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G111 Exhibitions
Art Rental Service
School of Art
University of Manitoba

Click here to read an essay
by Robert Epp.


Click here to read an essay
by Dr. Jeanne Randolph.


Click here to read an essay
by Cliff Eyland.


Click here to see a
list of works in the exhibition.


Click here to view images
of Gordon Lebredt's work.


Click here for a
commentary by Robert Epp
on Gordon Lebredt's
"white walls:black holes"


Click here for an addendum
by Gordon Lebredt on his
"white walls:black holes"


Click here for images
by Gordon Lebredt from
"white walls:black holes"


Gordon Lebredt
Gordon Lebredt


Gordon Lebredt, L+R [To RS] 1974, sheet metal frame with double-sided mirror,
39.4 x 59.7 x 30.4 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Ernest Mayer.

GORDON LEBREDT: BY THE NUMBERS
painting)programme(photography

Gallery One One One
November 10, 2005 - January 27, 2006

ANNOTATED LIST OF WORKS

01
Dot drawing
c. 1976
graphite on paper
112.5 x 77.0 cm
Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa
(76/7-0466)

Lebredt: “Based on an analogue photograph, this rather crude 'digitized' drawing was produced by pushing differing amounts of powdered graphite through a circular hole in a clear acetate template. The template could be moved horizontally following a narrow slot cut in a second plate which, in turn, could be adjusted vertically in relation to the inscription surface positioned directly beneath it. Thus, the more or less blind results were obtained by means of a raster-like movement analogous to that which generates an on-screen video image.”

In the November 1973 issue of Scientific American magazine, Bell Labs researcher Leon D. Harmon published an article titled “The Recognition of Faces.”1 According to Lebredt it was Harmon's article concerning facial recognition and using extremely low resolution, computer generated images that influenced his work in the years just before graduation from art school. Harmon's article details his experiments with the “threshold” of face recognition. One approach he takes is to see “how little information ... in the form of 'bits,' or binary digits, is required to pictorially represent a face....”2 In the experiment Harmon scans a 35 mm transparency of a conventional portrait photograph of President Abraham Lincoln using a beam of light moving in a raster pattern. The result is a “reduced-information-content portrait” or “block portrait”3 arranged in a ratio of 16 x 16 squares.4 Lebredt's Dot drawing mimics Harmon's raster pattern or horizontal scanning to create the composition. Like Harmon's block portrait of Lincoln, Lebredt's drawing plays with the threshold of facial recognition, by requiring the viewer to find the correct viewing distance from the drawing to “read” the graphite dots as a figure.

1. Leon D. Harmon, “The Recognition of Faces,” Scientific American, November 1973, vol. 229, no. 5, pp 71-82.
2. Harmon, p. 72.
3. See http://www.barcodeart.com/art/other/president/history/.
4. Harmon, p. 73.


02
Dot drawing
c. 1976
template
112.5 x 87.0 cm
Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa
(76/7-0466)

The Dot drawing template was an early attempt by Lebredt to “depersonalize” the artmaking process and to turn the creative impulse over to a mechanical device. Beginning with Dot drawing, Lebredt sought to remove himself and any signs of personal, authorial creativity from his paintings and drawings.


03
Epokhé
1974-75 / 2005
oil on canvas
160.0 x 241.5 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One,
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
(87.002)

Originally painted by Lebredt between 1974 and 1975, Epokhé was only completed in 2005 when Lebredt mounted the painting in a specially constructed, four-part frame and added the acrylic sheeting with the Greek word épokhé (meaning “to suspend or interrupt”). Based on a photograph taken by Lebredt, Epokhé is in part a portrait of Brynne Wild and Paul Thomas who donated the painting to Gallery One One One in 1986. But Lebredt's deliberate application of various painting techniques, which emphasize the constitution of the painting, interferes with a conventional reading of the painting as a portrait. For example, in the foliage at the upper right he experimented with a paint-by-number motif. For the street and curb he used an air brush and stencil technique, and he applied conventional brushwork for the car and house. Consequently, the painting itself is more a technical investigation into the nature of visual perception than an attempt at a faithful reproduction of reality, or an expression of Lebredt's feelings toward his subject.

