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Diana Gubbay
From January 11th 1986 to February 8th 1986
Investigation de l'arche

Resident of New York for the past 8 years, Diana Dubbay has explored the iconographic potential of architectural structures, using sculpture, installations, and drawings. In order to enhance the iconographic dimension, she reduced architectural form to their fondamental elements, isolating them from their usual contexts and functions, and translating them into scales and materials that bring out their esthetic character. Architectural motifs are chosen for the richness of the symbolic, philosophical, or social content that underpins them. Diana Gubbay's work focussed initially on structures as diverse as the log cabin and the skyscraper. Next, she concentrated more specifically on the house, rich in associations of hearth, shelter, and security; as well as the column constituting an elegant solution to the functional problem of supporting weight.

Recently, it has been the arch that Diana Gubbay has chosen as the focus of her investigations. The arch, typical symbol of classical architecture, carries a multitude of cultural and symbolic references: separation, passage, theshold into another state, another place. It is this most recent arches series that will be exhibited at Optica.

Three groups of work are presented. First is a group of small-scale sculptures, made of flexible materials such as electric wires, thin metal sheets, narrow cooper tubing, etc. The fragility of these materials highlights the interaction of symbolic theme and variations that Diana Gubbay plays out through the form of the arch. Here and there one recognizes references to the history of the form, from the most majestic of its manifestations, to the most prosaic garden bower. One notes also contrasts provoked by the use of materials that evoke much more pargmatic, down to earth realities.

The second group is a series of maquettes of different sizes, including one very large-scale construction using heavy industrial cardboard. Although these maquettes are complete in themselves, they also constitute studies for possible development in more permanent materials such as wood or aluminium. The exhibition includes thirdly a series of gestural ink drawings that incorporate a more playful, abstracted exploration of the arch theme. An anthropomorphic sense emerges from the drawings that confronts the architectural with the human form. I link of continuity and passage is thus established between an organic dimension beneath the surface of architecture, and the architectural dimension that is intrinsic to the human body. The gestural vitality that here expresses human motion, brings us back to the core of the investigation that Diana Gubbay takes in hand in the growing body of her work.
- Press release (Optica)

Bibliographie
Mills, James, "Exhibition at Galerie Optica: Diana Gubbay explores arches in sculpture ink" in The Westmount Examiner, Thursday January 9, 1986, page 14.