Weppler Mahovsky

Lantern Sculptures

The Guest’s Shadow, 2020

Installation dates:

7:15-8:30pm, August 30-September 7, 2020. Kit collection, Branford House portico; installation, Branford House lawn (water side).

About the Artwork

“A translation of a Matsuo Basho haiku reads,
banked charcoal / against the wall / the guest’s shadow

It has been read as an imagining of a guest sharing a fire by Basho, in a moment of his dire loneliness.

The Guest’s Shadow is an interactive light-based work that takes the form of a dream-like picnic. Echoing the beacon that is the Avery Point lighthouse, the installation is an island of light in the center of the grounds, signaling to those moving though the area.

A large gingham blanket is set out, and visitors are invited to join the picnic by selecting a photographic lantern-making kit of a picnic food item, such as a slice of cake, sandwich or box of sushi. Each kit contains two copies of the lantern: one to fold and assemble on site and donate to the picnic, the other to take home and craft. As visitors leave their lanterns on the blanket, the glowing picnic becomes a sculptural record of their presence.

An acknowledgement of the way natural settings can become littered with the traces of human use, the artwork redirects this scenario into the production of a communally-made, fugitive monument to the gathering of new friends and the act of sharing in a time of social distancing.” –Weppler Mahovsky

Artist Statement

“Our art is sculptural still life, attenuated by an emphasis on process and materiality. Whether generated by laborious working methods, held together by propping or balancing, or constructed from ephemeral material, our works focus attention upon their coming into and out of existence. In them, accumulated paint and plaster drips, layers of paper maché, and traces of hand embossing function as almost-frozen records of the passage of time. Because these works are realized at a 1:1 scale to life, their representational character is at odds with their existence as palpable, ambient environments sensitive to effects of atmosphere, gravity and wear and tear. By posing their very real vulnerability, temporality and open-endedness as an ambiguously bracketed off ‘life’, the works attempt to picture the world in which they are happily embedded. This self-picturing, wrapped up as it is with a necessarily exaggerated mimicry, is realized as a kind of earthy comedy.”

About the Artists

Rhonda Weppler (born in Winnipeg) and Trevor Mahovsky (born in Calgary) are New York- and Toronto-based artists who have worked collaboratively since 2004. Both artists have MFA degrees from the University of British Columbia, where they met in 1996. Their work has been shown extensively throughout Canada, as well as in the United States, Spain, Japan, Italy, and Germany. Weppler is currently artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Mahovsky has written for catalogues and journals such as Artforum and Canadian Art. Their work is represented in public collections including Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada.