Tag Archives: sculpture

Resisting Quantifiable Instruction: Lan Florence Yee’s Tangerine, After Grapefruit

7 January 2023

By Marisa Kelly

The Montréal- and Toronto-based artist Lan Florence Yee is showcasing their newest series of works Tangerine, After Grapefruit in their upcoming solo exhibition, Just Short of Everything, which will be showing in January 2023 at the Pierre Léon Gallery inside Alliance Française Toronto. Their series of works Tangerine, After Grapefruit features nine different swathes of large five-by-five-foot linens, which are hand embroidered with dark blue thread. The embroidery instructions read as a kind of wry and whimsical poetry, which are partially inspired by Yoko Ono’s 1964 conceptual instructional poetry book Grapefruit. Similarly to Ono’s instructions, Yee’s do not offer much didactic sense to the reader—their instructions are achievable, but are humourous because they aren’t inherently logical, presenting as counterintuitive to our capitalistic mindset that hyper fixates on productivity and rational thinking. In this sense, the artist’s instructions are anti-capitalist agents, where Yee playfully deviates from the standards of the rational and instead calls for the viewer to step into their emotions. 

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A Wish Stays With You: Hannah Doucet at PLATFORM Centre

12 December 2022

By Sophia Larigakis

At the centre is a bright yellow fountain, its three brimming basins ascending like a tiered wedding cake. Perfect circular droplets, forming chains of liquid beads, cascade from the top. This sculpture, Hannah Doucet’s Wish Fountain (2022), installed at PLATFORM as part of her solo exhibition A Wish Stays With You, is doubly deceptive. To create the “water,” the artist printed a photograph of the liquid onto fabric, made folds in the textile, photographed that, and then made vinyl images out of its composite. The result is both painterly and deeply digital, evoking a Hockney pool by way of The Sims, with all the flattening of density that entails. Approaching Wish Fountain, it is clear that this is no ready-made; it is not a functioning, real-life fountain, nor does it pretend to be.1 As the viewer moves around the sculpture, however, even its slim claim to verisimilitude (in that it is a recognizable form) is called into question. What appears at first to be a three-dimensional sculpture is in fact images on vinyl on two separated pieces of wood, the space between them the space of fantasy itself—the fantasy of dimensionality, of immersion, of liveliness. 

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Lutz Bacher at Treize, Paris

11 November 2022

By Alex Turgeon

The martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, is said to have been the result of being flayed alive for his acts of Christianity by the Armenian King Astyages.1 The saint is often depicted in votive images carrying his flayed skin about him like a cloak, his anatomical musculature exposed as if it were truly rid of all worldly possessions from his selfless act of piety. One of the most iconic representations of Saint Bartholomew is his inclusion in Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement (1535-1541), which was part of the artist’s commissions for the Sistine Chapel. There, Bartholomew is presented under the right foot of Jesus, carrying his representative cloak of flesh in-hand. The face of this draped skin is often considered a self-portrait of the artist Michelangelo himself, rendered in the hollow folds of its mask-like face—absent of a body.

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Natural Speculations: Multi-Species Daydream: a garden in the depths of winter by SK Maston and Merle Harley

3 November 2022

By Cason Sharpe

If the past two pandemic-burdened years have taught me anything, it’s that humans are very strange creatures. Without context, the way we behave—how we live, communicate and move through the world—sometimes makes very little sense. Take art, for example: what strange impulses, to make art, to share it with others, to build sacred halls for its display. These were the thoughts I was having as I ferried across Lake Ontario to the Toronto Islands this past February to visit Multi-Species Daydream: a garden in the depths of winter, a site-specific installation by SK Maston and Merle Harley. 

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Liza Eurich: pockets, postscripts, peonies

4 October 2022

By Kim Neudorf

Positioned like an offering at the entrance to artist Liza Eurich’s exhibition, a paper cone holds a gathering of peonies. However, on a closer look, the paper cone is a shirt sleeve with a buttoned-up cuff cast in pale-peach resin. There’s a muted, soft quality to the combination of violet-pink, dark green and pale pink colours in this bouquet. Combined with the cast sleeve, the impression is understated (perhaps this is a bouquet for a formal gathering) but with a dryly funny tone, as the sculpture performs its straightforward bouquet-ness with a knowing wink to the audience.

