L A N D S C A P E S 2 0 2 3
JUROR/CURATOR: ANQI LI
The John B. Aird Gallery is proud to present its first large group project organized around the Landscape Genre, a genre of art practiced for centuries around the world.
As LANDSCAPES was imagined as a virtual survey exhibition, the Gallery had the opportunity to invite international-based artist/curator Anqi Li, who was on a residency in Banff, to act as a juror for entries submitted by contemporary artists worldwide.
The publication was designed by Marina Doukas and includes a response text by both the curator and designer.
Li selected pieces by seventy-six artists that, in concert, act to depict current notions of landscape utilizing a combination of historical and modern art technologies.
The contributing artists are Michael Abraham, Sue Allison, Rebis Alter, Denise Antaya, Nancy Bennett, Martin Blanchet, Julie Bélanger Melanie Brunton, Renata Buziak, Patricia Coulter, Sylvie Daigneault, Julie Desmarais, Sherry Dube, Janice Evans, Tanya Fenkell, Marie Finkelstein, Saremifar Firouzeh, Julie Florio, Sylvia Galbraith, Mike Grandmaison, Michael Hannan, David Harrison, Katherine Hartel, Mary Hayes, Isabelle Hemard, Jill Hobson, Tatjana Hutinec, Stephen Karchut, Ted Karkut, David Kempton, Martin Kotyluk, Hiu Lam, Cynthia Langford, Adora Lau, Sabrina Leeder, David Lidbetter, Gregory Majster, Mathieu Marcotte, Cynthia McLaren, Richard McNaughton, Deirdre McIntosh, Judi Miller, Jesus Mora, Alex Neumann, Melissa Patel, Tushar Patel, Frances Patella, Pam Patterson, Bob Pennycook, Jackie Rancourt, Amal Rashed, Terence Reeves, Edna Ruiz, Mikael Sandblom, Laura Santini, Lee Schnaiberg, Emily Simek, Shawn Skeir, Barry Smylie, Margaret Stawicki, Doug Stratford, Lea Tavis, Kate Taylor, Tizzi Tan, Lynda Todd, Isaac Trapper, Caroline-Hermine Tremblay, Ana Vatres, Julie Vetro, Marian Wihak, Don Woodiwiss, Hiroshi Yamamoto and Micheal Zarowsky.
JUROR: GARY EVANS
DESIGNER: KATE PARKINSON
Abstract thought is often understood as theoretical, conceptual, intellectual, ethical, or metaphysical.
Whereas Abstract Art is generally understood as a type of visual expression that pushes past the boundaries of pictorial representation.
For the purposes of the Gallery’s first onlineABSTRACTS project, we loosely defined Abstract Art as an artistic practice that is as migratory as artists’ ability to manifest simple or complex content within a fluid or non-representational field.
To make this happen, we welcomed the well-liked and respected artist and educator Gary Evansto explore the possibilities inherent in curating a dynamic group show, intending it to act as a contemporaneous survey of abstract art in 2023. Then we invited artists to submit artworks that derive from our moment in time using the tools of abstraction such as geometric patterns, organic and/or architectonic line, colour, texture, and forms, from which Evans could choose.
Ultimately Evans did not use historic categories for defining abstraction, like Cubism, Constructivism, Expressionism, Colour Field, Minimalism, OP ART, or neo-geo, which were applicable up until a point, but also a little dated when selecting work by 70 artists. Nor did he use these terms to order their pieces. So action, form, lyric, nature, pattern, psychedelic, and symbol were employed to create the sections as a way to parse the similarities and differences between works best while allowing for the slipperiness inherent in all of those terms to inform this year’s ABSTRACTSproject.
