DOUBLE Your Pleasure DOUBLE Your Fun
Play is something we are all familiar with whether as something we engaged in as children or something we consciously and self-consciously engage in as adults. Play, at its best is free and unencumbered by the constraints of authority. But more often play comes with a set of parameters – a set of rules and regulations that contain the play into something manageable, something that won’t get too messy or out of control. Playing and playfulness comes absolutely natural to children until a certain age, but at some point self-consciousness creeps in and demands parameters – demands a reason for the frivolousness. We then move into games and sports, and as adults we could add general socializing, dancing, drinking (and other recreational impairments) sports spectating and gambling. Some of these adult forms of play come with distinct sets of guidelines while others are designed to tap into the sense of playful abandon we experienced as children. One might wonder why we just don’t head down to the playground for some self-directed rambunctiousness.
Nathalie Quagliotto taps into the tension between childhood and adult forms of play in her exhibition Rules and Regulations with its repurposed vintage playground equipment and other sculptural and sign-based work all done up in safety-tape yellow. The yellow suggests to the viewer to approach these works with a sense of caution, perhaps with some restraint, less they regress too quickly into childhood abandon, loosing control in the process and courting potential disaster. One only has to look at the conjoined smashed grocery carts to see what prospective outcomes may await if they move to hastily. Coordination and cooperation, a decidedly adult approach, is required to avoid chaos and possible collision when two willing visitors decide to interact with Maturity Correlation and Maturity Spin the two sculptures that dominate the gallery space. By leaving participation by the gallery visitor an open possibility, Quagliotto is inviting the gallery visitor into a relational experience with her sculptures. She is provoking an exchange with participant viewers where their actions end up becoming part of the work of art. The doubling of virtually all of the objects in the exhibition is mirrored in the negotiated relationships with other willing and like-minded individuals that are needed to successfully negotiate some of these works safely.
Two offsite sign works take the gallery (figuratively and literally) out into the community. The neon works simply say GALLERY, lit up in safety-tape yellow (or as close as one can get with argon gas). One sign hangs in the lobby of the new double-rink hockey arena for the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and the other in the Public Library. The neon works mimic commercial signage and operate on the surface as promotion for the gallery alerting hockey moms and dads as well as library visitors that the Latcham Gallery is in our community and serving its cultural role, but it is also operating on another level. In these ‘out of context’ locations the appearance of the word GALLERY, lit up in neon can give people pause, allowing a space for questioning and wonder. Notions of play/rules and regulations are consistent with both locations and so in a sense the signs quietly implicate the spaces and the people in them into Quagliotto’s project.
On a tiny shelf back in the Gallery are arrayed three sets of artist’s multiples. A number of double winged, safety yellow bowties; a collection of yellow candy suckers with two stick handles emanating from opposite sides of the yellow candy, each sucker individually wrapped, signed and dated by the artist; and finally a collection of wooden puzzles all without an image but instead, when completed make monochrome yellow fields. The important thing in this work, the artist has said is the relationships between the different pieces and how they fit together to make the work whole.
Rules and Regulations was the first installment in our NEXT series of exhibitions that showcases some of Ontario’s most engaging emerging artists. The series is generously sponsored by Valley Environmental Services Inc.
Nathalie Quagliotto (B. Montreal, Quebec) is a Toronto based conceptual artist. She earned her MFA in sculpture from the University of Waterloo in 2009 and her BFA in studio from Concordia University in 2007. In 2008 she apprenticed under Turner Prize winning conceptual artist Martin Creed in London, England, thanks to the University of Waterloo's Keith and Winifred Shantz fellowship. Since graduation, she has shown nationally and internationally and her work is in various private and public collections in North America, such as the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Michigan and the Majudia Collection in Montreal. She is a grant recipient from the Toronto Arts Council as well as the Ontario Arts Council. She has upcoming exhibitions across Canada and in New York.