Anser & SoTeeOh: Luminous
Exhibition Dates: November 10-20 Location: Project Gallery (1109 Queen St E)
A collaborative exhibition featuring artists Anser and Soteoh, Luminous, takes the dark street scenes of SoTeeOh's urban landscapes as a backdrop for the infamous one-liner face portraits of graffiti artist Anser.
Created using long exposure photography and a flashlight, the two combined what they are both best known to develop something completely new. Like most of Anser’s work around the city, it is temporary, and this ephemerality is explored even further as the light drawings disappear before the eye and only the camera captures the outcome. By setting these portraits in various locations around Toronto, it mimics the close relationship both artists have with the urban setting they call home. Meant to brighten the dark corners of the city, Luminous takes this one step further.
Anser's Mysterious Date, created in early 2007, was developed to foster a more publicly inclusive form of graffiti. The one-liner spray painted face has now become something of an icon within the Toronto urban fabric. Through the use of traditional graffiti mark-making methods, "the face" was developed to engage a typically ignored public by using an image that everyone could associate with. The moniker "Mysterious Date" was coined by photographer Micheal D'Amico, who dubbed a series of street photographs of the face "Mystery Date" in a CONTACT photography festival. The adoption of this name is a testimony to this idea.
The Mysterious Date also straddles the lines between graffiti and street art. In most forms of traditional street art, such as stenciling and wheat pasting, the creation of the imagery is done away from the setting it is viewed in. The fact the face is done in a more traditional graffiti method, on the spot and usually in an illegal context, is about breaking down preconceptions to promote an appreciation of both art forms. Through this approach, Anser has found a way to create a spontaneous interaction with the public, something that many say give a closer sense of connection to the city around them.
Soteeoh is a Toronto born street photographer. Through composition and subject selection, his work presents a subjective and stylized view of daily urban life. He draws mainly off of influences in the realms of design, architecture, and fashion combined with an obsessive appreciation for urban grit. Symmetry, pattern, and color are used as primary devices in composing his images. The artist’s work coincides with the growing urban digital photography movement championed by online platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and VSCO. Digital manipulation and post-processing are an increasingly valued part of the photographic process.
Although he still relies heavily on the spontaneity of the urban environment, it is a departure from traditional “candid” street photography in the sense that the images are carefully composed, colored, and in some cases embellished or abstracted, to present scenes that are based closely on real environments but that may not occur naturally exactly as they are depicted in the work. The work asks the viewer to reconsider their daily urban surroundings. Is it drab? Is it dirty? Is it ugly? Or is there something more here? He believes so and with his work, he challenges the viewer to join him in his appreciation for the synchronized visual chaos that is the modern urban centre.
Presented by Project Gallery, Art Works Consulting, & Well and Good