Happily apprised by Evan’s deep experience making and teaching contemporary art, the Aird’s ABSTRACTS 2023 project, performs candidly as a current compilation of nonrepresentational artwork featuring abstracts created by Grazyna Adamska, Sandra Altwerger, Judy Blue Anderson, Greg Angus, Daniel Anstett, Holly Archer, Tom Ashbourne, Helaine Becker, Peggy Bell, Shirra Benson, Ioana Bertrand, Snezhina Biserova, Maggie Broda, Art Brown, Joan, Callister, Ian Cross, Tanya Cunnington, Cherie Daly, Maureen Da Silva, Cheryl, Davidson, Monica De Aguiar, Teri Donovan, Marina Doukas, April Dumbleton, Lori Fonger, Jo Forrest, Kathy Granger Tucker, Arnie Guha, Aishwarya Gupta, Carolyn Hassard, Lisa Herrera, Cheryl-Ann Hills, Margriet Hogue, Iliyan Ivanov, Eugene Jankowski, Karen Klee-Atlin, John Kokkinos, Carolyn Laidley, Arn, Hyeran Lee, Chia-Liang Lin, Ritchie Mash, Vicki McFarland, Judith McKay, Claudia McKnight, Paulette Melanson, Richard Mongiat, Geoffrey Odgers, Petca Ovidiu, Jangmee Park, Paulette Melanson, Emilia Perri, Deborah Pritchard, Ester Pugliese, Piera, Pugliese, Janet Read, Dale M Reid, Sabani Samy, Lee Schnaiberg, Lois Schklar, Alison Shields, Doug Stratford, Heidi Taillefer, Dina Torrans, Freddie Towe, Victoria Alexander, Victoria Wallace, Danielle Vincent, Cynthia Ward, Ron Wild and Yan Wei.
JUROR: GIUSEPPE DI LEO
DESIGNER: MARINA DOUKAS
DRAWING is defined as an art form used either to create a finished work of art or draft ideas that are further developed in other media.
The John B. Aird Gallery makes use of this broad definition to open the exhibition to artists who create work using a wide variety of contemporary drawing materials and techniques.
DRAWING 2023, juried/curated by Montreal-based artist, educator, and curator, Giuseppe Di Leo, is the John B. Aird Gallery’s 24th edition of the annual juried show and its third online presentation of the project, which comprises an online slideshow with a playlist and a downloadable PDF publication.
With outstanding results, Giuseppe leans into his deep knowledge of art and his insight into drawing as a practice to curate this broad survey project.
With respect to the CALL, the Aird defined a limited edition print as an original artwork that is wholly or primarily created using one or more of the following printmaking processes: lithography, woodcut, linocut, relief print, etching, aquatint, engraving, mezzotint, mono-print, screen print, photo/digital, giclee and/or text.
The project’s jurors, Master Printer, Pudy Tong, and Environmental Architect, Brenda Webster Tweel brought their considerable expertise to the selection process, choosing works created using many print mediums. The publication design is by Aird Gallery’s curatorial assistant, Kate Parkinson, who also contributes a response article to the project.
PRINT 2023 Artists:
Sandra Altwerger, Claude Arseneault, Kaushalya Bannerji, Jane Baran, Helaine Becker, Ioana Bertrand, Snezhina Biserova, Kim Brett, Craig Briar, Matthew Brown, Mike Callaghan, Lili Cohen Prah-ya, Agata Dworzak-Subocz, Alysa-Beth Engel, Lila Fatehi, Laurence Finet, Elizabeth Forrest, Jennifer Globush, Phyllis Gordon, Elena Gorlenko, Josie Greco, Mike Hansen, Janet Hendershot, Raluca Iancu, Rhi Johnson, Terry Jordan, David Killick, Jeongeun Kim, Barbara Klunder, Taichi Kodama, Henry Korwald, Juha Laakso, Katherine A. Laird, Jenn Law, Patricia Leary, Seung Jong Lee, Vilhelmová Lenka, Sue Lloyd, Michaela Lucio, Marcela Manso, Lily May, Stephen Menon, Deborah Moore, Giuseppe Morano, Miki Nagano, Geoffrey Nawn, Leah Oates, Tina Papoutsis, Negar Pooya, Henry Pouillon, Walter Procska, Sara Purves, Jackie Rancourt, Evelyn Rapin, Agustin Rolando Rojas, Victor Romao, Gustavo Luiz Salvatore, Jennifer Scheuer, Sheryl Shapiro, Vickie Shi, Roger Sutcliffe, Narit Tananon, Robert Teteruck, and Linda Whitney.
Rosalie Lam: CHOLON, NOT FORGOTTEN
CURATOR: Erin Storus
The John B. Aird Gallery is pleased to launch our exhibition catalog for Rosalie Lam, CHOLON, NOT FORGOTTEN a solo show curated for the Gallery by independent curator, Erin Storus.
