This exhibition pays tribute to the late artist and former president of NSCAD University, Garry Neill Kennedy (1935-2021), whose work always navigated the unstable boundary between the provisional autonomy of art and the contingent pressures of the outside world. Preoccupied with the slippery relationship between visual signs and their referents, the regime of Conceptual Art—which Kennedy nurtured and elaborated as an artist and as president of NSCAD—has always paid close attention to art’s boundaries—its inside and its outside, whether defined by institutions or frames, materials or ideas, internal logic or external forces. Art, it has been understood, sits between reality and idea; it occupies a time and space that is separate from and determined by the flow of events.
The works in Out of Time explore the question of how artists respond to events, current and historical. Rather than merely replicate the usual means of communication—especially the words and images that appear in the media—can art’s exploration of form, of how messages appear to us, rather than what they ostensibly say, provide questions about the stream of information we receive every day? And if we have become desensitized to the news, or have forgotten or distorted historical events, can the appearance of mysterious and oblique messages make them properly visible again?
-Pan Wendt, Curator