The Art Gallery of Mississauga’s new exhibition, Form, Colour, Line, promotes the work of two emerging artists, Natasha Gouveia and Laura Marotta. The show aims to show a new approach to minimalism, a style that, apparently, has so far been dominated by men. This time around, two women take on the subject, showcasing work that engages and disappoints in equal measure.
Gouveia’s work comprises a series of pieces called Gouge, for which she painted large, canvas-sized pieces of wood black and then scraped away the paint along the grain of the wood. The first two pieces I saw elicited a powerful emotional response in me, and I’m not even sure I can say why. It seems like such a simple concept, not unlike the metallic scratch art I used to make as a child. But I suppose it was Gouveia’s idea to put her project on such a large scale and her choice of material that were so unique.
A series of miniature Gouges were also displayed, which I found incredibly powerful on display together. Even though they were listed as practice pieces for the larger works, I almost preferred them.
On the other hand, I found Marotta’s pieces less rewarding. She stacked three-dimensional pentagons, triangles, and hexagons made of several different kinds of wood and plastic, which made them more reminiscent of designer furniture than minimalist art. While her work was unique, it didn’t elicit an emotional response, and no one piece stood out.
Also displayed were Marotta’s concept drawings for the pieces. Like Gouveia’s miniatures, I was more interested in these than in her final products. It was challenging to understand the drawings because they resembled optical illusions. I couldn’t quite figure out which shape overlapped with which, and which piece or colour was meant to be in front of which panel of wood.
It seems the AGM often sees poor attendance at its exhibits. When I attended the opening of F’d Up in the fall, there was a decent turnout. But the opening of Form, Colour, Line was attended by only a handful of people. Part of the challenge with this show might be that since only two artists are featured, it attracts fewer guests. I was left trying to figure out a way to promote the AGM to help them out a little.
Form, Colour, Line runs until April 18.