The art publication, designed by Jenn Vong, is offered with the objective of affording a lasting document of the show. It includes short response texts by the exhibit curator and artist’s son, Canadian writer, and medical doctor Vincent Lam.
The exhibition presented Vietnam-born Chinese Canadian painter Rosalie Lam’s recent series of works which draws from the artist’s childhood memories. Created over the past decade, Lam’s sensitive and poetic oil paintings and colour pencil sketches depict a pre-war Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City); intricately weaving together image fragments of family, food, city life, spirituality, and war.
The exhibit curator argues that “Rosalie Lam’s work has not (to date) been significantly recognized within Canada. Presenting her work at a renowned public art gallery gives a larger art audience(s) the chance to engage with an artist whose work explores memories of a way of life that ceases to exist in the present day, but that continues to significantly inform contemporary Chinese-Vietnamese culture, both within Vietnam and the Chinese-Vietnamese diaspora in Canada.”
We are hopeful that this online and print art booklet provides lasting evidence of the show while serving as a researchable document on our website.
Ilene Sova | UNKNOWN RELATIVE: Ancestry / Photo / Paper / Image / Visuals is curated by Carla Garnet and presented by the JOHN B. AIRD GALLERY in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Festival of Photography.
The Gallery’s exhibition publication for UNKNOWN RELATIVE, designed by Lai Xiao, includes visual documentation of Sova’s in-gallery exhibit accompanied by response texts from the Nigerian Canadian conceptual artist and Aird Gallery exhibition board lead Stephen Fakiyesi, Mixed Race poet Andrea Thompson, co-author of the anthology, “Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out”, and author of the novel, “Over Our Heads” and Mixed Race educator, curator and award-winning artist of Jamaican (Yoruba, Fulani, Sephardi) and Irish (Celtic) heritage Rema Taveres, the founder of Mixed in Canada, a national resource centre for racialized mixed-race identified Canadians.
In presenting UNKNOWN RELATIVE, the Aird uncompromisingly demonstrates its commitment to offering ongoing and multiple opportunities for artists, writers, and curators to make art shows that address the breadth of the GTA’s demographic with programming aims that facilitate presentations that reflect the current mix of contemporary aesthetics of experiences.
JUROR/CURATOR: VIRGINIA EICHORN
CATALOG DESIGNER: MARINA DOUKAS
PAINTING 2022 features 82 contemporary artists, (selected from over 242 submissions) from the Greater Toronto Area, North Ontario and to some extent the broader world, inclusive of: John Abrams, Bari Afifa , Nicholas-Jennings Alexandrea , Sandra Altwerger , Elliot Appel , Robyn Asquin, Joe Atikian , Kevin Bae , Sandra Altwerger, Arum Wilis, Maggie Broda, Heidi Burkhardt, Nadra Chapman, Stephen Chien, Euah Cho, Lillian Chow, Moria Clark, Barry Coombs, Noémie L. Côté, Mark Crawford, Nicole Crozier, Alex Dabic, Teresa Davies, Julie Desmarais, Elizabeth Doerksen, Edward Donald, Marina Doukas, Marlene Etherington, Marie Finkelstein, Jeff Gibson, Theresa Godin, Anita Granger, Anne Harrison, Janet Hendershot, Spencer Henderson, Jennifer Henderson, Rita Hisar, David Holt, Kee Ip, Karen Taylor, Lynn Christine Kelly, HyunRyoung Kim, Rosalie Lam, Miklos Legrady, Arnie Lipsey, Sue Lloyd, Michaela Lucio, Maria Malinina, Diane Maxwell, Kara McIntosh, Molly Moldovan, Christine Montague, Michelle Montague, Svetlana Papouchina, Sherry Park, Maureen Paxton, Rhoda Payne, Michelle Peraza, Deborah Percy, Piera Pugliese, Eugen Radewych, Romao Romao, Shelly Rothenburger, Ambreen Saba, Irna Schestakowich, Mary Seymour, Mara Smelter, Lori Sokoluk, Kristen Stephen, Doug Stratford, Martin Sydney, Tracy Thomson, Gwen Tooth, Dina Torrans, Bob Tunnoch, Brian Turner, Ahmri Vandeborne, Alexander Victoria, Steve Volpe, Janna Walters, Gerda Wekerle, Holy Winters and Donna Zekas.
