Artforum.com Critics’ Pick: Elizabeth Zvonar at Daniel Faria Gallery
Sometimes the most challenging writing assignments are also the most satisfying. Last month, Elizabeth Zvonar opened an exhibition of new works (created over the past two years) at Toronto’s Daniel Faria Gallery: a body of work that brings together sculpture, collage and even a Duchamp-inspired readymade to create strange surrogates for the human body. It was one of the first opportunities I’ve had to see Zvonar’s work in person (after following it for many years online and through press releases) and I was intrigued by her subtle use of textures and source material, including casts of her own body parts.
But writing about this provocative, seemingly intuitive work—which I did for this month’s Artforum.com Critics’ Pick for Toronto—proved difficult, especially in the limited space afforded by the website’s format. One of the things I especially enjoyed about Zvonar’s exhibition is the tactile, bodily engagement it encourages in the viewer, over a series of separate but interrelated works in photo collage, porcelain and found objects. For instance, in the main room, the form of elbow and knee joints that features promimently in a large-scale collage titled The Spectre, The Serpent, The Ghost, The Thing is echoed in a series of small-scale porcelain casts of the artist’s elbow, tipped with gold paint and lined up to form a Clusterfuck of strange forms beneath her other large-scale collage work, Blind Love. It’s this recurrence of familiar forms, made strange, that both draws the viewer in and also keeps us moving throughout the space, forcing a kind of interrupted viewing that mimics the figures Zvonar makes through her inventive recombination of materials.