Tag Archives: Review

La Cintura Cósmica del Sur (The Cosmic Waist of the South) at Fazakas Gallery

24 June 2022

By Angie Rico

In the Southeast borough of Xochimilco, Mexico, is an oasis of yore, solidified in popular tradition for city dwellers and tourists alike to visit the remaining lacustrine zones trapped among the sweltering chaos of Mexico City. The silent and robust trajineras are the transportation of choice for these terrains that offer one of the only remaining glimpses into Mexico City’s pre-Columbian era. Lined up in rows, these flat-bottomed boats float on the tranquil surface of the water, displaying adornments of papier-mâché and a name written in large letters on their front arches. They wait to be boarded by families, groups of friends, lovers, or mismatched strangers; music emanates from passing vessels as they ferry sightseers across the canals that are hundreds of years old. At one time, trajineras were the primary navigation tools that facilitated agricultural production, transportation, and political development for Indigenous civilizations in the basin of Mexico, with its extensive network of waterways. Colonization, along with modernization projects of the early 20th century, shrunk the waterways down to a system of canals and trajineras were re-adapted to entertain tourists and align with the modern rhetoric of the city.1 The appearance of trajineras in the popular imaginary is a result of this process. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.” 

Continue Reading

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;”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.” 

Continue Reading

Tie-Dye for Germans at Angell Gallery

8 September 2021

By Stephanie Cormier

Tie-Dye for Germans is an intimate and intensely radiant exhibition of paintings by Janine Miedzik in the Project Space at Angell Gallery. These new works have emerged by bringing together the ways Miedzik has previously approached materials, including a dialogue between her painterly and sculptural approaches to making work. Her combination of painting and sculpture in a spirited, perhaps even comical way, further materializes in the reciprocity between two different methods of working, and ways of seeing. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

consciously incoherent: anti-aesthetics & associational networks in ‘fractured horizon—a view from the body’

15 June 2021

By Zach Pearl

The poignance of an exhibition is often measured by its ability to distil a historical moment, letting it hang in the air like luminous vapour. Amongst the media art exhibitions of the last year, perhaps none were more poignant than the eight-part artist video series, fractured horizon — a view from the body, which circulated during the weeks of protest that followed the killing of George Floyd. Curated by Toronto-based curator and editor Yaniya Lee as the culmination of her research residency at Vtape, Canada’s largest video art distributor, an impressive range of works by BIPOC women artists from Canada and the United States were sent out to Vtape subscribers’ inboxes like supplements; weekly injections of perspective and affirmation for all those in the arts community already feeling disheartened amidst the first wave of a global pandemic, and one now imbued with the urgent politics of fighting anti-Black racism and revealing white privilege. Like a shot in the arm, every Friday between June 5th and July 24th, 2020, a new piece would go up on Vtape.org, sometimes elegiac in tone, sometimes documentarian, but all of them anchored in their conjuring of the body politic. Pieces by Buseje Bailey, Richelle Bear Hat, Hannah Black, Deanna Bowen, Thirza Cuthand, Cheryl Dunye, Donna James and ariella tai each, in their own way, worked to reaffirm the vital connection between the social and material factors that constitute a “body” in the contemporary moment and, more specifically, to interrogate the strategies of representation that keep existing power structures in place. 

Continue Reading

Nadia Belerique at Daniel Faria Gallery

30 December 2020

By Erin Orsztynova

Recently I had a memory come back to me—the type of memory that comes to the surface seemingly out of nowhere, one I imagine would be considered so very mundane that any brain, in an attempt to conserve space, would erase immediately. But there it was, collapsing time, a visceral scene from childhood of me squeezing into the small space beneath my bed. I remembered the tightness of the space, so tight my child-sized head could only fit in sideways. I remembered the smell of the dusty cambric from the boxspring, and the feel of the carpet on my cheek. Close and containing, this small space gave me the experience of disappearing entirely from view, complete with the contradictory desires to both remain hidden and be found. 

Continue Reading

A Body Knots: Laurie Kang at Gallery TPW

28 November 2018

By Jenine Marsh

 

I view Laurie Kang’s A Body Knots on my phone, as images. I’m on another continent, missing the show. But feeling that I know her and her practice pretty intimately makes up for some, though not all, of the texture and spacing that the real thing provides. At Gallery TPW in Toronto, a steel skeleton wall of studs and flexible tracking marks a new—albeit permeable—barrier through the two adjacent gallery spaces. In the second and larger gallery, four analog photograms of un-fixed, thickly applied darkroom chemicals on overlarge paper hang loose and heavy from the studs. Although forever halted in the jpgs, these photograms’ chemicals will continue to develop and change, reacting slowly, subtly, to the light in whichever space they occupy. Tiny silver spherical magnets hold the prints in place. Continue Reading

History is a Passive Translator

2 August 2018

By Lauren Lavery

 

The history of a space is burdened. When looking at a space, these histories become apparent, but they also go into hiding. When I consider of the history of a building, I first think of the material it is made of: clay bricks, concrete, wood, plaster. But what about the non-visible elements, such as the individuals come and gone, the events hosted and the objects held within? The history of such abstract, in-between space is then what cannot be documented by the past alone, it must be translated into another form altogether, be it the written word, a photograph or a story. But these methods are often biased, and when it comes to art, not always as clear as they could be. 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.