JURORS: Sebastein Miller & Ken Moffatt
DESIGNER: Marli Davis
The Aird is delighted to offer our 2nd annual juried exhibition showcasing collage-based works by contemporary artists.
Derived from the French verb coller, meaning “to glue,” collage refers to both the technique and the resulting work of art in which fragments of paper and other materials are arranged and glued or otherwise affixed to a supporting surface. Associated Art Movements include Cubism, the DADA, and Surrealism. Today, collage, as a process and an art movement is experiencing a second life!
CURATOR: Sarah Hunter
This year the John B. Aird Gallery is celebrating Toronto PRIDE with an online slideshow accompanied by a playlist and PDF publication showcasing art by contemporary artists inspired by film with queer content, a queer film-maker or a queer actor, curated by Sarah Hunter.
Sarah writes, “Film has often been used as a code for queer issues especially before it was possible to be safely out and dealing with queer topics. A good example is the character Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca by Hitchcock. It is clear by some of the veiled inferences that Mrs. Danvers was in love with Rebecca in the story. You can use new contemporary movies, actors or directors to draw from or explore older films, directors, and actors that were closeted or hiding queer themes within their work”
Sarah Hunter has been a practicing visual artist since the late 1980’s. She has shown extensively in Toronto and Ontario in group and solo shows and has shown her work outside of Canada in the United States and Taipei, Taiwan. Her work is expressionistic in nature and explores three distinct areas, Portraits, Animal Imagery, and Mixed Media Paintings.
Sarah grew up in Toronto and completed her grade 12 at Woodstock International School in Uttarkand, India and did an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She returned to Toronto to do graduate work at U of T in Arts Education.
Sarah curated ALL ABOUT QUEER FILM in 2014 as part of World Pride in Toronto. She has been included in numerous group shows in Toronto and has also had her work showcased in exhibitions in Hamilton, Montreal and Ottawa. She was recently included in a group show of the Christie Pits Artists Collective in Toronto.
Online slide show with playlist and downloadable publication
JUROR: CHRISTIAN SIROYT
DESIGNER and ESSAYIST: MARLI DAVIS
This year John B. Aird Gallery celebrates the 23rd edition of its annual juried DRAWING exhibition by showcasing the works of 83 contemporary International and Canadian artists in a virtual exhibition with an online slide show, music, and a catalogue designed by the Aird Gallery’s assistant curator, Marli Davis, accompanied by an inclusive introductory essay, and response text by juror, Christian Siroyt.
Featuring Artists Don Chrétien, Bernard Leroux, Shawn Johnson
Advised by Bonnie Devine | Curator by Patrick DeCoste
Curated by queer Acadian-Metis artist Patrick DeCoste, and advised by Serpent River First Nation, GG Award-winning artist Bonnie Devine, Seed Un Cede digital signals from the woodland forest examines the codes and the coding utilized in the Woodland School and more recent digital platforms to speak about colonization and Indigenous futurism.
The visual arts exhibition showcases the artwork of Bernard Leroux, Shawn Johnston, and Don Chrétien, three Indigenous artists who use traditional and contemporary techniques to create personal and vibrant expressions of nature and spirit.
JURIED BY JUNO YOUN
PUBLICATION DESIGN BY MARLI DAVIS
The intent of this online project is to bring together a large array of works that encourage both a rethinking of the traditionally narrow definition of still life and celebration of the genre.
The Gallery’s ensuing STILL LIFE project presents 40 artworks, created by Alexandrea Nicholas-Jennings, Joe Atikian, Sonia Beygi, Kim Brett, Mike Callaghan, Cao Chen, Jan Crawford-Winton, Dorota Dziong, John Ens, Deborah Farquharson, Anne-Marie Giroux, Itzik Giuli, Jennifer Globush, Avery Hannig, Heather Hess, Vladimir Kabelik, Clara Kim, Jina Kim, Jenn Law, Dawn Loree, Frank Mulvey, Allan O’Marra, Jangmee Park, Maureen Paxton, Julius Poncelet Manapul, ORT Project, Marina Raike, Jackie Rancourt, Leena Raudvee Dale M Reid, Lori Ryerson, Lois Schklar, Anne Smythe, Asma Sultana, Bob Tunnoch, Hyun Young Yang and Kyle Yip, respectively.
