmium yellow, orange, and red, the warm palette and back-lit illusion of Tom Burrows cast polymer resin panels become reminiscent of the glowing sun at various points of time during a summer day, with their pure colour and dappled effect like that of solar afterimage.
Janna Watson’s mixed media paintings often reference the sun with the nebulous folds of her decisive, multi-hued brushstrokes and coronas of pastel accents, centrally composed against a solid background, the allusion to cloudless skies is made complete with richness and intensity of Watson’s colours. Suspended in frenzied motion, Watson captures the frantic energy of heat-induced revelry and the doldrums and languor of long days.
Scenes of bathers and sun worshipers enjoying the cool reprieve of the ocean in Joshua Jensen-Jensen’s Endless Summer series reflect on throngs of people seeking out bodies of water through out the week.
Lastly, the frissons and gradients of colour, built through layers of impasto and relief in Alex Cameron’s landscapes allude to the feeling of sun rays and the visual reverberation of heat hazes, as oversized and exaggerated arcs of the sun variably crest or dip below the horizon line of his compositions.
Please be careful and stay well hydrated this summer!