Category: Review

The Shadow of Sirius: Jennifer Murphy at Clint Roenisch

Review February 5, 2020

By Penelope Smart

 

The moment at evening 

when the pictures set sail from the walls

— excerpt from “Cargo” by W.S. Merwin

Pictures on the wall in Jennifer Murphy’s The Shadow of Sirius stand tall and still. In the gallery, jewel toned birds, moths, dragonflies, frogs and flora of human-scale have migrated from a dream-like state or have been grafted from the pages of a children’s storybook. Except—as in a Grimm’s fairy tale—prettiness tends to couple with death. Murphy’s exquisite creatures came to life within our new countdown: one in which our time-frame for saving the planet can be counted in months (131), not years. As an exhibit that was mounted in the autumn of 2019, a few weeks after Iceland held its first funeral for a glacier and a few months before Australia’s skies turned red from its burning shorelines, Murphy’s silent gathering of animals, insects and flowers—borne from love, anxiety and heartbreak—take on the power of a silent vigil.  Read More

Length, Breadth, Thickness and—Duration by Beth Stuart

Review January 22, 2020

by Daniella Sanader

1.

If you’ve spoken to me recently, I may have told you my (unresearched and unsubstantiated) theory about dreams and déjà vu. I usually proceed to explain that while I rarely remember my dreams, I am regularly struck with quietly disorienting bouts of déjà vu, something like once or twice a month. I like to speculate about these things as if they exist on a spectrum of cause and effect—the idea that sublimated dream imagery, while consciously inaccessible, bubbles up elsewhere in one’s perceptual life, grafted briefly onto shapes and colours and other structures of the world we move through. (1) That uncanny doubling, a sudden familiarity: it’s a sensation we all recognize, but one that quickly dissolves the very second you try to focus on it, let alone attempt to put it into language.

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Break-and-Enter: On the Exhibition ‘Undomesticated’

Review January 9, 2020

By Zach Pearl

 

in miniature

The mid-century modern across the street, now composed, perfectly centered within the window of the storm door, appeared angelic and fantastically distant in its miniature state. (1) Unassuming power poles and trees were mirrored in the wetness of the street, and they seemed to extend forever, piercing the top and bottom of the frame. Paralyzed there, like a moth under glass, the image of the house was a reality unto itself. All power lines and branches led back to its door, its half-open windows. “Thus, in minuscule, a narrow gate, [had] open[ed] up an entire world,” in which details were all that mattered. (2) The silhouette of a radio, a spider plant descending in pairs. This was all I could focus on as I came face to face with the Intruder. Read More

Nadia Gohar: Mudstone at ESP

Review December 20, 2019

By Chris Andrews

 

The day before visiting Cairo-born artist Nadia Gohar’s Mudstone at Erin Stump Projects, I read in the news that Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically-elected president of Egypt, had died in court—or rather, was forced into living in prison conditions that may have led to his early passing. Morsi had eventually betrayed the same democracy that brought him into power, and with it, the hope that many had following the events of the Arab Spring. As if in response to this symbolic event, though only a timely coincidence, Gohar’s exhibition uses material as an embodiment of democracy. Through this keen interest in objecthood, an environment is created where every being, every thing, is granted a voice, and the importance of each material radiates. It is through this material vibrancy that Mudstone gestures toward the role of humble objects: the exhibition is a call for democratized symbols, vernacular value. Read More

Yakoweyentehta’onhátye Ayontahonhsí:yohste’: Tsi nikanó:ron ne Kawennaráhston Nè:ne Í:kare ne Biidaaban: First Light, Yakaón:ni ne Lisa Jackson

Review November 27, 2019

By Margaryta Golovchenko

 

Né:’e tsi watyé:sen tsi waktsi’nonwatényes tsi kathonwíseres, wakhtheronkwén:nis tahnon wakenehrakwáhtha ne VR, né:’e tsi kakwényes akaká:raton’ nè:ne tyako’nikonhratihénhthoht; kakwényes ó:ni ayón:ni’ ónhka ok aontayakétahkwe’, nikarihwéhsha, tsi yakohténtyon tsi yonhwentsyá:te nè:ne yakonhwentsyayenté:ri. E’tho káti yah tewakateryèn:tarahkwe oh nahò:ten akáttoke’ shahatì:ren’ akenon’tsihstà:ke ne VR atkahránha tahnon onkwathón:te’ne’ ónhka’k yakóhthare ó:ya thikawennò:ten nè:ne yah tekahrónkha. Eh niyohtòn:ne tsi tontáhsawen’ ne Biidaaban: First Light (2018). Né:’e tsi kanatowá:nen tkená:kere skáhne é:so nihá:ti nè:ne ó:ya nihonnonhwentsyò:tens, wa’kate’nyén:ten’ akyén:tere’ne’ ne owén:na, e’tho sá:ne wakateryèn:tare tsi yah thaonkkwényon tahnon yah thaonke’nikonhrayentá:’on. Né:’e tsi ónhka’k á:yenhre’ aya’ì:ron’ tsi yah teyakoteryèn:tare, ahse’kén yah teyakote’nyentén:’on ayontahonhsí:yohste’, tahnon ónhka’k á:yenhre’ ok nahò:ten ahonwatirihwanón:tonhse’, yawehronhátye tókat ónhka ok aontayerihwa’será:ko’, eh na’kakarò:ten ne Biidaaban – rotihonkará:wis nè:ne ronteró:roks ahonnonhtonnyón:ko’, nè:ne yá:wet tóhsa ahonnonhtónnyon’ tsi ronteró:roks.      Read More

Tina Guyani | Deer Road

Review November 14, 2019

By Juilee Raje

 

A hide suspended from the ceiling engulfs the room in a tawny glow. Though when I first walked into the gallery I was bathed in warm light and brightly coloured blankets, a closer inspection of the works revealed encounters with baleful spirits. A lone footstool conjured a somnolent ache for warmth, a persistent drone reverberated around the walls and gnawed on my senses. Glittering pennies invited me to circle around displays of taxidermy bucks with their antlers adorned with bells, but also vandalized with yellow barricade tape screaming: ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA, ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA. Read More

Blur at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Review October 30, 2019

By Ricky Varghese

 

In the Right of Inspection, Jacques Derrida wrote of the medium of photography in these terms: “You could speak of…[a photograph] as of a thinking, as a pensiveness without a voice, whose only voice remains suspended.” I was reminded of this evocative description when I saw Sandra Brewster’s show Blur, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario from July 24, 2019 to March 29, 2020. The association between Brewster’s work and Derrida’s thinking was brought on by those very final words in the latter’s statement—“…voice [remaining] suspended.” (1) In fact, suspension—or rather what it means to be suspended, to be seen in a seeming state of frozen arrest, both within the frame and, perhaps, beyond it—seems to be an apt way of understanding and talking about the artist’s new work. Read More

the body is a butter brain at Calaboose

Review September 29, 2019

By Rosemary Flutur

 

1

 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

Fortune Flavors the Bold at Xpace’s Project Space

Review September 11, 2019

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

The Sentient Object: Calder versus Hay

Review August 28, 2019

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