Continue Reading

Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Many Silences: “Rubber Coated Steel” (2016)

14 August 2017

By John Nyman

 

In Beirut—or, perhaps equally probable, in Toronto—a woman or a man shakes their head at me. Not the slow back-and-forth of a stubborn “No,” but a rapid jostle, with something like the velocity of a spring recoiling. It means “I don’t understand,” “I didn’t hear you.”

Growing up in settler Canadian culture, I learned to communicate the same message with a blank stare, maybe a head cocked sideways. But I find something different in the Arabic gesture, which isn’t so passive or absorptive. It is, in part, supplicant, since it admits there is something crucial the gesturer hasn’t grasped. But it is also assertive, even commanding: it says, “You meant to say something, so say it!” Rarely do I feel so called to account for being misheard. Continue Reading

Astral Bodies

30 May 2017

By Evan Pavka

“Body” is an unconfined term, referring to the personalskin and boneand the celestialstars and orbiting planets. The word also signals the individualmy bodywhile referring to the collectivea political body. At Mercer Union the exhibition Astral Bodies, comprised of works by Shary Boyle, Shuvinai Ashoona, Karen Azoulay, Pamela Norrish, and Spring Hurlbut, questioned the possibility of a body beyond this. Continue Reading

Stretched Painting

2 November 2016

By Tori Maas

Stretched Painting brought together the work of four female artists, all of whom are interested in referencing the conventional notions of painting while pushing their work into three-dimensions. Fields of texture, lavish colour and art historical references were transformed onto multiple planes for the viewer to traverse. Situated at the Ontario College of Art & Design University Student Gallery from September 8th until October 1st 2016, the show also marked the beginning of the 2016/2017 academic year at OCAD University. The exhibition was curated by Toronto-based artist Emily Harrison, and featured the work of Wallis Cheung, Michelle Foran, Jennifer Wigmore as well as Harrison herself. With varied approaches to materiality and process, each artist brought different perspectives to the curatorial theme of expanding the field of painting. Continue Reading

How to Adult: The Musical

27 October 2016

By Nathan Marsh

The life of a so-called “millennial” is often misunderstood. For members of older generations, the panoply of digital technologies readily available to the generally tech-savvy young people of today seem to present a much easier way of living than the way they themselves once experienced. However, life in the modern digital age has its complications, a point that playwright Amy Dauer, the writer of How to Adult: The Musical which premiered at the 2016 edition of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, would no doubt be very quick to make. Continue Reading

Electric Cedar, Hemlock Blues…

19 October 2016

By Sara Korzec

From September 16th till October 22nd Field Contemporary hosted an exhibition titled Electric Cedar, Hemlock Blues by artist Cameron Kerr. A small group of sculptures, presented in a clean and minimalist arrangement in the gallery space quickly enveloped the viewers senses with the fresh scent of timber–Kerr uses wood salvaged from logging waste on northern Vancouver Island. It was difficult to control yourself and not want to touch them, as it seemed that they spoke some sort of haptic language. The leaking glaze on the geometrical sculptures resembled ceramics, (an epoxy method created this impression) which for me, triggered associations of fever visions–well, now you understand why the works were titled, Hallucinations.    Continue Reading

Of Black Holes and Feminine Flesh

12 October 2016

By Kristina Fiedrich

A woman dances alone on a stage. The swathes of fabric bellowing and collapsing around her as she moves; spinning, swirling. From one moment to the next, the dancer’s body becomes engulfed by the folds of fabric, disappearing from view, while simultaneously expanding, transforming and breathing beyond her skin. Described by art critic Mallarmé as resembling giant petals, butterflies or a conch shell unfurling, (1) the dancer, suspended in place and time, is an apparition. Her body, disproportionate and malleable, is an abstraction of flesh and movement, taking up and traveling through space. Continue Reading

The Affect of Accursedness

7 July 2016

By Lauren Lavery

Hosted at Artspeak gallery in April of this year, The Accursed Share was an exhibition featuring the work of artists Aleesa Cohene, Deborah Edmeades and Derek Dunlop. The exhibition was guest curated by Marina Roy, a Vancouver-based artist, writer and curator whose interest lies in the intersection between language and art, thus making the use of the word accursed an intriguing choice, considering its reference to the essays by George Bataille aptly titled, The Accursed Share (La part maudite) from 1949.  Continue Reading

Donation

$