Artist Talk: Saturday, August 29 at 4pm
Quebec resident and Argentina-born sculptor José Luis Torres will be the artist in residence at the Oxygen Art Centre this August followed by an exhibition of his work generated while in residency. Thematically, Torres intends to continue with a series of “in situ” installation pieces he calls Mutations where the artist assembles random material, snow boards, deer antlers, chairs, street signs… that he has collected from the local area and community into contemporary art constructions. This act of taking what was never intended for the gallery into a gallery setting transforms the material through artful sensibilities into art of contemporary relevance. What was once personally coveted is now part of the collective expression of culture.
This sleuthing out of local culture from the store houses of people’s basements and storage units is the art of Torres which he then reflects back to his audience prompting them to question the meaning of this desire to save and pack away material. Torres’ suggests that we might ponder “do we not feel prisoner to all of the things that surround us – the things that we don’t dare to get rid of? And “does getting rid of something mean renouncing a part of our own history?” Is the saving of objects an attempt to record time and harbor memory?
Although part of a series, Torres installation at the Oxygen Art Centre will be unique to Nelson as Torres “In my work, I attempt to stimulate the relationship between location, my pieces and the individual experiencing it. My body of works, which are mainly in the form of sculpture, are essentially motivated by the possibility of diverting the senses and simple manipulation to everyday objects and recycled materials from our domestic environments. “
If Torres installations and sculptures provide a striking image of urban plight they also point towards paradoxical aspirations of finding home and leaving home that is at the core of his work. A position Torres knows well having immigrated from Argentina to Canada 12 years ago and feels that they are “conditions of existence”. It is perhaps these parallel pursuits that move the pendulum of energy in his work and rest in a still point that the viewer must find in his work. In the end, like the repurposed objects of Max Liboiron’s ice berg in Salt winning we may find a renewed attraction to what was once discarded or forgotten.
Jose Luis Torres was born in Argentina. He has been living and working in Quebec since 2003. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in visual arts and a Master’s Degree in sculpture and training in architecture and integration art with archtiecture. He has been showing widely across Canada and his pieces can be found in public and private collections around the world. joseluistorres.ca
Torres will arrive for his residency on August 16th. He will then begin collecting material for his installation. The community is invited to participate by contributing items for his installation. Once Torres has decided what material he is interested in objects can be dropped off at Oxygen Art Centre.
Oxygen will celebrate Torres’ installation with an artist reception Friday, August 28th from 7pm to 9pm. The artist will give a talk about his work the following day, Saturday August 29th at 4pm.
Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from British Columbia Arts Council, Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Canada Council for the Arts and the Province of British Columbia.