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The following is a Guest Curator blog posting from Sarah Beveridge, a long time friend, fellow artist, independent curator and educator.

A Surprise Visit with Artist Cesar Forero

I had a wonderful surprise visit with artist, Cesar Forero this afternoon while at Station Gallery. I was at the Gallery preparing for the eXcel Juried exhibition (which I juried along with Durham West Art Centre’s, Andrew Hamilton). I had not met Ferero previously, but was so pleased to be introduced and to reminisce with him about his time and exhibition experience here at Station Gallery. 

For those of you that are not familiar with Forero’s work, check out his website for to view the colour, energy, consciousness and creative explosion that encompasses his installation and performance work. 

Cesar Forero exhibited at Station Gallery in the Spring of 2006 in an exhibition titled Carnival, Image and Duality. For those of you in the community that were apart of this exhibition and experience, it is one that you will never forget.

Carnival, Image and Duality was an exhibit based on the traditional public festival and street parade known as Carnival, celebrated throughout the world but perhaps best known for the yearly celebration that occurs in Rio de Janeiro.

For Forero, Carnival – a festival in which masks, music and dance are central elements – represents an avenue for people to change their appearance and thus assume a new identity, all so as to “portray what they have been hiding inside of them.” In this new world, Forero argues, we can “accept fantastic images as a new reality.”

But Carnival’s opportunity to forge a new identity is not merely some short-lived bit of fun. For Forero, it has meaningful social and political repercussions. In politically repressed societies, Carnival represents perhaps the only chance people have to “freely speak out without any coercion”. (Station Gallery Curator Files 2006)

Carnival, Image and Duality "Mich, ces, perform pose" Station Gallery, 2006

As Station Gallery embarks on its 40th anniversary it only seems fitting to travel down memory lane, highlighting great exhibition programming here at Station Gallery over the years. I hope you enjoy your own reconnection with Forero’s work, I know my eyes have been opened.

To learn more visit:

A VIP glimpse inside Station Gallery's Permanent Collection vault.

Click here to view a VIP glimpse into the Permanent Collection at Station Gallery in Whitby, Ontario Canada.

Learn more about select feature works with Station Gallery Curator Olexander Wlasenko.

November 7, 2009  (posted November 9, 2009)

Taras Shevchenko Museum - Monument Theft

Taras Shevchenko Museum - Monument Theft

As the sun was setting yesterday, I quietly witnessed the end of something. It’s rather hard to pin-point what that “thing” was, but its quietus was very distinct.

I was in Oakville yesterday and recalled an incident, which happened almost three years ago. A historic bronze monument in the Taras Shevchenko Museum and Memorial Park went missing. This heritage site was marked with the first monument to Taras Shevchenko in North America. Likened to a poet-bard, Shevchenko is to Ukrainians as Shakespeare is to the English or Goethe to Germans. The eleven-foot bronze figure of Shevchenko was hacked off at the ankles sometime over the Christmas holidays in 2006. Copper prices soared and the bronze sculpture was stolen from the park and peddled for its intrinsic material value.

The incident compelled me to return to the Memorial Park, having last visited the place several years when the statue was intact. The two visitations were markedly different experiences. My initial visit was at the height of summer with the grounds well tended and flowering. It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon and I can recall feeling a deep solace that day. I remember thinking this place had a unique quality—the tree-lined alleys, the classical landscaping, the historic monument, the cornfields that surrounded it all. Oddly, to be there was to be in another time in some other place.

Late 2009, all has changed. The property is now derelict, slated for residential development. Amongst thistles and overgrown brush stands a defaced and disembodied granite base where the Shevchenko statue once stood. A pair of bronze shoes, weeds, mature trees marked for cutting—these are the vestiges of something’s end.

October 25, 2009

Peter Kolisnyk's: Ground Outline.

Peter Kolisnyk's: Ground Outline.

