Tag Archives: canadianart

A volar entre rocas (To fly between stones) by Mariana Muñoz Gomez

13 June 2022

By Francesa Carella Arfinengo

On a Saturday afternoon in late March of 2021, I get on my bike and head to Blinkers, a DIY project space in the downtown Exchange District of Winnipeg. It is early spring and there is an icy chill on my ears from the wind. It’s my first bike ride of the season, and as I move through the city on two wheels familiar things are seen anew. Dormant muscles are activated; I notice the spring smell of the river, the shadows from bare trees on the path. Two friends and I have booked an appointment to see Mariana Muñoz Gomez’s first solo exhibition, A volar entre rocas (To fly between stones). We are taking advantage of recently eased COVID-19 restrictions, making this visit feel extra special.

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Making your way under darkness: Moonshow at the plumb

25 May 2022

By Dana Snow

The Moon is the eighteenth card in the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck. When the Moon reveals itself in a reading, it signifies that a time of reflection, intuitive dreaming and evolution lie ahead. The moon whispers softly to us and guides us to the gates of the unknown, insisting on a balance of light and darkness. Moonshow, curated by Tkaronto-based collective Hearth, and exhibited at the plumb in the city’s midtown, lapped at the viewer’s consciousness like the moon pulls the tide: reflection, cyclical repetition and vibration act as guiding forces through the serpentine project space. The exhibition was on view from January 9th until February 7th, 2021, a time that could only be described as desperate in terms of Tkaronto’s COVID-19 crisis. This show underscored the importance of embracing darkness in dark times, offering a respite to the ever-climbing numbers in the crowded city with saccharine appeals of “hope” that other contemporary exhibitions did not.

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A Rib Looks Like a Shoreline: Colin W. Davis at Between Pheasants Contemporary

12 May 2022

By Alex Gregory

The romantic urban dream of starting a commune, or quaintly living in cottage country, differs greatly from the reality of maintaining a prosperous farm. Such urban perceptions of rural living can seem out of touch, as country life comes with a responsibility to the land and to maintaining community values. This reinforces gendered expectations because, even with modern machinery, the success and economic prosperity of farming, forestry, mining, etc., requires immense physical labour that is stereotypically associated with cis-gender men. Additionally, rural activities such as fishing, hunting or dirt biking require grit, and facilitate a type of camaraderie that is associated with “bro-culture.” 

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A Taxonomy of Strangers: Libby Oliver’s Soft Shells

24 November 2021

By Tyler Muzzin

The photographs in Libby Oliver’s series Soft Shells engender the same paradoxical nature that the title implies: they are portraits that conceal the subject, while revealing more about the subject’s individuality than most portrait photography could ever hope to achieve. Exhibited at Gallery Stratford, on the edge of the Shakespeare Festival grounds and a short walk from one of the most celebrated costume departments in Canadian theatre, it’s only fitting to quote Jaques’ well-worn prologue to Act II of As You Like It as an epigraph: 

“All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players;”

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Affirmations for Wildflowers: An Ethnobotany of Desire: Tania Willard at SFU Audain Gallery

12 November 2021

By Andrea Valentine-Lewis

WE can CHANGE

the FUTURE is INDIGENOUS

the Land is STRONG

I AM the FUTURE

the REVOLUTION has COME

I am the LAND

I have VALUE

Tania Willard’s Affirmations for Wildflowers: An Ethnobotany of Desire, ran from September 14th to November 13th, 2020, within the street-facing windows of the SFU Audain Gallery. The seven statements including “the Land is STRONG” and “I have VALUE” were projected as glowing declarations onto a wall running the length of the windows. Each declaration, or “affirmation” as the exhibition’s title suggests, was accompanied by suspended copper-coloured reflective disks, the surface of which were etched with black wildflower silhouettes. At the bottom of each disk, a trim of pink, orange, yellow, and brown silk ribbons embellished the composition.

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Ninga Mìnèh: Caroline Monnet at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

5 November 2021

By Didier Morelli

In her first solo museum exhibition in Canada, presented by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Caroline Monnet chose eighteen recent works for Ninga Mìnèh, many of which had never previously been shown. Following her rise to prominence in the local (2020 Pierre-Ayot Award), national (2020 Sobey Art Award), and international (2019 Whitney Art Biennial) art scenes, the interdisciplinary artist of Algonquin and French ancestry made her much anticipated full-scale entry into one of Montreal’s most heralded cultural institutions. Ninga Mìnèh focuses on the architecture of Indigenous communities in Canada, specifically the cheaply and hastily built reservation housing that further entrenches First Nations peoples into economic and social precarity.1 Conceptually striking and spatially inviting, the exhibition draws on postmodern codes and mediums with a politically and socially incisive subtext, thus interpreting new conceptual horizons for the artist’s practice.

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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.

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Grounding at the Art Gallery of Guelph

20 October 2021

By Juilee Raje

While a second provincial lockdown was looming around the corner last winter, my mother and I managed to squeeze in one last visit to the Art Gallery of Guelph. The thrill of getting to see a few exhibitions in person (rather than the tiresome ordeal of clicking through virtual shows online) was much needed. We were restless to get out of the house, the days melting together more insistently than ever. Though I revisited the gallery a few times after, and with different people, this exhibition still sticks prominently in my mind as “the one where we tried to experience an olfactory installation while wearing masks.” 

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The Objects That We Carry: Lorena Salomé at Trinity Square Video

13 October 2021

By Noor Alé

Migrancy, and its generative potential to create a series of movements, is an enduring interest of Lorena Salomé—a Toronto-based Argentinian artist—whose practice employs technology to activate commonplace objects and dismantled electronics to create kinetic works. In Salomé’s exhibition, The Objects We Carry1 at Trinity Square Video, co-presented with Public Visualization Lab in Toronto, she examined issues relating to global migration, gentrification, and eviction through an installation that invited community participation, as well as a series of collaborations with artists whose practices are engaged with travel. 

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when the big E unfurls its tongue: Michael Lachman at CSA Space

23 September 2021

By Alexandra Box

“Man’s greatness is always to recreate his life, to recreate what is given to him, to fashion that very thing which he undergoes. Through work he produces his own natural existence. Through science he recreates the universe by means of symbols. Through art he recreates the alliance between his body and his soul.”
– Simone Weil, The Mysticism of Work, Gravity and Grace (1947)

Late-capitalist mediascapes require the attention of the broader visual world that existed before workers encountered an economic and hygienic reordering due to mass death and unemployment, such as the affordance to some for working remotely. This social and biological decline is making it difficult—at most times, unsafe—to show up in traditional ways for provocation, or a mundane office job. Labour can only benefit from collective reflection, particularly on culture (abstraction, ornament, material, narrative) coming out of charged social and material conditions. Artist Michael Lachman grips onto the strength of fiction and satire as sculptural strategies in his solo exhibition, Let Me Introduce Myself, at CSA Space in Vancouver. Lachman transforms the gallery into a dreamlike office space riddled with stylized artifacts, producing a comedic story told by objects. Technical changes to the gallery space, such as dropping the ceiling height and lining the floor with blue modular carpet, reduced the standing posture for viewers and added to the satirical landscape of “the office.” The exhibition encapsulates the methodical rituals of the nine-to-five workday using comedy, as Lachman steers gallery visitors towards cultural mores, overdetermined ideas of professionalism, and the absurdities of manhood. 

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Ursula’s Garden at Sibling

4 August 2021

By Alex Lepianka

I am surrounded by two hundred and twenty-two plaster polyps cast in place along the perimeter of Sibling’s gallery floor. The forms, which make up Robert Anthony O’Halloran’s installation Ursula’s Garden, are nippled, bellied and creased, with a rare few still stretching the condoms in which they were cast. Pushed up against the wall or slumped onto the floor, collapsing, tired and erect, the castings demarcate a lively zone within the gallery. There is humour to O’Halloran’s installation, and it hits like a scrap of itinerant latex flung, forgotten and rediscovered in a faraway corner of my bedroom the morning after a low-consequence fuck. O’Halloran’s garden is not the underwater Disney hell that the show’s title references, but neither does it realize a place of oceanic, post-coital peace. Instead, each one of its castings strikes an irreplicable pose, hardened or perhaps exhausted by its once-living desires.

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Eli Langer: Paintings

11 December 2020

By Gregory Humeniuk

Dear N,

It was great to catch up with you and R in Winnipeg in February. Visiting Plug In and the WAG reminded me of how much I miss the essential pleasure of an exchange about art before art. Clint Roenisch’s Eli Langer exhibition would have been an antidote to the usual bunch of second-rate shows any time, and when Ontario’s emergency orders were still novel, Clint welcomed a private visit on a Tuesday afternoon. With everything closed, Langer’s paintings from LA around the turn of the century, through the aughts, blotted local mediocrities and lifted my spirits.

