THE ARTISTS: The Lions: Matthew Brown, Barry Doupe, James Whitman, Stephen Wichuk, Leif Hall, and Tasha Brotherton.
THE LOWDOWN: Five members of this six-person group work out of Vancouver. For their new show, the paper-friendly artists have produced an overwhelming assortment of more than 200 small contour drawings, plus a couple of animated short films and several self-published zines.
COORDINATES: At the Butchershop gallery from Friday (January 14) until February 7.
PROCESS ORIENTED: The Lions have been working together for two years, meeting every Tuesday for an evening of inspired collaborative drawing around the dinner table. Made with a variety of media including pencils, pens, and crayons, the idiosyncratic drawings get passed around for whomever feels like contributing before being placed in the finished or the unfinished pile. Related to the surrealist game of cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse), the Lions' amicable practice results in a unique body of slightly disconcerting works that reference a range of illustration genres but never quite fall into place. At times, the drawings appear to be loosely rendered landscapes before morphing into portraits and then back again. At others, their unhurried lines don't seem to amount to anything concrete, leaving the viewer to simply enjoy the amusingly spare illustrations.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS: "We are interested in making drawings that play with the depiction of social space or with the presentation of face," says Whitman in an interview at the artist's house. "A lot of the time we've defaced our characters, or the face they present is deadpan and blank, distancing your sense of their subjectivity or what subjective identification you might have with them."