Diaz Contemporary is pleased to present Toronto-based artist Nick Ostoff’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Peripheries is an exploration of the marginal public spaces found within and around the North American urban landscape. These are often the industrial non-spaces situated along the outskirts of cities, non-descript suburban areas, and various pedestrian spaces within the downtown core. In particular, Ostoff is concerned with certain elements within these spaces - fences, power lines, subway benches, parking lots, industrial buildings - that are so ubiquitous, so embedded within the complex fabric of contemporary urban life, that they have become almost imperceptible.
In Peripheries, Ostoff explores the ways in which exterior space is transformed through memory, absence, and the mechanics of photographic representation. Working from a variety of photographic source material, his painterly method is informed by reduction and restraint – colour is muted, contrast heightened and all figures and extraneous details are removed. Through this methodology, the image becomes so generalized and vacant that it functions like a blank yet luminous screen, inviting the viewer to enter the space through psychological and narrative projection.
The works in Peripheries are predominately based on Ostoff’s own photographs taken in both Toronto and other North American cities over the past few years. With the aid of photographic framing and cropping the artist focuses on overlooked elements by removing the chaos of the surrounding context. Subsequently, through the act of painting, Ostoff removes the spatial and temporal specificity of the photographic source. Regardless of where these spaces and elements were once encountered, they are effectively re-located to an ambiguous realm that is both proximate to, yet completely removed from our quotidian experience.