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Rhys Edwards


July 9 - August 29, 2020


Empty Gallery is pleased to present 'Apophenia', a solo exhibition by Rhys Edwards.

Rhys Edwards is a critic, artist, and curator. His works employ classical and academic methods in the pursuit of anti-representation. He has written for C Magazine, Canadian Art, The Capilano Review and BC Studies. In 2015, he co-founded the Agent C Gallery with artist Debbie Tuepah in the Newton region of Surrey. In 2019, he was nominated for the Salt Spring National Art Prize.


A primarily self-taught figurative artist, Edwards’ work engenders an obsession with the appearance of forms and how drawing and painting compel us to pay attention to these forms.


The subjects of all of Edwards' works are united in their ambiguity. They aspire to a reality that is generated through the symbolic codes of historical 'realism' in art (such as light, shadow, and texture), but as paintings and drawings, they may never arrive there.


In recent years, the focus of Edwards' painting practice has been the rendition of maquette sculptures. Edwards combines ordinary materials (such as plastic, fabric, paper, and foam) together to create sculptural compositions, which he then renders in two dimensions as exactly as he can in oil paint. Edwards develops these works with the use of natural daylight, and without the aid of any mechanical devices or digital reproductions, over numerous layers; each painting takes several months to produce. The end result is suggestive of historical painting forms in the Western canon, but evades reference to any specifically known object or entity. The use of abject materials and the lack of any apparent context or explicit meaning—combined with the lustre and smoothness of oil—creates a disjunction in symbolic value.


Critics such as Isabelle Graw have observed that the labour inherent within painting and drawing confers onto form a kind of vitalism (i.e., it makes form seem 'meaningful' or 'real'); yet, the very superficiality of Edwards' work brings into question those principles via which form accrues significance in both the mind and market.

‘Apophenia’ runs from July 9 to August 29, 2020. Visit the gallery during regular hours or by appointment.

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