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"Beer Ballads" - by Eric Mathew

  April 12 - 22, 2007

Opening Reception: April 12, 2007   7 - 10 pm

Eric Mathew addresses consumer culture and the masculine Canadian identity in this collection of oversized beer labels. With Beer Ballads he continues an inventive career, creating and installing print media while encouraging a gallery experience which blends the familiarity of consumer activity with artistic commentary. “ These beer labels are meant to contribute to a new critical public of consumers – given that I believe individuals in our culture define themselves through what they buy. By inserting my own iconography and personal history into the beer label I am conducting a re-evaluation of the beer label as an important part of the Canadian mythological fabric.”

His practice is hybrid, involving primarily painting and screen-printing as well as other print media. Previous work has explored developing a lexicon of iconography inspired by branding, logos and flags. The larger-than-life beer labels in Ballads are a “logical extension in that they allow for the exploration of exciting iconography like heraldic elements, type faces and word forms, and mark-making from printmaking traditions such as woodcut.

Recently, Mathew ventured into new waters when he was among several Toronto artists commissioned by Kate Thornley-Hall, founder of Source UK, to design a premiere collection of bespoke carpets. Featured at the Interior Design Show in February, Mathew’s design was highlighted in The Globe and Mail Style Section’s Our Picks, as a design to watch out for.

Active in Toronto since obtaining his BFA from Queen’s University, Mathew is currently pursuing his MFA from York University. He previously worked and taught at Open Studio and currently works at the Ontario College of Art & Design. In 2006 he completed a month-long residency at L’Atelier Imago in Moncton, NB. Mathew is also a founding member of Framework Foundation and contributed significantly to the development of the charity’s art selection process and annual Timeraiser silent art auction.

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