For his first exhibition with the gallery, Derek Sullivan presents new drawings completed while on residency in Paris. Although not specifically ‘about’ the city, they do gesture towards the activity of walking, marching, approaching—extended processes of encounter with a specific environment, at a particular time. Each drawing depicts a could-be book, not likely a would-be book. Books of technicolour shapes and patterns; books of men sculpted either in marble or through the act of sport; books of the stuff of metro tickets and scraps of paper that float from our hands to the street; books that form an index of time spent reading, looking, and considering. For Sullivan books are tools, able to both find and possess functions outside the intent of author, designer, printer, binder, publisher, distributor seller, reviewer, and reader. Therefore, along with a site-specific installation, this exhibition explores the before-life and after-life of books to shift the emphasis towards a book’s circumstances and away from its contents. For while books may be both literally and figuratively heavy, they are also flexible. Their meaning and physicality mutates over time to perform a variety of roles: whether spatially as objects that occupy our environments; emotionally and intellectually as things that organize and enrich our lives; or professionally as bearers of legitimacy.
Image Credit: Fallen Bookcase, 2015, wood, paper. Installation view at Oakville Galleries. Photocredit: Toni Hafkenschied