one bird, two stones

Scott Treleaven

Cemrenaz Uyguner

& B. Wurtz

19 March - 15 May 2022 

Unit 17 is thrilled to present the group exhibition one bird, two stones with new & recent work by Scott Treleaven, Cemrenaz Uyguner & B. Wurtz. All works selected for this presentation are Untitled, with a subtext given to each work in the brackets that follow. This exhibition marks the gallery’s inaugural participation with Capture Photography Festival. 

 

The works featured by these three artists of different generations use common objects - from popularized photo paper to everyday public or domestic scenes - to draw focus to particular physical & material sensibilities that are built up through their photography practices. Each artist exemplifies physicalities that are located within processes or potentials of photography, complexifying the material by adding significant sculptural qualities to each work. With this, the photographs on view open up to be considered in their full objecthood.

 

Treleaven's photocollages are bipartite compositions, made of torn photographs from the artist’s archive of analog 35mm pictures taken over two decades. The strikingly simple act of tearing & uniting disparate halves yields uncanny, even filmic collisions. Treleaven’s approach to photography entails a de-construction of the medium that also evokes the ‘cut-up,’ a literary technique typically used to usher in unruly entropic forces, new possibilities & the unexpected. Focal points, linearity, narrative, spatial & temporal integrities are disrupted. By abandoning the illusory continuity of a corps exquis, the effect of the re-joined images is paradoxically harmonious and jarring - with some tears exposing the internal white fibres of the paper - forcing a dialogue that further draws attention to photography’s materiality & artifice. One particular combine, Untitled (yellow purple sunlight/books), which is composed of an unfocused shot of a square of light on top of another blurred picture of a stack of books delves into a painterly realm, with swaths of phantom colour slipping in & out of focus. The photocollages are contained in artist designed frames, each painted with slight differences of tone according to the images qualities (in some instances employing a sheet of unpolished aluminum as a mat-board), drawing attention to the idea of Treleaven’s photographs as constructed objects, & reiterating the notion of the sundered pieces as a new unified whole. In this sense, this series shifts between photography as a means of recontextualizing symbols or narratives & forays into formal experimentation.

 

Uyguner’s Untitled (in few hours) presents seven purely abstract works that use instant film as their base, creating intimate portraits that measure & collect the overall ambience around the photographic material during their initial creation. The marks embedded within these images, rather than functioning as an index of the artist’s hand, act as an index of the process of chemical exposure to light & heat on film paper, distilling these immaterial forces into the stillness of the photograph. These works straddle multiple readings, & despite their medium-specificity, gesture towards notions of found-objects & colourfields. Instant film, as a technology, is revealing of the chemical alchemy of photography itself. Photographs can be a sort of black box magic in which one clicks the shutter button, pays the appropriate fee to a developer and returns some time later to fully formed images; however, instant film reveals this often hidden process in real time. In this sense, Uyguner’s works poetically gesture towards this transformative nature of the photograph, on both a symbolic and structural level. On an iconographic front, Uyguner’s works move in between formal readings, from blurry macro imagery, found photographs, to the aforementioned colourfields. The central image in this suite, which is awash in purple & blue hues, can be equally read as a sky or ocean landscape, a meditation on colour itself, or as adjacent to Abstract Expressionism, capturing elemental exposures in the swaths of black & white interspersed throughout. This larger series of photographs move in and out of clarity, and are punctuated by myriad sloped forms, which could be read as a close up, an intimate portrait of a loved one’s torso, or a memento from a personal archive. With Untitled (in few hours), Uyguner presents us with a sense of constant shifting through the very structural foundations of photographic material. 

 

one bird, two stones also presents a range of photographic works by B. Wurtz that document various coloured bath & hand towels, printed on synthetic silk & hung on wooden dowels at various heights throughout the gallery. This larger series, which also includes piles of dirty laundry, were made within the last five years & documents the artist’s interest in capturing poetic moments as well as objects within the everyday that relate to three vital constants for human life: sleeping, eating & keeping warm (as stated from a 1973 work on paper by Wurtz). If Joseph Kosuth’s infamous One and Three Chairs functioned as a text-based mediation on the limits of language and representation, Wurtz’s towel images could function as its comedic, materially-grounded, counterpart. The artist’s work questions the definition of the art object by mirroring the photographic depiction of mundane items onto forms that resemble the objects themselves. In this sense, Wurtz’s tongue-in-cheek interrogation of art isn’t rooted in its linguistic definition but rather in how we categorize & define art on a visual front. For Wurtz, photography acts as a polyphonous nexus from which to interrogate which subjects of our world that should be documented, and what becomes entrenched in art’s canon. These works exist in an uncanny sphere: part photography, part found object and part conceptualist humour. Quotidian items become defamiliarized in their deployment as art works, while remaining rooted in the mundane through their close, but never exact, similitude to the original objects. Wurtz’s practice of deploying the everyday - or in his terms, an ethics of reuse - draws attention to the fact that art is defined through discourse, through his comic mediation of found items which underscores their nature as constructed.

