Hales is excited to announce Ordinary Men, Price's first solo exhibition in Canada, at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto.
The exhibition at The Power Plant features a series of sculptures in varying sizes. Inside the gallery, a newly commissioned work is presented alongside several smaller bronzes and photographs that challenge the erasure of black bodies within the traditions of classical sculpture. Outside in Canada Square sits Price’s Numen series, 2016, a continuation of the artist’s investigation into Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. To the west, on the South Terrace, a monumental cast-bronze titled Cover Up (The Reveal), 2019 is presented. These four works extend the exhibition’s reach into the public sphere, thus engaging visitors both inside and outside of the gallery and confronting us with images of black male bodies on a monumental scale.
Price’s works place traditional materials in dialogue with contemporary ones, alluding to historic figures that have been memorialized in bronze and marble. This gesture invites the audience to question the distinction between ‘high’ versus ‘low’ art. In Price’s canon, aluminum heads perch atop thick marble columns while traditional cast-bronze sculptures rest upon shallow bases coated in slick, automotive spray paint; reclaimed wood plinths support full-length, bronzed figures, and busts made of an acrylic composite are treated with silvery-white palladium—a metal often used in electronics, jewelry and dentistry. Price’s critique of a cultural hierarchy that devalues modern materials over traditional ones parallels a socio-political system that privileges some individuals over others. Who is remembered and who is forgotten or, worse, violently excised from the record?
As if in response, Price’s sculptures project a feeling of the inherent loneliness of black men, who have to deal with constant stereotypes being cast on their personas. Regardless, they also invoke a quiet contemplation—those tentative moments that sometimes flash across the faces of marginalized individuals as they navigate white-dominated spaces. The perceived vulnerability is made more complex by the sculptures’ oblique gaze—a nod to ancient Egyptian statuary in which looking straight ahead represents gazing into eternity. Price’s sculptures rarely address the viewer directly. Rather, they extend beyond the spectator as if to suggest that these men will persist.
Thomas J Price
The Power Plant
231 Queens Quay West
22 June - 2 September 2019
For more information please click here.