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Amongst our Contemporary Ruins: future relics of our time at Equinox Gallery

14 September 2022

By Lauren Lavery

Yesterday afternoon my usual commute home was interrupted by a surprise flat on my bike’s rear tire. Along the route from the downtown office to my apartment, there are three sites of open excavation—one a literal pit, which is to be the future location of a new subway station near the local art university. At this particular spot, the usual protocol of a primary coloured, temporary rental fence has been swapped for a more permanent plywood installation, complete with pre-painted information and cut-outs to see what’s happening in the ever deepening, vast cavity bored into the earth below. As I peer through the holes in the plywood to inquire after the progress, the most alluring objects to catch my eye are the brightly coloured debris littering the edges of the worksite. Everything from cherry red Tim Horton’s coffee cups, to the iridescent wrappers of granola bars, to bright white styrofoam takeout containers riddle the area, and are tangled amongst discarded chunks of dried cement and other construction materials. My thoughts immediately jump to how the majority of our contemporary infrastructure is built on a bed of non-biodegradable garbage, eternally preserved for the future generations to discover—what a legacy to leave beneath the impressive glass monoliths erected across this city with extraordinary speed.

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The Group Show Garden Metaphor: You Sit in a Garden at Centre Clark

30 August 2022

By Elora Crawford

If a sculpture garden was the “original” group show, which could be said, the central conceit in You Sit in a Garden brings the exhibition back to its roots. In the 1990s archeologists found broken stalagmites arranged just so in the Bruniquel Cave in France. The crystalline structures were set down in rings, for a purpose as yet unknown, though the resultant composition is compelling. It seems to satisfy the gestalt principle of good form named for the quality of visual arrangement our brains perceive as balanced and pleasing. The site dates back 175,000 years and predates any found cave painting, thus, conceivably, it could be the first sculpture garden, or the first ever group show. Similarly, the way the sculpture “garden” exhibition at Centre Clark in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal is installed seems to wink in recognition of this history. The group show as a garden is evidently a useful metaphor, it remains consistent across time.

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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. 

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Structures for the Expanded Plane at YYZ Artists’ Outlet

17 September 2021

By Casey Hinton

It’s a familiar scene used in countless films: the slow drift of bright car headlights shoot through a window, casting diagonally shifting patterns across a dark interior wall. This haunting cinematic moment was replicated in Chris Foster’s solo exhibition, Structures for the Expanded Plane, at YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto in January 2020. The darkened gallery was lit by a single, waist-high spotlight that rotated with a steady mechanical whir in the centre of the room. There was something strangely familiar, yet unrecognizable, in both the piece’s scale and motion—simultaneously a sun, a clock, a searchlight, a lighthouse, a panopticon—a mechanism for both illuminating and revealing. 

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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. 

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Art for Future Humans: Camille Jodoin-Eng’s Earth Shrine

30 August 2021

By Megan MacLaurin

If the trajectory of our contemporary era is one of environmental destruction, how will this legacy be felt by people 10,000, or even 100,000 years from now? What will these future humans know about us?—that is, if our species manages to survive its own self-annihilating habits at all. One possible way to ensure we will be remembered is through shrines. Across time, shrines have codified and communicated the values of their makers, immortalizing the time and place of their creation by distilling what is considered sacred. 

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A Correspondence on ‘Memory Palace’ at Franz Kaka

23 March 2021

By Parker Kay and Madeleine Taurins

Thursday, September 10, 2020:

Robin Cameron’s solo exhibition titled Memory Palace opens at Franz Kaka’s new location at 1485 Dupont Street.

Sunday, September 13, 2020:

Parker,

We were both headed to see Robin Cameron’s exhibit Memory Palace. I was walking, you were riding your bike. We had apparently chosen the same route, only different methods of transportation. I had turned around halfway because a few seconds earlier I realized that it was Sunday, not Saturday, and the gallery would be closed. As I turned, we crossed paths–you headed where I was just a few seconds ago. Now that I was turned in the direction of my house, changing directions again seemed like too much change for one day. You continued on, risking the possibility that you would show up and there would be no one to let you in, but there was. You saw the exhibition that day, a Sunday. I did not. You sent me a picture of the show and I regretted not turning a second time, back in the direction of the destination I never made it to.

