Monday, November 1, 2021

Rowan Melling: BOSS BODIES

5 November 2021 through 12 December 2021
Opening reception for the artist Friday 5 November 2021, 6-9pm

Organized by Steven Tong with essays by Dan Adleman and Neal Rockwell

"For reasons that I hope are quite clear, you will not encounter many exhibitions like Boss Bodies around town. The local press won’t likely have much to say about it either. That’s because the exhibition, in its own modest way, challenges a fantasy system to which so many of us remain indentured. Even at this disastrous stage of the crisis, developer-funded media outlets would have you believe that the Vancouver model provides the only feasible optics for finding our way within a city in freefall. Just try not to look down. "
Dan Adleman Interfacing with the Vancouver Model

"In a certain way, Boss Bodies is a vibe-based reply to [the] image economy. ...The violence inherent in the concrete actions of these companies leaked through in promotional photographs of these organizations' CEOs. They could not quite gloss over their role in dispossessions, demolitions, driving up housing costs, annihilating the meaning of language, and the apparent foreclosing of imagination and possibilities towards a deeply mediocre aspirational vision of corporate citizenship. Their cracked smiles and glinting eyes registered something more sinister than the "good vibes only" image they were attempting to promote."
Neal Rockwell Portraits of the  Vibeconomy 
Rowan Melling started oil painting in 2019 to “deal” with his feelings. When he was anxious, he painted plants. When he felt love, he painted his friends and family. When he suffered horror at entrepreneurial superheroes re-making the world in their crappy brand-image, he painted upsetting portraits of CEOs. These latter paintings make up his first solo show, Boss Bodies. This work seeks to reground its branded, transcendental subjects in the abjection of their bodies through the thick materiality of oil paint. As a whole, Rowan’s painting practice tries to resuscitate a bodily intimacy, slowly being strangled by the alienation of digital capitalism. He has previously shown work at CSA Space in Vancouver and the Decadent Squalor in Montreal. Rowan has an M.A. in German Studies from UBC and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Communication Studies at SFU.