Wanderer presents the work of three emerging artists in dialogue around the representation of place and all its fleeting, ineffable qualities.
Working in hazy planes of colour, Ella Gonzales has developed a hybrid practice to reimagine the architectures of her family’s history. Working across paint and digital formats, she creates speculative floorplans of the various homes her family has occupied throughout their migration: from the Philippines, to Saudi Arabia, to multiple cities throughout Ontario. Using AutoCAD (a computer-aided design program used for architectural rendering) she maps these three-dimensional domestic environments from her past, then flattens them to generate a final composition that is reproduced in paint. In translating these lived spaces from memory, to the digital plane, to a painted surface, Gonzales’s abstracted landscapes gesture towards the fragmented, kaleidoscopic, imperfect ways we carry our former homes with us.
Pardiss Amerian’s ethereal paintings are directly inspired by Persian manuscripts dating back to the 16th century; manuscripts that were transported and shared amongst many people, given their small scale. Using her paintings to investigate forms of warped perspective common amongst these historic illustrations—where multiple planes of vision merge, and inside and outside are represented simultaneously—she is able to access the mercurial landscapes of myth, fable, and poetry, building non-linear connections that criss-cross through history and fantasy. Through techniques such as mirroring, staining, and scratching at painted surfaces, Amerian’s works offer up dreamlike vistas, where bodies and architectures converge and new possibilities can be imagined.
In a series of flat, observational gouache works, Caitlyn Murphy catalogues her experiences walking through the streets of Toronto, picking up mundane details through chance encounters that elude the promise of a larger narrative. Stacks of rolled fabric meet uneven piles of books and the plastic crinkle of a dry-cleaning bag: Murphy’s works index her memories of an urban environment that would otherwise fade with time. Some clues emerge: imperfections in retail signage and handwritten notices evoke the messy idiosyncrasies of human communication, tight views through storefront windows imply the fleeting gaze of a city wanderer. Murphy’s works capture the particularities of a city like Toronto in all its quotidian, humble details.
Taken together, these works by Gonzales, Amerian, and Murphy are a reminder that spaces are as fractured, oblique, and complex as the people who occupy them. While this exhibition was coordinated long before COVID-19 entered into view, their landscapes feel all the more prescient now, as our relationships to our cities and our homes—our spaces both public and private, present and past—are irrevocably changing.
3044 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario M6P 1Z5, Canada