Gardner’s current work looks at the formation and use of imagery in Western esoteric traditions. While focusing on painting and collage, his research into the iconographic systems of astrological symbolism, alchemical philosophy, and medieval mnemonics continually influences his practice. Gardner utilizes painting as a type of heuristic tool to investigate these traditions while examining the agency of images and their potential in structuring cognitive procedures. Working between abstraction, figuration, and installation, Gardner’s work suggests an accretive, materially rich and quasi-geological approach to image production. His work and research aim to recontectualize pre-modern ideas about images within contemporary art discourse.
Gardner has received multiple awards including The Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grants, the TFVA’s Artist Prize, and The Canada Council for the Arts Project Grant. Recently Gardner received the prestigious Canadian Master’s Scholarship (SSHRC). Gardner was nominated for the 2014 RBC Painting Competition. Recent exhibitions include Not Together but Alongside at Mercer Union (Toronto, 2015), Painting Eaters at Katzman Contemporary (Toronto, 2016), Sailing Stones at Platform Projects, (Athens, 2017), and Selenotropic at Campus Gallery (Barrie, 2017). Gardner will present his first solo show in Montreal at the McClure Gallery in December 2018.
James Gardner was born in Kitchener Ontario, Canada in 1983. Growing up in Southern Ontario, Gardner completed his B.A. in Studio Art and Art History at the University of Guelph in 2008. From 2010-2017 Gardner lived and worked in Toronto where he helped found and run the collective and artist run centre VSVSVS.
Gardner is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University and is working in Montreal, QC, Canada.