• JAMES CARL: ASSEMBLY

    APRIL 1 - May 8, 2021

  • James Carl is known for his playful use of unconventional materials, such as cardboard, venetian blinds and polymer clay. His work’s material choices are rooted in a conceptual framework which ranges from evocative and ironic critiques of globalisation and consumerism, to celebrations of 20th century modern sculpture. Carefully crafted, his works appear at once foreign and familiar, the common objects of daily life reconfigured and reconsidered.

     

    Carl’s most recent drawings of spoons, Pom bottles and a few other iconic silhouettes are rendered in silver leaf, each gradually developing a patina over time. Starting with a digital tracing, he flips, reflects, duplicates and scales the objects, pushing the image towards abstraction, and forcing the viewer to re-assemble their perceptions of the original object. This notion of assembly is the essence of Carl’s work – he asks us not only to understand how the world is put together but asks us to participate in that construction.

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  • James Carl, Silver Spoons 1, 2019-2020

    James Carl

    Silver Spoons 1, 2019-2020
    silver leaf on paper
    17 x 14 in.
     
    SOLD
    • James Carl Spoon Cluster 8, 2019-2020 silver leaf on paper 10 x 7 in.
      James Carl
      Spoon Cluster 8, 2019-2020
      silver leaf on paper
      10 x 7 in.
      $ 1,600.00
    • James Carl Spoon Cluster 15, 2019-2020 silver leaf on paper 10 x 7 in.
      James Carl
      Spoon Cluster 15, 2019-2020
      silver leaf on paper
      10 x 7 in.
      $ 1,600.00
  • James Carl, POM Cluster, 2019-2020

    James Carl

    POM Cluster, 2019-2020
    silver leaf on paper
    12 x 9 in.
     
    $ 1,800.00
  • I began "drawing" with silver leaf in 2018. Applying metal leaf requires first of all the application of adhesive sizing, which I do with a fine brush. This, along with the subsequent application of the leaf, creates a sort of unpredictable degradation of the original computer drawings, softening lines, adding uncertainty, while maintaining much of the graphic clarity that I value. The whole process – the slowing down, the placement of fluttering silver tissue, the holding of the breath – turned out to be just what I'd been looking for, both in the process and in the results. 

     

    – JAMES CARL

  • Alongside the silver drawings are three marble “Spindle” sculptures. The workshave clear reference points in modernist sculpture and popular culture. All variations on the iconic Pom bottle form, the Spindles are assembled in two parts, a unique Pom bottle rendering and its base. The two components are complementary in both colour and form, the colour being derived from marble sourced in Greece and Italy. The unique, hand-finished sculptures can be read as “trophies for unspecified accomplishments, hommages to the small-scale sculptures of Giacometti, or petrified puffs of geological time”.

  • James Carl, Spindle #1, 2020

    James Carl

    Spindle #1, 2020
    Top: White Sivec marble (Greece)
    Bottom: Belgian Black marble (Belgium)
    6 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 26 1/4 in.
     
    $ 18,000.00
  • James Carl, Spindle #3, 2020

    James Carl

    Spindle #3, 2020
    Top: Pink Portuguese marble (Portugal)
    Bottom: Belgian Black marble (Belgium)
    7 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 15 in.
     
    $ 18,000.00
  • The organic forms in the sculptures are derived from the two standard sizes of commercially available “Pom” juice bottles, 3D scanned and recomposed in the computer. Among the idiosyncrasies of the digital 3D environment is that it allows for the superimposition of normally solid bodies: digitized objects pass through each other effortlessly, with no trace of impact, similar to what Marvel superheroes call “intangibility”.


    The product bottles lining the shelves in the beverage and household aisles of the supermarket combine ergonomic necessity and spatial economy with sex appeal and the occasional nod to modernist art history. They are, in essence, mass-produced, plastic expressions of what someone wants you to want. Finding Brancusi and Hepworth among the apparently endless proliferation affords the art enthusiast an occasional moment of recognition and relief.

     
    - JAMES CARL
  • James Carl, Spindle #2, 2020

    James Carl

    Spindle #2, 2020
    Top: White Sivec marble (Greece)
    Bottom: Bardilglio Imperiale marble (Italy)
    18 x 11 3/4 x 7 in.
     
    $ 18,000.00
    • James Carl Intellectual Property (straw), 2017 archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Studio paper 48 x 20 in. 4/5
      James Carl
      Intellectual Property (straw), 2017
      archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Studio paper
      48 x 20 in.
      4/5
      $ 5,000.00
    • James Carl Intellectual Property (comb), 2017 archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Studio paper 48 x 20 in. 4/5
      James Carl
      Intellectual Property (comb), 2017
      archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Studio paper
      48 x 20 in.
      4/5
      $ 5,000.00
  • I began using the computer to draw in the early 1990’s when computers, drawing programs and home printers first became widely available. The quality of the line, the precision, and the seemingly infinite possibilities for output all attracted me. I remember seeing a fat matte black line spit from a laser printer and thinking how unknown and beautiful it was. The uniformity was like nothing I’d ever seen.

     

    - JAMES CARL

  • Glue, 2021, black vinyl and paint, 53 1/2 x 21 in. Glue, 2021, black vinyl and paint, 53 1/2 x 21 in.

    James Carl's wall drawing, Glue, in our Richmond East Street facing window is the most recent from an on-going series of digitally generated images of common product bottles. Many of these can be found in the book Content 1.0, published by Art Metropole and Mercer Union, and in the accompanying font that goes by the same name.  

     
    The work continues Carl’s direct use of architecture as a drawing/painting surface, something he has been doing since the 1990s. For this exhibition, Carl applied the drawing to the wall using a combination of latex paint and adhesive vinyl.
     
    Slideshow images below show other examples of Carl's applied drawings.
  • James Carl was born in Montreal in 1960. He received his MFA from Rutgers University and has degrees from McGill...
    James Carl's sculpture, spindle #3, in his studio

    James Carl was born in Montreal in 1960. He received his MFA from Rutgers University and has degrees from McGill University, the University of Victoria and the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. His work is in public and private collections across North America and Europe including the National Gallery of Canada. He is currently a Professor of Studio Art at the University of Guelph and resides in Toronto.