Can I Play Outside?

August 3rd, 2021 – September 5th, 2021

Jaspal Birdi, 11h02m, 2020, oil paint and photo-transfer on emergency blanket, 210 x 170 cm.

Join us for a Live Artist Talk + Drawing Event with Jaspal Birdi on February 24, 2021 from 12:00PM -1:00PM.

Using her smartphone, laser printers, and paint, Jaspal Birdi plays with colour and technical glitches to make large photo-based works. In this exhibition, she uses photos from her phone’s camera roll to explore the nature of memory, the interplay between physical and virtual worlds, and the potential for audience interaction in collaborative artmaking.

To make one of her works, Birdi manually overrides the low-ink warnings from her printer to create an ethereal copy of a chosen image. She scans the printed image back into her computer, then prints a second, enlarged copy that is broken into a grid, like tiles or oversized pixels. Piece by piece, Birdi transfers the image to various surfaces with gesso before removing the paper and using paint to further embellish the final image with her memories and interpretations. In this case, the images are affixed to emergency blankets, mirrors, and the gallery wall. These efforts between artist and machine make images that are wholly transformed. Exaggerated, embellished, and missing details, the copies are not unlike memories, which also tend to be altered by their own retrieval.

Can I Play Outside? is particularly concerned with the interactions that take place through digital screens, which play an active role in framing and constructing perceptions of self and others. Think about your own camera roll and the images you may make or encounter online. What sorts of stories do these photos tell? What is remembered and what is forgotten? Alongside these questions, Can I Play Outside? captures the artist’s bid for spontaneous and curious fun. Birdi invites you to add your personal memories and interpretations to the work using a digital drawing app. The multiple versions and layers of this living artwork will mimic the artist’s process of assembling pieces into a whole and will allow audiences to generate a picture that is multi-dimensional, constantly changing, and reflective of collective experiences.

Jaspal Birdi is a Canadian artist who combines photography and painting by experimenting with contemporary technologies. Born in Toronto, Canada 1988, Birdi completed her BFA in drawing and painting from OCAD University 2010, a Masters in Arts Management from Istituto Europeo di Design 2013, and a Specialization in Curating Contemporary Art from Venice School of Curatorial Studies 2016. She is the recipient of the Arte Laguna Solo Exhibition Prize in 2013, as well as the 2017/18 Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa Artist Residency Fellowship, during which she also received the BLM Stonefly Art 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. Currently, Birdi is a 2020 Visual Arts Fellow for the Fondazione Culturale SanFedele Art Prize.

This exhibition is supported by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.