Walter Scott
The Scrawled Heel of the Real

Opening September 9, 2020
Note opening times have changed to: 4-9 PM

On view: September 10 – October 3, 2020
Hours: Thurs-Fri 12-4 PM, Sat 12-5 PM

Solo exhibition and book launch of Wendy, Master of Art with artist Walter Scott.

Ashley Berlin is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Walter Scott. For his first solo exhibition in Europe, Scott presents new drawings, sculptures, as well as video performance reading. The exhibition opening is also marked by the launch of his newest book, Wendy, Master of Arts.

As an artist who spans disciplines—be it comics, drawings, videos, performances, or sculptures—Scott’s work is driven by an interest in identity, representation, and narrative. His work folds in and out of itself across these various media in a way that both tangles up notions of fiction and truth while unraveling them simultaneously; Planes of understanding and perception flatten and remerge in tow. Scott’s is a practice that is meta-referential, a particular flavor that, in his case, seems to be informed by millennial-ennui, contemporary multi-channeled thinking, as well as identity and the socio-political realities (and imaginations) that creates them. That’s all delicately pinned through with an incisive criticism of artistic canon, cultural institutions, and the dominant narratives that transform and uphold them—be it the newest dogmas or the dustier values.

To open a show where the artist is necessarily absent due to a pandemic is poetic in so far as Scott’s presence abounds through The Scrawled Heel of the Real, an emotionally taut exhibition of new works all conceived of and fabricated in 2020. Diaristic sculptures and a grid of large-scale drawings take creative production and representation as raw material. While clearly self-portraits, they also read the room and the actors who may be standing within it.

A pair of sculptures recreates a disembodied figure in painted metal, silicon wires and an almost bare clothing rack, while hollow hands and feet sculpted in fragile paper sit or hang apart, achilles heels and wrist bones subbed in for studio work tools. Awl in the Heel of the Real and Hewn, When? nod to a puncture in the image before us, but also a hole in the process of creating in the first place. They ask us which subject-position we are going to adhere to, identified or identifier. The two have congealed. They look on.

Across from the gallery, a six-part series of vibrant and large mixed-media drawings embody an artist-centric saga. These works chart the platitudes, anxieties, and split personalities of creative production. Their landscapes collapse interior psyche and exterior drama, revealing, maybe, something true about the artist who drew them, while obfuscating any kind of real sense of knowing. The protagonist is fractured and reassembled. A polyphony of viewpoints and perspective seem to self-aggrandize in a playful solipsism, while remaining, woefully bound to the paper.

And here is where we arrive at Wendy, who figures into these wall works as a blip in the mainframe. In the most recent edition of the series, Wendy, Master of Art, our hot-messy heroine heads to art school to complete her Master degree. Well-loved for this eponymous multi-part series, Scott has, since 2014, been chronicling Wendy’s triumphs and plights, becoming known for holding up a mirror to the a socially webbed social world (and overlapping industry) that emerges from artistic practices—by way of humor matched elegantly by erudition. It cuts to a truth that is bound to its success: that people most often operate in a semiotic world where object and meaning float above and off to the side, that art is sidelined by the human social antics that simultaneously craft and destroy it. – Kate Brown

Walter Scott b. 1985, is an interdisciplinary artist working across comics, drawing, video, performance and sculpture. His comic series, Wendy, chronicles the continuing misadventures of a young artist in a satirical version of the contemporary art world. Wendy has been featured in Canadian Art, Art in America, and published online on the New Yorker. Recent exhibitions include Slipping on the Missing X, Macaulay Fine Art (Vancouver), and The Pathos Of Mandy, at the ISCP, New York. Walter was recently an artist-in-residence, at the ISCP, in Brooklyn, New York. His new graphic novel, Wendy, Master of Art, is now available from Drawn and Quarterly.

The book launch of Wendy, Master of Art is organised in collaboration with Hopscotch Reading Room/Wendy, Master of Art wird in Zusammenarbeit mit Hopscotch Reading Room präsentiert.

The exhibition is part of the culture program related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair and is supported by Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada. / Die Ausstellung ist Teil von Kanadas Kulturprogramm als Ehrengast der Frankfurter Buchmesse und wird unterstützt durch das Canada Council for the Arts und die Regierung von Kanada.