Critical Writing Index

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby: Jessica Bradley Art + Projects

by Sholem Krishtalka

Canadian Art, Spring 2011

As made evident in Sholem Krishtalka’s review of Duke and Battersby’s most recent show in Toronto, the reception is by no means a confident one. Krishtalka states, “I emerge with neither comfort nor explanation” highlighting the complexities of their newest contemporary fables, presented through digital print, sculptural installation and video projection. Like previous explorations, Duke and Battersby’s works exist as narrative driven dabbles, which continue to exercise both utopian and dystopian attitudes. These works, light-hearted and often comical, never fail to inhabit serious undertones, which elevate their work from merely non-sensical, to bold, charged statements. The centerpiece of the show, a video entitled ‘Lesser Apes', unfolds the tale of a woman and primate who fall in love, through poetry, song and animation. Krishtalka claims to have left the space “..only with a vague sense of mesmerized sickness, and a notion that the pair has elucidated something deeply messy, personal and true about human relationships”, highlighting Duke and Battersby's continuing ability to provoke realities through absurdities.

ITEM 2011.008 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Lesser ApesEmily Vey Duke

Cooper Battersby