The symbolic properties of flowers have long been a source of artistic, poetic, and mythical inspiration. From antiquity to the present, blossoms have been called upon to signify and celebrate key moments in life: bouquets appear in delivery rooms, at baptisms, weddings, and funerals, as markers to commemorate and celebrate both the beauty and the fragility of life.
This year the John B. Aird Gallery initiated our first juried online exhibition + artbook enlisting contemporary artists’ blooming compositions. We invited Taiga Bentley, Olga Korper Gallery‘s assistant director, and Treasurer to the Art Dealers Association of Canada, to jury this year’s exhibition, and our curatorial assistant Marli Davis, who furnishes this year’s adorning FLORALS publication with both an introductory essay and exquisite design.
This year’s 94 artists were selected from over 200 applicants for our online slide show and publication accompanied by a curated playlist.
We hope you enjoy the debut of John B. Aird Gallery’s FLORALS 2021.
Curated by Carla Garnet
Essay by Phillip Dwight Morgan
Presented by the JOHN B. AIRD GALLERY in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Festival of Photography
Sebastein Miller’s Civil Disobedience variously references photojournalism, album art, protest imagery, comic books, films, and video games. The use of digital montage foregrounds his works’ constructed nature, highlighting the gaps between posited futures and depictable reality. Through animated counter-narratives, the Toronto-based artist uses satire to comment on science, race, and the nature of resistance, and to analyze how Black North American icons circulate in popular culture.
In 2021, the John B. Aird Gallery initiated our first juried online exhibition + art book featuring ‘contemporary sculpture’. For this project, the term, ‘contemporary sculpture’ refers to sculpture—produced today. Within this expanded context, a sculpture is understood as carving and/or modelling from traditional materials like stone, metal, wood, and/or clay, but it is not confined to these materials or processes. Sculptures selected included but were not limited to a combination of Cubist, Constructivist, Dadaist, Futurist, Pop-Art, Minimalism, Conceptual art influences, and/or assemblage or installation.
We invited Robert Birch, the President of the Birch Contemporary art gallery, a seminal venue that features emerging to established Canadian and international artists to be the juror for this project. Robert selected 54 artists and 70 pieces to inform the online SCULPTURE exhibition + art book. He’s also supplied his thoughts on the selection process and some of the individual works he choose and why in his juror’s statement. Along with Birch’s text, the Aird is delighted to include an essay-response by our assistant curator and the publication designer, Erin Storus, as a significant component of our SCULPTURE 2021 project.
ONLINE EXHIBITION & PUBLICATION
This year the John B. Aird Gallery initiated our first juried online exhibition + art book featuring contemporary collage-based works. For the purposes of this project, the term, ‘contemporary’ refers to artworks—produced today. The art term ‘collage’ comes from the French Language and literally means “to glue”. For this exhibition call, ‘collage’ is understood as both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric, and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface to create an overall work of art.
We invited Claire Christie, the principal of Christie Contemporary, to jury the project. Not only did Claire select exactly 64 collage artists’ works from over 300 submissions she organized them into 5 distinct sections consisting of ABSTRACTION & MONTAGE; DIMENSIONAL; HYBRID FORMS; PLACE & LANDSCAPE and PORTRAITS & FIGURES.
John B. Aird Gallery curatorial assistant, Erin Storus furnishes COLLAGE publication with both an introductory essay and its exquisite design.
ONLINE EXHIBITION & PUBLICATION
This year John B. Aird Gallery celebrates the 22nd edition of its annual juried exhibition by showcasing drawings by contemporary Canadian artists in a virtual exhibition which includes an online slide show and PDF publication with essays by the exhibit jurors, Steve Khan and Neda Omidvar.
For this exhibition, a drawing is defined as an art form used to either create a finished work of art or draft ideas that are further developed in other media.
This broad definition is intended to open the exhibition to entries reflecting a wide variety of contemporary drawing materials, techniques, and practices.
