Since 2014, Laura Hudspith and Nicholas Zirk have maintained both independent and collaborative practices from their shared Toronto studio. While Laura’s interdisciplinary work plays upon associations inherent in commonplace objects exploring authenticity and the allure of simulation, Nicholas’s paintings center around the slipperiness of memory, identity and narrative. As a collaborative duo, Hudspith and Zirk bring their unique material, methodological and conceptual interests together in a cyclical process of call and response that has resulted in installation, painting and video. Most notably, the pair created a site-specific installation during The Roundtable Residency and exhibited their work, Untitled Feedback Loop at Interaccess Gallery. Their work as artists-in-residence at the James Black Gallery, marks their third major collaboration and their first collaborative exhibition outside of Ontario.
‘Things fall into place’
Red Gate Gallery, Vancouver;
in conjunction with the
James Black Gallery Guest Residency,
During the James Black Gallery Guest Residency program, artists Laura Hudspith and Nicholas Zirk worked collaboratively to produce a body of work. Following their residency, the results of their third collaboration, an immersive installation titled ‘things fall into place’, was exhibited at The Red Gate Arts Society during the month of August.
Working site responsively, the process began with objects, images and materials collected around the Lower Mainland. This collection would become the aesthetic and semiotic springboard for the creative process. The resulting exhibition plays with perspective and reductivity, examining the meanings we make through the objects that we keep. Collections of found objects and cast facsimiles are composed and stacked across interconnected surfaces, while paintings in the round and drawn symbols expand and flatten the genre of still life. Stage-like structures are reminiscent of contemporary photography and the genre’s renaissance as a consumer culture motif, while others echo the architectural elements of the gallery space.
‘Untitled Feedback Paintings’
Once Removed at Interaccess Gallery, Toronto
curated by Brandon Dalmer
Untitled Feedback Paintings, 2015, is a collaborative work by Laura Hudspith and Nicholas Zirk exploring the ways that artists create, the shifting role of the artist, and the very nature of creation. On display during Interaccess’, Once Removed exhibition, hung two large paintings created within a video-feedback system on either side of a video of process.
Hudspith and Zirk set up a video-feedback loop using a projector and digital cameras. As the video cameras record what is before them, the live image is repeated on top of the same space creating a loop. A fraction of a second passes for the loop to come full circle, but within the continuing system marks and movements made create visual feedback stretching on ad infinitum. After applying an initial stroke of paint, the artists need only follow the pattern created by the feedback system to generate the work. Using a multi-camera setup on a timed remote controller, the live projection shifts between perspective points every 60 seconds, producing a new pattern to be inscribed. The artists mixed paint to match combinations produced using colour-suggestion software, which isolates simple colour combinations from any digital image, such as contemporary artworks, classical genre scenes, Instagram food selfies, or in this instance, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013 and 2014, Emerald, and Radiant Orchid.
The Pantone Color of the Year is selected far in advance at secret meetings between various nations’ colour standards groups and Pantone executive, and is used as a marketing tool to ‘forecast’ and implement fashion and design trends globally. Both the self-proclaimed authority and arbitrariness of Pantone Colour Matching System and their Color of the Year selection processes lends itself to the nature of the work where sources external to the artists play a key role in the creation of the paintings.
Each step in the process moves the artists further from traditional notions of creative genius. While the artists have been relegated as cogs in the machine, their interaction with the system creates its own art, a dance mediated by feedback mechanics.