Lebredt points out that “one important feature of the frame should be mentioned: two of its diagonally opposed corners were 'fractured,' that is to say, the upper right and lower left-hand corners have been severed and then reassembled so that on closer inspection, they may be read as a pair of right-angled brackets. The purpose of ... such framing devices was to assert the necessity of the supplement, of certain parergonal devices.” Lebredt resolved the framing for Epokhé (and Title: not specified) after reading Craig Owens's translation of Jacques Derrida's essay “The Parergon” published in 1979 in October magazine. Lebredt says it was Owens's translation that lead him to “breaking” the corners of the frames for Epokhé and Title: not specified, and to introducing the concept of the parergon or supplement to the two paintings. He wanted to emphasize that “...the border or frame from this point on was to be considered permeable, or more importantly, divisible,” a notion Lebredt has extended to the overall installation of By the Numbers. The large yellow text that partially obscures the scene in Epokhé is another attempt by Lebredt to displace the conventional meaning of the painting. It is Lebredt's way of putting the image under “erasure,” to use Derrida's term, thus forcing the viewer not to take the painting at face value, but to consider other possible meanings or interpretations of the image.


04
Title: not specified
1974-75 / 2005
oil on canvas
159.2 x 238.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery;
Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
(G-82-66)

Like Epokhé, Title: not specified was only finished in 2005 with the addition of the acrylic sheeting with the vinyl title block, and the mounting of the painting in a four-part frame, similar to Epokhé. Upon completion, Lebredt attached the following text to the back of the painting:

Adding, here, nothing that the frame won't hold-upon its falling away.
At first glance, a picture all too squarely painted: a painting, which, as a calculated opening or surface, divides itself, at once, between the “authenticity” of the phenomenal “here and now” and the suppleness of the detour, of the putting aside.

Adding, here, not an excess or simple surplus to the so-called primary work (the painting), but rather, an extra or supernumerary whose dis-played effects must, henceforth, be taken into account.

The painting is based on a photograph taken by Lebredt of Doug Sigurdson and Suzanne Gillies, co-founders of Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg in 1972. Lebredt made the painting by first covering the blank canvas with a piece of craft paper gridded off into sections. He then cut out one square of the paper and painted in the area that corresponded to the gridded source photograph. After the painted area had dried, he replaced the paper square and moved on to the next square, applying the same process for the painting of the entire work. This restriction demanded that Lebredt complete the entire painting without seeing the work as it progressed. The finished painting was only revealed after all the squares were done. Again, Lebredt wanted to emphasize programme, or technicity, with respect to what otherwise would appear as a more or less seamless painterly event.


05
Ripple Rock Blowup
1975 / 1978
acrylic and enamel on canvas
274.3 x 365.7 cm
Collection of the Artist

Painted in 1975, this monochromatic work in white, grey, and black tones closely resembles its source image, a black and white photograph taken by Winnipeg photographer, Cal Bailey. Pictured in the painting (from left to right) are the members of the Ripple Rock motorcycle racing team: Gordon Lebredt, John Glassco, and Kemp Archibald. A fourth figure kneels behind the riders. Lebredt exhibited this painting at a juried art exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1976. In 1978 he added the black diagonal strikethrough, effectively taking the painting “off-line” in his words, and signalling the end of his interest in painting as a picture, as something one simply hung on a wall. The canvas remained folded up and stored for 27 years and is exhibited here for the first time with the strikethrough.

The title of the painting is a reference to the explosion of the twin peaks of Ripple Rock that lay in the channel between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island, close to the town of Campbell, B.C. The rocks were a constant menace to ships passing through the water. The National Research Council of Canada blew up the rocks on April 5, 1958, in what is considered to be the world's largest non-nuclear peacetime explosion. It was one of the first live nationwide telecast events by CBC television, and Lebredt recalled seeing it as a child. A video clip of the original telecast is available at the CBC Archives: http://archives.cbc.ca


06
Tracks (Defacements)
c. 1976-1978
serigraph
39.8 x 59.0 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One,
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Gift of Bill Lobchuck

Lebredt: “Printed shortly after the completion of Ripple Rock Blowup, Tracks can be considered a schema for a planned defacement of the larger work. The plan was to have a horizontal strip of pigment -- as indicated in the print -- removed from the surface of Ripple Rock Blowup using a commercially available paint remover. This defacement was never executed; however, the painting was shortly thereafter 'cancelled' with the application of a diagonal strikethrough (see entry above: Ripple Rock Blowup). Tracks in its turn was defaced by a strikethrough that mimicked a printmaking convention whereby the rejects of a newly struck or pulled edition are crossed-out thus rendering them unfit for anything other than perhaps serving as test sheets for some future effort or enterprise.”


