• Aaron Carpenter

    Aaron Carpenter is a graduate of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and is based in Vancouver. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Helen Pitt Gallery, Vancouver and Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, as well in group exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Paul Petro Projects, Toronto; Or Gallery, Vancouver; Brossarp, Sweden; and other galleries across Canada. His work is represented by Lawrence Eng.

  • Melanie O’Brian

    Director/Curator of Artspeak 2004–2010.


  • Literally

    April 11–June 6, 2009

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>, Installation View

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Aaron Carpenter, <em>Literally</em>

    Since September 2008, Artspeak’s ONSITE space has been dedicated to artist books, archives, libraries, and reading rooms. As an inversion of this, Artspeak is presenting Literally, an exhibition with an OFFSITE component that includes three artists working with the form of the book to make drawings, paintings, and video.

    In their work, Aaron Carpenter, Joel Herman, and Roula Partheniou play with the representation and referentiality of literature and knowledge in humorous ways. Interested in both mimicry and the processes of research, the artists consider the formal and connotative aspects of the book and the printed word as readymades and as points for further fiction. The readymade titles used by the artists become fictions in their own right, as Carpenter’s Polyglot drawing series and video point to. Carpenter’s drawings are altered facsimiles of book covers in which James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is mentioned. In Finnigan(sp) Must Die!!!, Joyce’s work appears as science fiction, rendered part of the fictional universe of space travel, the starship Enterprise, and Spock. Carpenter’s related video extends the parallels between Joyce’s text and science fiction in filmic proportions on the Robson and Granville video board. Herman’s meticulous drawings reproduce related book title pages at a one-to-one scale. The books are chosen for their titular language and often function in pairs such as the following: Meaning and Expression / Expression and Meaning or Language and Logic / Logic and Language. Herman’s formal interest in symmetry plays out in subtle variations in scale and meaning. Partheniou’s paintings of books operate as trompe l’oeil in the round, using the three-dimensionality of the readymade canvases to mimic the book form. The paintings (in stacks or groupings) construct their own narratives, while operating as exercises in language, scale, and ultimately pointing to the transformative aspects of re-making.

Talks & Events

Finnnigin Swake

May 15–May 24, 2009

Presented on the Bonnis Media CoreVision dual outdoor screens at the intersection of Robson and Granville Streets. An Artspeak OFFSITE project co-presented with Other Sights for Artists’ Projects.

Viewing and drinks, Friday, May 15, 6-8pm at the Lennox Pub (800 Granville Street)

As an OFFSITE extension of the Literally exhibition, Aaron Carpenter’s new video, Ffinnigans Wwake, will be shown on the Robson and Granville outdoor screens. In consort with his drawings for the exhibition, Carpenter has taken Joyce’s text and rendered it as a dramatic text crawl akin to the one at the opening of the Star Wars films. Intrigued (and perplexed) by Finnegans Wake’s multi-lingual puns, fractured dream narratives, and language experiments, Carpenter’s work conflates Joyce’s impenetrable opus with the disparately populist genre that is science fiction. Taking this notoriously difficult and experimental work of literature to filmic proportions, specifically referencing science fiction films, Carpenter sets up an interesting parallel; Joyce’s work is meant to recreate the experience of sleep and dreams, and science fiction (as both a literary and cinematic genre) is a fantasy based on speculative scientific discoveries and parallel universes.