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The Toronto Now Series presents…

Relocated from the street, local Toronto artists Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette come together in the gallery for a collaborative installation in the Toronto Now Series. Using convergent forms of street art, graffiti writing and activist interventions combined with contemporary painting, sculpture and design these artists eradicate traditional art classifications and work to expand the understanding of what artistic creativity can be. Taking inspiration from their daily environment, the gallery and the current socio-political and cultural climate of Toronto, this installation invites audiences to reconsider Toronto Now.

Opening Reception: Friday January 20, 2012 from 7pm to 9pm
Exhibition from: January 21 – April 1, 2012

The NOW service bureau kicks off 2012 inside the Young gallery. This Do It Yourself (DIY) agency offers visitors the opportunity to use the gallery as a forum for pressing Toronto issues. Pushing the idea of Toronto Now to its edge the artists appropriate the AGO logo and the NOW name to provide a place of artistic creativity that encourages mindful action on local issues. This project reflects the artists’ interest in the tension between the rush and impatience of our current lifestyle and the benefit of slowing down, being mindful and aware of environmental, political and cultural subjects. This tension is supported by the DIY mentality that privileges the experience of the here and now in order to provoke change through self-consciousness, self-transformation and social interactions or exchanges.


Gift Shop Gift Shop, a store within a store features souvenirs of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) gift shop itself, rather than the expected gallery mementos, as well as other related open-edition art multiples. Gift Shop Gift Shop works by artists Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette will be available alongside both collaborative and independent multiples by other local Toronto-based artists, designers and illustrators. The products for sale develop out of self-reflective art making and many of the works transform raw street and everyday materials and images into privileged, valuable objects. This project builds off the artists’ affinity for collaboration and the practice of using reclaimed materials. Taking inspiration from existing gift shop souvenirs or using gift shop overstock, these items will be examined and reworked to deconstruct how consumable objects are given value.

Martindale and Paquette run Gift Shop Gift Shop with shopAGO as a parallel project during the course of the NOW exhibition in the Toronto Now Series. Located in the Young Gallery, the Toronto Now Series promotes Toronto’s local arts community, in addition to providing visitors free access to contemporary art. Situated on in the eastern corner of the AGO, the Young gallery is accessed through the museum’s FRANK Restaurant. Developed from an exploration and recognition of the Young gallery’s position within the larger institution and through meetings with the museum’s gift shop and FRANK Restaurant, the artists extend their project beyond the gallery into other areas of the museum.

About the artists:

Toronto-based Sean Martindale has been living and working in Toronto since completing his MFA at OCAD University. A graduate from Emily Carr University in design Martindale combines his fine art background with street art to communicate complicated ideas with visual simplicity driven by the hope of connecting to a pluralistic audience. His process involves ongoing interventions that use reclaimed, recyclable and plant materials. Determined to start a conversation, Martindale’s work focuses on exploring the visual language of signs while making sculptural DIY creations that are often reproducible and open-sourced.

A recognizable figure in two distinctive art worlds, Pascal Paquette has spent the last decade traversing the contemporary art scene, while learning and expanding on his graffiti writing practice under the pseudonym Mon Petit Chou. Paquette’s thematic interests interrogate the transformation of culture that occurs when two or more economic, social or cultural realities collide. He works primarily through painting but also employs street art, graffiti and photography in projects that are often site-specific or geographically dependent. Paquette is a graduate of the Graphic Arts program at La Cite Collegiale in Ottawa, Canada.

About the Project:

Martindale and Paquette join forces for the first time to create a collaborative installation for the Toronto Now Series. Curated by Katherine Dennis, an MFA candidate in Criticism & Curatorial Practice at OCAD University this exhibition is the focus of her thesis. Over the course of five months the artists and curator have worked closely with the AGO including the FRANK restaurant, the AGO gift shop and the Weston Family Learning Centre to construct an integrated project that playfully works with and responds to established museum systems.