Exhibitions in 2013

    L'Étuve (The Steam Bath)

    Olivia Boudreau

    Oct 24, 2013 - Dec 22, 2013
    NO FOUNDATION, Toronto, ON

    In The Steam Bath, a video installation by Olivia Boudreau, women appear and disappear through dissolving curtains of steam. Old and young, the women lie back, slouch, and sit on sauna benches. Within this life-size frame of blue tiled walls, Boudreau lulls us towards a sentient experience of an intimate interior.

    On the screen, the humidity is palpable: hair is wet and skin is slick.

    As the hiss of hot air clears for the first time, a lingering veil of performance settles in. In what feels like a carefully calculated moment, a young woman, bare-breasted, turns her head to cast a sidelong, disdainful glace at her known but unseen audience. Another woman, who faces the viewer squarely, wears a bathing suit and a blank stare. Though The Steam Bath encloses the viewer in close-fitting boundaries of authority, there is a disarming insolence with which these bathers concede to their private sanctum being made public. If we’ve been invited to step in, why are we made to feel so unwelcome?

    The themes of nakedness and looking, of display and gaze, hang heavy in the moist air of the sauna. It could be true that these are the female nudes of Ingres’ The Turkish Bath (1862) or Cezanne’s The Bathers (1906); however, there is no sense of frivolity, female camaraderie, or community here. The Steam Bath animates inherited compositions of naked women as pleasing, vapid objects of display.

    Our close proximity to and prolonged visit with these present-day bathers gives rise to a sodden line of questioning: to what degree are these women unknowable strangers, revealed here as exasperating and estranged? In The Steam Bath, human interactions and forms of communication are cold and clouded, evaporating into raw ambivalence.

    Boudreau’s soft, rhythmic, and near-Romantic composition is a study of physical nearness punctuated by emotional distance. In the end, The Steam Bath leads us to ponder questions as mortal as the flesh: To what degree it is possible to be seen? Or simply, to disappear?

    -Penelope Smart


    Time To Start Over

    Lauren Hall, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, and Leisure Projects

    Apr 04, 2013 - Apr 21, 2013
    NO FOUNDATION, Toronto, ON

    ...the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places.

    -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818

    NO FOUNDATION is pleased to present Time To Start Over, a group exhibition of recent works by artists Lauren Hall, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino and Leisure (Meredith Carruthers & Susannah Wesley). Each of these works acts as an emblem of a new age. Scientists suggest that we are entering a geological epoch, termed "the Anthropocene," in which the natural world bears the unmistakable mark of the human hand. At the advent of this new history, works of sculpture, mixed-media assemblage and video befall the question of a human-made "nature" through history, fantasy, simulation and speculation.

    In the mix-media assemblage A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want (2013), Glasgow-based artist Lauren Hall presents a miniature shoreline of dyed salt, beads, shells, soap, and a SAD lamp upon a glass dish. Drawing the work's title from poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hall endears nature to trash and kitsch.

    Mineral Specimen 12 (2011) by Toronto-based artist Jennifer Rose Sciarrino possesses present-day concerns of mimicry, material and surface. Sciarrino's plastic geological mineral is a crystal carcass of an earthly treasure. The object's artificiality challenges the beholder to deem it precious.

    Glow of the Going, Glow of the Gone (2013) is a stop-motion animation video by Montreal-based duo Leisure (Meredith Carruthers & Susannah Wesley). On a screen, the shadowy imprint of a hand moves over a plush, grey surface. Set beside a small clipping of a fur-lined, early Modernist bedroom, the video's domestic interior engenders a surreal lunar exterior. Trapped in its own world, what does the human hand desire?

    Beginning at the implausible moment of "now," Time To Start Over implicates each of these works as an imminent finding from the evolving surface layer of history.