Fort Gallery is inviting the public to The Wordless Book and other sounds, an exhibition by Edmonton-based artist Allen Ball.
The exhibition runs until early next month, with a closing reception set for Friday, May 6, and an online Philosopher’s Cafe featuring the artist held on Saturday, May 7.
Ball’s work incorporates decorative arts, abstract symbolism and religious iconography, as well as cigarette papers, linoleum, and non-Christian crosses, in an attempt to unpack “the troubled colonial, racist church discourse of his childhood” in London in the 1960s and 1970s.
The exhibition will consist of paintings drawn from an ongoing series that interrogates the symbolic and associative power of colour through Victorian Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s The Wordless Book, which was designed as a Christian non-verbal evangelistic device using four colours to teach and colonize through the word of God, Ball explained.
Alongside these works will be six paintings that depict all 10 digits of a Victorian set of hymn board psalm numbers, running from zero through nine. Only digits 2 and 3 appear together in this series to symbolize and explore Psalm 23 of the Book of Psalms.
“Just as The Wordless Book and other sounds vacillate between church and gallery, thereby situating the viewer in a liminal space between ritual and motif, I explore these works with a choir,” said the artist.
”My hope is that the singing – and painting – of Psalm 23 in this exhibit constructs a liminal space between individual and community, artistic production and presentation, personal suffering and collective memorialization.”
Ball hopes his collective gesture will highlight the tensions between religion, state, and the individual, and guide him beyond the indoctrination and constraints of his own formative Christian education.
Fort Gallery is an artists cooperative that operates in a gallery space in the centre of Fort Langley, at 9048 Glover Rd. More information and hours available on their website at fortgallery.ca.
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