Sound Travels: An Exploration of the Soundmaker’s Journey: Andrea Ramolo, Faye Blais, Kristin Sweetland
Photography Exhibit and Concert
Saturday, March 19 2016 at 7:30 pm
Sound Travels: An Exploration of the Sound Maker’s Journey is a group exhibition of photography by Canadian musicians Kristin Sweetland, Andrea Ramolo, and Faye Blais. The selected images explore the relationship between music and photography, light and sound – the sound maker and the road.
All three artists have spent the better part of the last decade in travel, bringing their musical compositions to other parts of the country and the world. Their journeys, needless to say, have been vibrant, colourful and very unique, with one common thread – music served as their muse.
From barren highways and endless skies to personal moments and abstract expressions, the pieces will offer viewers the opportunity to share in each artist’s individual journey through their eyes.
In collaboration with Gallery 345, this group exhibit will run for one night only. The soirée will be held on Saturday, March 19th between 7:30 pm and midnight at 345 Souraren in Toronto. The $10 admission will include a complimentary beverage, a live pianist, a special burlesque performance and an intimate concert featuring all three photographers. A cash bar and hors d’ oeuvres will also be available.
Kristin Sweetland is an interdisciplinary artist currently living in Toronto, Ontario. She is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, photographer, writer and international touring road-warrior. Sweetland has re-leased two EPs, three full-length albums and recently launched her highly anticipated first book of photography entitled “Adventures In Sweetland.” The photographs are selections from a series of the same name she began as a photography student at the University of Victoria. There, Sweetland was given an assignment to document her emotions through a series of self-portraits. The class ended, but the series never stopped. More than a decade later, the project has followed her through endless adventures across mysterious landscapes in a sweet land that seems to be all her own. A full time touring musician, Sweetland has transformed North American landscapes into photographic fairytales, inviting viewers to travel into her imaginative world.
Andrea Ramolo is a musician, dancer, actor, writer, photographer, and educator. Her life as a multi-disciplinary artist has had her living out of her van from Newfoundland to Haida Gwaii and up to the Yukon, singing on stage at Massey Hall, sharing a microphone with Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith, dancing alongside Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman in Disney’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ performing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, dying a horrifying death in a zombie movie, and teaching at inner city high schools. As a musician, Andrea has released two solo albums - one of which granted her a 2011 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination. She has also released two albums with her duo Scarlett Jane and is presently working on her third solo album. This is her first photo exhibition and she is thrilled to share glimpses of the beauty that has crossed her path, the people she has been fortunate to live alongside, and the landscape she has wildly explored throughout her adven-tures on the road as a touring musician.
Faye Blais is a multi-disciplinary artist who has spent most of the last decade traveling the world through her music. She has released four indie-folk solo albums and most recently an EP with her new indie-electro-pop venture “THE WEAKNESS”. This year brings about a new wave of creative energy for Faye, as she takes a break from the road to delve deeper into the realms of music pro-duction, graphic art, and photography.
A Valentine's Show at Gallery 345!
Sunday February 14, 2016 (yes, Valentine's Day!!) from 3 - 7 pm
$15 Cash at the door or $12 advance online
20+ Emerging Toronto Artists present artworks inspired by LOVE, LUST & LOSS in varying degrees of absurdity.
3pm - 5pm: Romeo's Open Mic, hosted by Mathew Edmondson
5pm - 6pm: TBA
6pm - 7pm: Absurd Musical Seduction, by < 3 Barbara
Complimentary snacks/refreshments will be available at the event, plus cash bar, special LOVE GRAMS TABLE (with prints & mini artworks), musical performances and other surprise entertainment!
FEATURING ARTWORKS by
Amanda Maccagnan | Amanda Narain | Andres Silvera | Alexandria Karakis | Bryan Navasero | Darren Bryant | Joseph Bencic | Claudine Young | Aga Chil | Janet Parsons | Don Quincy | David Halliwell | Tanya Solonyka | Erika Stark | Sonia Trivedi | Krista Corinne Sobocan | Vera Malitskaya | Navneet Nishant | Daniel Marlatt | Megan Rae | Laura Loebus | Richard Gilliland | James Taylor | Rew Ellen Wilgress | Rachel King-Widow Parry | Michelle Sara Gauthier | Del Mah | Jenny Chen | Kevin Jenkins | The Amazing Mr. Hydde | Amy Errman | Paul Dolgov | Brian Wyers | Lina Faroussi | Handmade by Sobia | Ryan Howe | Adrianne Houston | Chelsea Vachon | Lyn Li | Tomas Zatrak | Jason Magela | Michael Halliwell
LAND UNDER SEA by Deborah Bennett
January 25 - March 1, 2014
Saturday, January 25 from 5 -7 pm
Piano performance by Attila Fias
Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12 - 5 pm or by appointment (please contact Deborah Bennett)
Deborah’s recent work follows in the tradition of landscape and seascape painting that has identified Canadian painting for well over a century. Influenced by large format abstract expressionism, her work combines the disparate styles of traditional Canadian landscape painting with large-scale gestural abstraction.
Her paintings explore the ever-changing light and colors of Ontario landscapes throughout various seasons and times of day. Ultimately, Deborah’s work aims to represent the role of the conscious observer in landscapes. The etymology of ‘landscape’ reveals as much with its root being the Germanic word Landshaft, which implies a signification of human occupation. Just as a human’s occupation defines any landscape within a limited scope of visual perception, any section of her installation may be removed and in this sense spliced. This exhibition intends to convey the limitation of visual perception as it splices landscapes. The paintings observe this splicing-act of various times of day and seasons, which the artist has been immersed in. Likewise, the exhibition is made up of many individual panels that compromise larger or smaller continuums as the viewer chooses.
The paneled continuum in “Land Under Sea” is characterized by a state that is always involved in the constant flux of transformation in the seascapes and landscapes of Georgian Bay and Mansfield Ontario. Her paintings seize rhythm and movement in these landscapes and seascapes and transform them into and onto the ‘still-life’ of a sedentary canvas or paper. Beyond philosophical ideas, Deborah’s show is distinguished by the conjunction of her experience and idea of landscape that executes and completes this metamorphosis.
Born in Toronto, Deborah Bennett has an honors BA from the faculty of music, an additional degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Art History from the University of Toronto. She has showed her work in numerous solo and group shows in Toronto, Montreal and Miami Beach and has worked in various mediums beyond painting, such as video art and photography and in addition she has also organized various group exhibits.
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN
April 27 - May 11, 2013
Friday, April 26, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
[ Google Map ]
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., or by appointment (please don't hesitate to make one)
For more information contact Claire Sykes: firstname.lastname@example.org | 1-647-477-2487
Circuit Gallery is proud to present THE DISTANCE BETWEEN, a solo exhibition of large-format work by Portland-based artist Akihiko Miyoshi, from his project entitled Abstract Photographs (2011), as a Featured Exhibition in the 2013 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
In Abstract Photographs Miyoshi explores the intersection between art and technology, centrally dealing with questions specific to photographic representation by cleverly exploiting the conventions of perception and representation and creating tensions between digital and analogue techniques.
Miyoshi's photographs are playfully self-reflexive—simultaneously abstract yet photographically real. The fourteen images chosen for this exhibition are all "self-portraits" consisting of the photographer and his camera taken through a mirror, yet instead of exposing the subject in a conventional sense, they instead, through the simple use of coloured paper and tape, highlight and question the space between subject and apparatus.
While these exquisite images allude to formal abstraction with various shapes and colors, the photographic nature of the images are emphasized as the image plane is selectively focused and blurred through the use of depth of field. The usually "reference-less" nature of abstraction is contradicted by the presence of minute details captured by the use of a large format camera such as the dust, scratch marks, smears or finger prints on the surface of the mirror, or the texture of the tape and paper used, all of which makes the images photographically real.
Deliberately referencing the aesthetic of constructed digital image making—the pixel, the choice of red, green and blue tape, the surface/depth tensions—Miyoshi's analogue self-portraits metaphorically evoke a slew of contemporary issues and questions about the status of both the photographer/author and the referent/real in the digital age.
Despite our never being able to quite "see" the artist / photographer (the person deliberately masked over or obscured in the images), we can know he has sense of humour and is firmly the producer of this clever and engaging work.
Born in Japan, Akihiko Miyoshi received his MFA in photography in 2004 from the Rochester Institute of Technology after taking a leave of absence as a PhD student in computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University to pursue art. Miyoshi is an Associate Professor of photography and digital media at Reed College in Portland Oregon. His work has been exhibited widely including Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.
He was named the International Award Winner of Fellowship 12 at The Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh PA. Miyoshi received a Hallie Ford Fellowship in 2012.
He is represented by the Circuit Gallery.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31st 2013
7:30 - 9:30 pm
“ONCE I WAS HERE”
A SILENT AUCTION IN AID OF SYRIAN REFUGEES
FEATURING WORK BY 33 OF THE WORLD’S TOP FRONTLINE PHOTOGRAPHERS
SCENES FROM HERE
Circuit Gallery is proud to present SCENES FROM HERE as a Featured Exhibition in the 2012 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
May 3 - 26, 2012
Thursday May 3, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (artists in attendance)
Gallery Hours by appointment (please don't hesitate)
For more information contact Claire Sykes:
email@example.com | 1-647-477-2487
This exhibition seeks to bring forward something of our complex and ambiguous relationship with nature, its role in our imaginary (specifically as represented in landscape) and our different experience and understanding of its reality (its strength and fragility).
SCENES FROM HERE presents the work of two photographers, Eamon Mac Mahon and Jim Verburg, whose considerably different interests in the natural landscape both seem predicated on a sense of disconnect and loss.
Mac Mahon is fascinated by our ideas and impressions of the 'wilderness', and the constant push-pull of man versus nature. He invites us to consider the range of attitudes that we have towards nature and to being in the natural world.
In a series of non-prescriptive images that focus on visual anecdotes: particular places, moments, and incidents, he effectively reveals our ambiguous relationship with nature, recognizing both its power as something unforgiving, destructive and "bigger than us" and its fragility as something in need of protection.
Jim Verburg’s photographs are not about specific places or nature itself, rather they are projections of psychic space—anthropomorphized conduits of moods and experience. The landscape and nature, often formally reduced to basic forms and elements (circles, light, water, fire, wood), function here as motif for the larger themes he explores in his work: interpersonal relationships, ideas of self and other, and our connectedness and difference.
For Verburg, being in nature, or 'getting away', becomes the ground or condition for connection, affording him that contemplative space to look inward, to strip things down and get in touch with what feels basic, honest and essential.
Eamon Mac Mahon is a photographer/videographer currently based in Montreal. Mac Mahon's photographs have appeared in various publications including the Walrus, National Geographic, and the New Yorker, as well as exhibition spaces such as the Griffin Museum of Photography, Higher Pictures NYC and San Jose's Institute of Contemporary Art. A large-scale, year-long exhibition of his ‘Landlocked’ series, described as ‘magnificent and mysterious’ by the Globe and Mail, was presented at Toronto's Pearson International Airport during CONTACT 2008. His video work has been exhibited at The Power Plant, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Music Gallery in Toronto. Mac Mahon also spends much of his time creating video projections for stage productions. He has been named one of PDN's 30, published in three of Magenta's 'Flash Forward' books, and nominated for the Prix Pictet. www.eamonmacmahon.com
Jim Verburg is a citizen of Canada and the Netherlands, he was born in 1977 in Belleville Ontario, and currently divides his time between Montreal and Toronto. His artistic practice is mainly concerned with the complexities of relationships. Working with photography, video, text, installation, and print to explore his love of modernist aesthetics, emotional matters, and the interpersonal. His second film For a Relationship won the 2008 Jury Prize for the Best Canadian Short Film at the Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto. The work was also nominated for the Iris Prize in the UK. He’s held residencies at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Montreal, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography in Toronto and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta. In the spring of 2009 he had a solo exhibition/installation at Widmer and Theodoridis Contemporary in Zurich, and was featured by the gallery at the HOT ART Fair 2009 in Basel Switzerland. Recent exhibitions include Portrait Study at the New Stage of National Theatre in Prague, Domestic Queens at the FOFA Gallery in Montreal, So Many Letdowns Before We Get Up at Platform Gallery Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts in Winnipeg, and the C magazine group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto. Verburg’s solo show One and Two opened this fall at Le Mois de la Photo in Montreal. The show was recently awarded the 2011 Dazibao prize. www.jimverburg.com
Jim Verburg, Untitled (Diptych), 2011
Eamon Mac Mahon, Inuvik Airport, 2008
Eamon Mac Mahon, Paddy's Shack, Kalapana, Hawaii, 2008.
Jim Verburg, Untitled, 2012
Jim Verburg, Untitled (15, 22 and now), 1992, 1999, and 2011
Robert Bean, "Equation 1" (2011)
DeLegrange Mathematical Model - Hyperbolic paraboloid
Canada Science and Technology Museum
273@345 (brushing information against information)
November 5 - December 3, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday November 4, 2011, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m., or by appointment (please don't hesitate to make one)
For more information contact Claire Sykes: firstname.lastname@example.org | 1-647-477-2487
Circuit Gallery is pleased to present a new solo exhibition by Canadian Artist Robert Bean exploring the relationship between John Cage and Marshall McLuhan.
This exhibition considers the influential relationship that Marshall McLuhan and the composer John Cage shared during their lives. Through the use of sound, images of artifacts, archives and experimental scores, the installation presents an exploration of inscription and technology by "brushing information against information". John Cage makes continuous reference to McLuhan's ideas in his essays, interviews and mesostics. In particular, he frequently quotes McLuhan's observation that in the electronic age, our primary occupation is information-gathering and "brushing information against information".
McLuhan anticipated the transition from anxiety to boredom in the cultural evolution of electronic media and information technology. Observing the transition from content to pattern as well as the non-linear destructuring of reception inherent to electronic technologies, McLuhan perceived an anaesthetic or numbing influence on the human senses. Referencing the Distant Early Warning radar technologies (DEW) deployed during the Cold War, McLuhan described art and artists as a cultural "early warning system". John Cage, attentive to McLuhan's observation that the human nervous system is extended beyond the body by electronic media, endeavored to expand and accentuate human sensorial experience is his experimental and optimistic approach to sound, performance and technology.
Robert Bean is an artist, writer and teacher living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born in Saskatchewan, he moved to Nova Scotia in 1976 to pursue a career in contemporary art and education. He obtained a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University) in 1978, and an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Leeds, England in 1999. He is currently a Professor at NSCAD University. Bean has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and New Zealand.
He has published articles on photography, art and cultural history, written catalogue essays and has completed numerous curatorial projects. Bean has received grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Nova Scotia Arts Council. In March 2007, Robert Bean received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Research/Creation grant to pursue a three-year investigation on the subject of "Obsolescence and the Culture of Human Invention". Robert Bean was the Artist in Residence at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa, Ontario in 2010.
Bean's work is in public and private collections, including the Nova Scotia Art Bank, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the National Gallery of Canada.
He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto)
Circuit Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of Edward Epstein and Gallery 345.
Group Exhibition: INTANGIBLES
September 15 - October 22, 2011
Opening Reception: Thursday September 15, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m., or by appointment (please don't hesitate to make one)
For more information contact Claire Sykes: email@example.com | 1-647-477-2487
S. Billie Mandle
Circuit Gallery is pleased to present INTANGIBLES, a group exhibition of work by three photographers who all, in their own way, attempt to give representation to something experienced, perceived or felt, but not otherwise tangible—be it the phenomena of light, color, energy or the more transcendent, indeed spiritual state of being.
From his project In Dust, Robert Canali gives us a series of highly abstract and beautiful images about light and its corollary colour. Exploring the oppositions between the tangible and the intangible, abstraction and representation, Canali uses the very materials of photography—glass, paper, film, fluorescent tubes—to give objective representation to the essential yet utterly immaterial aspects of the medium.
In her own way, S. Billie Mandle’s work also relies heavily on the representation of light and color, in this case as metaphor, for spirituality and transcendence. In her series, Reconciliation Mandle gives us photographs of the interiors of catholic confessionals. Here she shines a light, literally drawing the curtain, on these small, dark, non-descript and indeed well worn rooms for private introspection—spaces not meant to be seen or experienced in themselves as such. Mandle is interested in how the materiality, indeed how the tangibility of such space gets transformed into a space for the intangible ritual of confession. In these exquisite images, Mandle powerfully evokes, the presence of others, their secrets, and ultimately something of the desire for and experience of transcendence.
And finally, like other artists attempting to give representation to the "sublime", Wayne Dunkley uses photography to capture something of the intangible, specifically something of his embodied and emotional connection to the landscape. Literally each image in his series TransForm is the product of a single hand-held exposure that effectively records the movement of his body, his breathing, as he experiences and connects with the land and its most basic elements: water, rock, trees and light.
In Dunkley's photographs of the landscape he is bringing into the foreground what he describes as a "resonating energetic space" that exists below the surface of objects and within landscape, and that can be experienced when we are open to such experience. Dunkley's photographs are less about the material world and any clear objective representation of it (photography's traditional role) and more about our affective experience of being-in it.
See more works available by Robert Canali, Billie Mandle, and Wayne Dunkley available through Circuit Gallery: www.circuitgallery.com
Robert Canali is an artist living and working in Toronto. His photographs and installation work has been exhibited at O'Born Contemporary, the Flash Forward Festival in Toronto, Phantom Space Projects, Gales Gallery (York University), Labspace Studio, Deleon White Gallery, and Gallery TPW. In addition to having his work in numerous private collections in Canada and the US, Canali publishes limited edition artist books and exhibition catalogues under his co-run publishing house, Wassenaar. He has been the recipient of a Regional Arts Award from the Brampton Council of Fine Arts, the Photography Honorarium Award from York University, and his work has been featured on the cover of the Canadian magazine BlackFlash. He is represented by O'Born Contemporary (Toronto).
Wayne Dunkley is a photographer and new media artist working in photo imaging, writing, and internet-based projects. His practice is focused on facilitating spaces (real, imagined and virtual) to nurture wonder and excite personal transformations. Dunkley believes his contemplative photographic "spaces" connect with the viewer's interior worlds and cause us to reflect on our own lives and the world we live in. Wayne is a guest lecturer with the Toronto Art Therapy Institute and is currently designing a new media experience for the National Film Board of Canada. Wayne graduated in photography from Ryerson University, Toronto and received a Masters of Theology from Wycliffe College, The Toronto Schools of Theology, University of Toronto. Wayne lives in Toronto.
S. Billie Mandle photographs the intersection of people, their environments and beliefs – focusing on the spaces where life and ideologies coalesce. She received her BA in Biology and English from Williams College and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She was a 2010 NYFA Fellow in photography and a finalist at the Hyères Photography Festival. She teaches at Mass Art in Boston and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect
Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
Thursday May 5, 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (artist in attendance)
Artist's Talk + Book Signing
Saturday, May 7 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m., or by appointment
For more information contact Claire Sykes: firstname.lastname@example.org | 1-647-477-2487
Circuit Gallery is proud to present, as a Featured Exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, a solo exhibition of large-format work by Mexican-based photographer Alejandro Cartagena from his acclaimed project entitledSuburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect (2006 - 2009). The exhibition features for the first time in Canada, 29 works drawn from the project's constituent parts: Urban Holes, Fragmented Cities, Lost Rivers, People of Suburbia.
Suburbia Mexicana is a documentary project deeply rooted in the local and the particular, in the artist's own experience living and working in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. It is an ambitious and committed project that seeks to tell the complex story of the region's rapid suburban expansion: from urban gentrification and inner-city ‘ghettoization,’ to the seemingly unplanned and unhampered suburban sprawl emanating from many of its fast growing cities, including the environmental consequences.
Cartagena's project both nods towards and distinguishes itself from the tradition of the New Topographers in interesting and significant ways. His subjects—tract housing, inner-city vacant lots, desiccated or polluted rivers, the residents of these new developments—figure prominently, yet beyond simple documentation Cartagena is interested in symbolically foregrounding the larger picture—"The Mexican suburbs are symbolic; they represent corruption, a lack of standards in planning, and personal obsessions."
And it is through a sustained and holistic visual study that Cartagena is able to convey something of the deeper mechanisms—the ideological, political, economic, social ground—at work, in his "man-altered landscapes." Cartagena's work equally diverges from earlier New Topographic approaches in that it does not simply reject beauty or seek to coolly "aestheticize the banal." His images are aesthetically alluring and offer multiple points of resonance, reaching beyond the specific place represented and attesting to something more pervasive and palpable on a global level—greed, corruption, ecological fragility and loss—as shared issues under advanced capitalism.
See works available through Circuit Gallery from Suburbia Mexicana.
Alejandro Cartagena: Artist Talk + Book Signing
Please join us on Saturday afternoon, May 7 (1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.) at Gallery 345 to hear Alejandro Cartagena talk about his project and to get your copy of his recent monograph Suburbia Mexicana, co-published by Daylight and Photolucida (2011).
The book features 36 colour plates, an Introduction by Karen Irvine, an Essay by Gerardo Montiel Klint, and an Interview by Lisa Uddin.
Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. He is an artist, teacher and promoter of photography. His projects are primarily documentary based, and employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues in Latin America. His work also engages with a larger history of photography by reinterpreting or rethinking the ways in which poignant issues have been addressed or represented in the past. This has widened his works´ aesthetic and conceptual approach and added layers of meaning to his complex interpretations of our society.
Cartagena's work has been exhibited and published internationally, and is in several public and private collections in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and the United States. He is the recipient of several major national grants, numerous honorable mentions and acquisition prizes in Mexico and abroad. In 2009 Cartagena won the Critical Mass Book Award, and was named one of PDN's 30 International Emerging Photographers to Watch. In 2009 Cartagena was also a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Prize, selected as an "International Discovery" at the Houston FOTOFEST, a Hey Hot Shot Finalist, and a featured artist at the Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui China (with a solo exhibition of Suburbia Mexicana). A monograph of Suburbia Mexicana was published earlier this year by Daylight Books and Photolucida. He is currently teaching in the Faculty of Visual Arts of the University of Nuevo León as he continues his photographic projects about the Latin American landscape and its people.
He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).
Download as a PDF
Via Nazionale preso dalla Villa Aldobrandini, Roma 2002
Retour de Rome
Photographs by Clara Gutsche and David Miller
May 1 - 31
Opening May 1, 7 - 11pm
In 2002, Gutsche and Miller photographed Rome over a period of six months. Retour de Rome is focused on a complex history marked by pervasive change. The work, though grounded in architecture, is chiefly about human relationships to man-made spaces and buildings. The images captured by the two photographers distill the chaos, richness and surfeit that is Rome, suspending moments in time and history.
by Eduardo Ralickas
It is often overlooked that for several centuries, Rome was the destination of choice for emerging pan-European image-makers who were tempted by the promise of social ascendancy one could then glean from the newly consolidated – and rising – field of the Fine Arts. Whether one was an artisan or a craftsperson, one went to Rome in the hopes of polishing one’s aesthetic education and attaining artistic maturity, that is, in order finally to become a master or a fully fledged artist, in the modern sense of the term. Rome, that urban space in continual flux lying between an irretrievably lost Antiquity and a perpetually unfinished Renaissance, embodied the very notion of a spiritual incubator: therein were born the great ones; therein were engendered new forms.
Countless generations of painters and sculptors treaded down the Roman road to secure their artistic Patent of nobility, which could be granted, one then believed, only by pilgrimage to the places of art and architecture, by being in the very presence of masterpieces one only knew through pictures. Once the sojourn was completed and the desired metamorphosis consummated, one went home (to Paris or to some province) and exhibited, as per customary practice, one’s latest body of work to the delight of the rapacious novelty craving public. Such works, as well as the signature they bore, were now endowed with a symbolic capital guaranteed by the seal of the “Italian climate”. Two entities were fostered by means of this centuries-old pattern (which disappeared only when Rome lost its stronghold as the capital of civilized culture): the “author function” and the “work of art” – the latter term denoting the most reactionary of meanings, for it eclipses an entire range of dubious political functions once ascribed to images and their magic. One ought not to forget Walter Benjamin’s succinct phrase here: there is no work of culture which is not at the same time a work of barbarity.
