Category Archives: Interview

Oceanic matters, porous vessels, waste flows: A Conversation with Elizabeth Burmann Littin

5 June 2024

By Katie Lawson

In October of last year, Chilean artist Elizabeth Burmann Littin’s exhibition Pupila marked the opening of two seven two, a new commercial gallery in Toronto run by Emma Bain and Yasmin Nurming-Por. Tucked away in the Republic of Rathnelly, it takes up residence in a space already steeped in a legacy of community organizing and experimental art practices of the 1960s-’70s. Burmann Littin’s exhibition beckons with a glow of atmospheric pink light that spills out into the gallery’s back laneway. Entering Pupila is akin to passing through a portal, one that simultaneously invokes the primordial soup of our planetary origins, as well as our contemporary moment of climate crisis, through an attunement to the troubling anthropogenic, oceanic conditions of our present and future. 

Continue Reading

Precious Elements: In Conversation with Parastoo Anoushahpour

31 January 2024

By Anqi Shen

I can’t say for certain why Parastoo Anoushahpour’s recent film The Time That Separates Us (2022) absorbed my attentions. In the spring, I found myself on the edge of the University of Toronto’s St. George campus in Innis Town Hall, a cinema and lecture theatre. I was compelled to take out my notebook in the dark to record some thoughts: Story of the Ammonites / Lot’s daughters—The key to taking a selfie is to take just one—’Valle’–Yes—There–English—Not everything is meant to be written—All memories become important—A light hand / a Heavy Land.

As part of a 2023 Images Festival screening series called Passages, Anoushahpour’s film was screened alongside the works of Iranian filmmakers Naghmeh Abbasi, Siavash Yazdanmehr, and Rojin Shafiei. Collectively, these works spoke to each other in Arabic and Farsi, between modes and metaphors. I tried to understand the language between them. Shot in Jordan and Palestine, The Time That Separates Us is grounded in the land and the mythologies around Lot’s Wife and the Pillar of Salt. In the film, an intimacy of thoughtful and honest intentions is foregrounded in the exploration of the film’s subjectivities in a heavily mediated landscape.

A couple of weeks after the screening, during a trip to New York City, I reached out to Anoushahpour to ask if she would be open to talking about her work. The Toronto-based filmmaker and artist spoke with me from Athens, Greece, where she was at the time. Our conversation meandered between ideas I had sent her in an email, and we spoke about elements of craft and process—not in a way that would explain certain artistic decisions or meanings, but to more insightfully navigate why I came away feeling so touched by her work. 

Continue Reading

Because Every Day is Filled with Unmemorable Time: A Conversation with Hyang Cho

14 December 2023

By sophia bartholomew

At sunset, in the calm before a torrential downpour, I spoke with artist Hyang Cho inside the makeshift studio she’s set up inside her garage in Guelph, ON. We talked about her most recent exhibition, Certain Things from Uncertain Moments, which ran from January 14 – March 11, 2023 at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, and reflected on using time as material when creating sculptural work, the relationship between time and boredom, and the near-geologic sedimentation of her varied material accumulations. She walked me through the differentiation she makes between “collecting” and “saving,” and why she always “pauses” her projects rather than “ending” them. We discussed the subtle variations in mass produced objects like glass jars and plastic bags, and whether or not materials can ever truly be transformed. In Cho’s process, a book always remains a book, even after it’s been torn up, mixed with glue, and turned into a rock-like lump of papier mâché—and through our conversation, she also convinced me that sometimes tearing a book apart is more pleasurable than reading. 

Continue Reading

Mutable Matters: A Conversation with Laura Hudspith

15 March 2023

By Katie Lawson

I first came across Laura Hudspith’s work in 2019, which coincided with a shift in the artist’s practice to a more autotheoretical approach that draws on her lived experience with chronic illness. At that time, I was months deep into my own isolating and confusing journey that would eventually lead to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, the latest in a growing list of medical conditions that have shaped my life to date. I was immediately drawn to Laura’s compelling use of object, image, and text in relation to both the individual and the collective body. I felt a wave of relief; I felt seen. Despite the fact that I initially encountered Laura’s work virtually, the impact of her practice is evident in the sense of connection and comfort it offered me in a time marked by unknowing. 

Splitting her time between Pittsburgh and Toronto, Laura has since continued to deepen her engagement with the intersections of art, critical theory, politics, and medicine, resulting in a wide range of material experimentation as she works towards the completion of her graduate degree. This winter, I had the privilege of sitting down with Laura for an in-depth conversation about her practice, traversing multiple bodies of work from 2020 to the present day. 

Continue Reading

Truly, Madly, Deeply; A Case for Vulnerability: In Conversation with Beau Gomez

5 February 2023

By Nawang Tsomo Kinkar

How does one evaluate the authenticity of an artist’s work? Is it the artwork itself or is it the engagement with it? In this late-capitalist, image-driven world, what does meaningful engagement with contemporary photography look like? How do we value generosity, connection, depth and above all—truth? 

