Separate Realities come together at Northern Front Studio

Scott Price has come home to Whitehorse from a year away in Guelph,

Ontario. His new sculpture show, called Separate Realities, emerged from the process of inhabiting these two places.

Separate Realities is on exhibit until the end of April at the Northern Front Studio, in Waterfront Station. It includes wall pieces and sculptures. The sculptures stand on shelves on the wall, on the floor and on the table. A variety of statements scattered throughout the show offer insights into Price’s process.

“Bricolage” is a word that’s often used in contemporary, urban art circles. I’ve seen it defined as a construction made of whatever materials come to hand, usually a variety of materials, a kind of 3D collage. I’ve also seen it defined as having to do with the spirit of improvisation. In both senses this word seems to apply to Price’s work.

He’s not so much a concept-driven artist as one who improvises. He finds a variety of things – junk by the side of the road, creamy black water-based printing ink – and plays jazz with them. Viewers can feel free to find their own meaning there.

The largest piece in the show, “Sculpture 3,” features a sort of wire mesh sphere from which square mesh tubes radiate. It hangs from fishing line from a four footed structure of spruce poles. Quirky branches still grow from the poles. Others are used as cross pieces. The poles have been notched in four places to receive cross pieces of commercial lumber. One spruce pole reaches almost all the way up to the Northern Front Studio’s high ceiling. The overall shape is not unlike a giraffe. That piece suspends the orb.

This sculpture can be understood as a relationship between Guelph and the Yukon, but it doesn’t need that meaning to be interesting. It also casts remarkable shadows in the evening sunlight. The gallery is only open during business hours, but if you are able to swing by around 8 p.m. and look in the window, you’ll be able to see the shadows it casts on the wall.

Price uses printing and drawing materials like a sculptor. He layers wood, modelling paste, black printing ink and graphite. Each of these material is given its own weight. Price assembles these materials to make wall objects. Even when a face appears, it’s not a face that refers to something in the world. It’s more like a familiar riff used in a jazz composition.  

In other wall pieces, Price uses his characteristic bricolage to create little cabinets of curiosity. A cell phone fragment stands proud of a weathered wooden surface, held forward with drywall screws. It’s juxtaposed with a flattened, folded tube of rusty iron and a roughly arrow-shaped piece of stone. It could be about technologies. These treasure boxes invite comparison of textures and the processes that made them.

The show also includes a second radiating orb as well as segmented curves and spirals of cut and folded aluminum screwed together, scattered on a table like orange peels.

Separate Realities is on exhibit through April at the Northern Front Studio in the Waterfront Station, located at 2237 – 2nd Ave., suite 110.

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