Art by Design

Subject to Change Talks Aesthetics

However polished the finished product is, art exhibits are made, not born. They’re the end result of hours and hours of work—and often their fair share of trial and error.

Though Subject to Change co-curators Eli Kerr and Christopher Spears originally wanted to do a design show. But after arguing about the place of design in the context of an art exhibit, they realized that what they were really exploring was the divide between art and design.

“Design presented in a gallery setting is often marginalized as ‘design art,’ or design is approached as thematic content for an exhibition,” said Kerr. “We wanted to leave that brand of categorization behind in an effort to move forward.

“We became interested in art as design—in rejection to the notion of ‘design as art.’”

As a result, the theme of the exhibit is the work itself: how artistic mediums inform and shape each other.

“As our show isn’t bound by a traditional thematic structure, we were able to select a diversity of mediums,” said Kerr. “Through our curation process, we found that how the works interacted through their formal values became the main point of interest.”

The two curators want to explore the formal discourse of art in practice—the idea that all art forms are interrelated and can be viewed in a variety of ways.

“_Subject to Change_ could be considered as a non-narrative exercise,” said Kerr. “We were interested in the common aesthetic and formal values of the works we’ve curated, rather than any sort of narrative-driven or thematic framework.

“I think [the show] presents where we’d like to be. We want to see more discourse about aesthetics and formal values, rather than thematic or emotional approaches to looking at work.”

Both Kerr and Spears had work in the same show at Art Matters last year, an experience that helped them when planning their own exhibit. “I think that shared experience gave way to more collaboration between us,” said Kerr.

“We’ve since made work together, established a constant exchange of ideas and criticism, and now with Subject to Change I think a lot of these exchanges are coming to the surface.” The exhibit will include video, sculpture, painting, design and performance.

“It’s important to get out of the classroom and get the work from the studio to the gallery,” said Kerr. “Participating in the festival is outside of the curriculum, and if you asked around, I’m sure you would hear that working towards a show is much more rewarding.

“The festival is largely successful because everyone involved is excited and works hard. It energizes students to create new work, share new ideas and put their work out there.”

Subject to Change Espace Projet /353 Villeray St. / March 3 to 14 / Vernissage / March 8 / 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. more info

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