By Gurman Sahota with photos by Mariah Wilson, June 2, 2017 —
Nestled on the fourth floor of a relatively quiet Inglewood office building, the Esker Foundation is a gallery specializing in contemporary art. Visitors are welcome to enter the space for free.
In addition to its art, the foundation thrives in its architecture. The concept is open, with a few sectioned-off rooms where visitors can meander and explore exhibits. There is also a corner of the gallery that provides a resting point with a few seats, a small library of books and a view that overlooks the city.
This month, the Esker Foundation is hosting exhibits by Jason de Haan and Anton Vidokle.
De Haan is a Calgary-based artist with an extensive arts education. He has held exhibitions locally and abroad. His current exhibition, Oh For Eyes! At Night We Dream of Eyes!, highlights his multidisciplinary education and practice. The exhibit focuses on the intersection of earth, fire, air and water.
“Salt Shroud” is not a massive sculpture, but it demands attention. Visitors are drawn to the display of crystals in de Haan’s other work before seeing the majesty of the central sculpture. The placard reads that “Salt Shroud” is a “physical manifestation of an ongoing meditation of transformation and the passage of time.” Upon closer inspection, the layers of salt upon the 3D-printed sculpture give it a timeworn look, like the iron lines in rock. The wisped salt detail is both haunting and tender.
The exhibit continues with de Haan’s construction of fossils, humidifiers, concrete and plastic bottles in, “Swallow All The Brains.” Here, viewers are immersed in a city of peculiar-shaped humidifiers. The steam rising from the humidifiers creates a haze, contrasting the light shining in from the opposing floor-to-ceiling windows. While these are the highlights of de Haan’s exhibit, his work is further utilized in the small space of the gallery’s sectioned off areas.
These sections contain more experimental work — “Shrouded in Ash and Fated to Wander the Spheres” is meant to evoke viewers with a severed foot.
Anton Vidokle is an internationally exhibited artist, with roots in both New York and Berlin. The Communist Revolution was Caused by the Sun, is the second instalment in his three-part film series about Russian Cosmism, a philosophical theory that was the culmination of religion and ethics that proposed the use of electromagnetic energies to heal and enhance life. The film was shot in Kazakhstan, giving viewers a blank canvas as the film progresses — the rural shots are minimalistic with an emphasis on solar flares and the undertones of a depressed social existence.
Though the gallery is heavy on de Haan’s work, the way the exhibits are curated instills a sense of peace. Artwork is lined up with precision, giving enough room to wander from one to the next without disrupting fellow visitors.
The gallery’s aesthetic is simple, yet details such as the ceiling or the secluded boardroom — which is on a slightly higher level than the gallery portion — are encapsulated in painted metal while still allowing light to pass through small openings.
The exhibits run from May 28 – Aug. 27 at the Esker Foundation. For more information, click here.