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Thursday, February 26


As he rose to his feet he noticed that he was neither dripping nor panting for breath as anyone would expect after being under water. His clothes were perfectly dry. He was standing by the edge of a small pool—not more than ten feet from side to side... There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind... The pool he had just got out of was not the only pool. There were dozens of others—a pool every few yards as far as his eyes could reach.

C.S Lewis, in his book The Magician's Nephew, goes on to explain how each pool leads to a different world.  It is this inter-dimensional gateway aspect of Brendan Flanagan's new work that we find so engaging.  He is not showing abstract paintings but rather entry points to the murky and often unnerving world found behind the computer screen.  In this regard the work could be viewed as landscape paintings, depicting an environment that to many people is closer than the wilderness of nature.

Intent on revealing the quirks of the computer programs that have become the ubiquitous mediators of images today, in his paintings, Flanagan plays up and tinkers with the structures that are concealed beneath virtual images. While some grids appear to lie on the surface, others seemingly rise from within the painting’s core, an effect simulating three-dimensional rendering in digital design. The result is a palpable tension between depth and flatness, illusion and abstraction, actual and virtual.

The implausible aspect of his work is felt in a physical way making it crucial to see this visceral work in person to appreciate the full effect. Flanagan's focus surrounds cultural preoccupations with the future, and by insisting on handmade components he undermines the digital processes that "clean up"and standardize contemporary production.

Preset Mispronounced is on view at Division Gallery, Toronto, until February 28, 2015.

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