When asked about his curatorial philosophy, David Candler demures with a joke: “Mostly get an idea and allow it to ferment and pick at the back of my brain for years and years and years and years until I had a space to play.”
His relatively new gallery, open since last September, was a long time in the making. The idea to open what became dc3 Art Projects has been with Candler—who is a doctor by day at the Cross Cancer Institute—since the early ‘90s, though his love of art stretches even further back. Upon completing his medical school exams, Candler headed to Mexico to gain some much-needed head space. What he found became a near-obsession.
“I was desperate to learn something else,” he says. “I got down there and was just blown away by these small galleries showing installation art and different aspects of contemporary versions of what the pre-Columbian history of that area held. It never stopped after that.”
In those “pre-Internet” days Candler sought out books, magazines and auction catalogues wherever he could, gradually building up a vast knowledge of the contemporary art scene the world over. Bypassing the Rembrandts, Matisses and Gauguins of the past, Candler felt a strong pull to the contemporary, art that elucidated the now.
“The artists that I’m drawn to, the ones that I think have the most to say, they’re generally people who have no choice in doing what they do. They have to communicate in the way that they communicate because that’s how they exist in the world,” he says. “So I’m really interested in where the work comes from, why that particular person has to communicate in that way, put that thing out in the world that way.”
The art he shows represents contemporary work of a type not typically seen in Edmonton’s commercial spaces. The work is brazen, defiant, sometimes loud and sometimes sinister. It’s work that demands a reaction, good or bad, not something you buy to match a couch. Paintings by Montreal-based Tammy Salzl, as part of the current exhibition PLAY: Toys + Age = Art, provide a perfect example: normal, even banal, portraits if only glanced at, the mottled skin tones and slightly off perspectives draw the viewer in before discomfiting them with their ghastliness. Even upon being horrified, however, one has trouble looking away.
“I tend to be drawn to work that pulls me in and pushes me away at the same time,” Candler says of his personal tastes. “I’ve worked at creating a different kind of space for viewing work, and the work that I want to show is work that I want to see.”
As he says, he’s more interested in showing work that interests him than showing work he knows he can sell.
But why so long from idea to execution? Why hasn’t Edmonton had this kind of commercial space since the early ‘90s?
“I wanted somebody else to do it,” Candler says. “When nobody else did for 25 years I decided I didn’t have any more excuses it was time to step up and do it.”
Thu – Fri (6 pm – 9 pm) & Sat (11 am – 6 pm)
dc3 Art Projects
(10567 – 111 st)