Anitra Hamilton

The Future Has Been Decided

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 17, 6-8pm

March 17 - April 23, 2011

Georgia Scherman Projects is pleased to announce its second solo show with Toronto based artist Anitra Hamilton. Entitled The Future Has Been Decided, this exhibition concentrates on recurring themes of territoriality, hierarchy and ownership. While clearly accepting that violence has and always will exist, Hamilton's work deals with the history of violence from a critical and cynical point of view. Neither moral judgment nor naïve anti-war sentiment is expressed: the complexity of warfare is conveyed and acknowledged.

In this exhibition, Hamilton investigates those primal psychological urges, which drive human beings and define our paradoxical nature. The will to create beauty and nurture good is juxtaposed with the appetite to destroy and succumb to evil. An emphasis on concealment within the works mimics the thin veneer of civilization that screens the battle between good and evil endemic to human existence.

The power of seduction is called upon and explicitly demonstrated through Hamilton’s strategic employment of unexpected substances and materials to create tactile and enticing surfaces ~ surfaces that subvert the original function of her objects and lure the viewer towards unexpected critical responses. While her objects appear to challenge attitudes and initiate transformative thinking ~ they cynically reaffirm the artist’s own ultimate skepticism.

Red Coat consists of a Canadian Forces Great Coat covered with 3000 commemorative Remembrance Day poppies and a sound recording of Two Minutes of Silence at a Remembrance Day ceremony in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. The brightly animated surface of the coat is in heavy contrast to its deflated appearance and the accompanying sounds of droning planes, piercing trumpets, silence and chiming bells.

In a series of works on MDF entitled, Turn Coat, Hamilton uses collage images cut from books to “speak to the duality of good and evil inherent in all humans.” She unites the top of one military serviceman with the bottom half of another: "there are two sides to every argument".

Hey Auslander! (Hey Outsider!) continues this proposition when the viewer finds herself in front of a large mirror shaped to form a heraldic shield. As in past

works, Hamilton employs heraldry to signify nationalism. She calls this work a “rejecting mirror” where the gallery visitor can be seen to find herself in foreign surroundings.

Born and based in Toronto, Anitra Hamilton has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Her work appears in the collections of the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario, among others. She is the past recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Chalmers Fellowship.

*Anitra Hamilton gratefully acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council.