Spring Hurlbut Dyadic Circles, 2019-20
Toronto-based artist Spring Hurlbut’s exhibition Dyadic Circles, 2019 – 20 presents a series of photographs of funerary ash of both humans and animals. Each Dyadic Circle is divided vertically into two parts. In some cases, both halves are from a single individual, and in other instances they represent two different subjects. The final colour of the ash is entirely dictated by the temperature of the fire when the body was cremated. Living individuals, family members, or friends of the deceased have entrusted the artist to work with their ashes.
In this installation, the artist introduces corner pieces, consisting of framed works traversing the corners of the gallery, hung well above eye level. The Dyadic Circles’ vertical divisions are aligned with the corners, creating spatially ambiguous images that could represent at circles or three-dimensional orbs.
Hurlbut’s work evokes that of such Modernist artists as Hilma af Klint and Kazimir Malevich, early abstractionists who were themselves influenced by spiritualism and metaphysical ideas. af Klint painted a circle divided vertically into black and white parts. In Hurlbut’s reinvention of this composition, the circular symbol suggests a duality within a whole, a kind of pendulum that swings between life and death, night and day.