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Marcel Dzama: Illustration and Other Worlds

June 10, 2022 - September 11, 2022

AWE Gallery

A SMALL GHOST, mural, Courtesy of the artist

Imagine: a dark wood at night, the darkness is the sound of owls waking and the smell of fresh-laundry, there is a door, there is another door, and there is a window…and then, there is you.

Marcel Dzama: Illustration and Other Worlds is an exhibition featuring the work of Marcel Dzama, and in response, Talysha Bujold-Abu. Marcel Dzama’s work is rooted in illustrative storytelling, building narrative from a combination of multiple parts: the didactic innocence of well-known folk characters…the quintessential ‘who stole my porridge?’, the ‘bump-in-the-night’ scaries of ghosts and grims, tiny lions (sans witches or wardrobes), and the rootin-tootin cowboy.

The combination of these tales of woe and wonder create a surrealist (and at times, macabre) landscape: but where is this Other World? Amidst the blood and gore, Dzama’s characters, with their contemplative faces and fanciful dress (if not outright nakedness), present the symbols of their otherness, a shared space of difference.

Similar to our intrigue in blackholes, fruit flies, and other such mysteries; Talysha Bujold-Abu pulls from the symbols presented in Dzama’s work and responds in kind; the Other World is here, too. In the Other World there is monstrosity, and in the monstrous…an otherness that mimics a shared narrative of belonging and introspection.

Bujold-Abu builds with and around Dzama’s Other World through a responsive mural; illustrating alongside tall hats and floating smoke to propel questioning…where and how do we belong (in tales of old, or presently)? Dzama’s collection of misfits (and their violent undertakings) are a reintroduction to our inquisitive selves, our habitual collecting, or search for bridges across this world and the next. In tandem, Bujold-Abu offers a similar reflection, enveloping this trajectory with anecdotal evidence of the unknown (what is that)? Marcel Dzama: Illustration and Other Worlds interrogates symbols and motifs as an invitation into otherness, and by extension, the narratives we embody.

Imagine: you are a dark wood at night, branches tall in the darkness, branches wide enough to know the owls, to know the shape of the world. Laundry, a biscuit tin being opened, the fizz of rootbeer; there is a door, there is another door, and there is a window…and then, you are here.

Curated by Talysha Bujold-Abu

In this exhibit

A SMALL GHOST, mural, Courtesy of the artist

LATE WHISKEY, mural, Courtesy of the artist

DIVINING ROD, 2022, mural , Courtesy of the artist

Marcel Dzama, Untitled (Lion and Cowboy), 1998, watercolour on paper , 24.7 cm x 31.5 cm, Gift of Leon Liffmann, 2020

Marcel Dzama, Untitled (Smoking Robot Woman), 1998, watercoloru on paper, 24.7 cm x 31.8 cm, Gift of Leon Liffmann, 2020

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