“HANG UPON TOMORROW AND LOSE TODAY”
AKA ARTIST-RUN, SASKATOON
In anatomical atlases, there are cuts, but no blood. The body is exposed, with its most intimate, hidden details on display. The complexity and depth of a person’s history, relationships and suffering are assumed through the cold fact of the body’s existence.
In “Hang upon tomorrow and lose today”— a phrase adapted from Seneca’s 2,000-year-old treatise On the Shortness of Life—small sculptures by Jane Buyers and Zachari Logan lay together on a slab. Buyers’s Pratica (1995/1997/2000) are semi-abstract bronzes. A merging of tools, the body and flora, laboriously patinated, they look brittle despite the strength and weight of the material. The meandering, organic-shaped pieces seem as though they have been buried for ages in a fallow field. Logan’s painted-ceramic Cut flowers, after Mary Delany (2016) are between the real and artificial. The cut stems appear sharp, but the intricate plants retain shape and vigour, their colours strong.
Both artists draw on the long history of botanical metaphor, morphing the built-in signifiers of death, celebration, affection, gender, sexuality, memory and the domestic. Their considered and updated taxonomy concerns hybridity, and the discursive unity between the two artists’ preoccupations creates a rich dialogue that mimics the undertones of a deep conversation.
It is hard to tell the reasons behind some of the decisions in the gallery setup, such as painting plinths and parts of walls pink, or placing one of Buyers’s particularly ovarian-shaped sculptures on a pink wall directly facing the blueflowered wall of Logan’s painting Kitchen Wallpaper (1410 Latrace Rd.). Though these choices flattened the meanings of the works, pushing them toward a gender binary and taking away from the more nuanced ideas of identity and sexuality rooted in the art, the tangled evolution of what happens below the surfaces of these artworks was still able to burst through. —ALEXIS KINLOCH
Screenshot from the University of Pennsylvania’s online Modern and Contemporary Poetry course, 2016