Review: Libby Hague and Maria Gabankova at Loop.

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Libby Hague

Upon entering Loop Gallery this week I was confronted with a barrage of mixed media that positively exceeded my expectations. Covering the gamut from somber portraiture to dizzying whimsy, Libby Hague’s Gravity Drawings: more light/less darkness and Maria Gabankova’s Memento Mori stand in stark contrast to each other despite their similarly unrestrained exploration of materiality.

Gravity Drawings: more light/less darkness, which takes up the first half of the gallery’s open, one-room space, truly lives up to the artist’s aim to present both a curated show as well as an informal studio visit. Hague’s most alarming pieces consist of several smaller found art and constructed elements, like the spiral hanging “Gold Rush” which are scattered in a seemingly chaotic build-up as some pieces lay against the wall in corners while others fall from the ceiling. These wall-work installations mix streamer-like ribbons of cut paper, magazine clippings, crumbled up plastic bags and random splats of paint into very exciting paper epics. This work is then paired with more traditional pieces like “Complicated Shot,” a colourfully abstract paper sculpture displayed in an upright presentational case and “Perfect Green” which plays with the openness of making art but still includes precise paper waving techniques and consciously decorative painted borders.

Maria Gabankova

Maria Gabankova’s Memento Mori presents a suite of representational paintings dedicated to the memory of her father and her birth country, the former Czechoslovakia. From this launching pad, Gabankova depicts a series of figures, some famous (like Václav Havel – the recently deceased last president of Czechoslovakia), and some unknown, through her style of sketchily streaked oil sticks and paint on top of translucent Mylar film. Gabankova’s series of nude females are especially impressive, particularly “Memento Mori II” which imbues a baroque quality in that the pink fleshy figure sprawls over the emblem of death itself, the skull. In keeping with the show’s theme “Memento Mori II” oscillates between the joy of life and its inevitable end.

Both Gravity Drawings: more light/less darkness and Memento Mori run until February 26.

– Stella Melchiori

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