Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair
Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair
Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair

Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair Oblique Choreography at the McMaster Museum of Art, photo: Robert McNair

OBLIQUE CHOREOGRAPHY

Known for her spirited explorations of form and colour, Jaime Angelopoulos' sculptures and drawings share a complimentary yet complicated relationship. On the surface, the artist wrestles with aspects of abstraction and anthropomorphism, and the works exhibit a kind of joyful exuberance, but they also operate on a deeper social and psychological level.

The sculptures are paired and grouped alongside their two-dimensional siblings. The drawings, composed of bold intersecting line, undulating arcs, and bursts of colour, complement the sculptures yet maintain their own commanding graphic presence. The ongoing push-pull between the magnetically dense works on paper and emaciated armatures injects a necessary tension between the two- and three- dimensional works, and their relationship to the wall, the floor, and the space in between.

Recently, the artist has been purging her sculptural works of adornment and excess, honing them into animated cylindrical loops that parallel many of the forms found in the drawings. Suggesting everything from a coiled snake to the DNA helix, or elastic bands that have stretched beyond their limits, we empathize with these gestural forms as they grasp and struggle, alternately reaching upwards or drooping towards the floor. Like cartoon antennae, they evoke the twitchy sensory apparatus or feelers of insects exploring their immediate surroundings.

The series of large drawings including True Proximity share a familiar motif of black nodes connected with thick webs of dark netting. Shot through with jagged beams of colour- cyan, magenta, orange- the artist's use of angularity and jarring optical patterns creates an uneasy tension. They key to deciphering these images are the circular black nodes that appear consistently in these drawings. The dark circles correspond numerical to the five senses and their manifestation suggest an obstruction representing some form of perceptual or sensory blockage.

As the counterpart, the sculptures offer a more optimistic, perhaps even redemptive contrast to the claustrophobic density of the drawings. Works such as Role Model and The Youth are upright, open, and bright. They also operate as physical extensions of the drawings, gestural feelers reaching out into the shared space that we occupy. The artist routinely refers to her sculptures as "characters" and standing alongside these artworks we empathize with the evocative struggling gesture of Role Model, the waving appendages of You're Hysterical, or the yawning maw of Made Silent.

The titles hint at a deeper narrative. Made Silent and You're Hysterical in particular imply an ongoing struggle against the silencing of women's voices. Eurydice further underscores this position. Named after the wife of Orpheus who was tragically stranded in the underworld, the sculpture invites us to empathize with the solitary spectre figure struggling to rise, restrained by the optically oppressive bands of pink striping. The intensely felt humanity of this work in difficult to ignore.

In concert, the drawings and sculpture enact this same struggle to rise on an individual as well and allegorical level. Whether overcoming sensors blockage or pent-up societal frustrations the work metaphorically wrestle against physical and emotional restriction. These themes echo throughout Angelopoulos' work. There are no obvious resolutions, but in this instance the incandescent bulb capping The Youth becomes the solitary beacon lighting the way.

-Ivan Jurakic, Guest Curator at the McMaster Museum of Art


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