The Garden of Hell on Earth, a solo-exhibition by Canadian artist Eldon Garnet will open at TORCH gallery in Amsterdam. With a series of large-scale photographs depicting a post-apocalyptic narrative of struggle and lasting hope of biblical proportions he sets the tone for the final chapters of his long and fruitful career as an artist. These labor-intensive and highly ambitious pieces form a new lexicon for recovery as a fundamental human trait. After all the processes deemed as progress come to a grinding halt, when the modern age has had its grand finale and there is nothing left but soot and stone, then humans will inevitably start rebuilding their world.
Garnet takes his cues from art historical themes like the expulsion from paradise and the Garden of Eden. He uses these tropes to create a set of lyrical iconic pieces reflecting on primal dialectic relationships that have influenced humanity throughout its existence. These unnervingly ambiguous images balance destruction and creation, growth and decay and violence and care into very focused, emotional compositions. In an imagined wasteland people look for shelter, warmth and nourishment. They fight, flee, suffer and become exhausted. But this chapter of Eldon's work isn't a woeful lamentation. Rather, it shows a pilot light of hope valiantly flickering on. Damaged bodies covered in ash and charcoal scramble to grab a burning torch, rescue a living plant or to catch a heavenly drop from a honeycomb.
Eldon Garnet excels in a very personal, philosophical kind of staged photography. As a sculptor, writer and lecturer he uses images as signs, as representations of large sets of theoretical, historical and emotional connotations. By working with a clear set of ideas as a starting point and the technical proficiency to tell convincing photographic stories he is able to reinvigorate age old themes. His work can take on the form of a stainless steel text or a photographic image but will always convey a sly commentary on the human condition in a very recognizable voice.
Eldon Garnet is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Toronto. Surveys of his sculptures and photographic work have been held at the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the Amsterdam Center of Photography. His novel, Reading Brooke Shields: The Garden of Failure was published by Semiotext(e), in 1995. Impulse Archaeology, a collection of articles from his years at Impulse, was released by the University of Toronto Press in 2005. His novel “Lost Between The Edges” was published by Semiotext(e), MIT. His recent novel, Categories of Disappearance is available from impulseb.com. He is also well known for his public art works including The Memorial for the Chinese Railroad Workers located in Toronto. From 1975–1990 he was the editor of Impulse, a Canadian magazine of art and culture. He is represented by the Christopher Cutts Gallery Toronto and Torch Gallery, Amsterdam. He is a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University.