Real Estate Developers as Curators?: Westbank’s Fight for Beauty

Review February 8, 2018

By Brit Bachmann

 

“This exhibition is an attempt to illicit your support. We want you to buy in, to sign up, and join us in what we see as nothing less than an essential endeavour to protect, nurture, create and value all that is beautiful.” (1)

Ian Gillespie, founder of Westbank Corporation conveniently summarizes the intention of Fight for Beauty in the opening track from the audio guide. The exhibition, located in a tent outside Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim, is a lavish attempt to masquerade real estate development as art, to posture condo sales as altruism, and to mislead the public into joining a movement that satirizes anti-gentrification and affordable housing initiatives across Canada. Read More

Circulations of Intimacy

Review January 27, 2018

By John Nyman

For Abbas Akhavan, Sameer Farooq, and Joshua Vettivelu, intimacy describes an oscillation of investments and outpourings, a rhythm of emotional life. Loss, too, plays an important part in Vacancies, their group show at Toronto’s Towards gallery, though it acts less as the lack of a distant ideal than the vehicle for a circulation of affects. Loss, in other words, is the means by which our vulnerabilities—including those of emotion, identity, physicality, and expression—allow us to be moved. By strategically invoking the resilience of art objects, the artists featured in Vacancies help us relive our experiences of these difficult and often transitory feelings in respectful conversation with others’. Read More

the royalty’s inherent

Review October 3, 2017

By Olivia Wallace

 

Stepping into Daniels Spectrum is not your everyday gallery visit. Daniels Spectrum is the cultural hub for Toronto’s Regent Park—a neighbourhood of individuals from a wide range of socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. The Invisible Majority, displayed in the Hallway Galleries of Daniels Spectrum, is Zahra Siddiqui’s first solo exhibition. The artist is a Torontonian of South Asian descent whose photography practice has centered on people of colour from Toronto, the Caribbean and the US. Her portraits, as described in the gallery write-up, “[demand] our respect and reverence for her subjects” and “[connect] us to the actual composition of this multicultural metropolis”. (1) Considering Siddiqui’s usual practice, I anticipated an unparalleled perspective in portrait photography. Her kaleidoscope of remixed photographs delivered that and much more. Read More

coming home* to queerness

Review September 21, 2017

By Philippe Pamela Dungao

 

To walk through home* is to inhabit the contentious space that locates belonging and queer subjectivity. Curated by Adrienne Crossman and exhibited in Toronto’s R \ F gallery, home* featured works from four Ontario based artists working across disciplines and mediums: Sarah Kelly, Lee D’Angelo, Bethany Rose Puttkemery, and Luke Maddaford. With works that explored the intersection of queerness, community, and belonging, home* felt like an arrival to one’s own queer identity, a homecoming in more ways than one. Read More

Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Many Silences: “Rubber Coated Steel” (2016)

Review August 14, 2017

By John Nyman

 

In Beirut—or, perhaps equally probable, in Toronto—a woman or a man shakes their head at me. Not the slow back-and-forth of a stubborn “No,” but a rapid jostle, with something like the velocity of a spring recoiling. It means “I don’t understand,” “I didn’t hear you.”

Growing up in settler Canadian culture, I learned to communicate the same message with a blank stare, maybe a head cocked sideways. But I find something different in the Arabic gesture, which isn’t so passive or absorptive. It is, in part, supplicant, since it admits there is something crucial the gesturer hasn’t grasped. But it is also assertive, even commanding: it says, “You meant to say something, so say it!” Rarely do I feel so called to account for being misheard. Read More

The Un-Othered Body

Review June 14, 2017

By Tori Maas

When I first walked into the gallery at the opening reception for The Un-Othered Body, I was met by artist Dainesha Nugent-Palaches Unwelcome Mat, a fitting beginning and anchor for an exhibition that unapologetically asserted and centred the voices of six women of colour whose work was brought together by curator Esmaa Mohamoud. Nugent-Palaches Unwelcome Mat is made with yarn, Kanekalon synthetic hair, human hair, and beads. The contrasting yet earthy tones spelled out the word UNWELCOMEin bold, block letters. For me, it didnt feel like a signpost saying that I was unwelcome, rather it symbolized an act of strength. The mat embodied a voice though there was no real speaker; the voices and bodies of women otherwise silencedor otheredcame forward in this work. Read More

Astral Bodies

Review May 30, 2017

By Evan Pavka

“Body” is an unconfined term, referring to the personalskin and boneand the celestialstars and orbiting planets. The word also signals the individualmy bodywhile referring to the collectivea political body. At Mercer Union the exhibition Astral Bodies, comprised of works by Shary Boyle, Shuvinai Ashoona, Karen Azoulay, Pamela Norrish, and Spring Hurlbut, questioned the possibility of a body beyond this. Read More

In Praise of Unforeseen Circumstances: One year of ‘art rock?’

Interview November 25, 2016

By Daniel Colussi

For just over a year Vancouver based interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker and musician Casey Wei has produced a series of shows under the banner of art rock? Wei’s practice is primarily in film and video but she has also curated several site-specific projects that transform the character and use of communal space. For Toronto’s 2015 Images Festival, Wei was the first ever artist-in-residence at the Chinatown Centre Mall on Spadina Avenue. She activated the mall’s lower mezzanine with ballroom dancing, mahjong tables, karaoke and live music, the kind of activities reflective of the demographics of mall’s primary users, who are for the most part Chinese and elderly. For the course of that week Wei virtually never left the confines of the mall, during the day she hosted and documented the lower mezzanine and at night she had in a room in the Super 8 hotel attached to the mall. Read More

Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge + Dialectica

Review November 9, 2016

By Glenn Vanderkloet

 

The Music Gallery (MG), located within St. George the Martyr Anglican Church at the southern end of Toronto’s Grange Park is, according to its website, “a centre for promoting and presenting innovation and experimentation in all forms of music, and for encouraging cross-pollination between genres, disciplines and audience.” I would say that it unequivocally delivered on its mandate and did so in a highly entertaining fashion on a recent visit payed by myself and my consort. The impetus for the visit was a performance by Violinist Sarah Neufeld, as well as some not as well known, but equally impressive opening performers. Read More