Publications 2021-10-12T22:15:20-04:00


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.



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.

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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.

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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 BaklaAfter Jose Honorato LozanoCup of Rice; and a table setting installation titled Kamayan na (which translates as To eat with our hands).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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