“Sinus Diagram”, 2020 steel

The above image from Baader-Meinhof’s new exhibition, Bowman’s Capsule, which opens May 21, couldn’t be more timely and ironic. Instead of a traditional Spring bouquet or flowering plant, the show’s solo artist, John-Elio Reitman, offers us the antithesis, a striking, sculptural “Sinus Diagram”.  While some enjoy the sensual pleasures of this seasonal rite of renewal, Reitman’s otherwise delicate work is a reminder of pollinated, plugged up cavities for those who suffer allergies.

Such seeming contradictions of theme and construction are the métier of this Canadian artist based in Montreal. The exhibit’s very title means literally, the blood filtration component located in one’s kidneys. As with one’s sinuses, this too is an intricate and critical life system, a medical marvel, also threatened daily by pollutants of a different sort. When all is working well, the human body functions as a thing of beauty and wonder.

“Sentinel”, 2021 watercolour on paper

Bowman’s Capsule will feature works on paper and flat metal sculpture, “which explore physical and metaphysical experiences of being a body in a charged and geopolitically changeable era,” Reitman said in their artist statement.

“I expand on themes and ideas of alchemy, gender, fashion, climate, wellness/illness and connectedness, “ they added.  “This work comes from a deeply personal place in which I attempt to make sense of interior/exterior space, and the paradoxes of being human today.”

Reitman’s watercolors include body parts, organs, landscapes and plant life whose organic nature is contrasted with reflective machined surfaces, technology and architecture as seen here with the boldly seductive and menacing “Sanguine Ear”.

“Sanguine Ear”, 2021 watercolour and ink on paper

The artist’s steel silhouettes of architecture, medical diagrams and fashion patterns feature treated surfaces that will corrode and weather with time or have been polished to reflect light within the gallery.

“My paintings operate more diaristically, fleshing out ideas and concepts in more amorphous formats,” Reitman said, “while the sculptures occupy a different temporality, exploring the intersection of what’s inside our flesh, what goes on it, and their interplay.”

Baader-Meinhof owner Kyle Laidig said that’s what drew him to Reitman’s work , the “expansive conception of our innate corporeality. Their painted images conjure a soft utopia where the limits of our physical bubble and the world beyond become dissolved and unified by queer osmosis. The cut-metal sculptural work compliments this oozing synthesis. Their work re-spatializes interior and exterior, whether it be a human subject or the gallery itself.”

“Thinking about Power”, 2021, watercolour and graphite on paper

Baader-Meinhof is also experiencing a re-spatialization of its own as the venue undergoes a spring feverish growth spurt just in time for Bowman’s Capsule.

“We are in the process of renovating the second floor gallery, so this exhibition will be the first to span both spaces,” Laidig said.  “With this new space, Baader-Meinhof will be able to expand programming moving forward, whether it be more expansive solo exhibitions, group shows or mounting two different exhibitions concurrently.”

Bowman’s Capsule, opens at Baader Meinhof, Friday May 21, 2021 with a public reception from 7-10 p.m. and closes June 25. Masks are mandatory for attendance and the maximum number of people inside the space at one time will be capped at 10. With the emergence of the new, highly transmissible variant of the virus, B-M is requesting heightened diligence in regards to social distancing measures. There will be ample room for safe, social gathering outdoors. For more info and gallery hours, go to www.baader-meinhof.org.

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