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June 21, 2013

I’ve caught up on the sleepless night a couple of years ago when the idea first occurred to me. I was inspired and exhilarated by the idea of an exhibition that could be determined by the viewing audience. The Wiki Show was born.

A wiki is a web site that encourages anyone to contribute and change content. An excellent example is Wikipedia, a popular on-line encyclopedia that grows and expands every day. Wikis encourage the free exchange of ideas, collaboration, user and visitor involvement.

The Wiki Show brings together twenty artists from across Canada who have submitted exhibition proposals to Station Gallery. They are:

John Abrams
Danny Custodio
Jennifer Dorner
Corinne Duchesne
Susan Farquhar
Erin Finley
Karen Grenier
Sadko Hadzihasanovic
Peter Haller
Timothy Laurin
Laura Moore
Clint Neufeld
Nathalie Quagliotto
Peter Sibbald
Dwight Siegner
Rosemary Sloot
Barry Smylie
Ilona Staples
Nicola Tibbetts
Mike Yuhasz

Each artist brings one or more of their latest and best pieces into the Wiki mix. Visitors are invited to actively engage with works and ideas.

This materially rich show surveys a vast array of media and conceptual approaches to contemporary practice. Some themes become apparent in the Show. They include imaginary spaces, the beauty of ordinary objects and the wonderment of everyday life, travel, proximities, the near and the far, exchange and the generous spirit of sharing. As you wander through the Show, you’ll find other themes and similarities among the twenty artists. It’s a real amazing conversation…

As a group exhibition, this one’s a little on the experimental side. We’re asking all SG visitors to have a say in determining the future programming at the gallery. Whose art would you like to see more of? Which of the twenty artists would you like to see back at the gallery?

Come into the gallery and cast a ballot for your favorite artist in this group exhibition. At the end of the show (August 17), the artist with the most votes will be invited back to SG for a solo exhibition next year. The Wiki finalist will be announced at our next opening on August 24.

The Wiki show opens tomorrow afternoon–let the voting begin!

Wiki Ad

October 29, 2012

Today’s the Art Toronto exposition’s  final day at the Metro Convention Centre. Trade shows like this one are a terrific way of getting a concentrated dose of contemporary and historical art participating in the marketplace. The lights are high-key, the paintings are shiny and the imagery is scintillating. Chances are, however, you’ll find the real gems behind the glitz.

I found the people making the sales the most memorable part of the show. Usually they were artists or cultural workers who work for galleries as their “bread-and-butter”. Sales pitch aside, I’d ask about their personal work or their opinion on contemporary art. Often times, their stories were more captivating than the art they were selling. One associate turned out to be a tattooist/technologist from Bejing. Another, incorporated fashion design with biology.

It’s amazing the narratives you’ll find stepping outside the margins of commerce.

As for the visual art… curiously, lots of images depicting Venetian scenarios. Loads of roundels and circular forms. Full circle.

If you attended Art Toronto 2012, post a comment on your thoughts… I always love to hear your views!

June 18, 2012

Galleries around the world are queuing for an opportunity to show Christian Marclay’s The Clock. The (time-)piece is currently being screened at the National Gallery in Ottawa. I welcomed the chance to immerse myself into Marclay’s perpetual work on Saturday when the nation’s capital was going through a heat wave.

The idea behind The Clock is simple, yet profound. Every minute is represented by a clip from a historical or recent film. A collage of these movies, pieced together by the artist, tells actual time. I sat through the work from around 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and recognized clock or watch faces from movies such as Blade Runner, Kramer vs. Kramer, Taxi Driver, The Soft Skin and many others. Several of the movie narratives alluded to the middle of the work or school day, leading up to the tail-end of our society’s 9-to-5 routine. Leading up to every hour, the pace became frenzied and hectic then drift to slower rhythms with actors experiencing tardiness and the guilt of being late.

44 seconds past or 16 seconds to…

Marclay’s work plays with escapist dimensions of narrative cinema and we forget about time and at the same time we are constantly reminded of it. Some interesting facts behind the work: 

  • sourcing and editing the film took over 3 years of ten hour days to complete
  • the artist hired several research assistants to scour movies with appropriate time references
  • The Clock climaxes at midnight with an array of horror and New Year’s Eve footage
  • The Clock slows in pace between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM with cinematic dream sequences
  •  a specially designed computer programme keeps The Clock running to the microsecond
  • The Clock will be in Ottawa until August 6. You’ve still got time!

November 23, 2011

Pictures of people have a way of connecting with viewers. If you get a chance, make a connection with the ROM and check out the Kingston Prize exhibition. This show happens every two years and features the very best of Canadian portraiture and figurative work.

This biennial competition has high stakes. The Grand Prize is $20,000! Of the 451 artists submitting to this juried show, thirty finalists are chosen to be included in a touring exhibition.

I found that many works aspired to the conditions of photography—in other words, lots of amazing photorealism. Perhaps the best example is by Vancouver artist Brian Boulton. His diminutive graphite drawing titled Mikey@20.c (Chelsea Boots), is an astonishing, well-burnished “gem” that evacuates all evidence of the artist’s hand and his chosen medium. On the other hand, the works that strayed from the photographic sources really stood out in a positive way. The more exuberant works from T. Salzl and S. Hadzihasanovic conveyed a dynamic tension between traditional painting from life that was strangely contemporary.

Although the Grand Prize winner has been chosen (going to Kingston’s Michael Bayne), it’s not over ‘til it’s over. Don’t forget to cast a ballot to your fave for the People’s Choice Award–the winner will walk away with a “grand” in prize money. A must-see show!   

Brian Boulton's "I-can't-believe-it's-not-a-photo" drawing

November 4, 2011

I was going to write about something else until something more topical came up in yesterday’s Toronto Star. On the back page of the Business Section was a great article on last weekend’s Toronto International Art Fair. Last Sunday I visited the Fair–the proof’s in the picture. This was my first time. It was a spectacular, at times overwhelming, experience. Loads of great work lined what seemed to be miles of aisles. Dealers from thirteen countries showcased their best artists.

The first and only time I'll be in the Star's Business section?

Some discoveries included Texas-based Helen Altman. Her sensitive “torch” drawings of fauna bring pyrography to a new level. Also, Michael Merrill’s discrete ink and gouache studies of architectural spaces were exquisite and technically accomplished. Joscelyn Gardner’s lithographs were featured at the Open Studio booth. We’ll be seeing more of her works at Station Gallery in early 2012. Can’t wait!

November 18, 2010

I read the news today, oh boy! Canada’s fashion mogul, Jeannie Becker announced that artist Daniel Barrow won the coveted Sobey Art Award for Canadian Contemporary Art. Barrow is a Winnipeg-bred-now-Montreal-based artist who ended up with the $50,000 award sponsored by the Sobey Foundation. This prize was established to increase the stature and visibility of visual art created by Canadian artists under forty.

Brendan Fernandes's "Neo-Primitivism II"

One of the short-listed artists was Brendan Fernandes. Brendan has followed a very interesting life-path which spanned several continents. For the purposes of this award, he was geographically representing Ontario. Now based in New York, however,  Brendan will premiere as a solo exhibiting artist at Station Gallery for 2011. I’m really looking forward to working with him and seeing what he’ll be bringing to Whitby. For next year, I predict Brendan will be the big Sobey winner. I can just feel it. After all, Barrow had been short-listed twice, winning the second time around. Congratulations, Brendan!