Since 2019, Steve Khan has been a bilingual Peer Assessment Committee Member for the Canada Council for the Arts. He has also worked as a Program Manager at the Ontario Trillium Foundation and a bilingual Program Officer at the Department of Canadian Heritage. He was also the Chair of the United Way Peel Region’s Youth in Action grants program. He was invited as a guest juror for the Mississauga Arts Council’s Mississauga’s Got Talent Limelight competition and the City of Hamilton’s Community Arts Award.
Steve Khan was born in Vancouver, and now lives and works in Toronto and Montreal. He enjoys using humor to make people feel more comfortable about sexuality, race, and gender. He acknowledges that this does tend to reposition those with the privilege to experience what it’s like to be without it. He works with text, drawing, and video.
A joint Art and Art History program graduate from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, Khan has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and the United States.
Neda Omidvar is the Gallery Director of Barbara Edwards Contemporary, Toronto. Her acclaimed curatorial work has been reviewed in ArtForum, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, and The Toronto Star, among others. She is passionate about helping clients build, manage and grow their art collections through consultations and exhibitions. Due to the current pandemic, most of her work is currently conducted via private consulting.
A graduate of OCAD University, she enjoys collaborating with creative writers and artists, and has recently published work in experiment-O. She is the owner of Evil Llama and Friends, an e-commerce brand developed as a way to channel COVID-19 anxiety and uncertainty into something humorous and productive.
Julius Poncelet Manapul, Decolonizing Antiquities, organized by John B. Aird Gallery director/curator Carla Garnet features multi-media installation and collage works that arise from his lived experience as a gay, diasporic, Filipinx.
This solo show reflects the artist’s desire to disrupt static and globalized notions of queerness in favor of an emergent subjectivity that is remade through aesthetics. His artistic practice focuses on the hybrid nature of Filipinx culture after colonialism and the colour-gaze of queer identities, using a taxonomy to excavate the experience of immigration and assimilation in the face of cultural erasure.
With Decolonizing Antiquities & Rituals Julius turns his attention towards the re-interpretation of colonial antiquities and their impact on ritual experiences. The project juxtaposes three bodies of work: Balikbayan Bakla, After Jose Honorato Lozano; Cup of Rice; and a table setting installation titled Kamayan na (which translates as To eat with our hands).
ONLINE EXHIBITION & PUBLICATION
Curated by emerging curator Erin Storus and Juried by Niki Dracos, the principal director of General Hardware Contemporary, Painting 2020 is John B. Aird’s annual showcase of paintings by contemporary Canadian artists. For this exhibition, a painting is defined as a work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or other platforms. This broad definition is intended to open the exhibition to entries reflecting a wide variety of contemporary and modern painting techniques and practices.
Niki Dracos, principal director of General Hardware Contemporary, in the heart of Parkdale, graduated from OCAD in 1989 and spent several successful years in the design and advertising industry collaborating with the industry’s leading creative people. In 2006 she acquired the building and proceeded to convert the old hardware store into a gallery space, which she opened in 2010.
NATALIE WOOD, PERFORMING CHANGE
Presented by John B. Aird Gallery in partnership with Charles Street Video and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. More detail may be found on the festival site by clicking here!
Performing Change is a survey of lens-based work, participatory performance, and installations made over the last decade by Trinidadian-born, Toronto-based artist Natalie Wood. Positioned across two venues, Wood’s work reflects on the fugitive and the imaginary as forms of resistance to colonialism and slavery’s afterlife. It counters heteronormativity by presenting rarely seen imagery showing intimacy and tenderness between Black women. Using a cinema verité approach, the artist celebrates Black women’s lives and loves.
This publication includes a foreword by Jowenne Herrera, and intro-essay by exhibit curator, Carla Garnet, and interviews with the artist, Natalie Wood, conducted by Pamela Edmonds and Yaniya Lee, and accompanied by installation images of the new works in the exhibit.
CURATED BY MATHEW BROWER
JURIED BY DAVID LISS
The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.
– Mark Twain
Jonathan Swift suggested that every dog has its day and the Aird Gallery is celebrating those days this summer. We have lived with dogs for many thousands of years. Over that time dogs have adapted themselves to our needs and desires and at the same time, they have been changing us – largely for the better. Our deep and complex relationship with dogs, on personal, cultural, and biological levels, has been an important subject for art practice from the beginning.
