Jason Jay Gillingham is a multi-disciplinary artist. Born in Calgary Alberta in 1974, he attended Concordia University as a sculpture major in 2000-2001 and has lived and maintained a studio in Montréal since.
His present principle practice works post-consumer found metal relics of our urban landscapes into woven sculptural, painterly, textile fabrications. Articulating connectivities, sameness and differences informed by an ongoingly emergent inter / intra / trans dialectical ethic. Tapestries attuned to assertions and valuations of individuality, collectivity, class, usefulness, disposability, extraction, gender, personhood, ableism and aesthetics entwining multiplicities, indeterminacy and complexity. Interlaced artifacts of our present microhistoric tensions embodied in strained resources. These entangled upcycled “reworkings” of our common spaces of post / re / deindustrialization, digitization, over / underconsumption are routes, records. Pathways mapping this process of growth, curiosity, discovery, challenge, acceptance, adaptation, togetherness, and aspiration, strand upon strand. Intermingling perspectives, patiently teasing out nuances, informing / affording deepening experience. Stamping letters into their surfaces creating poetic textual mosaics, varyingly clear and concise to wandering subjective insights, re / decontextualizing messages. Evoking understandings, cooperatively supported by a strong steady under-over under-over-under-over praxis with materials, words, surfaces and spaces drawing connections across social, technological and environmental conditions.
He is now preparing for projet Zér0 à la Biosphère. He was working directly in the Biosphère, weaving their old infrastructure wire and cable detritus for a group exhibit opening November 25th 2023 and running through to spring 2024. Tickets are available here and at the entrance....pass by and visit!
Earlier this summer he was among others at L’Atrium au Métro de Longueuil-Université de Sherbrooke, Karonhiatsi'kowahne / Longueuil, working on Agrégat Arts new public fresco, launched on July 27th, 2023. He collected words from as many languages as he could, printed them and collaged them onto the Agrégat wall. Though the official launch is past, he continues to collect and add words- please be in contact if you would like some of your language represented, or know of someone who would!
This June he had a solo exhibition of his weavings and sculptures at the Casa del Popolo as well as a plastic and text installation in their windows as part of the Suoni per il Popolo festival, Montréal.
In May and June 2023, he was at L’Atrium au Métro de Longueuil-Université de Sherbrooke, Karonhiatsi'kowahne / Longueuil, for a two month jury selected residency. This was the first residency of Agrégat Arts one-year atrium project. This residency was somewhat of a departure for Gillingham, he collaborated with long-term-documentarist Kamal - meeting, photographing and interviewing people in and around the metro. This project will continue to evolve until next January / February's group exhibition of all the residencies.
His text piece ‘Provocation’ is in the 14th edition of La Presa magazine, p.14.
Last year he branched into more typically sculptural works. Welded steel with some cast concrete elements..volumes, trajectories, planes and edges..hammering text into metals, materializing words, disruption of linear reading, weaving meanings... affective aspirations and yearnings, trial and trial and trial encore. Titled ‘Rockets’, these new sculptures are in large part a reference to Charles Baudelaire’s collection of aphorisms which influenced him greatly as a youth..
In October 2022, his paper weaving 'Referential' was exhibited in the Long Haul / Le Corrid'art Gallery “R” show, Montréal.
In September 2022 he was a participant in the production of flags with the Aracanche collective for their Agrégat Arts Manifestation JE/US "J'habite, les territoires" at la Maison de la culture Marcel-Robidas, Longueuil. This spring the flags travelled to France as part of Agrégat Arts projects with the 6B collective in Saint-Denis (greater Paris).
In June 2022 he was in Witzenhausen, Germany where Appreciable Circularities, his woven repurposed plastic, foil and aluminum pre-consumer packaging from the local Becker Recycling Plant was installed as part of the Via Detour / Über Umwege residency at Robins Nest Baumhaushotel, which ran parallel to Documenta 15 in neighbouring Kassel. It is still there, re-hung this spring after a brief removal during the snowy months.
In March 2019, 'RePresentations', a solo exhibit of weavings was at the North York Central Library, Toronto*; 'Matrices', a solo show in October 2018 at Art Lounge in Montréal; the Inverness County Centre for the Arts ‘Small Treasures’ juried group show in July 2018; two 'Unis Vert l’intemporel' collective exhibitions, first at Galerie Le Livart in Montréal in April 2018 and the Queen Elizabeth hotel in July 2018 incorporating heritage silverware donated by the hotel.
There were two solo exhibitions of his metal found object weavings in 2016, 'Radius' at Monastiraki in Montréal and 'Fabrical' at gallery U in Edmonton. In 2016 Jason participated in a residency at Verksmiðjan á Hjalteyri, in Iceland, weaving the factory remains. One of his weavings,'Through Grace' and a copy of 'Contextual Workings: Documented', were auctioned at the Fondation de l'Hôpital général du Lakeshore's annual benefit ball 2016.
His weavings and some of his sculptures are in numerous collections across Canada, including Toronto, Nova Scotia, Vancouver and Edmonton with several pieces in the United States, Europe, Iceland and Lebanon.
Two of his art books, 'Thus', 2007 and 'Contextual Workings: Documented', 2010 can be found on permanent collection at the Médiatheque of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Both works explore experimental text, sign, meaning and photography. This practice has morphed and continued onto the surfaces of his weavings, reifying mentations.
His audio work sprung from those word explorations. Using both tape and digital recordings, collecting and combining contexts and multiplicities of meaning and significance. He has aired numerous solo soundscapes and participated in various collaborative group performances. Projections at La Vitrola in 2017 and Toronto's Electric Perfume in 2019 brought words to light, experimentation is a continuous element of Gillingham's work.
Jason welcomes any interest in his practice, please feel free to reach out through any of the links at the top or bottom of this (or any other) page - start a conversation or even visit his studio in Montréal’s Mile End if you are in the area.
Niá:wen, many thanks to all those collaborators, curators, collectors, friends and colleagues who have contributed so much to this artistic process over the years.
*We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, bringing the arts to life. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien, L'art au coeur de nos vies, which he joined in 2018. Appreciation to the Toronto Public Library, especially the staff of the North York Central branch, gratitude, miigwech.
Vio lence / late / 2014
Woven found objects, copper, steel, barbed wire, wood, trees, saw blades, chains, shovels, tree branches, hinges, aluminum conduit,
sheet steel, small piece of text lifted with transparent tape, text impressions
suspended from the ceiling with a 1 ton chainblock.
The copper (green) used in this and other works was originally part of the roof of le Château Frontenac in Québec City, and was gifted to the arts to repurpose said old roof during renovations in 2011, wela'lin.