July 24rd to September 3rd
Gambletron, Johnny Forever Nawracaj, Zev Tiefenbach
Principles of Enclosure is an exhibition that brings together three artists whose works converge around the precarity of the contemporary built environment.
Functional obsolescence increasingly defines much of the current architectural landscape in so-called Canada, with new builds arising at mushrooming speeds and lightweight materials enabling easy teardown. The real estate boom has seen whole hillsides spring suburban developments while postwar stone bungalows in denser urban areas are torn down and replaced with large, boxy drywall structures decoratively clad in stone veneer barely belying the newbuild's susceptibility to fast decay.
Through this exhibition, Tiefenbach, Nawracaj and Gambletron are leaning into the vacillating sense of alienation and familiarly brought on by the residential build environment. Teifenbach's photographs of local dwelling spaces, construction sites, and material decay dialogue with Forever Nawracaj's digital collage pairing ubiquitous construction materials with equally cheaply-made objects, such as wigs, made to construct and signify gendered identity. Meanwhile, Gambletron's sound installation acts as a sonic and material counterpart to the hung work.
Each artist's work invites audiences to consider the social and environmental implications of constructed space. With the current massive inflation of the housing market and the rash of new developments springing up throughout the Okanagan valley, this collaborative exhibition is pertinent to the local social context.
Johnny Forever Nawracaj is a nonbinary Polish-born artist exploring themes of loss, labour, and identity through video, performance, installation, and digital collage. Experimental narrative given through text, image, and the manipulation of objects drives the artist's work toward interrogations of social norms, the creation of myth, and the ubiquity of technologies taken for granted in late-capitalist urban environments. Foregrounding the liminal, Johnny Forever settles in flux between concepts, between technologies, and between identities.
Forever's work is characterized by bold physicality and a demeanor that vacillates between playfulness and frustration. A former drag-queen who now supports their artistic practice doing home renovation work, the artist often makes use of queer femme tropes in surrealist combination with contemporary construction materials. Their work draws attention to the construction of identity as well as the precarity of the built environment. Forever's strange combinations of wigs and stilettos with steel wall studs and drywall or classical collanges become metaphors for vulnerability of structures both physical and theoretical.
Gambletron is a nonbinary sound artist and performer who has been working with radio for the past decade. They don't simply make sound works for radio, but rather use the radio medium itself to build installations for performance as well as stand-alone sculptural pieces. Using short-range FM radio transmitters, the artist transmits their original soundscapes through various installations built from radios and situated in environments selected for their acoustic qualities. Gambletron views the radio medium as a vast expanse of potential for building modular sound systems that can be stacked, hung, swung or moved in and out of interesting acoustic space to augment live performance. As well as providing aesthetic interest, antique and vintage radios produce uniquely coloured sound- a haunting sound, pierced through with that characteristic crackling evocative of radio's powerful history. Gambletron is fascinated with the history of the radio platform as a tool for community building and political resistance. It is a technology that resonates in the collective memory of many communities, shaping time and transforming shared space.
zev tiefenbach is a social realist photographer whose practice explores the relationship between the physicality of place and the narratives that construct and are formed by the spaces we inhabit. tiefenbach is particularly interested in exploring the landscape as a site of a trauma, looking for clues that speak to the impacts of colonialism, genocide, capitalism, gender trauma and environmental crisis in our topography. tiefenbach’s photos are also inextricably linked to his own personal narrative and trajectory through the world. their bodies of work, become a documentation of their performance of being a photographer interested in exploring the beauty and sadness imbued in our public spaces. tiefenbach’s grandparents are all holocaust survivors. this family history roots the artist's work in a post-holocaust ethos. For tiefenbach landscape is understood as ephemeral, ever-shifting, and imbued with social values. tiefenbach’s archive of photographic performance seeks to create a subjective social record of a collective life that is ever vanishing.