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RHONDA WEPPLER & TREVOR MAHOVSKY
April 28 to June 18, 2006



VERNISSAGE
April 27 at 6:30pm
Preceded by a tour of the exhibition with the artists at 6pm


The Liane & Danny Taran Gallery is pleased to present the first Montreal exhibition by Vancouver-based collaborative artist team Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky.

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky produce representations or alterations of everyday objects such as staples, coffee cups, flags, shopping carts and cars. Some of their works use indexical processes such as casting, tracing or embossing to record the shape and surface characteristics of an object. Using direct means, casting from the object itself and not from molds, each object is rendered in a single material approximating its general physical character in terms of colour, opacity and reflectivity. The limits of the materials result in representations which succeed in some terms and fail in others.

For their exhibition at the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, Weppler and Mahovsky have made on-site casts of two cars, the results of which are presented in the gallery space. The casts are made of a single layer of aluminum foil, formed into hollow shells. Because it is a skin without a body, each car cast naturally collapses in on itself, creating a new object with an unknown narrative. In many ways, these new interpretations of known objects are more animate than their originals, implying their own histories; but as monumental sculptures, their collapse casts them as failures, albeit calculated ones. Thus, rather than collapsing in to pure materiality and formlessness, the foil coalesces into a new recognizable shape: the familiar trope of the “wreck”.

Another body of small works includes sculptures cast in plaster or resin that utilize everyday objects such as styrofoam coffee cups, beer cans and chicken buckets as moulds, and a group of solid wooden block representations of product boxes, jerry cans, laptops, cel phones and speakers. Dense and opaque in their material composition, these small works function as nearly blank, minimal stand-ins, surrogates or signs for objects. Though many are highly abstracted, all the sculptures rely upon some degree of representational identity by virtue of their familiar iconography of commodities.

As more work is produced, the sculptures increasingly refer to other sculptures within the series by restating, reconfiguring or negating them through either formal repetition or arrangement, the latter being most commonly a process of stacking wherein each object potentially functions as both sculpture and plinth. Through these processes, altered found objects are also integrated into the work. As the works become more intricately linked, their conceptual and representational processes unravel into formal play, visual and material jokes, art historical reference, social commentary and narrative. If the initial appearance of their work is a deception, it is also ultimately transparent in its structure; it is left to the viewer to decipher the slippery, transmutable nature of these familiar things.

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky received their MFAs from the University of British Columbia in 1998. Both have extensive solo exhibition records and have collaborated in their practice since 2003. Recent exhibitions include Southern Alberta Art Gallery (2006), Rodman Hall (2006) and Berlin/Toronto Exchange, loop-raum fur actuelle kunst, Berlin (2005) and Pari Nadimi Gallery (2005) in Toronto who represent their work.

This traveling exhibition of the work of Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky is circulated by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and presented in different versions in each venue. This installation was curated by Renee Baert, Director/Curator of the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, in collaboration with SAAG curator Joan Stebbins.