I am often at a crossroads between admiring an artist’s body of work at face value—the aspects that are detectable on the surface, the interpretations that comfortably linger in the presentation space—and how I might nurture this relationship between artwork, artist, writer, and as a human being. It therefore came to me as no surprise when I fell in love with Beau Gomez’s El Angel. I fall in love so easily, and photography can be such a beautiful thing. However romantic this may be, it’s important to remember that love too can be fickle, and photography, by its very nature and science, is also a fickle phenomenon. 

Continue Reading

Wall Drawing #1 and Wall Drawing #2: A Conversation between Sean Weisgerber, Daniel Griffin Hunt and Rebecca Travis

29 April 2022

Sunday March 20, 2022, 1pm EST. Three individuals (Sean Weisgerber, the artist; Daniel Griffin Hunt, curator of The Size of a Credit Card at the plumb; and Rebecca Travis, Curator and Collections Manager at Open Studio) meet at Open Studio in downtown Toronto to look at and discuss Weisgerber’s solo exhibition at the gallery’s Feature Wall, aptly titled Wall Drawing #1. The trio sit around the work in folding chairs, one with a large book on his lap…

Continue Reading

Images of Mothers with Breasts: A Conversation between Amanda Boulos and Jasmine Reimer

13 March 2022

In She Can Cook a Potato in Her Hand and Make it Taste Like Chocolate, an artistic research and exhibition project led by Jasmine Reimer, she investigates Neolithic goddess mythology and symbols with twelve artists, researchers and academics, including Toronto-based artist Amanda Boulos. Interviews related to the project took place over Zoom and subsequent email correspondence due to strict COVID-19 lockdowns, when stories were told only through screens. In this conversation, Boulos and Reimer speak about their practices in relation to the visual language and body of “the Goddess.” 

Boulos discusses her latest series, Mother’s Storage (2020), dedicated to her Mother as the storyteller of the family and to the nurturing nature of their relationship. She tells us how the abstract imagery emerges from familial narratives, body language and excessive smothering. She deeply admires and relates to Reimer’s goddess drawings from the recent series, The Great Round (2020-2021), asking about her inspirations for the towering charcoal works. Reimer’s The Great Round explores how “the Goddess” and her various manifestations as rocks, bodies of water, trees and plants helped Neolithic communities connect to non-anthropocentric lifecycles. In her drawings, Reimer adds to the mythology via gender-fluid hybrid forms.

Continue Reading

Every Moment Is A Chance To Get Something That Lives On

29 October 2021

Vishal Jugdeo interviewed by Paul Kajander

Does Your House Have Lions (2021) is a 49 minute film by Delhi-based poet vqueeram and Los Angeles-based artist Vishal Jugdeo. Shot like cinéma-vérité, the piece moves around friends and lovers vqueeram lives with. It documents Delhi, Bombay and Goa, during the time-period of January 2016 to September 2020, and speaks to an intensified political atmosphere in India. This film is just one iteration of an ongoing collaborative process between vqueeram and Jugdeo.

For several months, I’ve had the pleasure of thinking with this complex and profoundly beautiful new work, which prompted much correspondence about Vishal & vqueeram’s working methodology and the many details surrounding the lived experience of producing such an encompassing project. Through his spirited responses, Vishal shared a wealth of contextual information that will offer an enriched experience of this vital document, which shines a brave and loving light on a house of luminous relations, burning brightly against the encroaching darkness of diminishing democratic freedoms in India.

Continue Reading

A Conversation with Sean Sprague

19 April 2021

By Zoe Koke

Sean Sprague is a photographer from Toronto who now lives in Los Angeles. His work—large-scale singular tableau photographs—stage moments he observes in daily life, then recasts and reconstructs. These are spaces of in-betweenness aggrandized. Questions of labour and class drift through his work, tensions between the real and unreal, yet evidence is always withheld, faces turned away, details guarded, while maintaining that everything appears in piercing focus. Sprague, like many of his references and predecessors, is preoccupied with the gaps around truth. In describing his work he states, “Through staging of documentary scenes, these works seek to challenge the authority of the documentary traction in photography and its narrow definition of truth that excludes so much.”

Continue Reading

In Praise of Unforeseen Circumstances: One year of ‘art rock?’

25 November 2016

By Daniel Colussi

For just over a year Vancouver based interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker and musician Casey Wei has produced a series of shows under the banner of art rock? Wei’s practice is primarily in film and video but she has also curated several site-specific projects that transform the character and use of communal space. For Toronto’s 2015 Images Festival, Wei was the first ever artist-in-residence at the Chinatown Centre Mall on Spadina Avenue. She activated the mall’s lower mezzanine with ballroom dancing, mahjong tables, karaoke and live music, the kind of activities reflective of the demographics of mall’s primary users, who are for the most part Chinese and elderly. For the course of that week, Wei virtually never left the confines of the mall, during the day she hosted and documented the lower mezzanine and at night she had in a room in the Super 8 hotel attached to the mall. Continue Reading