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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. 

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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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Snail Inventory Sheet: Georgia Dickie at Oakville Galleries

14 April 2020

By Kate Kolberg

 

As I walked through Agouti Sky, Georgia Dickie’s solo exhibition at Oakville Galleries, I kept hearing my dad’s voice in my head. “Let’s see what’s in inventory,” the phrase he habitually announces before hastening off to his basement workshop to find something. Though my father would argue otherwise, the room is shambolic, muddled with tools, his exercise bike and innumerable things. These things are of some mysterious origin, known only to him, and they’ve been saved as “inventory” for moments just like thisthe moment when “this might come in handy” is realized. So, as I came face-to-face with Dickie’s most conspicuous, centrally-placed piece, Reef (2019), a multi-part installation of found objects, my mind began swanning through the familiarity of it all: this was an inventory. Reef, in sum with the eleven other sculptural works in the show, is an assemblage of items: wooden boxes, satellite dishes, a leather belt, metal frames, cash registers, metal wiring, a tensor bandage, tubing, ropes, cut paper, candles and a baby seat. A jumbled group of things, with some mysterious origin, known only to her. Continue Reading

Gabriel Peña Tijerina at TAP Art Space

20 March 2020

By Megan Gnanasihamany

 

You know this surface intimately. Walking past a window, you catch your reflection walking with you—an intangible body double, flat and eerily transparent, skimming the line between interior and exterior until you reach the building’s edge, and the reflected “you” disappears. In Gabriel Peña Tijerina’s more., the architectural glass surface is at once screen and mirror; an invocation of the ghosts of its own mass production. Glass and plastic invite looking at and through their surfaces at the same time, and a window is never just a window when your reflection is also blinking back. Both architect and artist himself, Peña Tijerina’s research into the modality of glass examines Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s adopted aphorism “less is more” (1) in Tap Art Space’s final exhibition, siphoning out the sticky substance of capitalism from our ever seductive mirrored selves in glass.  Continue Reading

Length, Breadth, Thickness and—Duration by Beth Stuart

22 January 2020

by Daniella Sanader

1.

If you’ve spoken to me recently, I may have told you my (unresearched and unsubstantiated) theory about dreams and déjà vu. I usually proceed to explain that while I rarely remember my dreams, I am regularly struck with quietly disorienting bouts of déjà vu, something like once or twice a month. I like to speculate about these things as if they exist on a spectrum of cause and effect—the idea that sublimated dream imagery, while consciously inaccessible, bubbles up elsewhere in one’s perceptual life, grafted briefly onto shapes and colours and other structures of the world we move through. (1) That uncanny doubling, a sudden familiarity: it’s a sensation we all recognize, but one that quickly dissolves the very second you try to focus on it, let alone attempt to put it into language.

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Break-and-Enter: On the Exhibition ‘Undomesticated’

9 January 2020

By Zach Pearl

in miniature

The mid-century modern across the street, now composed, perfectly centered within the window of the storm door, appeared angelic and fantastically distant in its miniature state. (1) Unassuming power poles and trees were mirrored in the wetness of the street, and they seemed to extend forever, piercing the top and bottom of the frame. Paralyzed there, like a moth under glass, the image of the house was a reality unto itself. All power lines and branches led back to its door, its half-open windows. “Thus, in minuscule, a narrow gate, [had] open[ed] up an entire world,” in which details were all that mattered. (2) The silhouette of a radio, a spider plant descending in pairs. This was all I could focus on as I came face to face with the Intruder. Continue Reading

Nadia Gohar: Mudstone at ESP

20 December 2019

By Chris Andrews

 

The day before visiting Cairo-born artist Nadia Gohar’s Mudstone at Erin Stump Projects, I read in the news that Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically-elected president of Egypt, had died in court—or rather, was forced into living in prison conditions that may have led to his early passing. Morsi had eventually betrayed the same democracy that brought him into power, and with it, the hope that many had following the events of the Arab Spring. As if in response to this symbolic event, though only a timely coincidence, Gohar’s exhibition uses material as an embodiment of democracy. Through this keen interest in objecthood, an environment is created where every being, every thing, is granted a voice, and the importance of each material radiates. It is through this material vibrancy that Mudstone gestures toward the role of humble objects: the exhibition is a call for democratized symbols, vernacular value. Continue Reading

