Ian Wallace, Work in Progress (February 20, 2014), 2014, Inkjet print, courtesy the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver
The Apartment is proud to present Reading Works, an exhibition of new work by Matthew Higgs in conversation with recent production by Ian Wallace. The project was inspired by Wallace’s Magazine Piece, where he tore apart and spread a magazine into a graphic grid, and focuses on their mutual use of mass media and literature as a readymade. Wallace has also selected several books which Higgs has integrated into new Reading Paintings. The exhibition will run until June 26, 2014.
Ian Wallace has committed nearly 50 years to questioning the formal and philosophical potential of art. Through his experiments with conceptual practice and his commitment to a theoretical approach to art and its history, Wallace has forged a complex body of socially engaged works. In these newest works he appropriates pages torn from the newspaper in order to make ironic references to contradictions in the reception of contemporary art. Through this appropriation Wallace questions popular notions of what art should be and what it actually is.
Matthew Higgs’s work is concerned with the relationships between text and image, a dialog that, like Ian Wallace’s, comes from a conceptual method of framing. Higgs has described his ongoing series of framed book pages and book covers as, respectively, forms of “found conceptual” and “found abstract” art. Displaced from art catalogs and fiction titles among other sources, Higgs’s subsequent works allude to the history and legacies of both modernism and conceptual art. Higgs’s recent Reading Paintings – monochromatic canvases with publications attached to them – encourage the possibility of interaction: in that the suspended books are intended to be read, or perused, by the viewer. The Reading Paintings are an attempt to animate both the space of the artwork and the gallery itself, creating what Higgs has called a form of “social painting”, whilst simultaneously acknowledging and presenting the artists’ enthusiasms.
Matthew Higgs, The photographer and the city, 2012, bookcover, frame
Since 2004 Matthew Higgs (New York, USA) has been the director and chief curator of White Columns, New York City’s oldest alternative art space. Over the past 15 years he has organized more than 200 exhibitions and projects with artists in Europe, the United States and Canada. Recent projects include a survey of the work of the San Francisco-based artist William Scott (2008), Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Words Fail Me (2007), Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; and Exhibitionism: An Exhibition of Exhibitions (2007), Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. He has contributed texts to more than 50 publications, including recent books on Ken Price, John Baldessari, Kay Rosen, Dave Muller, and John McCracken. He is a regular contributor to Artforum. He has most recently exhibited his work in a series of exhibitions with Margaret Lee at The Green Gallery, Milwaukee (2012); International Art Objects, Los Angeles (2013); Murray Guy, New York (2013) and Team Gallery, New York (2014.).
Ian Wallace is a celebrated artist and teacher, best known as a founding member of the so-called Vancouver School of Photoconceptualism. Wallace graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1968 with a Masters degree in art history, followed by a teaching career at UBC and then at the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design), where he remained until his retirement in 1998. He was among the first to initiate a curriculum of contemporary art history and was a mentor to many significant practicing artists in the region. His career as an artist was recently summarized in a retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery titled Ian Wallace: At the Intersection of Painting and Photography.
The Apartment extends our thanks to Catriona Jeffries for her support of this exhibition.