07
Natural Facts: Red X Yellow X Blue
1977
serigraph, colour photograph on paper, a/p
160.0 x 208.3 cm (assembled)
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery;
Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
(G-77-47 a-d)

Bill Lobchuk and the Grand Western Canadian Screen Shop in Winnipeg were instrumental in helping Lebredt realize Natural Facts and many of his other prints produced in the 1970s. Pictured in the print are the members of the former Screen Shop, from left to right: Len Anthony, Gordon Bonnell, and Screen Shop founder, Bill Lobchuk. This is a complex print reflecting Lebredt's interest at the time in showing that the analogue image is, structurally speaking, already digital, that is to say, already a constituent of one or more discrete “grammars.” He demonstrated this notion by transposing the photographic image from one medium to another, and breaking down the image as much as possible along the way. The final image consists of over fifty impressions. Lebredt included -- en abyme -- a source photograph and smaller print to emphasize the transpositions.


08
Scan
1977
serigraph on paper, 1/20
(a) 160.0 x 152.4 cm; (b) 28.0 x 208.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery;
Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
(G-77-48 ab)

Scan depicts the algorithmic programme Lebredt established to execute a detail (a horizontal strip) from Natural Facts.


09
L+R [To RS]
1974
sheet-metal frame with double-sided mirror
39.4 x 59.7 x 30.4 cm
Collection of the Artist

Inspired by American artist Robert Smithson's mirrored sculpture Enantiomorphic Chambers (1964), L + R [To RS] was one of Lebredt's first so-called “reflexive machines.” It predates Lebredt's interest in the figure of the mise-en-abyme (the repetition of a scene within a scene). Instead of the viewer's image being reflected in each of the two mirrors, what is seen in each case is an extension of the backing plate, one half being actual and the other virtual (a mirror image). Lebredt suggests: “In effect, the usual position of the viewer (one more or less centered before some delimited surface or aperture) is split so that the (now doubly-divided) picture plane be regarded from two different, but already divided, divided or derived, points of view.”


10
Labour of Vision
1974-1977 / 2005
sheet-metal box, mirror, halogen driving lamps, ballast
17.8 x 106.7 x 12.4 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One,
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Gift of Gordon Lebredt
(05.003)

Originally constructed for the exhibition Twenty-seven Artists and the Manitoba Arts Council held in Winnipeg in 1977, it was destroyed and a new version based on the original work was made in 2005. Like
L + R [To RS], Labour of Vision is a self-differing machine. The viewer looks through an eyehole in the metal box into the abyss, an infinite regression/progression of mirrors reflecting themselves.


11
Not To Be Reproduced
1977
commercial offset on newsprint
58.4 x 38.1cm
Collection of the Artist

Not To Be Reproduced appeared in the Leisure Section of the Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday edition, October 15, 1977, in conjunction with the exhibition Artist's Prints and Multiples, held at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, September 17 - December 4, 1977. Photographed by Winnipeg photographer, Ernest Mayer, it is a classic example of a mise-en-abyme, demonstrating the impossibility of any (self)reflexive gesture ever completing itself.


12
Social Service
1977
Velox proof
55.9 x 27.9 cm
Collection of the Artist

Made at the same time as Not To Be Reproduced, it was an alternate possibility for the Winnipeg Free Press, should the editors have declined to print the full colour submission.


13
Drama: if, by being isolated, an effect of lighting dominates us
1978
3 elements: Duratrans on acrylic mounted in metal light boxes
each: 91.4 x 93.9 x 17.8 cm
Collection of the Artist

Lebredt comments: Drama recalls a scene, one pertinent to the story of cinema. Here, in three takes, a patron of the cinema, perhaps, has turned to face the apparatus, the very source of the projected image. Blinded by the beam, he has raised his hand as a screen, not so much as to protect his eyes but to make the light retreat and allow its source to reveal itself. Here, according to Lacan, '...in its relation to desire, reality appears only as marginal.'”

The auxiliary title is a quote from Jacques Lacan's The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, 1978, p. 107. The images are based on photographs of the artist by Ernest Mayer.


14
The Museum Speaks
1978 / 1989
photostat mounted on card, museum board, dry transfer, picture glass
3 panels: 101.0 x 97.4 cm each
Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa
(94/5-0295)

Created in 1978, the piece consists of three panels, two of which contain graphic symbols from Alan Sondheim's publication The Structure of Reality, N.S.C.A.D., 1977. The symbols signify the inward and outward movement of representation, which expands/contracts infinitely, and whose boundaries are permeable. An opening in the centre panel frames an absence. It creates an aperture effect that allows the supporting wall of the museum to be “reflected back” as a condition of the work's appearing. The text is from A.V. Miller's English translation of Hegel's Science of Logic. The original text from the English translation of Hegel's Science of Logic (George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1969) was damaged and replaced in 1989.


