Four Studies

Mimetic Workshop: Studio Still Lifes of Fiona Ackerman and Kelly Lycan

Sept 17, 2016 – Dec 4, 2016
Surrey Art Gallery

Curated by Jordan Strom

photo documentation by
Scott Massey and Kelly Lycan

Painter Fiona Ackerman and sculptor-photographer Kelly Lycan are two Canadian artists who have made bodies of work that explore the condition of working within the ever-mutable spaces and symbolism of the studio in the 21st century. In their own distinct ways, Lycan and Ackerman reformulate and recompose scenes from the studio consisting of artworks, non-art objects, tools of art making, raw materials, and mechanisms of display such as shelves, frames, and vitrines. Lycan's art practice has frequently combined forms of non-art display — for example, the display techniques found at urban flea markets or the conventions of object display on domestic interior mantelpieces — with forms of display from the museum world. For the works presented in Mimetic Workshop, titled Four Studies, Lycan continues her material and formal investigations into the relationship between photography and sculpture.

The "workshop" of the exhibition's title, refers to an earlier notion of the artist's studio – the workshop or bottega. Studio, or studiolo were originally places of contemplation. The use of the term mimetic, or the philosophical term mimesis, is less about this concept's historical linkage to imitation, mimicry, and realism in art, and more to do with modern and contemporary definitions of mimesis as a dialogue between the real world and an imagined one. In the work presented here, both Lycan and Ackerman challenge the viewer's reading of their art by breaking down the distinction between the maquette or sketch and the final work, drawing attention to the process as art, and freezing different moments-in-time from the studio with newly imagined ones.