ADRIENNE TRENT: BURDENS
February 3 to March 23, 2024
Opening Reception: Feb 3, 2 to 5 pm
Artist Talk: March 2, 2 to 5 pm
The John B. Aird Gallery is proud to present an exhibition titled BURDENS by Toronto-based artist Adrienne Trent, curated by the Gallery’s director, Carla Garnet. The solo show features work from Trent’s multi-disciplinary practice and will be on view in the Gallery from February 3rd to March 28th, 2024.
The artist’s installation consists of two sets of sculptures, digital photos, a large wall projection informed by local weather, and two videos showcasing current Parisian scenery displayed on monitors in the Aird’s two street-facing windows.
The first set, titled The Burdens of History (2009), is comprised of four tall sculptures made from found objects fastened to long metal poles that as forms resemble bundles on sticks. After their passing, Trent stumbled upon the original objects used to create the mixed media sculptures while cleaning up her grandparent’s basement.
This discovery sparked Trent’s curiosity about her ancestry, leading her to explore her family’s journey from France to England and Canada through unfailing travel.
Fascinated to learn why the Huguenots sought refuge in the New World following the underknown Paris incident, Trent frequently journeyed to France to explore the site of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre: The St. Germaine l’Auxerrois Tower in Paris, which still stands as a witness to the historical event that occurred 500 years ago.
The artist compared the Tower with the one seen in François Dubois’ painting, which represents the massacre of the Protestants that took place in Paris on August 24, 1572, and continued for several days. Though the tower is not identical to Dubois’s painting, Trent confirmed that this was the site – St. Germain l’Auxerrois, near the Louvre.
The second set of sculptures titled The Plasters (2023), is a suite of seven tall forms made of plaster and rebar. This series is based on an image generated by AI neural networks (Midjourney) that was created using several images from the artist’s past works, including Burdens (2009), as input.
This new plaster series is not unlike Trent’s found object works, as it can also be interpreted as a set of journeyers bundles on sticks or metaphorical heads on spikes, referring to events from 500 years ago that remain stubbornly resonate in today’s culture, one still struggling with differences between belief systems.
Using AI algorithms to create imagery, Adrienne Trent opens up new blendings of her past images with AI-generated imagery. Or, in the artist’s words, “My attempt to replicate this 2-dimensional, digitally generated image by building the plaster work on rebar, I am effectively using AI in reverse by employing a 7000-year-old traditional sculptural material, plaster. With all of the fear around artificial intelligence, replacing actual flesh and blood artists or infringing on copyright laws, I like to point out that I feel AI may be a useful tool”.
Adrienne Trent currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in the 80s, she exhibited her art nationally and internationally. She co-founded Republic and was a member of the Red Head Gallery in the 1990s. and Loop Gallery for 10 years in the 2000s. She has had exhibits in commercial galleries such as Robert Birch, Edward Day, Deleon White, Lonsdale, and V. Macdonnell; in public galleries such as the Art Gallery of Clarington, Koffler Gallery, Justina M. Barnicke at the University of Toronto, Robert Langen at Sir Wilfred Laurier University, and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa; and various artist-run spaces; Artspace in Peterborough, White Water Gallery in North Bay, Mercer Union in Toronto, La Centrale in Montreal, and SAW Gallery in Ottawa.
Adrienne’s works are in the collections of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Tom Thompson Gallery, the University of Toronto Art Centre, the Robert Langen Gallery, and private collections.
Adrienne has also curated several exhibitions in conjunction with Republic, Red Head, “40×40” at Gallery 1313, and with Visual Arts Ontario, where she was the head of the Colour Reprography program for artists from 1991 to 1998.