Shirley Wiitasalo

13 May to 26 June 2010


Stemming from previous bodies of work, here Wiitasalo creates elusive images with surfaces that shift between dynamic movement and stasis. Through various methods of transfer and application, her approach leads to an experience of painting that is direct and immediate and enhances a deceptive pictorial economy.

There is a feeling of naturalistic specificity to even the starkest of Wiitasalo’s compositions, a sense that somehow the picture emerged out of a rigorous confrontation with some exterior reality, even though one can no more reconstruct the criterion of rigor than one can the scene itself. What it amounts to is that a world opens itself in these paintings and it does not feel imaginary. The paintings neither depict the world nor negate it, but register a comportment toward it that, though only minimally mimetic, is powerfully respectful yet strangely unpredictable, even subtly troubling. It’s a perturbed quiet that you’re left with.

— Barry Schwabsky, Shirley Wiitasalo: The Ineffability Effect in Shirley Wiitasalo (exhibition catalogue), Toronto: The Power Plant, 2001