Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force Unveils New Installation by Roula Partheniou

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Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force has selected a proposal by Roula Partheniou to install a custom-built vitrine in the Learning Commons of the Trafalgar campus. It will house a series of minimal object paintings and sculptures that reference packaging design, methods of display, architecture, food items and common household objects. Roula’s work explores the idea of remaking familiar objects in order to shift perception and perspective.

This task force — created by the dean of Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, Ronni Rosenberg — has developed an annual competition called “Temporary / Contemporary.” The project is designed to bring innovative and original artwork by high profile artists into the Sheridan community and link us to the broader cultural and artistic milieu. This work is meant to enrich the experience of students, faculty and staff at the Sheridan Trafalgar campus with stimulating and challenging artwork. In addition, the objective is to integrate this artwork into curriculum through an artist’s talk, workshops and projects related to the installed artwork.

The Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force jury included:

Matthew Hyland, Director of the Oakville Galleries

Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design

Kathleen Hearn, Faculty of Communication, Culture, Information Technology

Robert Fones, Faculty of Art and Art History

David Poolman, Faculty of Art and Art History

Jay Wilson, Faculty of Art and Art History

Robert Fones explained: “Roula was chosen because her proposal responded to several of the dozen specific sites that were identified as suitable for Temporary Contemporary installations. She also proposed works that were ideally suited to the locations she chose. Roula is very articulate about her work, so we felt confident that she would be able to present her work to students in an artist’s talk. Her work appears simple but deals with fundamental idiosyncrasies of representation and perception that are common to many creative disciplines. We also felt that it would be relatively easy to create assignments that encouraged students to respond to her unique way of thinking about commonplace objects in sculptural terms.”

Roula graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Guelph, where she specialized in sculpture. “Informally,” she says, “I learned a lot by working with my father, an obsessively meticulous craftsman. For Temporary Contemporary I will be showing a new installation created specifically for Sheridan. It transforms a pair of vitrines into reduced and distorted mirror images of each other. A group of objects are arranged, copied, reversed, and reflected in corresponding shades of gray. The work becomes an exercise in looking, seeing and perception. An experiment with the edge between representation and abstraction and the tension between the actual and the copy, the installation is meant to playfully engage the passerby while rewarding closer scrutiny.”

When asked about her practice, Roula said, “I tend to start with a material and find a way to manipulate it conceptually, responding to its inherent properties. These material exercises, of isolating what’s quintessential about a particular thing and either highlighting or altering it, are an effort to understand different frameworks for how the mind makes sense of visual information. In the same way that material play is key to my practice, quite often, so is working with the possibilities and limitations of a particular site for exhibiting the work.  A consideration for context, or placing the works in situ is often integral to the reading of the piece.”

Roula’s recent projects have centered on an exploration of “the replica and how the remaking of a familiar object can trigger a shift in perspective and perception.”  She uses materials like paint on wood, canvas, foam, graphite, chalk and polymer clay. “Everyday items such as books, stacks of tape, piles of cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, a banana peel, burnt matches, chewing gum, cigarettes, lumber, bottle caps, etc. are reproduced as either highly detailed, reductive or distorted copies.”

Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force will host an official opening and presentation on Thursday September 26th at 10am in the Learning Commons.

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