Matthew Varey
To Witness

July 25 - August 24, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, July 25, 7-10pm

Peninsula Art Space is pleased to present To Witness, a solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Matthew Varey, on view from July 25th to August 24th, 2014.

The sculptures included in the exhibition embody a Ray Bradbury-esque science fiction, where a healthy collective psyche is the difference between what we have experienced for thousands of years and a new and better world. 

In the scenario played out at Peninsula Art Space, government investments will fund sufficient technology to return the artist’s team to battles of the past.  Once there, he has the ability to start and stop consciousness to camouflage soldiers and equipment in ways that are appropriate for shifting climates and the cycle of the sun throughout each of these former military engagements. 

Using an increasingly sophisticated wardrobe, Varey prevents those in combat from being easily visible targets, dramatically reducing casualty rates.  Making these transformations is a challenging and exhausting job.  The gear is heavy and changing men in every possible position is a clumsy enterprise at best.  And as soon as the sun begins to set or fog moves in, he must switch the combatants into more appropriate camouflage.

The decrease in casualties and suffering reduces the traumatic fallout of war.  Public health increases exponentially with every excursion back in time.  With each return, we are able to build on earlier efforts by providing more specifically accurate camouflage.  With the mediation of the ravages of war our collective trauma is reduced and quality of life improves for those in that future date from which we went back in time, and for all the days in between. 

This is a proposed future mythology of the past that will disarm and diminish trauma.  Individual items may be field altered and adapted by the troops on the ground and show signs of the intention of the people who wore them.  These are real items for an unlikely future reality. 

To witness, to suffer trauma, and then to heal, is the cycle that allows us to live more unselfishly.  These sculptures are the physical representations of a better past, present, and future.  Protection and shelter act as a conduit to sanctity and a determination that everything will be ok. 

Matthew Varey was born in Hamilton in 1968 and graduated from McMaster University’s Visual Art program in 1992. Varey’s work has evolved over the years from large works containing figurative elements detailing the shift in the Southern Ontario landscape from farmland to housing, to contemplations on the role of reinforced concrete on our domestic and historic lives. Varey had his first international solo exhibition in Europe in 1995 and has since exhibited at the Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa in Venice, Art Cologne, Art Berlin, Art Miami, and the Toronto International Art Fair, as well as galleries in Greece and across Canada. His work is held in corporate and private collections in the United States, Korea, England, Spain, Scandinavia, Greece, Germany and Canada. He lives and works in Toronto.