By Rosemary Flutur
I walk along St Charles street toward Charlevoix Metro, an April afternoon with a chill, and do so with speed, hoping that action, like rubbing sticks, gets me warm. The sun helps a bit—its eye lit wide in an otherwise undisturbed sky—but it is my moving body, my temporary companion, that really thaws me.
I pass through the Metro doors and pay my fare with blemished coins. Today I opt for the escalator over the stairs, not for a quicker descent but for stasis; my body deserves it after all the rapid movement. Forced into action again when the stairs fall flat into the floor, I make my way toward the subway tracks. With each step I move further into the sour air of the Metro’s basement, into an air that never changes, but waits, like breath, to be exhaled. It never does; instead it sits unreplenished in tiled corridors, the city’s wet subterranean lungs. Read More
By Rebecca Casalino
Before entering Arezu Salamzadeh’s Fortune Flavors the Bold you must take off your shoes. Sock-footed, you are greeted by glittering red foam installed over the floor of Xpace Cultural Centre’s Project Space. Dark teal walls enclose the gallery, framing crates and shelves of items for sale. Fresh mandarin oranges are available to purchase as snacks, there’s also ginger and colourful ceramic casts of salty fish inside large glass jars. Salamzadeh stands by the cash register (a children’s toy brightly coloured with large cartoonish buttons) tattooed with lucky cats, selling art and chatting with visitors. She wears gold which compliments the New Years pouches decorating the walls and plinths in large blocks of red. Behind her, a gold sign with small red lights reading FORTUNE hangs above a gumball machine. On the other side, a large lucky cat about the same size as the viewer squats beside, as if to snap a picture. Read More
By Maryse Arseneault
Last winter the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts held a retrospective on Alexander Calder, which offered a rare chance to share space with his famous mobiles, arguably the precursors of kinetic art. Breaking the threshold between abstraction and figuration, Calder’s suspended creature-like objects were born from subtle mechanisms with slow reactions and a geometric formulation that lures and lulls, favouring a contemplative spectator. The American artist marked modern art with his conception of these performative sculptures, and continues to be an important influence on new generations of sculptors who have succeeded him. As part of this succession, the artist-run OBORO centre invited Toronto and Brooklyn-based sculptor Sherri Hay to produce new sculptural activations in their space during the fall of 2018. Calder and Hay—who seem to be working with, at times parallel and at others, divergent motivations—position their practices as a kind of metaphysical response. Equally preoccupied by contemporary concerns, Calder is interested in the phenomenon of movement and the relativistic notion of “space-time”, while Hay inclines towards a neo-materialism that helps unsettle some of the more entrenched conceptual limits of the Anthropocene. In both cases, the idea of a mechanical object’s agency compels a kind of radical empathy towards the material and confronts us with our imperious relation to the object. Read More
By Hailey Mah
I usually visit art galleries in order to gain some feeling of shared humanity, to learn more about the inner workings of others and, subsequently, to reflect on my own. My recent visit to the New Media Gallery’s exhibition, magnetic_T drew me in another direction—I left feeling like a witness to the evocative power of materials and their forces. The shows focus on invisible magnetic energy created parallels between ecological, physical, and social phenomena, allowing for an interdisciplinary range of perspectives to emerge and interact. Read More
By Lucas Regazzi
Capriccio, or Caprice—as it’s been anglicized—refers to a historical genre of painting developed over the 16th to 18th century. Artists of the genre proposed, for the first time in Western history, that ruination architecture be ushered from background to subject. Immediately preceding this, architectural depiction in the Roman tradition of painting was relegated to ceiling frescoes, illusioning space to elicit divine wonder in God’s house. With this understanding of symbolic potential, artists began fantasizing architecture—assembling disparate buildings and monuments in pictorial space, or imagining new buildings and circumstances altogether—as a sort of visual poetry. At the genre’s height, the most notable caprices depicted dilapidation. Read More
By Jessica Baldanza
At first glance, the titular Animal Love of Catherine P.’s solo exhibition at Egret Egress is puppy love—the kind of sanguine affection one feels capable of in the early days of a new romance. This impression is gleaned from Catherine P.’s saccharine artist’s statement, as well as the soft textile wall-works of naively articulated pups batting lashes and touching noses. And yet, the works inspire a palpable dis-ease, the source of which reveals itself only when one makes themselves vulnerable to the works, so as to reflect the circumstances in which they were made. Read More
By Jasmine Reimer
I’ve always admired the energy with which Elizabeth McIntosh delivers paint. It’s not dramatic and performed like slinging or flinging or pouring. It’s spontaneous and less grandiose, instantaneous like a thought that propels you out of a chair. I can trace her movements with my eye and then vicariously with my body and, as a result, feel a satisfying connection to her via an understanding of her gestures. In her newest body of work at Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin, McIntosh sustains the ease of this maker-viewer relationship while giving us something we didn’t know we wanted, like a devoted and yet savvy lover. Said with less sexuality, her new series of paintings titled Night Sweat, open up the often controlled and organized illusionistic space of abstract painting, allowing for the formal and historic to become personal and specific. Read More
By Chelsea Rozansky
In 1933, Sophie Rosenbaum packed her things and left her native Berlin to go to Argentina. Among her possessions was a collection of postcards, one side bearing pictures of celebrities popular in Germany when Rosenbaum was a kid: famous singers, movie stars, directors. On the other side were autographed signatures and the street address of the home Rosenbaum was to leave behind. They must have been important to her, the postcards. Presumably, she could only take with her the essentials and valuables. Read More
By David Court & Shannon Garden-Smith
In an essay on disgust in The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Sara Ahmed asks: How can we tell the story of disgust in a way that works with the complicated relations between bodies, objects and others? (1) Considering the exhibitions of Katie Bethune-Leamen and Catherine Telford-Keogh at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG), we encounter similar questions: How do disgust and pleasure go together in desire and consumption (understood as both shopping and eating)? How do we compose ourselves in relation to the ineluctable intimacy of consumption as contact, contamination, and in/digestion? What is composition other than a proposition about taste and desire, about the proper discernment of value and waste? At UWAG, an oblique dialog takes place along these lines, between these exhibitions, approached together, separately. What seeps across the boundary between these bodies of work are shared engagements with the activity of composition as the ongoing activity of managing the messy material and symbolic relations of insides and outsides, bodies and boundaries, of compulsory consumption.
By Kate Lahey
My grandmother grew up living off the land in Taylor’s Bay, on the southern coast of Newfoundland. This means she grew up guided by hands and the things they make. Stitching, kneading, scrubbing, salting, holding, harming—a soft mechanics passed down to me, with all the knowledge they carry and all the feeling they cannot. Hazel May Eckert’s exhibition, Over Time is also curious about this intimate texture between generations. Like me, she is concerned with the knowledge that is regenerated across generations.