Artist Benjamin Edelberg’s upcoming exhibit will embrace colour in a way he once reserved only for his underwear, taking his audience on a vibrant journey akin to Dorothy “leaving monochromatic Kansas and entering the colourful world of Oz.”
Edelberg has long avoided colour in both his work and his personal appearance (his black jeans and black leather jacket lend verisimilitude to this claim). “I don’t think there’s much of a reason for it. It’s just that when I approach a piece or my wardrobe, the thought of actually mixing and matching colour – I guess I’m shy.”
His first foray into colour was a mural project this summer on the Toronto Island with the Wavelengths Allcaps Festival. His upcoming exhibit at Videofag is a further attempt to adjust both his personal and artistic approaches to colour. “This whole show is, basically, in many ways, my way of getting through this. Of getting over this chromophobia,” he says.
There will be three main aspects to the exhibit: monochromatic prints and collages that depict “cryptic landscapes,” colourful canvasses on which shapes have been assembled using screen printing, and finally, a three-minute film made up of found footage and clips from Edelberg’s life with his partner. The film, a melodrama, begins quite grey, but morphs and grows into a vibrant homage to Technicolor.
The arrangement of the works at Videofag will give the effect of a sort of progression from dull grey to glorious colour, mirroring the structure of the film, the evolution that occurred in film history (the shift from black and white to different types of colouring processes), and Edelberg’s own evolving relationship with colour. Who knows, he may soon shed his black leather jacket in favour of a multicoloured onesie.