On Friday October 23, 2009 one of Peter Kolisnyk’s large sculptures, Ground Outline, was picked up for renovation. The piece left the gallery loading dock a day after the Canadian art community mourns the passing of this prominent minimalist artist. I didn’t know Peter well, but I get such strong impressions of his legacy from speaking with those who knew him, in many cases, as a mentor. Peter was born in Toronto in 1934.

Artist, Instructor and Mentor, the late Peter Kolisnyk.

He developed his distinctly pure style following his training at Western Technical School. The artist was the recipient of several awards, including Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council grants. His impressive exhibition record includes exhibitions throughout North America. The Art Gallery of Ontario circulated a solo travelling show in 1980. Peter had been actively involved with Station Gallery over many decades as a generous donor, exhibiting artist and a very popular experimental painting instructor. I am reminded here of the words of his student and friend, Joan Attersley, when she referred to Peter as “a national treasure under the guise of a very modest man.” Another of his former students, Tony Romano (an internationally-known artist scheduled to present his work at the Gallery in 2010) has cited Peter as a deep influence during his formative years. He had a profound impact on many individuals through the years and will be greatly missed.

October 9, 2009

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe, City

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe, City

Four years ago Nuit Blanche was launched. Very few people had seen anything like it in Toronto. In that inaugural year, the “all-night contemporary art thing” was just that—an indefinable, nocturnal foray into cultural expression. It was experimental, elastic, vivid, and replete with verve. The Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) opened its doors and neighbouring Grange Park was teeming with people. The European Union hosted a rave-like party on the lawn of the Italian consulate. Trinity Bellwoods Park was a “zoo.” The impressions were strong and long-lasting. There was a lot to live up to post-2005.

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe

Nuit Blanche artist: Sara Hartland-Rowe

Last week’s annual all-nighter was a poorer, slimmer version of its past incarnations. It seemed there were fewer bright lights in the autumn night. OCAD was closed. Grange Park was dark and empty. La dolce vita was only a memory for the Italian consulate lawn. For most of the evening, I felt like I was missing something. This was definitely not the case with a hand full of sites, however.

The night was off to a perfect start with a screening of The Trip to the Moon (1902), a very early piece of movie magic at Cinematheque Ontario. The silent film was accompanied by a live piano performance. This was a special journey for everyone in the theatre. Later that night was a visit to the Gladstone Hotel where several artists were invited to paint murals on the hotel room walls. It was getting late and I got a much-needed boost of energy from a sincere, thoughtfully composed and soulful wall work painted by Sara Hartland-Rowe. Her subdued palette complimented the sophisticated composition, overlaid with canvas cut-outs of figures. Thanks for the buzz, Sara! Next it was off to the financial district. It was worth the agoraphobia of wadding through crowds at King and Bay to see Rebecca Belmore’s  “rezzed-up” pickup truck. Unfortunately, my arrival was poorly timed having just missed the performance. There was that feeling again—missing something. On the way back home a song on the radio seemed to epitomize my mixed feelings: “it’s never as good as the first time.”   

Nuit Blanche installation by artist Sara Hartland-Rowe.

Nuit Blanche installation by artist Sara Hartland-Rowe.

September 25, 2009

Newly launched "The Art of Transition" web page.

Newly launched "The Art of Transition" web page.

Yesterday marked the launch of the Art of Transition website. It has a fresh, well-considered look. Its bold, clean and colourful design is an effective branding tool for the event which it advertises. Most importantly, the site is a great way of galvanizing thought and energy in a way that will have positive spin leading up to the November 12 symposium at the Ajax Convention Centre. Such a cross-disciplinary and inter-vocational convergence is rare to see in Durham Region; happening most frequently during election time at town hall meetings. The Art of Transition meeting of the minds should help bring cultural, educational and heritage sectors, as well as many other marginalized players, out of the periphery and to the creative forefront. Although the symposium is about a month an a half away, the site has stakeholders thinking about sustainable and adaptive change in our community. The website is a perfect forum in which to initiate discourse in advance—a kind of virtual mind-mapping exercise prior to the actual brainstorming session the morning after Remembrance Day.     

