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24 Oct 2016

Exhibition at OBORO: Mary Sherman, Dream Mechanics / Mécaniques oniriques

Mary Sherman, The Fugue, 2015-2016. Black mirror, wood platform, oil paint, aluminum, microprocessors, sound modules, plastic cases and circuitry, speakers (by Florian Grond), sound (by Benoit Granier). Dimensions variable; central element 36' x 80' x 7'. Photo: Mary Sherman. Design: Siyi Wang. © Mary Sherman.

Mary Sherman: Dream Mechanics / Mécaniques oniriques (curator: Tamar Tembeck)
OBORO, Artist-Run Centre


Curator: Tamar Tembeck Opening: Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 5 pm
Eri, After Dark, a performance by the artist: Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 6 pm Tour of the exhibition with the artist: Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 3 pm All activities are free an open to the public. Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog on Mary Sherman's work, published by Leonardo Electronic Almanac (MIT Press), ISBN 978-1-906897-63-5 ( Exhibition: November 5 – December 17, 2016 Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 5 pm

Sylvaine Chassay
011-1-514-844-3250, ext. 224

4001 Berri, space 301
Montreal (Quebec) H2L 4H2

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Dream Mechanics / Mécaniques oniriques presents a selection of works from the past decade by American artist Mary Sherman. Though solidly grounded in her practice as a painter, Sherman's aesthetic approach proposes a sensory and spatial expansion of the traditional territory of painting. By introducing diverse kinetic and auditory elements to the experience of her works, Sherman manages to give flesh to the unsuspected synesthesia of the painterly medium.

Sherman's production has often been described as being at the threshold of 20th- and 21st-century formal preoccupations. Whereas at the height of 20th-century American Modernism, painting was famously thought to exalt the two-dimensional qualities that are proper to it (according to the art critic Clement Greenberg), for Sherman, her painterly constructions present a polysensorial potential that rather begs a more expansive approach. All the while referring to the history of modern art in her works (notably through her choice of titles, which pay tribute, amongst others, to the Dadaists), Sherman's practice is distinctly contemporary and reliant upon present-day technologies. Her projects generally include abstract paintings characterized by generous impasto, but arranged in compositions that are either modular (The White Paintings) or mechanical (Nocturne; At Heart, Spike Jones; Le Matin de la nuit / Ballet mécanique; Eri, After Dark). Other works, which she develops in collaboration with audio artists, include prominent sound elements that add melodious layers to the pure bruitisme of their mechanical articulations (Waiting for Yves; Nocturne; Eri, After Dark). Sherman's project Delay, shown at OBORO in the spring of 2016, pushes the exploration of the sensory links between eyes and ears even further, by featuring a spatialized sonification of a small painted work. In her most recent installation, The Fugue, to be premiered at this exhibition, it is the paintings themselves that behave as music would: five miniature white paintings are motorized and choreographed to echo the musical structure of a fugue, alternately appearing, disappearing, reversing and re-appearing between staggered aluminum structures that are suspended on a wooden platform.

The integration of sound to Sherman's production offers a new means to translate, and in a sense, to magnify the inherent tactile and sensory qualities that she perceives in painting. The mechanical animation of her painted objects also gives them a mobile and sculptural presence in space that detaches them from the habitual fixity of a wall hanging. The environments that result from these constructions generate qualities that are at times playful, at times dreamy. Hence the title for this retrospective: Dream Mechanics / Mécaniques oniriques presents a constellation of singular creations that oscillate between the materiality of their incarnation and their intimations of the sublime. The works chosen for the exhibition at OBORO specifically highlight Sherman's expansion of the painterly territory by incorporating both kinetic and audio arts. Ultimately, in Sherman's work, the field in which painting is experienced extends well beyond the eye, awakening the tactile, auditory and kinesthetic senses of its viewers.

Mary Sherman
is an artist and the director of the artists-run TransCultural Exchange, which she founded in Chicago in 1989. (She also teaches at Boston College and Northeastern University and, in 2010, served as the interim Associate Director of MIT's Program in Art, Culture and Technology). Additionally, for two decades, while pursuing her career as an artist, she worked as an art critic for such publications as The Chicago Sun-Times, The Boston Globe and ARTnews. She has received numerous grants and awards, including two Fulbright Senior Specialist Grants and been an artist-in-residence at such institutions as MIT and the Taipei Artist Village. Her own works, which push the definition of painting into the realm of space and sound, have been shown at numerous institutions, including Taipei's Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing's Central Conservatory, Vienna's WUK Kunsthalle, Trondheim's Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Science and Technology, Seoul's Kwanghoon Gallery, New York's Trans Hudson Gallery and most recently at the homage to the legendary 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, 9e2: 9 evenings of art, science & technology.

Acknowledgements: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Artist's Resource Trust and Boston College's Office of International Programs.