October 11 to November 16 | Opening reception: Friday, October 19, 6 – 9 pm
Idle Wild is an exhibition of new works by DRIL that explores the relationship between the idea of nature, the built environment and our collective subconscious. Taking the suburban landscape as point of departure, DRIL renders the familiar strange, bringing attention to the aesthetic uniformity of these surroundings while allowing the seemingly mundane to be experienced in bizarre and unexpected ways.
Historically, the concept of the suburb developed in reaction to the city, and was broadly linked to utopian ideals, a desire to be closer to nature, and an improved standard of living. Over time, and with the spread of mass suburbanization, these ideals morphed into other forms, creating circumstances of predictability, isolation, and in some cases, surveillance.
In Idle Wild, both artworks evoke the spatial and psychological patterns within these rationalized spaces while creating imaginative shifts in the perception of suburbia. The first, a grid of porcelain houses, forms a ghostly version of the archetypal suburb. Over the course of the exhibition, plant life will sprout from their rooftops, unhinging their forms and softening their edges, suggestive of the unruly nature of imagination amidst the mundane. The second work is an immersive, four-channel video installation of a hypnotic drive through a nondescript neighborhood. The absence of narrative invites the mind to wander, guided by subconscious desires to interpret the aesthetic contours of the journey and the chance encounters recorded by the camera’s automated eye. In this dense emptiness of suburban sprawl, nature looms ominously at its edges, complicating the ideal of the picturesque that the original suburbs sought to be closer to.
At the core of Idle Wild is the exploration of value systems that are articulated and reflected through the constructed environments in which we live. As a document of a present cultural landscape, Idle Wild takes hold of these histories as they unfold, bringing awareness to the desires, hopes and dreams embedded within them.
DRIL is a collaborative, Vancouver-based artist collective comprised of Dylan McHugh, Rachel White, Ian Prentice and Leisha O’Donohue. Using drawing, video, sculpture and social practice as mediums, DRIL creates site-responsive installations and performances that draw from iconic histories and popular culture to question how meaning and history is formulated, perceived and presented. Their poetic explorations of the everyday heighten an awareness of cultural constructs, while reimagining their significance in our present cultural climate. Recent exhibitions include Drifter’s Clip at Open Space in Victoria, BC (2011) and City Hall, a site-specific performative drawing installation for Vancouver’s city-wide Drawn Festival (2009). In 2013, DRIL will participate in a group exhibition at Kamloops Art Gallery.
Idle Wild is curated by Joni Low, a freelance curator and writer who also currently works at the Vancouver Art Gallery.