Pamela Edmonds: Serious Play

4 Feb – 13 Feb 2011

Curated by Pamela Edmonds

A SPACE/Canadian Residency Studio Project

Artists: Leo Asemota, Roland Bastien, Sandra Brewster, Kareem Buchannon, Lucie Chan, Stephen Fakiyesi, Brendan Fernandes, Raimi Gbadamosi, Dana Inkster, Ekua McMorris, Grace Ndiritu, Camille Turner and Robi Walters.

Pamela Edmonds (Toronto) is the first curator to participate in the SPACE studios Canadian artist residency programme. Here she began research for a series of curatorial projects that explore the evolving geography of global contemporary art in relation to African diasporic cultures and the politics of representation in light of her interests in cross-cultural curating. Referencing the evolving discourses surrounding frameworks of alternative modernity and Black Atlantic culture.

Edmonds’ open-studio exhibit Serious Play brings together Canadian and UK based artists whose material and cultural practices incorporate varied strategies of play and rhetoric to create and imagine new relationships to history, language and cultural identity.

Serious Play features both emerging and established artists whose approaches to media and subject share an affinity for remixing personal narratives, fictional personas, coded references and allusions. 

These multidisciplinary artists point out the vital roles that translation, re-construction, performativity and play factor in the cultural representation of globalized modernity that shifts continually and simultaneously across time, space and place. Negotiating, transmuting and juxtaposing cultural signs, symbols and materials, these works declare as they question, toying with ambivalence rather than oppositionality. 

In all its various forms, this art testifies to a transcultural permeability of cultures - from playful reversals to more serious subversions against discursive arrangements of knowledge and power.

Creating and re-interpreting through photography, printmaking, drawing, digital imagery, text and video, the selected artists also have a particular awareness of their positioning as agents of change. While some draw attention to notions of post-colonial subjectivity, exploring the relationship between the self, body and ideological forces though mimicry, masquerade and disguise, others source iconography related to both vernacular and commercialized popular culture, recycling everyday materials in assemblage and participatory installations that question mass consumption, as well as communicate stories of the past, while imagining narratives of the future.

Together their work speaks to this transitional moment in the quest to re-define the parameters of Western art history, re-interpret the legacy and complexity of African diasporic cultures and mark the ongoing changes in the broader evolution of contemporary art discourse.

Pamela Edmonds received her BFA and an MA in Art History from Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. She is the former Program Coordinator of A Space Gallery (Toronto) and most recently worked as Curator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough (Ontario). She has curated exhibitions and video programs across Canada including at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Winnipeg Cinematheque, and MAI (Montreal Arts Interculturels).

On view from Friday, 4 Feb - Sunday 13 Feb, 2011, Studio 109, SPACE