We were interested in mutts of all kinds, as well as pedigreed pooches, that explored dogs as emotional and physical support, companions, family members, mythic beings, and cultural symbols.
Matthew Brower is a writer and curator who teaches in the Museum Studies Program at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Developing Animals: Early North American Wildlife Photography and excellent exhibitions.
David Liss is a curator, writer, and artist living in Toronto, Canada. He is currently an Adjunct Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada and was Director and Curator from December 2000 through 2015. Since August 2019 he is also Curator and Programmer for Arsenal, a privately owned network of galleries in Toronto, Montreal, and New York.
Can a garden be gay ?
Can a flower be lesbian ?
Can a tree be LGBTQ2IPA ?
Gay Gardens is inspired by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish scientist, who published Systema Naturae in 1735. The book describes his method of naming and classifying plants based on their sexual organs and sexual actions. Society was shocked and embarrassed by the botanical orgies happening in their back yards. A woman has sex with six different men, in the lily flower’s arrangement of pistils and stamens. The virtuous canna is monogamous with one husband and one wife. Ferns and mosses keep their sex organs hidden and their marriages too. 1
Our jury of gay garden experts, Jowenne Herrera and curator Patrick DeCoste, selected their favorites to be included in our online exhibition/art book which was launched on June 26, 2020.
1Andrea Wulf, The Brother Gardeners, Botany, Empire, and the Birth of an Obsession. (London: Windmill Books, 2009).
In the works that comprise 13 Moons and a Canoe, DeCoste takes up history as something living and breathing, the conceptual weight of his work lightened by its rich materiality. The installation pairs a canoe, retrofitted with a mast and sail, with a circular room of thirteen canvas walls – each painted with a large, colourful moon – strung across poles hewn from forest trees.
This room-within-a-room evokes a pastiche of environmental, cultural, and personal influences. It is, on the one hand, a monument to the Indigenous lunar calendar, an inner sanctum delineated by the thirteen full moons that mark the passing of each year, and, on the other hand, a kind of family portrait for the artist; the twelve walls represent DeCoste and each of his eleven siblings. The modified canoe, reveals the thirteenth moon on its sail, this white moon represents the baby who did not survive, the thirteenth child. The canoe sits outside the tridecagon room; it conjures up the genesis of the Métis people in seventeenth-century Nova Scotia, where DeCoste’s family has its roots. It is a potent symbol of First Contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples – a hybrid object, deceptively quaint in appearance that literalizes the impact of cultures quickening against and into one another.
This exhibition features a selection of works from Burley’s remarkable photographic series, along with an aerial map, a video and other visualizations of landscape that reflect the artist’s interest in the City of Toronto’s parklands, waterfronts and ravine systems. The City of Toronto commissioned Burley to create this collection of photographs celebrating Toronto’s natural spaces as a way to both examine and promote our twenty-first-century relationship to nature. The exhibition accompanies Burley’s new book, An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands, published by ECW Press, with texts by Toronto writers George Elliott Clarke, Anne Michaels, Michael Mitchell, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and Alissa York.
Walking Dream by artist Bill Jones debuted at the John B. Aird Gallery on May 08, 2018, and was on view until June 08, 2018. View the catalog by click the button below.
some landings/certains débarquements brings together five bodies of work that are informed by these issues and bracketed by two distinct approaches to the landscape: one that reduces it to an essentially topographic state, and one that portrays the effects of human intervention. The work of Jesse Boles, Robert Burley, L. E. Glazer, Sue Lloyd, and Lisa Murzin might at first glance appear to reflect a detached perspective, when in fact it is decidedly engaged, subtly revealing analytical vantage points.
In Across Boundaries, Diana Yoo brings together photography, video, installation and performance works to better grasp the separations between first and second-generation Korean immigrants, relating that, while many in the first generation may be more concerned with assimilating, the second and third generations are often more interested in reaching an understanding of the circumstances that led to immigrating, and they want to know about what was left behind.
Because the artist’s work explores living between the two cultures of South Korea, her ancestral home, and Canada, where she was born and raised, Yoo’s practice involves traveling back and forth between Canada and South Korea as a means of more deeply understanding who she is and how to best express asymmetrical world relationships through her creation of contemporary art.