To learn more visit

September 11, 2009

Unparalleled terrorist attack on New York City - September 11, 2001

Unparalleled terrorist attack on New York City - September 11, 2001

Mornings are inherently unmemorable, even fugitive.  We can all remember where we were and what we were doing in the morning on this day in 2001. Over the past eight years, I’ve shared my story verbally dozens of times and this is the first time I’m writing about that beautiful autumn dawn, a day before my 29th birthday.

I had marked my first year working at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in my hometown. The day began like any other with checking e-mail, maybe a coffee was at my side, I can’t recall. The daily routine was shattered with a cell call from my older brother at a quarter after nine that morning. Gasping for air he said, “There’s going to be a war!” He had just witnessed, with his own eyes, the second plane crash into the South Tower. At the time, my brother was working in 1 Liberty Plaza, one of the seven buildings in the WTC complex. He had just narrowly escaped death. My brother knew that the horrific news would shave years off our mother’s life not knowing if her eldest was alive. Shortly thereafter, there was no way of dialling out of Manhattan—all communication lines were jammed. His directions to me were simple: I had to tell my mother that he was safe and out of harm’s way. I asked my boss to drive me to St. George’s church where my mother was teaching kindergarten kids in the basement. I interrupted the class, took my mom aside and let her know that our family was intact.

July 6, 2009

Station Gallery has recently revived its N. Novak Print Studio. This is an exciting move, since this box car studio was once a locus of printmaking experimentation and production for decades. It was after all, one of the hallmarks which set the Station apart from other public galleries. This made us unique—and it now continues to do so.  The studio played host to many preeminent printmakers such as Otis Tamasauskas, Anne Meredith Barry, Don Holman, Richard Toms and many others.

Artist Todd Tremeer works on his latest print in the Nicolas Novak Print Studio at Station Gallery.

Artist Todd Tremeer works on his latest print in the Nicolas Novak Print Studio at Station Gallery.

I believe that the momentum of the Print Studio will continue as we enter the mid-point of the First Phase of the print studio revival. I’m very hopeful that the studio will attract many artists and that this will be a creative hub of a printmaking renaissance in the region. Traction is what we need now that the print studio is back on track.

June 26, 2009

For many years now, I’ve participated in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It is a great place to meet up with old friends and colleagues. I’ve also been introduced to many new artists. In particular, I think of first seeing Natalia Laluque’s Canadiana Project several years back.

This year will prove to be particularly challenging to imagine anything in the ordinary. Metro civic workers are on strike. But how will this play itself out on Nathan Philips Square? Will volunteers clear the rubbish bins? Will the underground parking lot be barricaded and off-limits?

A similar thing happened several years ago when a Garbage Strike threatened to de-rail the Exhibition. As a precaution, the show dates were moved to Labour Day of 2002, I think it was. This had a detrimental effect for both buyers and sellers of artwork. Circumstances had put a strain on the fragile supply and demand equilibrium. For this year, the show will go on as scheduled and it should be a good one. Unlike any other outdoor show before, this years will be fraught with restlessness and insurgence. In a parallel exhibition at Lennox Contemporary, will be Rejects a kind of Salon des Refusé held by some of the artists rejected by the TOAE jurors. This recalls the words of Napoleon III: “Let the public judge!”

June 30, 2009

Durham is replete with creative energy, but few attribute this area with the arts. We’re more known for our industrial base, power plants and sports complexes (I’ve seen some great creative responses to these phenomena). The 905 belt around Toronto has been identified as a chronically under-funded region for arts development. But the tide is turning. The area is a microcosm for a variety of high-quality cultural production and people outside the arts are recognizing this. I think that we are well-poised for a shift to a more creative economy in the foreseeable future. This will be a subject which will be further explored later on this year, when we anticipate a visit from Richard Florida in mid-November.

Richard Florida, coming to Durham Region this September!

Richard Florida, coming to Durham Region this September!

Florida has written on the rise of the creative class in North American and European cities. The scheduled event with Richard Florida might galvanize interest in creative endeavours—it’s kind of possible.