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image
© Scott Wallis, Untitled B. 102, 2010. Laque sur panneau MDF | Lacquer on MDF. 20,32 x 20,32 x 6,35 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Scott Wallis
From March 17th 2012 to April 21st 2012
Exposition solo

Knowing whether Scott Wallis approaches his material as a sculptor or a painter isn’t really important, since his approach is precisely an attempt to reinvent an essentially abstract repertoire on the threshold of sculpture and painting. As such, his works reveal a form of disciplinary transgression that betrays an obvious pleasure in foiling the conventions that frame and confirm our perceptions.

His production of recent years shows an interest in reflecting on the shifting relationship between image and object. Not only must one move around the presented works to appreciate their effects, but one must also piece out and dissect the interstices, delimit the voids and volumes, and give as much attention to light-images as to shaped material-images.

Because his approach is one that lets form determine content, because the effectiveness of his pieces rest on an extreme simplicity, a depersonalized construction, and often serial composition, it seems appropriate to view Wallis’ work as an investigation of space that attempts to give an updated perspective on issues that have been raised by formalism and minimalism. Though one should avoid the limiting constraints of “isms”, it seems just as reasonable to associate his approach with artists who are now pursuing research in the wake of issues broached by the Plasticiens.

Presented in Montreal for the first time, Scott Wallis’ oeuvre may be viewed as an art of formal interventions that exclude all expressive or narrative content. His works have no titles so as to create no fixed or even literary reference point for their interpretation. And yet, various topics are at play in his work, among them: colour, exploited for the rhythmic qualities it lends to the space; light, playing a major role in modulating sections and surfaces; and line, which turns the outside in. “The world is what we see and [. . .], nonetheless,” as the artist might have said with Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “we must learn to see it.”

Marie-Ève Beaupré

(1)Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, translated with a preface by Alphonso Lingis (Evenson: Northwestern University Press, 1968), 4.

The artist thanks the Ontario Arts Council, Rick Barr and the Barr Cabinets staff, Kingston.

Ontario Arts Council

Born in Toronto, Scott Wallis first obtained a degree in English and Philosophy from Queen’s University before turning to the visual arts in the early nineties. He has since presented his work at such venues as the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the McMaster Museum of Art. Currently, he lives and works in Kingston, Ontario.