15
untitled (flamingos)
1974
serigraph
39.8 x 59.0 cm
Collection of Michael Lebredt

Lebredt printed this work along with untitled (park bench) and untitled (gargoyle) within weeks of one another at the Grand Western Canadian Screen Shop. All three prints are glazed here for the first time as Lebredt originally intended. The dark acrylic sheeting was an early attempt by Lebredt to remind the viewer that “darkness or opacity is the condition for the experience of light; for example when, in its welling up, it happens to meet and envelop the eye from the inky depths of a mere image.”


16
untitled (park bench)
1974
serigraph
41.3 x 59.1 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One,
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Gift of Bill Lobchuk


17
untitled (gargoyle)
1974
serigraph
59.1 x 41.3 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Gift of Bill Lobchuk


18
Wallpaper
1974 / 2005
serigraph, a/p
4 separate prints: 38.0 x 38.0 cm each
Collection of Michael Lebredt

Wallpaper was Lebredt's first print produced while in art school. It is based on the image captured by a Polaroid camera “negative,” i.e., the normally discarded paper backing that is peeled off the face of a developed print. According to Lebredt, “Each individual print of the original edition consisted of four almost identical components. For the exhibition By the Numbers, the only surviving example from that edition was cut apart, and the four component prints were reframed and then deposed across several blank supplementary wall panels (existing panels that can be secured over the gallery's two large window openings, thus extending the amount of wall surface available for display) which had been displaced from what would be their normal positions and function on the south wall of the space to take up positions, and a new function, directly opposite on the north wall. These two white sentinels are to be considered proxies not only for painting or, more importantly, any inscribable surface or subjectile including the display surfaces of the gallery itself but for an a priori general blankness or atopia.”


19
Hidebound: on the turn (before the mirror) of one such visage, one such model....
1978 / 2005
Inkjet on paper mounted on masonite
77.5 x 121.9 cm
Collection of the Artist

This work is a reconstruction based on the original piece (now destroyed) that was submitted to A Space gallery in Toronto for the exhibition Station to Station, an exhibition of photographs placed in a select number of Toronto subway stations in 1979. The proposal was not accepted. Hidebound is based on a cosmetic advertisement, appropriated from the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Lebredt asks, “Should we speak here of the necessity of a certain propriety or decorum whereby the image, at once, divides itself into, on the one hand, a moment or movement of revelation (literally, showing that it has nothing to hide) and, on the other, one of concealment or deception?”


20
02/06
1977
lithograph
55.9 x 76.2 cm
Collection of Michael Lebredt

02/06 is the co-ordinate for the square within the gridded photograph that Lebredt expanded into an abstract lithograph drawing. It was printed in Winnipeg by Moosehead Press, founded by David Umholz.


21
Source/Source
1977
offset lithograph
55.9 x 27.9 cm
Collection of Gallery One One One
School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg;
Gift of Gordon Lebredt
(05.004).

Lebredt comments that it could be said that “Title: not specified was initiated in order that Source/Source could be completed; thus, any photo documentation of the painting would be indistinguishable from the photo-source.” In this work Lebredt has reproduced an image of the source photograph (on the right) for Title: not specified, and an image of a photograph of the painting. Here he has conflated the distinction between painting and photography, making it difficult to tell if the photograph was the source for the painting or vice versa. As Lebredt points out, “once you take a photograph of the painting you're back to the photograph.”

Among other photorealist painters of the time, such as British artist Malcolm Morley and American painter Chuck Close, Lebredt acknowledges in particular the influence of Canadian painter Jack Chambers and his theory of “perceptual realism.” Chambers' use of the gridded photograph as a source for making paintings is reflected in Source/Source, and it became Lebredt's standard practice to grid the canvas when it came to making paintings such as Epokhé, Title: not specified, and Ripple Rock Blowup.(See Lebredt's unfinished canvas for Natural Facts: Red X Yellow X Blue.)


Robert Epp, Guest Curator
November, 2005, Winnipeg
(Revised, February 2007)

Special thanks to Gordon Lebredt for the use of written and oral statements regarding his work.


The Gordon Lebredt: By the Numbers CD-ROM includes links to other Gallery One One One projects: Gallery One One One, School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2. Gallery Hours: Noon to 4 PM (weekdays only).TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605

For information please contact Robert Epp eppr@ms.umanitoba.ca