Art Toronto 2019: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, ON

Art Toronto

Just Breathe: Audie Murray, Jason Baerg, Maureen Gruben, Couzyn van Heuvelen


October 25 - 27, 2019



Fazakas Gallery Booth C45 presents Just Breathe. In an era of ecological crisis where global air quality rests at an all-time low, the calming mantra of telling oneself to just breathe becomes an unsettling paradox. Works by Jason Baerg, Maureen Gruben, Couzyn van Heuvelen, and Audie Murray bracket and question the hyper ecologies of waste, as materials such a plastic, toilet paper rolls, and neon fishing lures are refashioned into objects with often personal messages. The following artists, at times literally, weave materials with their praxis into works of art that explore relationships to the land which highlight ongoing environmental concerns. Drawing from existing materials in the natural world, personal and ancestral knowledge forms are articulated in new and innovative ways. Gruben stitches the landscape of Tuktoyaktuk with bright red thread through ice, while Murray beads and breathes new life into pairs of workers gloves which might otherwise meet their fate in a garbage bin. Baerg re-purposes plastics into acidic multi-layered landscapes, as van Heuvelen's fishing lures make use of contemporary materials while celebrating Inuit methods of hunting at sea. Within each work, a new visual language is created wherein culture and identity are actively explored. By working within this complex web of social and ecological interconnectedness, Baerg, Gruben, van Heuvelen, and Murray string together a connective tissue between land, found objects, and natural materials, all the while exploring ancestral relations to the land. With environmental concerns on the rise, one might ask: what is the role of art? The exhibited works instead ask us to re-formulate the question to: how might art transform our relationship to the environment?