Michelle Allard & Khan Lee: Circulation Patterns, installation view, 2012, SFU Gallery. Photo: Blaine Campbell. 

Michelle Allard & Khan Lee: Circulation Patterns

March 3 – April 28, 2012
SFU Gallery

The installations that Vancouver artists Michelle Allard and Khan Lee create in Circulation Patterns occupy the three-dimensional space of the SFU Gallery in very different ways. Visitors entering the space may first be drawn to Allard’s colourful mounds of recycled paper grouped on low platforms, but then will notice Lee’s flat shapes of paper attached to the walls, ceiling and floor, as well as a centre point from which they can stand to interact with and complete his piece.

Guest curator Rachel Rosenfield Lafo invited the two artists, who had not previously met, to exhibit together because she found affinities in their focus on patterns, repetition, found objects and everyday materials and their adherence to principles descended from Conceptual and Minimal Art. Yet the resulting installations are striking more for their polarities than their similarities.

Allard’s Confection is vivid, exuberant, messy and organic. Allard shreds reams of brightly coloured office copy paper and then arranges the resulting confetti in overlapping heaps that resemble the peaks and valleys of mountainous landscapes as well as the saturated, artificial colours and slumped shapes of melting snow cones. The piles have an organized randomness about them; they are pre-planned but inevitably shift and disintegrate each time they are arranged. Just as office paper circulates information throughout an office, the material of paper circulates through Allard’s practice, ultimately being reused or recycled for other purposes. Allard describes the decadence and material clutter of Confection as “Neo-Baroque messy minimalism”.

Khan Lee’s installation, in contrast, is about as far from material clutter as one can get. His intention is to dematerialize the space of the gallery making the rectangular shape of the room disappear. Lee requires the viewer to use guidelines he provides to visualize two platonic solids fitting within a sphere, the icosahedron and its dual the dodecahedron. He places viewers at the centre of the sphere and, by extension, at the core of the universe and beyond to infinity. Lee’s circulation pattern, then, is one of cosmic proportions.

Whereas Allard’s tactile, seductive shredded paper masses titillate the senses, implying states of change and natural evolution, Lee’s conceptual geometry engages mind over matter, asking us to envision the purity of a non-material concept, the unchanging form of the universe and our place within it.

Curated by Rachel Rosenfield Lafo.


Opening Reception
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 3–5pm

Patterns of Thought: A Conversation with Michelle Allard, Khan Lee, and Rachel Rosenfield Lafo
Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 7pm
Room 7000, SFU Vancouver Campus, 515 W. Hastings St.

Lunchtime Tours of the Exhibition
Wednesday, March 7 – Friday, March 9, 12:05pm and 12:35pm