Just Like Old Times

I had just put in yet another 14 hour day with Brad. We were closing in on the 90 hour mark for that week, and I was worn out. After the short walk home, I stumbled through the front door, and headed straight for bed. It was nearly 4 am. My shoes were still on my feet, and I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

Around 9 am, my phone rang.
“Kyle, put together an art show for November.”
I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I crawled out of bed around noon and made my way over to the secret lab / collaborative studio (otherwise known as “Brad’s house”).
“Hmm…I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt that I got a call from my old high school teacher, ordering me to put together an art show for Bob’s gallery. Weird.”
I checked my phone’s call history. It wasn’t a dream. I did agree to curate an art show.

Brad looked at me, “Have you ever curated a show before?”
“Do you know how to curate a show?”
“So, why did you agree to it?”
Because it’s a show!

Never turn down a show. That’s the rule. Show. Show your work. Always be ready. Be ready for three shows at once, just in case; and if you are already booked, work harder and make it work.

Brad looked at me, “But, don’t you have that December show”
“And that other thing?”
“Kyle, why? *sigh* What are you going to put in this show?”
Well, I was thinking, Take a Picture needs another public showing.
“I’m in!”

So, we got to work making some new images for “Take a Picture”

“So, Kyle, what else is going to be in this show?”
I’ll figure it out later.

I wanted to introduce some new blood into the gallery, I told Brad that I was going to talk with some of my former class mates, and see where they’re at. I’ve got an idea for an overall theme that works with “Take a Picture”. Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.

I’ve got it covered.

This is where I learned that exclusive contracts are far more common than I had expected. The few artists who actually got back to me all had exclusive deals wit their galleries. That was frustrating to try and work out. I ended up having to drop all of them. I just couldn’t make it happen in the time I had.

I told Brad, “Take a Picture” is going to be it, 4 pieces, and that’s the show.
“It’s going to be a lame show, Kyle”
Yea, I know, but I need a new theme, a new idea for this show. It needs to play off of “Take a Picture”; not over power it, but work with it. But what works with blank canvas?

I gave myself some time to think this over.
Hey, Victoria has been doing a lot of white on white stuff! White on white works with blank canvas! I’ll make a show about blankness! Victoria is also the only artist I know of who can put together just about anything with only a few days notice. That girl is a painting factory.

I lined things up with Victoria. She always delivers. Actually, Victoria over-delivers. I asked for about 4 pieces. She showed up with around 20. All highly-textural wonderful white on white work. I picked out the gems and we were set, we had the better part of a show.

I felt like the show still needed a little something else, so I went to my home studio and put something together. I took some white boards, and used my usual squeezing-paint-onto-the-surface technique to create some images. These paintings are sort of like simple line drawings, but instead of lines of pencil, they had lines of thick paint. Under direct lighting, the image is drawn in shadows and highlights from the paint’s depth. I am very happy with these pieces. I learned a lot from them, and I can’t wait to apply these techniques to my colourful works.

We have our venue: Open Gallery
We have our artists: Brad Blucher, Kyle Clements, Victoria Fenninger,
We have our show: Raw canvas and electronics, white on white.
The only thing we didn’t have was a name.

But what can I call it?

I needed something that fit with the theme of blankness, all white canvas, no colour, no pigment, nothing fancy, just white.
A quick stroll though the gallery section of my website will reveal that naming things isn’t exactly one of my strong suits. And I’ve already had a show titled “Untitled show”, I don’t think I can get away with something like that again.

I decided to go on the internet for help.

“OK internet, give me a name for the show.”

The website I was attempting to load was having some trouble.
“About:blank” came up on my screen.


I had everything I needed. The show can go on!

That story explains the show I having going on right now, but it doesn’t really explain the title of this post, so I’ll let you in on the back story:

Back when we were all in University, Brad, Victoria, and I, there was a small gallery up north that liked to show local contemporary artists. The three of us would show at this gallery all the time. Around the time we were all graduating, the gallery closed it’s doors, and we all went our separate ways. We remained close friends,but we stopped showing and working together.

Tonight was the first time in four years that the three of us had a show together. It took me back to those early shows, where we were still finding our voices, trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing. It felt just like old times. Only this time around, we weren’t a bunch of students showing student work; this time around, we had focus, direction, and 4 years of professional show experience behind us. It felt good.

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Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.