The Overall Situation? Sticky. | Java Blend Coffee
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The Overall Situation? Sticky.

Posted by Cailen Pygott on

The Overall Situation? Sticky. (Exhibit Statement)

This exhibition is the result of an artistic endeavor of collaborative curation by the cafe staff at Java Blend Coffee. Featuring work by several artists making use of several practices like portraiture, realism and found objects this exhibition explores themes of capitalism, mortality and the longevity of Greek Mythology’s relevance to modern society. While each piece examines different themes in it’s own way they are all presented in the medium of Sticky Notes (Post-It or otherwise.) This common thread sewn through each unique piece serves as a reminder that while we all may be interpreting, finding and coping with our place in this world in our own way we still need to “stick” together. Like a Sticky Note. You get it. 

Java Blend would like to extend our gratitude to the venerable Constance Vaugn-Vaugnmeier (MFA, PHD, Attorney at law) for providing the following review, itself  a work of art in its own right:

The review: The Overall Situation? Sticky. is a group exhibition that defies expectations and brings together six new leading voices to contemporary post-it-postmodernism. In a genre wherein one might easily have thought that all things that could have been said, have been said, I find myself thrilling at a realm of post-it possibility that has been cracked wide open in this tour-de-force combined treatise on alienation, the handmade, the body and, of course self-adhesive post-secularism. 
Not since first hearing Carly Rae Jepson’s 2015 album release E-mo-tion have I have felt anything like the waves of passion that carried me through these works. Starting with Rothwell D’Burger’s powerful mixed-media piece: Sticky. (which caused me to both weep and gnash my teeth in a way I haven’t experienced since I got food poisoning from a canapé at a Sol LeWitt art opening in 1972) and ending in Broken Promises, a work of pure naive genius by an unknown artist (Banksy, is that you?) which caused me so much cerebral pleasure and distress that I was forced to remove my own shoes and beat myself mercilessly about the face and neck in order to help me process the many levels of this work which operate in wave upon wave of unrelenting brilliance. Not even to mention Symon Goblé’s Turkey Day (a paradigm shifting piece that left me drowning in sadness, regret and spiritual gravy), Crarlvin Sparx (of the venerable Sparx medicine and painting dynasties)’s piece, Squidward And His Clarinet…(which left me feeling both empty and yet full of the will to change), C. Heathrow Rum’s, Canned-Dish Blues (which caused me to question even my own questioning) and finally Billinda’s cautionary work, Clippy’s Return (which caused me to ask even why I might still be asking). Truly, truly, this is a life changing exhibition not to be missed. *****
-Constance Vaugn-Vaugnmeier, MFA, PhD, Attorney at Law


Post-it note with the words sticky artfully rendered in pen and pink ink.

Rothwell D’Burger

The piece from which this exhibit takes its name: Rothwell D’Burger’s Sticky is a snappy rebuke of modern pop culture’s obsession with nostalgia. The hand-designed text of Sticky channels the aesthetic of the greatest artistic triumph of the mid-90s, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, to draw the viewer back to that seminal decade. The bubble-gum imagery shows the reader that D’Burger’s target is “pop” culture and his refusal to use a modern post-it note (opting instead for scotch tape on paper) illustrates the issue of our culture being “stuck” to the past.

Post-it note with sharpie drawn illustration of turkey and the words "Happy Turkey Day".

Turkey Day
Symon Goblé

Touching on themes of existentialism, nihilism and veganism Turkey Day is an emotional force by debuting artist Symon Goblé. This is Goblés first appearance in an exhibition but she brings a weight to her piece that even more experienced artists struggle with. Goblé deftly anthropomorphizes the titular Turkey with a relatable facial expression that says “I just woke up from a nap and have no idea what day it is.” The piece takes a dark turn when we realize what the implications of “Turkey Day” truly mean for this bird and his obliviousness to them. Showing how we are bound to animals by our shared mortality this piece makes the viewer ask “will I know when my Turkey Day comes?”


Post-it note with sharpie drawing of the cartoon character Squidward playing a clarinet with the words "Squidward and his clarinet" above them.

Squidward And His Clarinet:
The Artist’s Glorious March Hindered Amidst Revolution
Crarlvin Sparx

Crarlvin Sparx is an anti-capitalist community-based activist and multi-disciplinary artist whose practices include music, illustration, lithography, moon-dancing, swordplay and upcycled french cuisine. Squidward And His Clarinet is perhaps Crarlvin’s most renowned work known for its depiction of an artist living under capitalism. In this portrait we can see Squidward Tentacles, an octopus, take great joy in exploring his passion whilst having his legs cut off by the limitations imposed upon him by the post-it medium. This is to symbolize the demands of a capitalist society to always maintain a nigh unattainable level of productivity to step ahead and progress. Sparx hand-printed this piece in the print shop/gallery he runs out of his parents’ guest house. They are both doctors.


Two post-it notes with images drawn on them in black sharpie. The one on the left shows an opened can of pork and beans and the signature "Rum." The one on the right features a can of sardines with the top peeled back. 

Canned Dish Blues
C. Heathrow Rum


An autobiographical piece by modern-realist C. Heathrow Rum; Canned-Dish Blues tells the story of Rum’s cross-country-rail-riding travels by documenting the contents of his favourite bindle. Originally part of a much larger series by Rum; Pork n’ Beans and Sardines in Oil were the only pieces to survive a 2018 fire at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, where the series was on display. Rum is currently a prime suspect in a series of cross-country murders. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is encouraged to call CRIME STOPPERS Canada at 1-800-222-8477.


A yellow post-it note with a pen drawing of Clippy, an anthropomorphic paper clip with big eyes and floating eyebrows.

Clippy's Return

Remember Clippy? He’s back: in paper form! Drawing on similar themes of nostalgia seen in Sticky, Clippy’s Return takes it a step further to show the inability of past figures to find new solutions to modern problems. In a world of Siri, google assistants and GPS units with programmable Australian accents there’s simply no use for someone like Clippy. This is shown through the juxtaposition of printing Clippy on the medium word processors once tried and failed to make obsolete: note paper. Here we see Clippy eager to help but being completely trapped in his mundane three dimensional existence. Hmmmmm. What really separates us from Clippy? This exhibit is more existential than you thought it would be isn’t it? Art.


A loyalty punch card from Java Blend. Three holes have been punched on the buy ten pounds of coffee get one free line. There is a yellow post-it note attached to the front that reads Steve Will Pick Up in black sharpie.

Broken Promises
Artist Unknown

A piece left behind in our cafe by an anonymous artist. At first glance it may seem like a regular note left by one barista for another but the longer the viewer interacts with the piece the more questions arise. Who is Steve? When will he pick up? Why hasn’t he picked up yet? Was this punch card forgotten by Steve or left behind by someone else for Steve? What three pounds of coffee did they buy? Each answer spawns more questions like the heads of the fearsome hydra of greek myth. Answering even one of these questions would be a trial worthy of the mighty Hercules. That’s right this piece is actually an allegory for greek mythology and shows how it continues to be relevant in a modern society. Sur-prise!



This exhibition was made possible thanks to a generous donation by the Staples family


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