an evening slowed. In every case, a river runs.
Baldwin Lew, an artist who wonders if he’s missing his collective, elevates and
underscores our relations. His is the happy chaos of making things happen from the things to hand. At turns host, guest, and irreverent spectator, he offers a radical hospitality that helps us to mean. With the crack of a bottle against the bow of a boat, time is launched and stretched out, and we are seated, invited to make an occurrence, take a story for telling.
Peripatetic, opulent, but also pastoral, Baldwin Lew channels Dan Graham’s
pronouncemen that all artists “dream of doing something that’s more social, more collaborative, and more real than art.” But within this practice, which often positions agrarian means within an artworld setting, Dean also works to unsettle the structural and social dynamics of a community that privileges its exclusion, its difference. He trades the expected lobster for an invasive crawfish, in River Restaurant; he landlocks a yacht – for the benefit of
those without yachts – in Queen West Yacht Club; he fashions Chalet from a
museums previous installation refuse. For the transient Bar Piano, made from a throw-away baby grand, and disembowelled of its harp and strings before being limned with liquor, Dean
passes the bartender’s shoulder cloth to friends and visitors, removing himself from its service so others might navigate their newfound work. Applying a palette of aristocracy, Baldwin Lew sneaks us in and then hoists us up, so that we might enjoy the view.
Dean Baldwin Lew (b. 1973) gambols across installation, performance, and photographic media. Toronto-born and Montreal-based, he iterates on themes of hospitality, conviviality, performative still-life, and the structural discrepancies around which we pivot. He has exhibited in Rome, Tasmania, London, Mumbai, New York City, Los Angeles,
Quebec City, and Winnipeg, among others.