This past weekend there was a lot in terms of art and artist talks. This happened to be because of the Feature Art Fair, which is a great opportunity to obscure the lines between artist, institution and public. The Feature Art Fair was organized in partnership with the Esker Foundation which was initiated by Jim and Susan hill in 2012 for the purpose of advancing the contemporary art world, through production and presentation of an assortment of artistic practices and curatorial endeavours, with support in development, ideas and research into visual arts as well as creating an inviting environment to bridge the gap to allow opportunities for public dialogue and site specific project fairs. A lot of the art I saw this weekend were really good, and I got to go to spaces I do not usually have a chance to go to. So I found it really fun and a different art show experience.
One of the shows I attended on Friday was not that impressive though. The final stop on the Western Rail Line Gallery Tour was at Division Galleri/ Arsenal; which is a large warehouse converted into an art space located North of Lansdowne, hidden by the thick bush of suburban homes and neighbourhood watch. When you enter the space it is most very large, with super high ceilings and lots of space complimented with immense cement floors, I almost did not notice the art at all, due to the how much free alcohol there was and people. The work being presented is by Martin Bourdeau, a contemporary painter from Quebec, he was presenting his solo show at Division, he displayed four catalogues of work that were derived from the idea of the fictional exhibition in order to catalogue his work as a form of documentation for an even that never happened. I think what was problematic in this show were a few key factors; display, space and content. For a gallery of this size such as Division, his work seemed lost in a sea of people more interested in socializing and free drinks then discussing his work. This show appeared more like a gathering of friends rather than an art show, which is understandable on opening night but, from my perspective, there was no immediacy in his work; and since the space is so large and vast, his small paintings go almost unnoticed. The distance between the four bodies of work contributing to the overall theme of his show seem lost and unclear. I got the point of the show, but I definitely think it could have been executed better, and in a different space maybe. It is also good to consider when thinking about exhibitions and curatorial practises as students to remember things like audience, space and how objects/images relate to each other. If you are in that area, check it out, make your own opinion and let me know what you think; this show is on until the 22nd of November.
Catalogue No. 1 (Lethargie), 2013, 22″ x 19 3/4ths”, (Each), Acrylic on Canvas, 22 Pieces
Last night at Whippersnapper Gallery, located in a tiny space on Dundas in-between Spadina and Bathurst. There was a performance / artist talk by the collective Tough Guy Mountain. They converted the Whippersnapper Gallery into a visual demonstration about the importance of corporate sponsorship, branding and supporting the arts. They curated a viewing space by using half the sidewalk outside and carefully placing benches on that side for the audience and was accompanied by warm apple cider since the temperature dropped so low, randomly. The Tough Guy Mountain collective was strategically placed in the space, on a two level structure. Two of the founding members placed on the top with their laptops securely on their laps where the performed a corporate dialogue exchange through email and personas, while Cale Weir (Kyle) was outside conducting the talk/presentation. This performance was called Supporting the Arts, Another Project By Tough Guy Mountain, and has the feel of an educational work video form the 90s about appropriate behaviour in the work place. They begin their presentation on the importance of Branding in our contemporary post-internet world, and how relationships between artists and corporate sponsorship should be celebrated, and do so in an exaggerated polite bravado of passive aggressiveness and coy banter. I found the way they demonstrated their piece was thoughtful, clever and amusing. I really enjoyed the fact we were seated outside so the idea of art and public seemed blurred and pedestrians got a chance to stop and participate in the art experience. People that normally would not have seen a presentation such as this. The concept of power struggle is definitely evident in this piece even though it seems hidden in the layers of meta-clever academic jargon of the collective. They are having more presentations until the 30 of October so if you get a chance go check it out.
Photo by Ashleigh Honman
Well, I hope you all go out and check out some awesome shows this week which I will be posting a list of after this post ! I will also be gone for the next 2 weeks to install and promote a show I am apart of in Berlin and Slovakia. I got a chance to do this by applying to INTAC, a class at OCADU that promotes international collaboration with students aboard also interested in the arts. It is a great way to get a chance to promote your work in a different setting, as well as work with people globally. You get to work together through Skype, email and other internet technologies and create some interesting bodies of work and show in different countries. This is all possible due to Peter Sramek who created the program and who you should email if you have questions or would like to be apart of it next year. Well I get on a plane in a couple days, so I will talk to you guys later or you can follow my travels on instagram!
Well, C ya
P.s I would also like to give my condolences to the city of Toronto. It was election night last night and tragically Olivia Chow lost hardcore to John Tory. The city truly weeps.