Little Squares: The Pixel as Material and Metaphor
Dave Kemp, Thelma Rosner, Mark Stebbins, Shaheer Zazai
Glenhyrst Art Gallery, Brantford, Ontario
Curated by Matthew Ryan Smith
January 18 – March 15, 2020
In this exhibition, artists Dave Kemp, Thelma Rosner, Mark Stebbins, and Shaheer Zazai examine how pixels are used as aesthetic material and metaphors for meaning. Pixels are small squares of colour that form the building blocks of digital images. When combined in a pattern with other pixels, they produce a complete picture. Despite its origins in digital screens, the word pixel now applies to non-digital imagery as well, and can be found in commercial advertising, interior design, fashion, architecture, and visual art. Working primarily in photography, painting, craft, and digital media, the artists in this exhibition approach pixels as visual devices to question our lived reality and experience of the world. While digital technology creeps toward higher forms of resolution, for instance 4k and 5k screen displays, these artists do otherwise—they break down pixilation to its essence, as a series of blocks, grids, or patterns, and employ these to create new works that appear like other media. In doing so, they bridge the divide between abstract painting and HD digital imagery, analog photography and digital photography, rug hooking and digital painting, and mass-produced objects and handicraft. Their work proposes different methods of how images structure memory, time, and place—they articulate the importance of what we look at and how we look at it in a society deeply consumed by pictures.
About the Artists
Dave Kemp is an artist whose practice looks at the intersections and interactions between art, science, and technology. His artworks have been exhibited widely at venues such as at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Ontario Science Centre. They are also included in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Canada Council Art Bank. He currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Image Arts program at Ryerson University.
Thelma Rosner has been a professional visual artist for over forty years. She was educated at Smith College and Western University, where she was mentored by Paterson Ewan. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, and England. She has received grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections including the Canada Council Art Bank, McMaster University, McIntosh Gallery, and Museum London.
Mark Stebbins is an artist who works in painting, drawing and digital media to create images that connect craft, digital imaging and art history. Specific interests include abstraction, memory, quilting and pixilation. His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally. He was awarded Honourable Mention in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2010 and has received grants by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. His work resides in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada, as well as numerous private collections worldwide.
Shaheer Zazai is an artist working in painting and digital media. His practice focuses on investigating the development of cultural identity in non-Western diasporas. He received a BFA from OCAD University in 2011 and was the OCAD University Digital Painting Atelier Artist-in-Residence in 2015. A recipient of a Canadian Ontario Arts Council grant, he has since had solo and group exhibitions at galleries including the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Trinity Square Video, John B. Aird Gallery, and Project Gallery.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please call us. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.