An exhibition by Joshua Vettivelu and Andreas Buchwaldt
13 January – 18 February 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, 13 January 2023, 6:00-8:00PM
Wednesday, February 15, 6-7PM
Saturday, February 18, 2-4PM
Cloud Painter presents a future, speculative reality, where society is forced to live within a biodome following centuries of state orchestrated natural resources extraction that left the world inhospitable. In this world, artists are forced to assume a more essential, utilitarian role in society and become cloud painters, who are tasked with maintaining the sky of the biodome to ensure comfort and entertainment for Earth’s remaining citizens.
Taking shape as an imagined cloud painter’s office, featuring views of the biodome’s sky, this immersive exhibition is meant to inspire correlations between current realities of cultural workers and artists, and the conceptual lives of cloud painters, particularly when considering issues of labour, precarity, and resource distribution. Cloud Painter reflects on today’s, covert hierarchy of valued labour, designated between two kinds “non-essential but permitted” or “essential and required”, which are historically defined through race, gender, ability, class, and the overarching narrative of the state. Currently, arts and culture – for many – isn’t recognized as essential labour, and this lack of recognition contributes to the sector being underfunded. However, the sector is permitted to exist, as arts and culture is used to reflect a nation’s domestic and international public image. Cloud Painter depicts a societal reality where non-essential labour of the traditional cultural worker goes against the interest of the state, thereby losing its status of permitted, crumbling into an discrepant existence of losing creative agency in the face of precarity.
Joshua Vettivelu is an artist working within sculpture, video, and installation. Their work investigates how language and interpersonal relationships build the material world. Recent and upcoming projects explore the tensions that emerge when personal experiences are mined for state-sponsored art production.
Exhibitions venues of note include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the British Film Institute, Eastern Edge in St. John’s Nfld, The Academy of Arts in Prague, the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives Gallery, the Niagara Arts Center, the Center for Contemporary Art Glasgow, Nuit Blanche Toronto (and more). Their work is included in multiple private and public collections, including a public installation in St. Michael’s Hospital’s St. Jamestown Clinic. Vettivelu has been invited to speak at Cornell University, University of Toronto, York University, University of British Columbia, the Parliamentary Standing Committee, alongside multiple grassroots community platforms.
Andreas Buchwaldt is an installation artist based in Toronto, currently completing his PhD in Visual Culture at the University of Western Ontario. His doctoral research looks at the depiction of labour protest in popular media and its present day manifestation in virtual spaces.