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CAMERON FORBES and SANDRA LEDINGHAM - Shifting Glance
Reception: Thursday, September 7, 7:00pm
September 7 to October 5
Art Placement is pleased to present the work of Cameron Forbes and Sandra Ledingham in a two-person exhibition that explores the connections and relationships between their distinct practices. Initially, Forbes and Ledingham were brought together on a very basic level: as studio mates in a shared space located along the northern fringe of downtown Saskatoon. As often happens, proximity initiated a dialogue through which shared sensibilities and common themes emerged.

Sandra Ledingham is well known locally, nationally, and internationally for her award-winning works in clay, porcelain, and other diverse materials. She frequently returns to the motif of the wall, one of the most ancient and elementary components of our built environment. Her table-top walls reference architecture, while also posing questions about form, function, and aesthetics. Unlike many ceramicists who produce functional pottery, Ledingham's walls reject function entirely. They are not bowls or plates to be used--they are works of art to be appreciated on aesthetic and conceptual grounds. In dialogue with gravity and balance, her curved slab forms enclose space like a physical embrace, creating intimate, sheltered interiors. The transition between interior and exterior is uninterrupted, tracing the unbroken contours of her forms. Openings or windows in the surface function as viewing ports that allow a visual passage from one side to the next, interior to exterior, or vice versa. Surface markings add further aesthetic dimension, as well as a richer historical narrative. Characters and marks from a variety of modern and ancient alphabets--brail, cuneiform, Morse code, binary--punctuate Ledingham’s smooth, pristinely finished vertical surfaces. Calling to mind everything from ancient hieroglyphics to modern-day graffiti, they speak to a long tradition of walls functioning as mediums for communication.

Cameron Forbes is an artist whose name may be familiar to those interested in contemporary Canadian painting. In 2016, she was awarded an Honourable Mention as one of two runners-up in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Her works are invested in the history and practice of painting translated through her own subjective lens. Taking up the tradition of plein-air painting, Forbes describes her work as "an act of engagement; with space and with people." Her paintings reject heroic paradigms of certainty and monumentality, instead presenting what she terms "an accumulation of observational moments; of paintings, sketches, models, and studies, [that]...describe a spatial experience with time; a searching more than a statement". Stylistically, her paint handling is consistently loose and gestural, retaining a sketchy, tentative quality that perfectly expresses a temporal and fleeting experience of space, glimpses rather than solid forms. Her work also continues to playfully blur the distinction between interior and exterior spaces. Focussing on windows and window coverings as her subject matter, the boundary between inside and outside often dissolves as the picture plane becomes a surface on which a new, hybrid space is brought into being.

Despite the unique character of each artist’s work, Forbes and Ledingham are united by a shared interest in the narratives of our lived environments. Ledingham’s approach is informed by her love and fascination with ancient and modern clay dwellings, which includes everything from ancient structures in the Middle East and Africa, to prairie soddies and modern day Earthships. Forbes approaches architecture and space from an experiential perspective. Evolving from a plein-air tradition, her paintings are responses to, and evocations of, built environments with particular attention to their fleeting, affective proportions. Together, these two artistic perspectives offer a conversational visual experience that enriches them both. We hope you will join us for the opening reception; the artists will be in attendance.

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