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The Sacred Particularities of Care: Julie Oh’s ‘Tunnel, Air, Mother’

26 November 2020

By Nic Wilson

A labyrinth is distinguished from a maze by its lack of dead ends and by its unicursal paths. The traveler is easily disoriented by the winding path, moving against their intuition and sense of direction. In the concentric circles and hairpin turns, the walker moves along a line that bends in on itself. Traditionally, one starts their walk on the outside of the labyrinth moving circuitously toward and away from the centre until they arrive, almost by surprise. Similarly, Julie Oh’s work moves with the turns of the labyrinth, but it starts at the centre. It takes you along in looping turns toward and away from the specificity of the heating blanket or the prescription bottle until this known thing is strange, known, strange, and known again. The work of the labyrinth is embodied work; it makes an internal world into physical space. Similarly, so is navigating Oh’s Tunnel, Air, Mother—a body of work that confounds, conflates and takes pleasure in the already messy binaries of mother-daughter, parent-child, caregiver and receiver, intimate and communal, personal and public.  Rather than imagining a spectrum—a straight line—between fixed positions, the work in this show travels the curves and loops between them.

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Colour, abstraction, and queerness in the art of Derek Dunlop

2 May 2020

By Hannah Godfrey

 

and speak in vain to the silent ash                                                                                                                                                     

Catullus, “101,” trans. E. Cederstrom

 

 

and talk (why?) with mute ash                                                                              

Catullus, “101,” trans. Anne Carson




I was boarding a train from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. At the end of the platform, on the wall of the station, above the clock, was some large, pink neon handwriting.

I Want My Time With You.

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The Shadow of Sirius: Jennifer Murphy at Clint Roenisch

5 February 2020

By Penelope Smart

 

The moment at evening 

when the pictures set sail from the walls

— excerpt from “Cargo” by W.S. Merwin

Pictures on the wall in Jennifer Murphy’s The Shadow of Sirius stand tall and still. In the gallery, jewel toned birds, moths, dragonflies, frogs and flora of human-scale have migrated from a dream-like state or have been grafted from the pages of a children’s storybook. Except—as in a Grimm’s fairy tale—prettiness tends to couple with death. Murphy’s exquisite creatures came to life within our new countdown: one in which our time-frame for saving the planet can be counted in months (131), not years. As an exhibit that was mounted in the autumn of 2019, a few weeks after Iceland held its first funeral for a glacier and a few months before Australia’s skies turned red from its burning shorelines, Murphy’s silent gathering of animals, insects and flowers—borne from love, anxiety and heartbreak—take on the power of a silent vigil.  Continue Reading

Blur at the Art Gallery of Ontario

30 October 2019

By Ricky Varghese

 

In the Right of Inspection, Jacques Derrida wrote of the medium of photography in these terms: “You could speak of…[a photograph] as of a thinking, as a pensiveness without a voice, whose only voice remains suspended.” I was reminded of this evocative description when I saw Sandra Brewster’s show Blur, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario from July 24, 2019 to March 29, 2020. The association between Brewster’s work and Derrida’s thinking was brought on by those very final words in the latter’s statement—“…voice [remaining] suspended.” (1) In fact, suspension—or rather what it means to be suspended, to be seen in a seeming state of frozen arrest, both within the frame and, perhaps, beyond it—seems to be an apt way of understanding and talking about the artist’s new work. Continue Reading

DIY Karma Kit: Adam Revington at Support

20 February 2019

By Brennan Kelly

 

They’re all turned away; faces pressed against the wall. The wood frames circumscribing their borders evince this rotational reversal, displaying the typically undisplayed—incidental flecks of paint, v-nails clasping mitred joints, hardware insets, and vacant nail holes. Despite their reversed orientation, each frame is still performing its principal function, framing (and thereby demarcating) a discrete composition. In this dualistic state of front-and-yet-also-back, a question arises: Are these works, as individuated units of frame and composition, exposing something previously concealed? Or are the frames themselves merely turned away? Continue Reading

Painting and Obstinacy

9 May 2018

By Andrew Witt

Last year a number exhibitions, events and talks addressed the state of contemporary painting in Vancouver. The following essay is a belated survey of these exhibitions and events but also an analysis of the blind spots, clichés and missed opportunities that have stood out during the discussion. Paying close attention to the works on display, ‘Painting and Obstinacy’ attempts to short-circuit the dominant currents and tendencies of the debate by thinking through how the artworks themselves, through their formal manoeuvres and political content, shore up a new vocabulary for the reception of contemporary painting in the present.

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