Grier Edmundson & Amélie Guérin
An Average translation

November 13–December 31, 2015

Taken in its English translation, the phrase mise en abyme is removed from its heraldist poetics and placed into abyss emerges as its slightly confused, literal counterpart. Despite their tonal differences these two translations echo each other’s surrealism. Placed side-by-side they create a never-ending image of an abyss abutting another abyss, like mirrors facing each other’s reflection. This non-space is a fluid entity, more dependent on what it is not than what it is. In the end, the space between the mirrors becomes just as important as the objects reflected ad infinitum.

In An Average translation, Edmundson and Guerin explore mise en abyme through painting, photography and sculptural objects. In doing so, they enact and display the cyclical appropriation and borrowing present in both of their artistic practices.

Reflecting on his 2012 exhibition, Looking around looking, Edmundson repurposes its titular phrase into neon text that describes the actions of both artwork and viewer. His third version of an oil painting depicting an image of a monkey painting, and printed silk depicting Oliver Hardy investigating his twin, humorously interject an identifiable self into modes of appropriation and looking.

Guerin's works utilize the iconic image of Rubin's vase, recognizable as the vase and two faces optical illusion, encompassing painting and drawing, abstraction and figuration, an abstracted representation of the illusionary psychology that occurs in viewership. An Average translation culminates in a photographic work by Gueruin that is an image of, within, and about an image. David Hockney's A Bigger Splash and Rubin's vase are incorporated into a single painting, subsequently photographed within the gallery and placed in the exhibition. This final piece implicates the real-time experiences of artwork alongside the art historical re-use of imagery in an ever-slipperier definition of viewership.

As a whole An Average translation is a collaborative work, formed and informed by Guerin and Edmundson’s studio dialogue.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Canada Council for the Arts.