 

In celebration of the gallery’s first participation with Capture Photography Festival, the ceiling has been left with pin-hole marks to continue recording past presentations in the space through current exhibitions; a long exposure of minute actions that have come & gone from previous installations. This has been an interest to the gallery in prior exhibitions, allowing past shows to wash over the space & subtly shift the outcome of future presentations. Equally, significant larger holes in the gallery’s architecture have been capped with works such as Wurtz’s Untitled (pan painting) from 2014, functioning as a stopper against additional materials - such as particulates or liquids - entering the gallery. 

 

Scott Treleaven (b. 1972, Canada) graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1996. A noted figure in 90s underground cinema and queer zine circles, the tenets of these early practices continue to inform the conceptual and material choices in Treleaven’s paintings and photographs. Solo and group exhibitions include: Cooper Cole, Toronto; FRONT International Triennial, Cleveland; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; XYZ Collective, Tokyo; MOCA Tucson, Arizona; Invisible-Exports, New York; The Suburban, Milwaukee; 80WSE, New York; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; ICA, Philadelphia; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; ICA London, UK; and John Connelly Presents, New York, amongst others. Treleaven’s publications have been included in historical overviews such as In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955 (JRP|Ringier 2009), The Magazine – Documents of Contemporary Art Series (MIT Press 2015), and Showboat: Punk, Sex, Bodies (Dashwood 2016). Treleaven currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada. 

Cemrenaz Uyguner (b. 1988, Istanbul, Turkey) is an artist living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Nations, colonially known as Vancouver, BC. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, BC) in 2012. She has participated in exhibitions locally and internationally, most recently at the Anvil Centre, New Westminster, 44A Sanat Galerisi & Hayaka Arti in Istanbul, Turkey and Temporary Berlin in Berlin, Germany. She has also collaborated with artists Derya Akay, Vivienne Bessette, Julia Feyrer & Kurtis Wilson in various food-related projects at Unit 17 (2018) as well as through Roundhay Garden Scenes with Dunlevy Snackbar and VIVO Media Arts (2012).

B. Wurtz (b. 1948, Pasadena, California) lives and works in New York. He opened a major solo exhibition This Has No Name at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2018 while simultaneously presenting his first public commission, Kitchen Trees, through the New York City Public Art Fund. In 2015 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom. In 2016 the exhibition traveled to La Casa Encendida, Madrid. He has had additional solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Freiburg; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; and Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago. His work has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon.

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one bird, two stones installation view

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one bird, two stones installation view

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one bird, two stones installation view

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012, colour photogram on instant film, unique in artist’s frame,

34.3. x 31.1 x 3.8cm ea.

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012

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one bird, two stones installation view

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one bird, two stones installation view

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one bird, two stones installation view

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one bird, two stones installation view

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (Ceramic bowl/Parc Monceau), 2020, photographic prints from 35mm negative & archival tape,

unique in artist’s frame, 31.75 x 26.7 x 3.8cm

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (Ceramic bowl/Parc Monceau), 2020

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (yellow purple sunlight/books), 2017, photographic prints from 35mm negative & archival tape,

unique in artist’s frame, 31.75 x 26.7 x 3.8cm

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (yellow purple sunlight/books), 2017 (detail)

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (confetti in Venice Biennale gutter/oak leaves), 2017, photographic prints from 35mm negative & archival tape, unique in artist’s frame, 31.75 x 26.7 x 3.8cm

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (confetti in Venice Biennale gutter/oak leaves), 2017

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (gold disc/apple and orange), 2017, photographic prints from 35mm negative & archival tape, 

unique in artist’s frame, 31.75 x 26.7 x 3.8cm

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (gold disc/apple and orange), 2017

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (gold disc/apple and orange), 2017

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (gold disc/apple and orange), 2017

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (Paris workshop window/painting), 2021, photographic prints from 35mm negative & archival tape, unique in artist’s frame, 26.7 x 31.75 x 3.8cm

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Scott Treleaven, Untitled (Paris workshop window/painting), 2021

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Green Bath Towel), 2018 & Untitled (Brown Bath Towel), 2018

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Green Bath Towel), 2018, photograph on Polyester silk, wood, metal & staples,

90.2 x 83.8 x 8.9cm, edition of 3

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Green Bath Towel), 2018 (detail)

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Brown Bath Towel), 2018, photograph on Polyester silk, wood, metal & staples,

89.5 x 78.7 x 8.9cm, edition of 3

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Brown Bath Towel), 2018

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Blue and White Checked Hand Towel), 2018, photograph on Polyester silk, wood, metal & staples,

44.5 x 43.5 x 8.9cm, edition of 3

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (Blue and White Checked Hand Towel), 2018

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (pan painting), 2014, acrylic paint on aluminum, 22.9 x 22.9 x 3.8 cm

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B. Wurtz, Untitled (pan painting), 2014

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012, colour photogram on instant film, unique in artist’s frame,

34.3. x 31.1 x 3.8cm ea. (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)

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Cemrenaz Uyguner, Untitled (in few hours), 2012 (detail)