Aitken is widely known for her cast-concrete sculptures, often composed of two parts that are stacked or cantilevered on top of one another. The forms reference a bodily scale and have connotations with architecture and furniture, but still resist recognition. Perhaps what is most striking about Aitken’s sculptures is their ability to transform and surprise from different angles, sometimes revealing a piece of structural, but aesthetically integrated, steel. This exhibition debuts three new sculptures from Aitken’s Tattic series which she began in 2019. Using a rectangular prism as a starting point, she combines and rotates simple forms in increments of 45 degrees until they occupy their own space and convey a sense of dynamic movement.
I grew up in Toronto and concrete defines the relationship for me between the body and space. I have memories of sitting on concrete steps as a kid and running my hand along concrete ledges. My use of concrete feels more related to everyday architecture and being in an urban environment than it does to sculptural tradition.
– Jen Aitken
Accompanying her concrete sculptures are two- and three-dimensional drawings. Aitken’s wall-mounted Wire Drawings and linear wood and metal sculptures, Knots, both rely on palpable volumes of negative space and create intricate two-dimensional shadows on the wall. Her painted line drawings on black and white panels portray a shallow pictorial space, marked out by careful outlines of incomplete or impossible sculptures. Aitken’s work is often engaged in some form of playful ambiguity, and this attitude is alluded to in the title, Actually, implying both certainty and contradiction.