The monochrome shop is here to sellAn indeterminate collaboration between Andrew Smith, Ithaca Smith and Mark Cunningham.

Open for business from September 13 to Saturday October 11. Opening reception, Friday September 12, 8pm — part of #SWARM15.

The monochrome shop is here to sell. While we take the commodification of art as a given, and as a starting point, this is not a position that we inhabit with ease or comfort. We occupy it  because we simply can’t afford not to. Like the commodity, the monochrome is at first glance something trivial and obvious, while on the contrary it is a thing so complex, and so full of metaphysical subtleties that it can’t help but contaminate and change the way we relate to people and things. So stupid, yet so mentally and emotionally exposed. So brash, yet so insecure.

We propose our monochromes as image-fragments of the totality of economic abstraction today. We experience the economy as a monochromatic field that includes every- and no-thing, every- and no-where, every extreme of existence, as well as the thinning middle, and in which everything that circulates between us is coloured by money. Monochromatic abstraction, like most ‘events’ of the modernist avant garde that have been accorded any historical significance, mostly appears today as little more than an over-repeated trope squeezed out of MFA programs everywhere, a trope that leans heavily toward the whims of the art market. In which case, why shouldn’t we just do the same thing? Those debts don’t pay off themselves. Which is to say, monochromes sell, or at least this is our speculation.

The commodification of our monochromes does not preclude other, surplus potentials or pitfalls that we recognize in the form and its history. A monochrome may operate as, among other things: a flag; a blanket; a sound; a homeopathic agent; a sly joke; a literary device; a systemic oppression; and a place to disappear.

How much would you pay for a place to disappear?

Friday September 12, 8pm – Opening Reception
Wednesday September 17, 7pm – Artist talk by Ithaca Smith
Saturday October 4, 2pm – Book launch and talk by Mark Cunningham

Alongside these scheduled events, each artist will be keeping shop in the gallery at the following times throughout the exhibition:
Andrew Smith and Mark Cunningham – Saturday September 13, 12-5pm; Saturday October 11, 12-5pm.
Ithaca Smith – Wednesday September 17, 12-5pm.
Mark Cunningham – Each Wednesday for the duration of the project, 12-2pm; Saturdays, September 20 and 27, 12-2pm.

(NB: This shop-keeping schedule may be subject to change at short notice.)

Andrew Smith is an artist based in Portland, Oregon. Graduating from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2012 he has since shown in Canada and the US. His recent work explores the idea of gaze, specifically the male gaze, approached from both voyeuristic and autobiographical standpoints.

Ithaca Smith is a self-taught artist, poet, and writer. Her approach to production is multi-faceted and informed by the phenomenological binding of the body, place and capital. This will be Smith’s inaugural exhibition of paintings that she has commissioned by the artist Andrew Smith. Ithaca Smith lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Mark Cunningham is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. He has worked across photography, video, text, ephemera, performance and installation. Graduating from  Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2013, he is currently a participating artist in the Hammock Residency in Vancouver, where he has been continuing ongoing explorations into laziness, friendship and economy.