Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thrust, David Janzen and Julian Forrest, Peter Robertson Gallery, February 25 - March 18, 2010

With an exhibition title like Thrust, one can only expect a certain amount of sexualized energy on display. Only after viewing, the title and subject matter are more about the redirection of sexual energy into other forms such as aggression and bravado.

Image credit: Julian Forrest, "Play/Fight #4", 2009 Oil on board. 9" x 12"

The two man show at Peter Robertson pairs up painters David Janzen and Julian Forrest, who although share a similar palette, approach the world through very different outlooks. Forrest, who since moving here from Ontario, has ironically noticed an increased influx of males moving to the province, and takes up the matter of increased levels of competing testosterone on display. Referencing media portrayals of fights, mostly from internet stills of YouTube clips, Forrest encapsulates these fleeting moments into rather comical stances and poses, and puts forth more questions than answers of how our society has shaped the male identity through pop cultural imagery. Also showing a series of rabid looking dogs, the animals actually hold a much higher sense of nobility than any of the men in his paintings, who are often awkwardly street wrestling each other or in stances ready for a fight.

Image credit: David Janzen, "Blossom (026)", 2009 Oil on paper (framed) 9"

On the other hand, it was pointed out that Janzen plays on the notion of bravado without evoking his sentiments to any living form. While his series on rocket ships blasting off are certainly phallic in nature, Janzen contrasts the work by playing with circular canvases, even using small embroidery/sewing frames to offset the overtly boyish subject matter with a touch of the feminine and the contained. While there is certainly a comment, if not a fascination, with the amount of energy being wasted with each blast off, there is also a sincere innocence in invoking the reckless and wild streaks of destruction of being young with too much energy to burn.

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