The Sentient Object: Calder versus Hay

28 August 2019

By Maryse Arseneault

 

Last winter the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts held a retrospective on Alexander Calder, which offered a rare chance to share space with his famous mobiles, arguably the precursors of kinetic art. Breaking the threshold between abstraction and figuration, Calder’s suspended creature-like objects were born from subtle mechanisms with slow reactions and a geometric formulation that lures and lulls, favouring a contemplative spectator. The American artist marked modern art with his conception of these performative sculptures, and continues to be an important influence on new generations of sculptors who have succeeded him. As part of this succession, the artist-run OBORO centre invited Toronto and Brooklyn-based sculptor Sherri Hay to produce new sculptural activations in their space during the fall of 2018. Calder and Hay—who seem to be working with, at times parallel and at others, divergent motivations—position their practices as a kind of metaphysical response. Equally preoccupied by contemporary concerns, Calder is interested in the phenomenon of movement and the relativistic notion of “space-time”, while Hay inclines towards a neo-materialism that helps unsettle some of the more entrenched conceptual limits of the Anthropocene. In both cases, the idea of ​​a mechanical object’s agency compels a kind of radical empathy towards the material and confronts us with our imperious relation to the object. Continue Reading

Towards a Contemporary Caprice: Every empire has an end at Franz Kaka

23 July 2019

By Lucas Regazzi

 

Capriccio, or Caprice—as it’s been anglicized—refers to a historical genre of painting developed over the 16th to 18th century. Artists of the genre proposed, for the first time in Western history, that ruination architecture be ushered from background to subject. Immediately preceding this, architectural depiction in the Roman tradition of painting was relegated to ceiling frescoes, illusioning space to elicit divine wonder in God’s house. With this understanding of symbolic potential, artists began fantasizing architecture—assembling disparate buildings and monuments in pictorial space, or imagining new buildings and circumstances altogether—as a sort of visual poetry. At the genre’s height, the most notable caprices depicted dilapidation. Continue Reading

Peggy Kouroumalos: Snakes Under My Bed at Main Street

14 March 2019

By Kate Kolberg

In 1914, Giorgio de Chirico, a founder of the Metaphysical art movement, painted the well-known proto-surrealist work Le Chant d’Amour (The Song of Love). The painting shows the face of a Classical bust hanging on a wall beside an equally large rubber glove. It is a simple enough painting but, true to surrealist tendencies, even though the forms in the painting are well-articulated, their sense is incoherent. It makes you question how this “timeless,” disembodied face of kanon-like (1) perfection feels about this generic, flaccid rubber glove beside it. Or, if this is a love song, who sings it? What do they yearn for? Revel in? Le Chant d’Amour is now over a century old, but Peggy Kouroumalos’ recent exhibition Snakes Under My Bed at Main Street in Toronto had me turning in similar spirals. Consisting of two paintings of bedroom scenes and a collection of ceramic sculptures that look as if they spilled out onto the surrounding floor, the work all felt rather familiar—yet embodied an incoherence that forced me to wonder about who was meant to dwell within them. 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

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

Embedded Here, in Cracks and Niches: Shannon Garden-Smith & Emily Smit-Dicks at 8eleven

22 March 2018

By Tiffany Schofield

 

Bestowed on us at the entrance of She Makes Two From One and One, a two-person exhibition by Shannon Garden-Smith and Emily Smit-Dicks, is a text by Jasmine Reimer. “At the table, the sisters wear plastic scraps of light”, an excerpt of the poetic work reads. It’s a fitting narrative, for there is no doubt that we are entering the domestic abode of two sisters. Their shared tendencies (and might we say neuroses?) are on display in muted tones, obsessive materiality and labour-intensive production. One of the first exhibitions to take place after 8eleven’s relocation to 888 Dupont, Garden-Smith and Smit-Dicks handle the dérive with grace. Come in, stay awhile, they beckon.  

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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

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

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