Such exhibitions were commonly called “Retour de Rome”. The question that arises given the present context is: From what are we returning now? Indeed, Clara Gutsche and David Miller’s artistic collaboration allows one to assess the historical constructions that underpin our current notions of artistic identity. Their practice as documentary photographer at the fringes of the contemporary art world (which has always had some trouble integrating image-makers who do not conform with dominant notions of authorship) provide key insights given their particular vantage-point. In some respects, to “return” from Rome is to pose the question of the social function of art, as well as to challenge the status of the artist and of his or her media choices. Moreover, to “return” from Rome with a documentary body of work when the art milieu’s tastes lie elsewhere is openly to declare a series of refusals, not least of which is the refusal of the traditional artist function (which does not adequately encompass that of photographer or documentarian).
Gutsche and Miller’s “returns” are numerous: there is a “media return” directed at the topographical tradition in nineteenth-century photography, which they have clearly mastered; there is also an “historical return” which is signaled by the show’s hanging, which echoes the historical “Retours de Rome”; of course, one can speak of a “literal return” from the Eternal City, where they both lived and worked for several months to produce the works at hand; and lastly, there is a critical return”, perhaps the most important of all, a backward glance at postmodernism, which is now a historical fact upon which one may reflect.
The strength of this two-tiered project (which already bears in its breast the seeds of irony, that echo, as Sperber and Wilson have it, of other people’s sayings, which one mentions without using) is to have orchestrated a dialogue with postmodern photography in a language that is wholly modern. In fact, documentary photography is practiced here without paying heed to the various deconstructions of the eighties. Moreover, it is as if such critical operations had never really touched documentary practice in the first place, which pursues its course quite naturally.
At the heart of Gutsche and Miller’s project lies a confrontation between the photographic medium and the concept of the fake – in this light, Rome is the very site of doubling: Rome harbours roman copies of lost Greek originals, imperfect copies of Old Masters, pictorial copies of “eternal” monuments that only live on through postcards or their ancestors (i.e., vedute and topographical paintings) etc. Ultimately, if it is no longer pertinent to ascribe to postmodernism the novel idea of an aesthetics of quoting, it follows that photography is thus free to pursue tasks other than those of exposing the structure of the fake at every turn – other tasks, such as that of framing everydayness in places such as Rome – the banality of tourism and crowds included. The historicity of the photographic document is being replayed here as one bears witness to a form of “situated” critique, to the work of critical reflection motivated by a sociologically informed praxis.
The result is far from banal: the viewer is in the midst of a heterogeneous collection of tableaux by means of which he or she can travel, (re)disover a seductive topography, and above all relive (without any appeal to the notion of originality) an experience that is paradoxically singular yet conventional. And out of which is made the tourism of the gaze.
Spanning the Centuries - Florence Rephotographed
Photographs by Peter Stramek after views from the
Alinari and Brogi Collections
Join the Ontario College of Art and Design and Peter Sramek at Gallery 345 for and evening in support of the OCAD Florence Program
Opening Event: Wednesday, March
18th, 2009 7-10pm
Exhibit continues to April 12
Peter Sramek has been a photographic artist for over 38 years and has
taught at the Ontario College of Art & Design in
He has exhibited his photography across Canada and internationally in Europe, Japan and the United States and is included in collections such as the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Library of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Toronto Archives, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Toronto Public Library Special Collections, and the Allan Chasanoff Collection of Artist’s Books (NYC). He is represented in Toronto by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.
Recent exhibitions of works from A Passion for Cities include solo shows at the French Institute of Prague in the
Often, photographers are obsessive collectors and these ones felt compelled to document their cities, each in their own way, leaving behind major archives - the grand views and the small details. Peter Sramek has returned to rephotograph their viewpoints to understand their motivations, methodologies and ways of portraying history. Why do these collections resonate today? How does the architectural spirit of these cities help define the identities of western culture? How do we imagine the past through these sites and how do they reinforce how each of us sees ourselves in relation to European history.
A Passion For Cities brings together three photographic collections from
three major cultural centres of
These photographers were selected for the comprehensive
determination of their production and also their
differing motivation and thus methodology. Josef Sudek
took a romantic's eye to his work, finding images which
expressed his love for the city. Eugène Atget
methodically mapped-out the vernacular street façades,
recording an old and then changing
These archives continue to be meaningful today. Atget is deemed to be one of the greats. The Alinari Archives continues to produce silver prints, books and reproductions from its massive collection. Sudek's Praha Panoramatická was reprinted in 1992 in four languages and quickly sold out.
In responding to these photographs, I reflected on how historical districts of old cities persist in today's world. The architecture is a constant reminder of the cultural past and survives due to cultural pride on the one hand, and also because of its touristic and economic value. In these cities there is a balance between people living within an historic tradition and the desire of tourists to touch (possess?) that ambience. Questions come to mind. What is the ‘reality’ preserved in historic sites? What is the meaning of our romantic desire for the past? What is the role of photography in creating our conception of historical environments?
For contemporary society, photography plays a major role in the creation of an image of history, usually one which is a romantic projection - at once enticing and misleading. We look at the old photographs and imagine that a past existed within their contained boundaries, willing to believe that they represent a complete reality. Often it is through photographs that we become familiar with the great cities such as these and subsequently we may visit them, making our own photographs.
Rephotography involves finding the camera positions of the original photographer as exactly as possible and making contemporary exposures. It allows one to contemplate the original photographic event. Revisiting these sites allowed me to enter more directly into the experience of the originators and to consider how they conceived their approach, what physical realities determined their vantage points and what choices they made.
The photographs of
Inevitably, the albumen prints reference the tradition
of the Grand Tour and the 19thC. tourism for which they
were originally created. The photograph gives the
traveler a portable link to the ideas and historical
eras which the monumental architecture has come to
The original albumen prints referenced for this project
are in the collection of Edward Epstein of Gallery 345
When making the rephotographs in the fall of 2007, I became aware of a major difference from the other photographers. Unlike Atget and Sudek, who worked at eye-level, most of these Florentine photographs were taken from above, expanding the perspective of the rendered space. Sometimes, this was from a conveniently placed window or balcony, sometimes a high terrace. Most often I would suspect the use of a wagon-mounted platform, placing the lens 2 or 3 metres above head-height. The camera position was often a few metres out from any adjacent wall, allowing for such a vehicle to be used.
Peter Hill: New Work
Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Exhibit runs from
November 20 - December 13
Peter will be present Saturdays for the duration of the show, or by appointment: 416.522.9915
"In nature nothing exists alone." Rachel Carson
Peter Hill has always been interested in nature and it's relationship to art and life.
In the 70s and 80s his investigation was in the form of looking at the construction of a landscape as it relates to the experience of viewing. That later developed into an interest in the emotional reading of an image and what effect that had on the viewer. What does personal history bring to the process of viewing? When Hill returned to the discipline of painting in the mid 90s he decided to make work that engaged the viewers through both their emotions and experience. That interest has continued and developed.
We are all part of nature. We are universally connected to our environment and the idea of landscape. Hill's new works addresses that interconnectedness.
Centuries have been devoted, in the art world, to the eventual reduction of image to the understanding of abstraction. Everything in painting today grows out of abstraction. "Landscape Found", the working title of this show, is the antithesis of Paradise Lost. In his paintings Hill finds the marks inherent in drawing a landscape. The viewer finds a landscape by the association of those marks to the rest of the painting. Viewing the experiences that are developed by the artist, the viewer's personal experience (memories and awareness of painting) complete their relationship with the painting and thus metaphorically follow Hill's process of making.
Hill has developed a natural process for constructing his painting. Starting with a black ground (nothing) he covers the surface with pourings of coloured paint, varied mediums and water. He allows them to chemically and physically travel where they may until solidified or dry. This surface landscape becomes the ground work for a visual landscape that the artist divines from his relationship with nature and his experience in painting and art history. The diamond canvas remains the mandala. A place of study and reflection in many practices, the mandala is not always in the form of a diamond. As a diamond it is also the place of constant movement. In the natural world nothing stays the same and development of the mind and soul only happen with change. A mandala is also a construct that promotes an internal relationship with the outside.
These paintings are fictions. These are paintings of possibility, paintings of hope in the natural processes. They pay homage to the ability of self-awareness and our potential as individuals for continual growth.
Hill has a close relationship with paint, painting and nature. There is his happiness and home, his life.
Rachel Carson is the founder of The Contemporary Environmental Movement, author of Silent Spring, advocate of nature and environmental ethics.
Floored to be 20
Exhibit runs from November 13 - 15, 2008
On exhibit: Original carpets, collaboratively created. A retrospective and 2009 Aerial Collection preview. Faces of Freedom - Travelling Photo Exhibition.
On raffle: Haritia Nepalese-inspired responsible-luxury rug designed & donated by Creative Matters. Proceeds to Rugark, the nonprofit foundation working to end child labour.
Creative Matters – originators of creative floor-covering, rug design and manufacture – was born in 1988. Partners Donna Hastings, Carol Sebert and Luba Huzan (now retired), drew on their considerable experience as carpet designers and joined forces to bring their vision for original, hand-crafted floor coverings to interior designers and architects worldwide. Their mission was and still is: “To be responsible for the most exceptional custom made carpets possible, utilizing the highest principles of design and production standards, in the spirit of excellence, professionalism and integrity.”
Twenty years and thousands of carpets later, Hastings and Sebert jointly lead a team of artists whose creations grace upscale retail stores, hotels, corporate offices and residences in more than 40 countries. Their partnership, creativity and international reputation are stronger than ever. With recent projects including Louis Vuitton in Paris and Macau, hotels from Kazakhstan to Mexico and residences in Toronto, New York and Hong Kong, the sky seems to be the limit.
Creative Matters, "Floored To Be 20" takes a retrospective look at the road they traveled. From fine art to computer savvy, hand paintings to print outs, they retrace their footsteps and raid the vaults – literally – for 20 years of hidden gems. Creative Matters will be showcasing some of their shining moments in an anniversary gallery show from November 13th to November 15th.
As a special feature, Creative Matters will be presenting a special preview of the additions to the award-winning Aerial Collection, a line of their hand-knotted carpets, with the launch of "Pepe", "Rory" and “Scratch”. Aerial 2009 will be launched at the Domotex International Carpet Show in Hanover, Germany, 2009.
White NOise: Water as a Metaphor for Emotion
Photographs and Inter-active Prints by Barbara Cole
Opening: Thursday, October 16th, 2008 | 6pm
Exhibit runs from October 16 - November 2 (free admission)
White NOise is a collection of 25 photographic pieces taken under water that show action and emotion using thousands of images, mixed mediums and storyboards. The fundamental idea behind the exhibition is to use water as a metaphor for emotion.
Executed as large-scale images and interactive pictures, White NOise is a collection that captures subjects immersed and photographed under water. The subsequent images are presented both as traditional still frames as well as moving, interactive pictures. The use of Lenticular technology*, creates a mini-movie by digitally interlacing multiple images that move as the viewer passes. Each of these images are individually hand made and may vary slightly.
Partly inspired by the work of Eadweard Muybridge, the pioneer of photographic studies in locomotion in the 1860’s and his contemporary, Etienne-Jules Marey, a physiologist dedicated to analyzing the laws governing movement of the human body, White NOise moves past the science and technology of locomotion to include human emotion in a series of frames.
*Lenticular Technology: the juxtaposition of a fragmented image and a plastic film made up of parallel lineal grooves on a surface that act like lenses.
David Levine: Canadians
Original prints and drawings by David Levine, whose brilliant caricatures have graced the pages of the New York Review of Books since 1963.
Friday, September 26th, 2008
7pm (artist in attendance)
Exhibit: September 26 - October 12, 2008
An exhibition of 20 original drawings by the great caricaturist David Levine of New York Review of Books fame. The show has several Canadians of renown, including M. Richler, P. Atwood, M. Ondaatje, JK Galbraith, G. Gould and others, mostly writers, like N. Mailer, S. Sontag, S. Plath and J. Updike.
OCAD is hosting an interview with David on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 6:30. He will be interviewed by Brian Gable of the G&M. The following evening, Sept. 26 at 7, David Levine will be interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio.
Thousands of caricatures and hundreds of oil and watercolour paintings have flowed from David Levine’s mind and hands, his pencils, pens and brushes for more than 50 years. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, Levine was trainedby his parents to question authority and the love the underdog. He learned from professors and colleagues at the Tyler School of Art in Phildelphia to extract technique and theory from artists throughout history.
The result: For decades he’s been acknowledged worldwide as the most devastatingly insightful caricaturist since Daumier. His examinations of human flaws and foibles express a central passion. “I love my species,” says Levine.
According to John Updike: “Besides offering us the delight of recognition, his drawings comfort us in and exacerbated and potentially desperate age, with the sense of a watching presence, an eye informed by an intelligence that has not panicked [...]. Levine is one of America’s assets. In a confusing time, he bears witness. In a shoddy time, he does good work.”
Sonic Scores & Self Sightings
Featuring a performance by Nobuo Kubota (voice), Casey Sokol (piano),
Ed Epstein (flute).
Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 8pm
Nobuo Kubota is an artist/musician/vocalist living in Toronto. He was introduced to sound poetry in the ‘80s by the Four Horsemen while performing with the CCMC. Since then his singing style has become a hybrid form with influences from jazz, scat singing and Buddhist chanting. In 2004 he began to develop a notational system of drawing and writing sonic/sound scores. This show is the result of that investigation.
A Portrait of Robin Minard
New Music Concerts / soundaXis
“Sounds on Paper”
Installations and Sound Sculptures by Robin Minard
Opening on Thursday, May 29th, 2008 | 7pm
Exhibit runs from May 29 - June 15 (free admission).
The exhibition presents Robin Minard's recent sound objects made with books and paper as well as the sound installation Silent Music, a work with several hundred wall-mounted piezo loudspeakers and four-channel audio that has been presented in museums and public spaces worldwide since 1994. Minard's audio books (2005) — originally created for the Bibliothèque Robert Desnos in Paris — present small loudspeaker elements superimposed over hand-written texts, an arrangement of elements which recalls Silent Music. The audio books led in 2006 to the creation of à lire en silence, a first set of artist-editions consisting of small notebooks with texts and loudspeaker elements, audio CD and presentation box. à voir en silence, another edition project, brings together the same elements but on hand-made paper into which loudspeaker elements are directly integrated. The installation also includes Nature morte (2008), a new collaborative work for video projection & 4 channel audio created with videographer Susan Meinhardt.