The far from precious work by artist Warren Hoyano now on view at the You Me Gallery on James Street North captures us with its raw beauty.
One piece covers almost an entire wall at the gallery. With its raw edges, folds, wrinkles and marks streaking from corner to corner it looks like a map reflecting the worries of the world.
The big piece is made of paper patched together like a fragile, mended garment.
Though watercolour is the medium of choice for Hoyano, not for him is tidy 20 by 30-inch watercolour paper, nor the protection offered by framing and glass.
“I like things that might be discarded,” Hoyano says to a group assembled at the gallery.
He uses rolls of paper for his work, the bigger the better. In his process the paper is folded or rolled, wetted, and wrinkled, and marked with a palette knife, brush, or even a “cola” pen. The “cola” pen is made by cutting a nib shape from a pop can and lashing it to a chopstick. The mark it makes after dipping in pigment is delightfully unpredictable the artist says.
He handles his work like its next use might be wrapping a set of dishes. He shows a painting than squishes it into a corner as he grabs another to show us. This casual, practical way of handling his pieces finds its way into the way he describes his work.
It starts with a vision, and then “I fit the vision to the size of the paper,” he says.
The biggest piece could be viewed as a map where none of the directions make sense. Lines arc like comets across the paper, blobs of colour, and they are few, are like old maps of the world, where countries came and went as invasions and conquering armies changed the course of history.
In one corner a piece suspended from the ceiling is bound in string like a hastily made backpack. Does it belong to a person fleeing a war zone, or a homeless person living on there street? Hoyano’s work gives you the space to find your own meaning.
Adding to a feeling of impermanence is the way the pieces are mounted to the wall with earth magnets clinging to nonferrous metal strips. The work appears to float with no visible means of support.
When asked if he worries about how long these pieces, some created on non-archival paper, will last Hoyano gives the only appropriate response.
“It will last my lifetime.”
Folded Pieces: Maps of a Blind Brush
runs through February at the You Me Gallery
330 James St. N. Viewing is through the gallery window or by appointment.