OLIVER PAUK

The artwork of Oliver Pauk engages with the prime constant of our digital environment: entropy. At every stage of its lifespan, and even prior to its creation, a piece of digital media is subject to the tremendous forces of entropy. While the dream of the internet involves navigating a seamless convergence of total information, the actuality much more closely resembles a patchwork of contingent translations between networks and documents, databases and algorithms, filetypes and protocols. A file is selected, uploaded, formatted and compressed; it gets filtered, transmitted, curated, or sorted; it becomes recalled, downloaded, archived, or forgotten. But at each step, something is missed, garbled, or reversed. The seemingly endless, weightless transmission of information in the cloud is, in fact, fuelled by loss.

 

Beginning with the selection of particular objects with peculiar qualities—broken crystal, pieces of found rubber, plastic mesh, and other detritus—Pauk creates a place of potential through compositions so sensitively assembled as to appear incidental. From here, Pauk slowly and deliberately occludes these configurations, first by painting them in part or whole with a solid color, and then by photographing the results and transforming them digitally through various programs and processes, some automatic and scripted, others painstaking and arduous.

 

In this way, he excises the images of their most recognizable features while emphasizing what remains, re-enacting and reversing the entropic processes underlying the distribution of digital content. Pauk’s doctoring recalls in some ways the artifacts and mispatterning typical of Tauba Auerbach or Wade Guyton, where the interfacing of the artist’s hand and mechanical processes yield impromptu abstractions. Pauk does not seem to be interested in accidents, however. The work likewise bears traces of the procedurally-engineered compositions of pioneering digital artists like Frieder Nake and Manfred Mohr, though Pauk is not a process artist. Ultimately, his anti-images have much more in common with the work of Gerhard Richter, whose blurred photorealism and gestural abstraction were both products of careful de-emphasis of the core elements of a recognizable image, what he called the “excess of unimportant information.”

 

The critical absence of this type of information yields another: a kind of metadata of image-making, through which the plainly human recedes and the aggregate characteristics of the work emerge. Unbeholden to the coherence of realism, this aggregate data is translated across dimensions, from space to flatness and back again. Fittingly, Pauk’s recent work delves into 3D printing and hydrographics, bleeding-edge technologies that reiterate his transmutational practice, rendering the digital tangible while extruding flat imagery into real space. Thus what Pauk provides are images and objects that have the same physical relationship to reality as all those others that proliferate around us, but which have traversed the digital realm in a completely novel way. From entropy, Pauk finds new forms which could only have been realized through loss.

Text by Ben Bruneau

 

Oliver Pauk’s work has been featured in exhibitions and projects in numerous national and international venues including: VOLTA 12 BASEL; Mercer Union Toronto; Art Gallery of Ontario; Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF); Toronto’s Gardiner Museum; Art Gallery of Mississauga; York University; 2012 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival; Drake Hotel in Toronto; Berlin’s Strychnin Gallery; Gallery 44; and Sunday Drive Warkworth. He is the Founder and Director, AKIN Collective in Toronto. Reviews and critical discourses of his work have appeared in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Canadian Art online, TOM* Magazine, TVO’s The Agenda, CBC Radio, Art F City, Ion Magazine. He is the recipient of the 2014 Award of Excellence in Exhibitions from the Ontario Museum Association.

 

EDUCATION
2005 - Honours B.A., Specialist in Economics, University of Toronto

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2016  Volta 12, Basel, Switzerland, Courtesy Patrick Mikhail Gallery 

2016  Papier 16 Art Fair, Montreal, QC, Courtesy Patrick Mikhail Gallery

2016  Mercer Multiplier, Mercer Union, Toronto, ON

2016  10 Years, Anniversary Exhibition, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal, QC

