Following their first career survey at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and on the very day the doors close on their first New York solo exhibition at Tierney Gardarin, Toronto-based collaborators Marman and Borins will again share the spotlight as the curtain lifts for Art Toronto—though all eyes will be on their abstract paintings. If you stopped by the Chelsea gallery for “Pavilion of the Blind,” you’ll remember the title piece, a kinetic sculpture made of colorful, motion-triggered window blinds rearranging in endless variations. Perhaps you’ll also recall that feeling of wanting to freeze the frame to remember the fleeting configurations; beautifully, Marman and Borins’ paintings do just that. At Georgia Scherman’s booth at Art Toronto, the related paintings catch the multicolor blinds and cascading window shades in fixed compositions, echoing the sculpture while playfully hinting at both artistic practice and abstraction. After the pair stopped by Artsy’s HQ for a happy hour toast to their recent success, we couldn’t help but follow up with a couple questions on their works as they’re moved from NYC to Art Toronto:
Artsy: Can you describe, in a few sentences, how your paintings at Art Toronto relate to the sculpture, Pavilion of the Blind?
Marman and Borins: Our paintings both compliment and exist in tension with the Pavilion of the Blind sculpture. Simultaneously they are vignettes, single frames of an animation, studies of light and colour, while symbolizing both the blueprint for, and the record of the sculpture. Prior to assembling Pavilion of the Blind we made the paintings. We were imagining the structure and its allusions to modernist utopian architectural space. The paintings ruminated on the physical space of the sculpture and we realized that they could exist in an interesting plane between abstraction and representation. Concurrently, the Pavilion of the Blind installation proposes an installation that is kinetic, interactive, sculptural, electronic—but also a large-format mixed-media painting.
Artsy: Moving from Tierney Gardarin to Art Toronto, the paintings works will be shown on their own. How might they be perceived differently without the context of the kinetic sculpture?
M&B: Alone and separated from the kinetic sculpture the Pavilion of the Blind paintings stand as a record or an ode, for something of grandeur, yet mythic. The two-dimensional works carry an air of historical authenticity and rationalized conclusions in them. They also carry atmosphere and light in the spaces between their compositions, suggesting notions of memory, and a cognitive dimensional impression. So in Art Toronto the paintings achieve exactly their purpose, to be both the original and the referent of the Pavilion of the Blind.
Have you seen the video ARTINFO made about Pavilion of the Blind? If not, take the next four minutes to indulge.