In September 2018, Ovum Quadratum II and Excavation II were part of a collective show entitled Ouroboros, staged within St. Anne’s Anglican church, a stunning Byzantine Revival church in downtown Toronto that has a beautiful dome decorated with Group of Seven murals. With a long history and association with the art community of Toronto, the Anglican Archdiocese provided financial support for this exhibition, which included the publication of an exhibition catalogue with an introductory preface by Jennifer Rudder. The artists in the exhibition — Adrienne Trent, Ellen Bleiwas, Emily DiCarlo, Gunilla Josephson, and myself — share connections across 2 generations and through a network of overlapping personal and professional relationships. And in diverse yet focused ways, the arc of time, space and history, and the connective impacts and resonances activated within that universally compelling frame have thematically driven all of our practices.  The five of us share a view of the world that transcends the limits of the day to day as our work reaches into the past, the evanescent, the ephemeral, and the ongoing… with the subsequent talismans, relics, and vestiges of these histories used as markers and reminders of a larger realm of connectedness.

Known as the oldest allegorical symbol in alchemy, the Ouroboros represents the concept of eternity and endless return with the title referencing the themes of connectedness and continuity within each artists’ work and also suggesting the sense of connectedness shared between each artist within the group.

Ovum Quadratum II

Ovum Quadratum II draws upon the history of spiritual, communal and civic celebrations conjoined with the iconic and metaphoric symbols engendered by the oval and the square. The ovoid form embodies the fullness of creativity and offers the spatial metaphor of non-Euclidian space and the encompassing universe, while the 4-pointed square references the Euclidian constructs by which we organize our daily lives, the cardinal directions, the elements, and the phases of our life on earth.

Excavation II

The original iteration of Excavation was created for Word on the Street’s Sculpting New Words in response to poet Lisa Richter’s compelling book of poetry Closer To Where We Began, which embraces themes of interconnectedness across epochs of multiplicitous events.

Excavation II evokes an archeological dig, wherein the obliquely narrative space explores the tension and the connections between order and confusion, construction and flow. In this new iteration, timeworn river stones populate the labyrinth suggesting a parallel metaphoric play between the ovoid and square, used in my companion piece, Ovum Quadratum II.


Review by Terence Dick