Catherine Blackburn, Paul Walty, Joseph Muscat

March 19 to April 30, 1998


Pursuing distinct approaches, the three Toronto artists nevertheless share a common theme: the labyrinth. They draw from varied sources of myths, history and imagination, each following a guiding thread from which their thoughts and visions emerge. But the mystery of the labyrinth itself will remain in the shadow since the meaning ascribed to its structure perished with its constructors.

Even before we penetrate a labyrinth, we are faced with a choice: to enter or not; because the idea of it arouses fear. Then the choices are multiplied. The abundance of possible paths entails new hesitations. Where will this lead us: to the center of the maze, to a way out? Will we come back to our starting-point?

Catherine Blackburn, Paul Walty and Joseph Muscat intend to submerge themselves into the unknown and bring us along with them in an impenetrable and unpredictable path. It is the result of their in road and discoveries, interpreted by different techniques, that they share with us. Their interpretations intermingle and complete one another. It is up to us to draw a conclusion if indeed the enigma can lead to a solution.

There is no trap in this labyrinth; only questions remain those of choices, those of commitment and those stirred up by the unknown. For every person who undertakes the journey, two realities meet: the vision of the artist and the one on the traveller following his path.

«The current exhibition, BMW : Labyrinthe, is quite typical of the elevated themes that the GNO upholds. A sparse, metaphorically loaded show, it features the varied works of three young artists (or, at least their work has a youthful edge to it).

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Joseph Muscat’s superb, Mindscapes – an evocative combination of painting and sculpture. […] Intensely interesting conceptually, it has an honest and deeply searching kind of spiritual resonance. […] In all but one of a series of six-by-foot paintings on plywood, a simple A-frame house appears as the image that unites the series. Along a winding mountain road, above a vortex in the sky, embedded in a cliff near a sea cave, the same little house shows up. Like an obsessive focal point for the artist, it reads as a symbol of the soul’s journey between various worlds – both material and ethereal.

[…] Like Muscat, Catherine Balckburn’s Rose and Bleu also have strong spiritual overtones. The works feature an interesting combination of drawing and pottery. In both an ambiguous, figurative drawing is encircled by a number of decorative tiles which are thematically linked to the drawing.

Each tile is framed in a deep, black shadow box, and is decorated with beautifully-glazed dancing figures. Resembling Hindu fertility symbols, many of these figures contain highly-evocative womb images with them. The womb is a fully loaded symbol of any number of open-ended things: femininity, creation, creativity, fertility, freedom from confinement. Blackburn’s choice of images brings an expansive quality to her work.

[…] A large-scale, graphic piece, [Paul Walty’s Horns of a Dilema] depicts a three-part sequence of a muscular, snorting minotaur (half-man / half-bull) breaking free of chains that bind it at the wrists. The work appears to be computer generated, constructed of a series of small square sections. […] Its in-your-face attitude, and bold black on white composition, does have immediate impact.

[…] All in all, this exhibition is diverse, quite original and visually alluring.»
– Rob O’Flanagan, Sudbury Star, March 28, 1998, Title of article: Exhibit typifies elevated themes that the GNO upholds.

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