2016  Midnight Massive, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, with Michael Vickers

2015  The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal, QC

2015  Sunday Drive, Warkworth, ON, with Michael Vickers
2015  Tensions, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, ON, with Stephanie Flowers and Michael Vickers
2015  The Art of Healing Auction, Ronald McDonald House Charity, Toronto, ON
2015  12th Annual Art Auction, Art Gallery of Mississauga, ON
2015  Come Up To My Room, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON, with Michael Vickers
2014  Long Winter, Hot Docs at Bloor Cinema, Toronto, ON, with Michael Vickers
2014  Grolsch Open House, Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, ON, with Michael Vickers
2014  Sunday Drive, Warkworth, ON, with Michael Vickers
2014  [No] Vacancy, Niagara Artists Centre, St. Catherines, ON, with Zach Slootsky
2014  [No] Vacancy, Niagara Falls History Museum, Niagara Falls, ON, with Zach Slootsky
2014  Long Winter at The Great Hall, Toronto, ON, with Michael Vickers
2013  York University Fundraiser, PM Gallery, Toronto, ON
2013  Snap Silent Auction, The Snap Factory, Toronto, ON
2012  Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, Featured Exhibition: Motels of Niagara Falls, The Drake Hotel Lab, Toronto, ON, with Zach Slootsky
2012  Metropolitan, Strychnin Gallery, Berlin
2012  Gilding the Collapse, Collar Works, Troy, NY
2012  Billboard Art Project, Billboard on Highway M-59, Detroit, MI
2012  Everything and Nothing, N/A Space, Toronto, ON
2012  Post, Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, Victoria, BC
2012  Young Photographer's Alliance Exhibition, Calumet Gallery, New York, NY
2011  Gen Art Detour presented by Smart, SCOPE Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL
2011  Wall to Wall 2011, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON
2011  deerBLNproject No: 5, Keep A Breast HQ Gallery, Bordeaux, France
2011  Billboard Art Project, Interstate 90, Chicago, IL
2011  Young Photographer's Alliance Exposé, Neo Studios, New York, NY
2011  Drawing Connections, Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy
2011  Hang with the Best, Toronto Image Works, Toronto, ON

AWARDS / GRANTS
2014  Award of Excellence in Exhibitions, Ontario Museum Association, for '[No] Vacancy' 
2014  Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant 
2012  Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant 

INVOLVEMENTS

2015  Program Manager, Sunday Drive Art Projects, Warkworth, ON

2013 - 2015  Jury Member, The Dark Room 2.0, Contact Photography Festival, Toronto, ON

2013 - Present  Curatorial Advisory Board, Artscape Youngplace, Toronto, ON
2012 - Present  Host, Talking Photography, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON
2011 - Present  Special Events Committee, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON
2012  Docent, Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto, ON
2011 Young Photographers Alliance Mentorship Program, Toronto, ON

2008 - Present  Founder and Director, AKIN Collective, Toronto, ON

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2015  Art F City, Pastoral Romanticism for the Hashtag FOMO Generation

2015  TOM* Magazine,  Summer Issue

2014  Canadian Art, Ruralism: Sunday Drive Takes Art Out of the City, August 29
2014  The Toronto Star, Toronto Art Makes the Trek to Warkworth, August 28
2014  TVO, The Agenda, Sunday Drive Projects Put Art in Unexpected Places, August 25
2014  The Globe & Mail, Museum Exhibit Extols Niagara Falls’ Motel Modernism, July 31
2012  Ion Magazine, Motels of Niagara Falls, June 1
2012  CBC Radio, live interview on Fresh Air, May 13 
2012  The Grid TO, Heartbreak Motel, May 23

 
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Press

OLIVER PAUK | VIDEO ANIMATION OBJECT #18 | IMAGE STILL OF HD VIDEO | 45 SECONDS LOOP | 2015
OLIVER PAUK | VIDEO ANIMATION OBJECT #37 | IMAGE STILL OF HD VIDEO | 60 SECONDS LOOP | 2015
OLIVER PAUK | VIDEO ANIMATION | THE TRIUMPH OF THE THERAPEUTIC OBJECT #2 | IMAGE STILL OF HD VIDEO | 47 SECONDS LOOP | INSTALLATION VIEW | PATRICK MIKHAIL GALLERY | MONTREAL | 2015
OLIVER PAUK | VIDEO ANIMATION |
OLIVER PAUK | VIDEO ANIMATION | IMAGE STILL OF HD VIDEO | 48 SECONDS LOOP | 2015
OLIVER PAUK | ART F CITY | PASTORAL ROMANTICISM FOR THE HASHTAG FOMO GENERATION
OLIVER PAUK | THE TORONTO STAR | TORONTO ART MAKES THE TREK TO WARKWORTH
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