by Steve Rockwell
Garrett Lockhart’s “Wrinkle” exhibition at the Hunt Gallery Toronto is an offering of paperback-sized objects that carry the look and feel of fastidious graphite drawings. The seven by five inch cotton and denim works over board are, in fact, inkjet transfers that wash onto the fabric imperfectly. This careful sifting and arranging of print magazine images evoke a memory of lived presence – a migration of the effluence of luxury amid closely-cropped photos of models and interiors.
Although the artist’s sources to his subjects span the decades from the 80s into the near present, the citing of Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine in particular is significant. Lockhart’s “Wrinkle” can be read as a grainy homage to Warhol’s Factory, which at its giddy peak was an avant garde laboratory, a chaotic jumble of the rich and famous with artists and musicians – the celebrities of the day. In Warhol’s transfer, his silkscreen subjects migrated from canvas to celluloid, turning them into “superstars.”
Lockhart’s catalogue of exhibition images, on the other hand, can be read as an art director story board replete with character closeups, sets and locations. His “Profile (Right)” and “Profile (Left)” are actor test shots, much as Warhol’s screen tests became standard fare for his film works. It’s the viewer, however, in the “Wrinkle” exhibition that splices and edits their own narrative from the sparsely-placed “frames.” That the works mime the pocketbook format rather than a film cell, cues us for a story rooted in pulp fiction. To the gallery consumer they are an affordable “prêt-à-porter.”
In a wider sense, the aesthetic impulse of the artist is the poetic distillation the material presence of selected objects. Lockhart has mounted an impressive bouquet of solo and group exhibitions worldwide in just the past few years, that include, not only Toronto, but Vancouver, Chicago, Brooklyn, The Netherlands, and London, England. A single work in his 2021 “Sleeper Cell” show in Montréal contained blank keys, aluminum house numbers, deadstock glass beads from Queen Street, found plastic jewel, hardware store tag, and wire, salvaged wood, rope, twine, found steel pulley and a sailboat cleat. Each fragment of a Lockhart work is a trace clue to its origin. In a group exhibition, meaning and import sifts from their permutation with participating artists.
While a formal singularity sets Lockhart’s “Wrinkle” exhibition apart, it’s best to view the artist’s full oeuvre as patches and swaths cut from a single bolt of cloth. Here at Hunt Gallery, however, your steam iron is not required. The linearity of the presentation makes its reading smooth and wrinkle-free.
Garrett Lockhart: Wrinkle. From January 19 – February 17, 2024 at Hunt Gallery, 1278 St. Clair Avenue West, Unit 8, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6E 1B9