SOREL ETROG: RETROSPECTIVE OF A NATIONAL LIVING TREASURE
Buschlen Mowatt presents SOREL ETROG: RETROSPECTIVE OF A NATIONAL LIVING TREASURE from April 5 - May 31st, 2010. This exhibition will feature the many stages of Etrog's career including such media as painted wood, screws and bolts, links, hinges, paintings, steel contructions, bronze sculptures and painted bronzes.
This exhibition is in collaboration with the Simon Fraser University Gallery presenting Sorel Etrog: The Link Paintings from March 20th - May 8th, 2010 opening Saturday March 20 from 2 to 5pm.
Sorel Etrog is known mainly for his sculptural practice; his paintings, made in the face of the hegemony of Abstract Expressionism in the 1960s and ‘70s, countered high modernism by using modernism’s ‘tools’ against its instrumentalism. These concerns were typical of attitudes during the Cold War, and they have relevance to us today in the current world of new problems and issues. Etrog had long-standing associations with both Beckett and Ionesco; his post-modern questioning of the human condition emerges in these paintings as much as it does in his sculpture - and his art, as seen here, is of a piece with the work of both Beckett and Ionesco – like them he shows us some angst and a way out of that angst.
All eight paintings in this show depict contorted bodies that mirror varying states of human unfreedom; the ‘link paintings’ are examples of a painted theatre of the absurd, as well as metaphors for the fragility of bodies. They highlight the ways that different ‘parts’ of the self interact with or are controlled by other ‘parts’. The tool-like devices that join, say, mouth, or knee, or hip to eye, make the case for an up-to-date ecology of the body that mirrors current biological/medical knowledge as well as the ongoing reality of our inner workings. In these works the homeostasis that characterizes biological physiology is depicted as an existential physical interdependence between and among the various components of living organisms.
Canada's National Living Treasure was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1994, and Chevalier dans L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France in 1996; Etrog’s work is represented in major capitals and cities of the world and is included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the University of California, Los Angeles; Kuntsmuseum, Basel; Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Holland; Musee d’Arte Moderne, Paris; Museo Internazionale d’Arte Contemporano, Florence; and the Tate Gallery, London among many.
Etrog designed Canada's top film award in 1968, "the Genie" statuette (which was known as "the Etrog" until 1980) and collaborated with artists such as Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, John Cage and Marshall McLuhan. His work develops a complex visual vocabulary that explores time and the permanent bond between the plastic arts, with architecture on one hand, and society on the other. Etrog explores spontaneous symbols, primal elements and the relationship between form and symbol. Sorel describes his art as "tension created by pulling together and pulling apart, with being stuck and being freed, a world of grabbing and holding on and losing hold... bringing shapes together but at the same time giving each an independence."
Etrog has received several important commissions, including those for Expo ’67, Montreal; SunLife Centre, Toronto; Windsor Sculpture Garden, Windsor, Ontario; Los Angeles County Museum, and Olympic Park in Seoul Korea. His work has been part of many group exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Carnegie International, Pittsburg; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture garden, Washington, D.C.; Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre; Musee Rodin, Paris; Kuntsmuseum, Basel; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. This exhibition will feature the many stages of Etrog’s career including such media as painted wood, screws and bolts, hinges, steel constructions, bronze sculptures and painted bronze sculptures.