Micah Lexier and Kelly Mark, two of my favorite artists, had remarkably never shown together before their two-person exhibition at Saint Mary's University Art Gallery, last fall. Both have multiplicity at the core of their practice - both in their use of repetition, and in their dedication to the production of artists’ editions and ephemera. Both artists have produced posters, wallpaper, shopping bags, neon, tattoos, buttons, and bookworks. Both have made works featuring text, typefaces, counting, and found materials. The history of conceptualism informs both practices, and both make use of exhaustive processes to explore the passage of time. They are both graduates of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. They have collaborated together on more than occasion. Their commercial dealers share a street, and they live only a few blocks apart, but they somehow had never shared a gallery space before.
Tonight the Saint Mary’s exhibition travels to Oshawa, to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. Called Head-to-Head, the show thoughtfully pairs up a number of works by the artists, which illustrate how their individual practices echo each other. For example, Mark’s Lines Interrupted is a series of photographs of painted lines on pavement that have been disrupted – by a rotated manhole cover or grate, or by repairs to the asphalt. The works are paired with Lexier’s Touch Down Drawings, a series of attempts to draw a straight line while the plane he is in is landing. Lexier’s Note To Self series feature enlarged silk-screened texts based around self-improvement, often about his practice or better relating to family and friends (“Use less words”, “Ask Others About Themselves”). These large canvases are paired with Mark’s audio work I Really Should, a to-do list litany of regrets.
A nicely designed catalogue accompanies the exhibition and will be launched at tonight’s opening. The half-assed scans below do not do it justice.