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Rachel Eulena Williams’ art suggest that Earth — like us — is in a tender state

Rachel Eulena Williams’ art suggest that Earth — like us — is in a tender state
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As summer days unfold into warm humid nights, we’ve made our way outside and turned our eyes upward. We’ve looked to the northwest and picked out the Big Dipper, using it to point our way to a rare glimpse of the comet Neowise. To the southeast, Saturn and Jupiter have been together in the sky — an event that occurs only every 20 years, when their orbits align. A collaboration, of sorts; a light show we witness together with others across the continent.

It’s an apt metaphor for this week’s work of art, “Sunburn of the abundant earth,” by Rachel Eulena Williams. It is showing at the Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto as part of the exhibition “Hey Mars,” which features Williams, a Black American artist, and Scott Treleaven, a Toronto artist. While “Hey Mars” evokes the idea of looking up to the stars, familiarly, the individual work suggests that our Earth is in a tender state.

Much of Williams’ work is multimedia, a combination of paintings, or paintings deconstructed with the use of wire and fabric. According to the gallery, Williams “works at the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Her reconfigured canvases unbind painting from the stretcher, avoiding conventional support systems and imagining a myriad of spatial contortions.”

Treleaven’s paintings are bold canvases that “resemble microcosms of richly coloured minerals or galaxies. No one gem-hued shape/organism is a focal point; their interconnectedness is the object of study.” There’s a search for spiritual connection in Treleaven’s work, a mysticism.

We are all searching for meaning right now. We look to the stars, we look to art, to understand the world around us. We see potential and the possibility of creating something new, together.

You can see this exhibition in person at the Cooper Cole gallery with, of course, appropriate safety and social distancing measures. You can also check it out online at coopercolegallery.com .
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