Why Can’t Minimal at Open Space

Installation view, Justina M. Barnike, Hart House, University of Toronto
Why Can’t Minimal (Installation view), Justina M. Barnike Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto.

Open Space
Victoria, BC
16 September to October 22, 2016

Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins
Louise Lawler
John Boyle-Singfield
John Marriot
John Wood and Paul Harrison
Jon Sasaki
Ken Nicol
Liza Eurich
Tammi Campbell

For the average person, Minimalism, a mid-20th century modernist genre, has a reputation for being coldly intellectual, abstract, or hard to understand. Why Can’t Minimal, curated by John G. Hampton, both challenges and engages the critiques of minimalism. In his hands, art history is witty, candid and speculative.

John Hampton explains: “Why Can’t Minimal mines minimalism for its humorous side by pointing to a latent absurdity hiding beneath its cool demeanour. The exhibition rejects the assumption that minimal art requires solely serious, solemn contemplation, and embraces the more intuitive, jovial, and personal pleasures that occur when one has fun with the comically utopian ambitions of unitary forms. Playing with the forms, traditions and incongruities of multiple levels of minimalism, the presented works elude rational comprehension, repositioning conceptual value to make room for the types of recognition made possible through levity, play, humour and sentiment.”

John G. Hampton is the executive director of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon, Manitoba.

Why Can’t Minimal is organized and circulated by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and is made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s National and International Touring program.