As a kid, I used to believe people were living inside my television set. How else could Mr. Dress-up appear through the tube? If only I was allowed to break the glass barrier between Sesame Street and my living room, I could have enjoyed mouthfuls of cookies. Despite my fantasy of jumping through a “looking glass,” I soon learned that was not the reality. My television was old, and it began to show some glitch-like symptoms, automatically changing channels and distorting colours and figures.
Innovations in technology intend to create better solutions. Progressively it expands understandings of near and distant environments. It provides resolutions to pressing issues with shorter turnovers. But simultaneously, it impairs the distinction of illusion from reality. Seeking to blur the boundaries between a window and screen, I experiment with a painting process initiated by extensive play with “technological extensions”. Through programming, print, and paint, I filter and reconstruct photographic memories. Utilizing paint’s loose, chromatic, and illusionary qualities, versus rigid and realistic impressions of thinly transferred digital photos, my works juxtapose the real and abstract. Based in a present where the norms of freedom and security are constantly reassessed, it speaks to conflicts between preservation and transformation.
Jaspal Birdi (B.1988, Toronto) is a Canadian artist who combines photography and painting by experimenting with contemporary technologies. Birdi’s interests explore how concepts of reality and virtuality influence accepted norms of freedom and security. Through programming, print and paint, her practice filters and reconstructs a blurred cycle of virtual and physical actions. Birdi completed her BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University 2010, a Museum Internship at The Peggy Guggenheim Collection 2011, a Masters in Arts Management from Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) 2013, and a Specialization in Curating Contemporary Art from Venice School of Curatorial Studies 2016. She is the recipient of various honours, such as the 2013 Arte Laguna Solo Exhibition Prize, the 2017/18 Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (BLM) Artist Residency and BLM Stonefly Art Award, a 2020 Ontario Arts Council Project Grant, the 2020/21 Fondazione Culturale San Fedele Visual Arts Fellowship and Martini International Award. In 2017 Birdi co-curated the exhibition Command-Alternative-Escape for the opening week of the Venice International Art Biennale. During the 2018 Berlin Art Week, her works were presented in Transferred Recall, a curated solo exhibition. In 2020 Birdi presented Can I Play Outside? a solo exhibition supported by the RBC Foundation Emerging Artist in Residence Program at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. In 2022, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Birdi presented her works in Inedite Sperimentazioni, a group exhibition at Galleria San Fedele in Milan. Currently, Birdi is the 2021/22 Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Association of Canada in Toronto.
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Jaspal Birdi thanks and acknowledges the support from: