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Finding one’s way around the cities of John Hartman’s large-scale paintings is like an abstract cartographical exercise. There is just a smidgen of detail to identify each metropolis without dwelling upon superfluous facets. Granted the intangible is a mix of swirling colour and texture but traces of representation do exist to the discerning eye.

The eighteen aerial views displayed are developed from the most part from the artist’s collective memory with the aid of immediate sketches taken on the spot. To this end the resulting product is a canvas that contains a sense of naivety but with a masterful painterly quality filled with heavy impasto and lurching broad strokes of the brush. The emphasis is on port cities and the surrounding waterways that contribute to the economic and communal gain for each.

Calgary Image courtesy of preview-art.com

Luminosity reflects from these rivers and canals and acts as a background for the hidden and seething urbanity that lies just under the surface. Edifices, roads, bridges and green space somehow merge together to form a rich fabric of density and familiarity. In some cases the city dissolves into an uncanny pulsing miasma of shapes and chroma. Each metropolis is afforded its own colour schema ranging from an ice cream coloured Halifax to a dun looking Hamilton. In Hartman’s best use of perspective we are treated to a view of the Thames in London while in Halifax the curvature of the earth can be seen as an aircraft floats past.

In choosing an airborne point of view, Hartman recreates the age-old fantasy of man to soar above their own environment that even inspired da Vinci to draw an aerial view of the Chiana Valley. In this vain the artist is subverting the normative everyday reality of our surroundings and feeding them back to us with vigour and use of the mind’s eye. Given the seething blend of everyday continued existence that one must endure this type of atmospheric vision gives us as citizens pause to step back and examine how we exist as a community.

Also included in the exhibition are his watercolour and graphite inspiration works that are bursts of line and shape and can easily stand on their own. Working notes and compositional layout schemes also accompany the notebook pages. The end result is an animated and uncritical depiction of cities without the pathos of everyday life.

Halifax Image courtesy of cbc.ca

The exhibition ran at Winchester Galleries in Victoria last December.

It is great to see the proliferation of art fairs in Toronto in the past few years. Granted ours do not have the same cache as some of the larger and long established events, but nonetheless we continue to offer something for every taste. Therefore, it is with the latest offering, The Artist’s Project http://www.theartistprojecttoronto.com held this year at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE grounds. It was a little bit of a schlep taking public transport to the site but the venue was bright and spacious with well-demarcated spacing and signage. 

On offering was a proliferation of artists with a range of mediums including drawing, painting, photography, encaustic, sculpture and installation. Although there was an over abundance of trees and landscapes represented in some of these mediums it was a great way for the un-initiated general public to acquaint themselves with the art and artists and possibly take home a piece to start a collection or add to an existing one. This fair being a representation of perceptual rather than conceptual art, it was an easy stroll from aisle to aisle. 

Special features such as Installation Alley, Video Artbox and the Queen Competition added a little depth to balance the monotony of the booths. Art Chats and Art Walks rounded out the fair by adding an educational component for those who could be a little mystified or intimidated by viewing art or by the artistic process in general. 

Most artists were only too willing to talk about their work and explain the technique and steps that went in to producing their pieces. With such a range of inspiration, it was not hard to pick up some advice for the budding artist or collector in each of us. 

Here are my top three picks, not in any particular order: 

1.   Faye Mullen   Mass: a Study  “ I am an artist and I weigh.” 

In this installation piece, the artist could be seen astride one end of a teeter-totter with the other end being held up by her weight in bricks. Mullen has resolved her work to capture in quantifiable terms an artist’s worth in physical terms. In today’s weak economy an artist is one of those who is caught in limbo relying on grants and sales to shore up their practice. By physically representing the weight of an artist with objects Mullen has succeeded in capturing and representing a sometimes invisible and forgotten entity. 

  1. Queen Competition

 In honour of the new venue, The Queen Elizabeth Building, the exhibitors were asked to create a piece based on the theme of “Queen.” On display were some creative representations of the Queen in some precarious depictions as well as an out-sized industrial looking metal crown and scepter. I think I even might have seen a roving installation piece attired in regal splendor!

 3.   Robert Malinowski   www.robertmalonowski.com

 Malinowski’s light and humorous graphite drawings of adults absorbed in a playful and fantastical world are engaging and superb in technique. These images to me evoke references to Jude Griebel who captures the same playful world, but in that of the young.

Other notable artists of mention:

 Warren Hoyano  

Elizabeth Forrest  

Dominique Prevost   www.dominiqueprevost.com

Russell Brohier         www.russellbrohier.com

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Image courtesy of Odon Wagner Gallery

The tables are turned in the art world in Toronto, if just for a short period. The artist Viktor Mitic has produced thirty-six individual portraits of gallery owners and dealers that figure prominently within the city. The exhibition is entitled Dealers, which was showcased at the Odon Wagner Gallery. 

These insightful and personable pieces are rendered in acrylic, oil, and Japanese pigment set against a gold foil background on board giving them each a stately presence. Mitic has drawn out the character of each entity and exalted them to new heights in a casual yet dramatic fashion. The blurred and sometimes hairy edges of the ink outlines around each figure add a sense of playfulness while the gold backdrop harkens back to a time rife with religious connotations. 

The artist manages to subvert the norm as now the dealer is on display rather than the art and artist. The focus is now on the purveyors of art rather than the producers of art. If there is even a slight hint of un-easiness in the aura of the subjects it may lay in the fact that even artists identities for the most part are not laid bare as are in these portraits. The sitter confronts the viewer as if caught in the act, which imparts a sense of approachability and endearment. Mitic confesses he took several pictures of each subject with only a cell phone camera and that each session lasted mere moments. I believe that this mode of research and spontaneity in the poses only increases the directness of the work and reveals the inner nature of all involved. Take for example the depiction of Olga Korper. Here the doyenne of the art world in Toronto is represented in all her striking singularity. This work embodies a departure for Mitic from his usual and sometimes divisive style of portraiture that involves political representation, screw art and bullet hole paintings. 

Also included as part of the exhibition is an excellent virtual catalogue highlighting all thirty-six portraits and a hardcover book to accompany the show which designates a separate cover for each sitter. 

Mitic has succeeded in identifying and personalizing gallery owners and dealers while at the same time making the Toronto art scene just a little more approachable and accessible. 

www.odonwagnergallery.com

www.viktormitic.ca

To enter into Alexander Calder’s world is a fascinating glimpse into a realm of fun and fantasy. Currently on exhibition at the AGO is Alexander Calder: The Paris Years which affords the viewer a rare treat of his miniature circus that the sculptor fabricated from found materials and performed in front of live audiences. When Calder was in Paris in the early 1920’s he befriended many artists from which he drew much inspiration. His lifelong fascination with the circus led him to construct the simple yet intriguing true to life mechanical moving performers during his stay, which delighted both young and old for many years. 

When one thinks of this artist, you immediately conjure up images of hanging mobiles designed in primary colours floating effortlessly above your head. However, this gregarious man shows us the kid within in presenting the characters and animals of the big top. Included in the exhibition is a video of the artist performing the circus in front of children alongside his preliminary drawings and sketches, traveling suitcases, mobiles and stabiles and wire sculptures. Do not miss the very short video portraying Josephine Baker, the sensual chanteuse who captivated Paris in the day and who was a favourite of Calder. 

calder-circus

Image courtesy of artandculture.com

“Sandy” (as he was known to his friends) went on over the years to construct even larger mobiles and stabiles that adorned buildings and public areas and are now iconic symbols of the artist’s enduring legacy. His engineering background gave him the impetus and knowledge to construct these mobiles, some with differing centres of gravity but which are set into motion with the slightest of breezes.

 The artist was readily accomplished in drawing and painting but upon meeting Mondrian in Paris it gave him the shock that set into motion the idea that art need not be static. As he states, “Why must art be static? The next step is sculpture in motion.” Indeed he succeeded in realizing this possibility.

 

Retail shopping has never been as intriguing as it is now at the Massive Sale :YYZ Mall. Conceptualized by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins this foray into the capitalistic world of shopping twists the consumers view of purchasing into unexpected means. The moniker “Marmco” International” offers up 430 square feet of retail fantasy.

http://www.marmco.com/

http://www.yyzartistsoutlet.org/

 

Configured as stalls within the gallery (think chic flea market), the artistic retailers poke fun and inject humour into the entire notion of shopping as the modern consumer realizes. Gone is the notion of the “Wall Mart” greeter who cheerfully greets you at the door. In its stead stands a forlorn silent clown slapping a welcome carpet at your feet and scrawling messages to the consumer on wall hung newsprint paper. Upon entering the actual retail space you are greeted with four small businesses each catering to a different thematic entity. Marman and Borins have acted as business consultants to the artists who were approached with the idea of opening their own store and what that would entail. The whole concept was born out a summer residency at YYZ in which Marman and Borins partook.

 

Each artist definitely brings their own brand of style, sensibility and acumen to the table. The four retailers not only compete in an understated manner with us, but draw the shopper to not only purchase but also become part of the experience themselves. This in turn subverts the passive and at times mind-numbing act of shopping into an occurrence that is both engaging and thought provoking.

 

Perhaps the most eccentric and engrossing of the four is Ken Ogawa and his store “156 Ehohe” which blends seamlessly a money exchange, perfumery and mini-golf. Resplendent in a white nurses dress and a string of pearls Ogawa invites the consumer, on the lure of winning a prize, to try their hand at putting the a golf ball through the ubiquitous last hole windmill. Failure at a prize means the shopper would still be able to purchase a vial of perfume blended by the artist or a banknote stating the denomination of 4.7. This twist in the production of a currency that does not actually exist in our society at once confounds our pre-conceived notions of monetary exchange.

 

Aleks Ognjanovich of “War and Leisure” (a hawker if ever I did hear one) loudly and aggressively beckons with subtle insult, to partake of his line of men’s “leisurewear” which may be ideally suited to the trendy playboy type. Not for the faint of heart, blood stained t-shirts greet you upon arrival or perhaps a custom made track suit, headband or baby blanket…your’s for the buying. Ognjanovich’s style of selling may be in your face but is a welcome turn from the stock passive line of “may I help you” proffered by most clerks today.

 

Things take a comedic turn as you step into the studio of Ulysses Castellanos,otherwise known as “Chirajito” clown painter. Here the tired shopper may sit and have their portrait painted by the costumed artist or perhaps purchase a vintage vinyl record. Simple, sweeping ink filled brushstrokes are transformed into your own likeness as a clown, imbuing the portrait with your own unique and distinctive character . Forget the quick photo based portrait booths found in some malls but instead come away with a resemblance that will not fit in your wallet. Bravo!

 

The Shinn family and “Shinndustry International” rounds out the shopping experience with their detailed and somewhat serious look at fonts and typography. The head of the family, Nick, is by trade a graphic designer and typographer and his wife and children lend their hands to the business as well. Projected onto the near wall are fonts of varying degree chosen by the client themselves, with guidance from the expert, and which can be purchased on a CD. The adjacent shelves also carry an assortment of font-based products from clothing to books. Personal service here is emphasized and attention to detail turns this store into not only a retail service but also harkens back to a time when customer service was taken seriously.

 

Marman and Borins take an everyday modern occurrence like shopping and transform it into not only a statement about the current banality of retail but also into a statement of economics. If our economy is to grow and prosper we must invent ways and means to break out of our current stagnation and imagine a community of like-minded individuals who share in a collective manner of re-configuring the norm. YYZ Mall may just do that as a model for future consideration in a time when the deluded consumer needs it the most.

 

 

On March 6th it was arranged that the artist named Swintak would come to Hart House at the University of Toronto to give a presentation on her past works for the possible consideration of a commission for the House. http://confluxfestival.org/artists.php?artistid=311 Swintak discussed her “Room Works” which were objects embedded on one wall with the artist in-situ.  This was viewed as a sculptural gesture of everyday items and also included “clump” photos of people’s possessions.

 

 

Wall Works saw the artist situated in residence into a gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario where she mounted her possessions and other items donated from the passing public onto a wall encompassing a doorway.  The effect was that of a Beaux Arts frontispiece with her personal considerations and influence taken into effect. 

 

One Nuit Blanche evening saw her install a dumpster into an alleyway in the College and Spadina area that was turned into a hotel room replete with room service and a check-in desk. 

 

swintack.jpg

 

 Hairless Pet Picnic took the participant through a romp in Trinity Bellwoods Park to show off people’s pets that were….obviously hairless.  This was a strictly participatory affair and co-incided with the Nude Colored Clothing event right after which was a frolic in the park with buff colored garments.

 

Space Works brought out the “Self Aware Shed” which was installed and built in YYZ gallery.  This is a found wooden shed and is currently on a ten-year journey to different locales and which will hopefully end up in the National Gallery upon completion of the project. 

 

On the same day after Swintak’s visit, I had the opportunity to view some videos by Mark Lewis, the Canadian edition to this year’s Venice Biennale.  This artist and co-founder of Public magazine deals with public, geographical and city spaces and encompasses “what the modern constitutes”.  His videos for the most part involve spectator engagement and connect the viewer not passively but actively.  They are mostly silent films and are very highly choreographed.  He sometimes utilizes a rear projection technique and incorporates a dichotomy between the foreground and background.  The videos that I viewed were an eclectic mix of his previous work. 

Airport

Airport

 

 

 

 

On March 13th I was delighted to welcome Nestor Kruger to 1 Spadina Ave. to give a presentation concerning his past work, also for possible consideration for a commission for Hart House . /www.goodwatergallery.com/GW/Exhibitions/Kruger/Kruger-ex03-07.html   He started off talking about his “Mailer” exhibition in which Goodwater gallery was transformed into a boarded up long wooden corridor in which the terminus featured a Cyclops speaker uttering the noises of a foghorn.  This was an initiative in which there was no interim space and the viewer was forced to deal with the art immediately.  The other exhibitions he conversed about was one  at the Power Plant featuring a teleprompter which displayed a text based on a dialogue between Cain and

Abel, “Oblivion” at Art Metropole which I viewed at the beginning of the season and “Geezus” again at Goodwater which dealt with the idea of perforation and the covering of open spaces.  

 

Cyclops

Cyclops

 

 

 

     

 

 

Jalouise

Jalousie

 

 

On a bitterly cold January 16th I meandered over to  Birch Libralto on Tecumseh St. to view the exhibition “Multiples IV” which was a substantial group show of at least nine artists along with a few collectives.  Art Metropole had a presence along with General Idea and the exhibition in itself was curated by two independent curators Ann Dean and Roger Bywater.  A representation of works shown were Tim Lee’s 45 rpm records, Julie Voyce silk screens, Euan Mc Donald sculpture, Luis Jacob neon works, Ed Pien prints, Micah Lexier’s series of incremental system books and Mitch Robertson’s plaster cast snow globes.  Overall it was a very strong faction showcasing a diverse range of eclectic artists.  

 

            Next door at Georgia Schermann Projects I was again treated to a group show “True Lies” featuring their newest represented artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins along with the galleries regular stable of artists.  The exhibiton had as its undertones the themes of paradox and juxtaposition both which informed the artist’s theory and work on display.  An element of clear-cut craftsmanship also showed through in the construction of the pieces giving them an aura of quality and preciseness.  The conceptual work of Marman and Borins addresses themes and tensions that give rise to questions of politics, history and the overall visuality of their artwork.  This was a departure as Marman and Borins were previously  represented by Diaz Contemporary…….hmmmmmm!!!

 

            At Susan Hobbs Gallery the paintings of Patrick Howlett were on display in the downstairs gallery which were from his 2008 collection.  These hard angled geometric painted shapes done in egg tempura on wood panel were reminiscent of the work created by the artists in the Montreal art movement the “Plasticiens” but were far removed from their own theory.  Instead Patrick creates these designs in response to fragments from critical texts that takes form from meaning. These texts derived from trolling the internet are googled and the resultant images gleaned in response to these writings are then photoshopped into the geometric collages that are the paintings themselves.  Pretty impressive and quite stimulating to view.   In the upstairs gallery Althea Thauberger had on display three digital C-prints of a figurative nature which dealt with a German civil service project with undertones of social development.  They were large format photos and were obviously taken in the country of Germany which informs the pieces themselves.   Not groundbreaking but indicative of today’s conceptual practice.

 

            I finished off at Diaz Contemporary examining the work of James Carl who has had a spate of exhibitions recently throughout the province including a recent showing at our own JMB Gallery.  This mid-career artist’s show entitled “Jalousie” were monumental sculptures composed of twisted and manipulated venetian blind slats that have been taken from their original context to create vast modernist pieces that contemplate both positive and negative space.  The blinds were bent to form shapes that were not always apparent to the artist at first but are akin to molecular structures that one sees in science textbooks.  Carl always seems to pointedly reference the effluence of consumer and cultural items and this show was no exception.

 

           

 

 

      If the future of visual art lies in the hands of our current stable of
 

 

Danielle Hession

Danielle Hession

 
 

 

students then the Canadian art scene finds itself in good stead with this present crop of learners and graduates from OCAD. As the recent issue of Canadian Art stated, this institution in Toronto has set out to “redefine the nature of art education.” Current president Sara Diamond has determined to shape the school as one that will be in the top echelon of art, design and media world wide. The venerable institution utilizes the city around itself as its studio and strives to churn out the most talented and free thinking individuals.  

 

 

            In the student group show at the student gallery which ended on 7th January entitled “Make Believe” we are treated to a show which explores the notion of childhood dreams and how we are inexorably linked to our innocent past while at the same token propelled forward into our own present idiosyncrasies. The five artists have explored their own notions of infancy which have been curated into a for the most part strong and cohesive exhibition showcasing excellent talent and fine technical skills.

 

            Perhaps the most engrossing and engaging pieces of art are those by the graphic designer Danielle Hession whose ephemera filled mixed media collages engage her collective memories of an earlier period while challenging the notion of impermanence.  The artist utilizes old photos, family portraits, maps, notes, diagrams and drawings to render the past obtainable to the present as “time capsules and storehouses of information.” Such renderings are then coated with an incomplete layer of resin which binds the found objects into a more permanent encasing thus relieving her work from negation. The fact that Danielle also takes private commissions in this vein allows her work to be at once accessible and achievable to those of us who strive to rebuild our past memories.  

                                                                                                     

            Hannah Hilary Enkel’s submission “Behold! A Fool!!!” deals with the notion of public humiliation and societal stigma. Vellum photos of citizens doffing dunce caps set against a grove of trees are at once encased in window boxes composed of barn wood. I at once thought of this as a commentary on our pervasive technical and gadget filled society which subsequently renders our gray matter impervious to the most banal of tasks. However the artist perceives a more sinister approach which speaks of imposed leadership, actions and thoughts. Her Orwellian hypothesis struggles with the notions of shame within a culture and of a population that is guilted into a set way of expression. 

 

            The illustrator Gracia Lam imposes upon us “everyday objects and mundane environments” which have been transposed into fantastical worlds by her wispy and expressive delicate lines. The viewer is asked to explore the human condition in a way which is at once thought provoking but utterly dreamy. Her prints and oil on paper renderings present a figure spying on a couple in a high rise, an absurd game of dodge ball, or a arm chair with real arms that is being transported by a fleet of miniature characters. A portrait of a male with a knitted moustache oversees this collection which strives to pull one’s imagination into corners which are at once thought provoking and disturbing.  Bravo!

 

            The exhibitions signature piece “I Am Ready Now” which hung in the window and which is showcased on the postcard is the work of Yun A Cho. This piece is a charming and playful depiction of two innocent children who are engaged with the viewer. This artist’s work is concerned with childhood experiences and the lost innocence that is part of that experience. Yun’s work for this exhibit had as a backdrop horizontal or vertical lines that were under or overlying the picture depending on the painting. These technically superb oil on canvas and wood panel depictions were figurative pieces that ran the gamut from representational to abstract and which evoked a dream like and evocative sense of being, just what you would expect from childhood.

 

            Perhaps the weakest link in the show was the work of Niloufar Salimi. Although colourful and playful the pieces some how did not seem to fit with the exhibitions overall theme and calibre. Vibrant swirls and curly-cues of ink, impasto acrylic and paper covered the area while flowers were all set against the bruteness and starkness of bare wood. Could these be the doodling from a child’s past or the present imagination of the artist. One is left to wonder but really that wondering is left to smoulder from the lack of substance that is on offer. The series of work were linked on the wall with what seemed to be copper wire except for one lone piece to the left. Niloufar states she creates from a place of memory but I wish that these memories had been more substantial and thought provoking.

    On my first visit to the Museum of New New Painting www.drapell.com I was both sceptical and intrigued. Sceptical of the name but yet intrigued by the artist’s work.  However my doubt soon vanished as I entered the world of Bruce Piermarini and the New New Painters. This group of abstract artists, to which Bruce belongs, are recognized by their use of glossy acrylics, bold use of colour and built up surfaces. Their style is a fusion of Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field and is readily classified as “modernist” painting. One cannot help but to have a visceral reaction to Piermarini’s work. The intensity of the hue, the exuberant composition and viscous quality of the paint catapult you to a world in which all of the senses are engaged. 

photo courtesy of Joseph Drappell

"Noon" photo courtesy of Joseph Drapell

   

These large scale paintings include composites of foam accretions atop flat surfaces which add dramatic implied textural components to the work. The painted   undulating forms twist and turn and travel the length and breadth of the canvas bursting with energy and force. This extraordinary texture also plays a vital role as the built up areas of the paintings reach out in a three dimensional strata ensnaring the viewer’s attention.  

 Fantastical myriad rainbow colours merge and swirl and are shaped by a sublime rhythm and motion.  Every square inch of the canvas is saturated with fierce hue and silken glossiness which is akin to melted ribbon candy swirling in a hand painted Venetian glass. Colours range from sherbet tones to the more intense black, burgundy and reds. Large swaths of colour dominate several works where such expanses are an integral part of colour field painting.   

            Joseph Drapell’s exhibition entitled “What Can Colour Do” was the reason for my second visit.  Drapell is also a New New Painter and founder of the museum. This generous spirited man takes self expression and colour to monumental heights both in his approach to painting and in his technique. 

            Since the 1960’s he has been formulating his own acrylics from powdered pigments and has fashioned several home-made implements form which to paint, including long handled spreading devices and striated trowels. 

            Drapell’s non-representational paintings merge broad areas of sweeping colour, inspired by the Colour Field painters, with his unique acrylics and reflective paints. The layered colours are rich in hue which shine and glisten with ever changing results depending on the viewer’s position. Through the clever use of under painting incorporated with several top layers of colour, Drapell infuses vibrancy, depth and a dramatic play of light upon the various grooves, ridges and built up edges that figure prominently in his work. The results are ethereal, spiritual images of landscapes and expanses inspired by his youth in Prague and of his time spent in Georgian Bay where he draws inspiration from many colourful and diagonal elements. Dynamic figure compositions are also represented in both a frontal and contrapposto manner.

These textural elements are produced with the aid of his aforementioned implements where the striations are an identifying touch and add an extra optic element to his work.

Drapell is quite dynamic when painting and achieves his results while working over top of the large drapell-photo1canvasses which are laid flat on his studio floor.  He is not adverse to climb scaffolding in order to view his work in progress and finds this technique invaluable in order to justify his subsequent strokes of paint. It is quite common for him to reference other artist’s in his work such as that of Jules Olitski when leaving a raised ridge of paint on the canvas edge.

            Joseph Drapell believes that “painting should be visual” and equates his expression to that of his own artistic struggle which he symbolizes to that of a snail. He also thinks that there is a global art crisis both in the quality of work produced and displayed today and that there should be more emphasis on “art in which we cannot lie, that expresses us.” He is most uncomfortable with the conventional dogma so present in the art world today and question’s curator’s safe choices. Drapell is an artist who envelops his own vision in art and who strikes across the grain of convention as did similar artists before him such as the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionist Cezanne.

The Museum of New New Painting is a hidden gem that should be uncovered by any serious student of art and the art loving public at large. To get a taste of Drapell’s work one has to venture no further than the second floor east entrance of Hart House to view his 1987 painting “Nuclear Club”

 

 

 

            I started out on a cloudy Friday afternoon and ended up at Art Metropole on King St.  www.artmetropole.com where the main exhibition on display was by the artist Nestor Kruger.  In this body of work the artist references his notion on the state of oblivion.  He envisions this noun as a place for him, rather than a state.  The duality of opposites and push and pull were quite prominent throughout the pieces.  Notions of the mystical and physics play along in this exhibition as well, surfacing in the main element of work which is a large aquarium filled with a colorless and odourless liquid.  Try to imagine the same piece as proposed by Damien Hirst, sans shark though.  Other dualities were presented within the other objects on display both in colour opposites, positive and negative photos and the main duality which was that of an empty tank mirroring the water filled vessel.  We were also treated to other artist’s work such as Derek Liddington’s “Reading Machine for Dr. No” and James Carl’s sculpted elastics. 

 

            I stopped by briefly to see the show by Joe Hambleton at Pari Nadimi Gallery.  www.parinadimigallery.com “Sounds for the Post-Apocalyptic Man” was an installation piece of sound and painting that united the Cyber Punk genre of Science Fiction within a social commentary regarding the artist’s childhood in Southern Ontario.  The gallery itself flies way below the radar usually and so does its shows for some reason as it is a shame because the gallery space itself is an excellent and large venue in which to showcase any artist.

 

            My next stop was at MOCCA  www.mocca.ca to view the exhibition entitled “Dyed Roots” which was curated by Camilla Singh who situated herself at times within an aviary cum bar- enclosed office which was installed by the entrance.  The shows installations dealt with the idea of, to quote the press release, ‘the new emergence of culture’ and had as it’s main theme the idea of colonialism and the banding together of cultures through travel, immigration and souveniours.  Some artists in the exhibition included Brendan Fernandes and Rashmi Varma.

 

            Another quick stop was made at Clint Roenisch www.clintroenisch.com to see the work of the Canadian Duo Tony Romano and Tyler Brett otherwise known as T and T.   The theme of post-apocalyptic conservation was again addressed in their flat, colourful giclee prints that incorporate motifs of survival, recycling, retrofitting and modernist architecture that is just somehow re-configured to adapt to their confines of survival. 

 

            MKG127 www.mkg127.com  was my second to last stop where I took in the zany world of Instant Coffee.  “Say Nothing in Bright Colours” is this collective’s way to introduce the use of neon and acid based colours to painted and shrouded sandwich boards, found objects and photos.  Instant Coffee utilizes architectural spaces and objects and re-crafts them to investigate the social world around them in an ironic fashion.  They had even managed to fashion their own wallpaper in black and white which featured an updated version of dingbats and violators which could only be used by the most daring of decorators. 

 

           

            “Hunting” was my last stop at the Stephen Bulger Gallery. www.bulgergallery.com  This was a photo based group show which as its title implies deals with the theme of hunting.  Both 19th and 20th century photographs were included in the show to reflect upon society’s view and subsequent distancing from our origins of hunter/gatherers.  The pieces reflected on the act of moose hunting, Inuit hunting, hunting lodges and hunting blinds abandoned in trees throughout the Ontario landscape.