Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rob Hengeveld

Greener Shade of Green

April 15-25th, 2010

RECEPTION with artist: Thursday, April 15, 6-9pm


We're pleased to present A GREENER SHADE OF GREEN, an exhibition of new works by Toronto artist Robert Hengeveld.

The exhibition debuts Hengeveld's latest kinetic undertaking kentucky perfect, a project which has been in the making for a little over a year. Art or just bad science, the work incorporates an excessive level of technology in order to create and maintain an ideal specimen of grass; a lawn in its Plutonic form.

The work is accompanied by several other works pulled off the curious shelf of the fantastical, including an amped-up-mock-rock which mysteriously hovers above an illuminated pillow of air.

Rolls of sod are laid end to end along a narrow aluminum structure. A wheeled light assembly continually moves across the grass as if scanning it, this is occasionally interrupted by the rapid entrance of a reel mower that cuts back any growth of the last twenty minutes. The lights again return to its methodical sweeping. Periodically, a watering-boom also enters the stage misting the grass according to the atmospheric conditions.

The project incorporates an intentionally overstated measure of technology to explore the very role that technology plays in the culture in which we live. More specifically, the work – in its fantastical amplification of the technology's use in the everyday - examines how this technology (communications, chemical, genetic) is used to control the environments we inhabit; as a means of making things more convenient, more comfortable, more aesthetic.

It reflects the reality of our culture's interest in controlling and shaping the natural environments around us, and in this work the creation and maintaining of the ideal lawn. The absurdity through which this is obtained contrasts the reality of our culture, but only in the margin of its additional efforts. The excessiveness nature of the work reframes the reality outside of it, creating a moment in which the familiar is thrown into question and is seen again.

In addition to kentucky perfect, Hengeveld will present AMPED|UP|MOCK|ROCK: a hollow synthetic rock has been given a value added makeover. The work strikes an uneasy balance between striving to appear natural and rejecting it all together. While its shape and finish are indeed quite 'real', the boulder mysteriously hovers slightly above the ground and silently rotates at a barely perceivable rate. An aura of bright light bleeds out from beneath the rock. The work finds its place somewhere between the natural and the supernatural.