Image credit: Alex McLeod, Building Test Fire #4, digital print, 2009

Responsive Space

In the Critique of Judgment, philosopher Immanuel Kant described the vastness of nature as one of the few physical examples that illustrates ideas of the infinite. He believed that the forces of nature were powerful enough to display that which was beyond human reason.

We feel the effects of the sublime in the stories and legends that shape our culture. In fairytales or Romantic writing, the landscape is used like a character to describe the emotion or psychology of the scene. Added to this is the tradition of landscape as artist’s subject- attempts to capture the sublime through art.

Responsive Space calls to question these concepts by creating new ways to approach environments. Artists Alex McLeod, Laura Paolini, Stacey Sproule and Stanzie Tooth use landscape as an entry point to create their work, employing symbols and metaphors from the natural world as signifiers of the sublime in nature as well as our human reactions and affects on landscapes.

In an era where the human affects on the ecology of the planet are continually brought to question, we sometimes fail to stop and think about the majesty of nature. Responsive Space offers glimpses for new worlds beyond our everyday experience. Working in a variety of media, the common thread amongst these artists is an interest in the fragile connections shared between humans and nature. Like the stories from our childhoods, these artworks make sentiments about the sublime in our natural world. The morals of these pieces then, like fairytales, are dependent on our being drawn into the worlds they create.

Alex McLeod is an artist who is preoccupied with landscapes. His work is built in virtual space, using computer software generally used for film and advertising. In his digital worlds toy cabins and snowcapped mountains appear as if they could be leftovers from train sets. He has recently been included in the Magenta Foundation publication ‘Carte Blanche 2’. www.alxclub.com

Laura Paolini graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design, holding a BFA with Distinction from the Sculpture/Installation Department in the Faculty of Art. Her theses on problematics in the history of art have appeared in arts based publications (both student and professional) and her artwork is succinct with the various responsibilities she holds professionally. Laura is the Intern and Projects Coordinator at Vtape, and she is the newest member on the Board of Governors for FADO Performance Art Inc. In Fall 2008, Laura joined the Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre as an artist-in-residence. Produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council
www.laurapaolini.com

Stacey Sproule is a performance and installation artist with an interest in tactility. Graduated from OCAD in 2007, she has a BFA in drawing and painting and has exhibited locally for four years. Her installations have been exhibited at Wynick Tuck Gallery, Xpace, and Awkward Gallery. In 2007, Stacey Sproule and Diane Borsato collaborated on a piece for FADO. Stacey also collaborates frequently with Randy Gagne including a performance at the 2008 Toronto International Art Fair and one at 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.
www.staceysproule.blogspot.com

Stanzie Tooth is a painter with an interest in landscapes and figuration. Stanzie graduated from OCAD in 2007 with a BFA in Drawing and Painting with an award of distinction for excellence in painting. Many of the narratives in her work have been shaped by her upbringing in rural Ontario and have been exhibited throughout Toronto. Most recently, her series, “Through the Woods” was featured at the Canadian Heritage Building.
www.stanzietooth.com

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*concept design image. photo by unknown artist

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