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April 20 - June 16, 2013
This exhibition brings together seven artists whose works comment on consumerism, social mores and the dialogue between the functional, decorative and art object.
They mine the past and present of their disciplines – metalsmithing, sculpture, and textiles – for the techniques and concepts used in their works. Art history is scrutinized; process and function are subverted. Themes of reclamation or repurposing run throughout. Traditional metalsmithing materials are used as well as salvaged detritus; juxtaposing the divine and mundane. Scale is manipulated; perception skewed and the everyday object given value and memorialized.
This exhibition is presented by Harbourfront Centre as part of the inaugural Toronto International Jewellery Festival (TIJF) in conjunction with Meta-Mosaic, the 2013 Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) Conference.
As a child, I visited numerous Swiss historic castles and museums and grew to appreciate my heritage of medieval metalwork and heraldry. This wall installation contemporizes these with shields boasting the icons associated with driving. The up-cycled, aluminum traffic signs reflect a language familiar to our society and its automotive culture. Originally, these materials told us where to go, what to be aware of and often what not to do. By fragmenting the signs, I remove them from their standard context to convey humor, familiarity and defiance. Additionally, their dished-out, platter-like forms poke fun at the historic ‘vessel’ by using unorthodox materials and repositioning them on a wall. The installation is comprised of 20 platter-forms, studding this wall with a raw, street aesthetic while affirming its roots as Pop Art.
– Boris Bally
Boris Bally is the recipient of a 2012 Eco Arts Awards Honorable Mention for Repurposed Materials in Art & Design. He was a finalist in the 2009 International Spark Design Awards. Bally also received the 2006 Individual Achievement Award for Visual Arts presented by the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island. His work has received two Rhode Island Council on the Arts Fellowships in Design and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Crafts Fellowship. His work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications. Public collections include the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Arts & Design (New York City), Renwick Gallery (Washington, District of Columbia) and Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York City).
Cal Lane creates intricate sculptures using religious or mythological imagery and lace-like patterns juxtaposed with industrial materials such as steel beams, oil drums and ammunition boxes. She works as a visual devil’s advocate, using contradiction as a vehicle for finding her way to an empathetic image; an image of opposition that creates a balance – as well as a clash – by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials.
Cal Lane was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1968 and grew up in Saanichton, British Columbia. She received her BFA in painting from Victoria College of Art, British Columbia (1994). She went on to earn a second BFA in Sculpture from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2000) and completed her MFA in Sculpture from State University of New York (2004). Most recently, her works have been featured in the 2012 Sidney Biennale and at the Pelham Art Center (Pelham, New York). Lane has also exhibited at the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides (Saint-Jerome, Quebec City), Musea Brugge (Belgium) and Socrates Sculpture Park (New York City).
I produce objects as portraits and social indicators. By implying or impeding function I reinterpret utility as a critical strategy. I create wares that are both present and representational, embodying the specifics while also portraying variant roles and circumstances. Deliberately tentative, this work investigates facture, explores gesture and embodies utilitarian notions.
– Myra Mimlitsch-Gray
Myra Mimlitsch-Gray is the recipient of the 2012 United States Artists Glasgow Fellowship in Craft and Traditional Arts. Past awards include fellowships from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 1998, she received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the State University of New York.
Mimlitsch-Gray actively exhibits and lectures throughout the United States and abroad. Her artwork is included in significant public collections, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Museum of Arts and Design (New York City), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, District of Columbia), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut).
How an object relates to its function greatly determines a society’s perception of that object. Most objects directly mirror their utilitarian role in their qualities and characteristics. I am interested in exploring the hierarchical systems of value that exist within the objects that surround us and their cultural significance. While our commodity-driven society alienates the very labour force that fastens it in place, products have become less about being functional objects and more about being cultural movements. By relying on industrial methods of manufacturing to alter or remove the function of a seemingly unimportant mass-produced object, I am able to subvert its intentioned meaning from one of utility to cultural signifier and icon. Through investigating an object’s cultural and political economies, I am addressing issues of representation, value, and perception; transcribing everyday commodities and by-products into the re-purposed artifacts of our mass culture; questioning their initial creation and the ideologies behind them.
– Zeke Moores
Zeke Moores uses sculpture to explore the social and political economies of everyday objects and our complex relationship with them. In 2001, Moores worked at one of the largest art cast foundries in North America, Johnson Atelier Foundry (Mercerville, New Jersey). It was there that he further developed his knowledge and interest in fabrication and foundry production, which has become the focus of his contemporary practice today.
My work marries explorations of material and textile construction techniques with the contemplation of less tangible complex systems. Guided by wonder and improvisation, my process is one of thinking-through-making that produces what I regard as poetic diagrams.
In many ways, textiles operate like scientific tools. As the embodiment of pattern and precision, they are mathematical models. With their capacity to collect, organize and record, they can exist as archives. At the same time, textiles carry the nature of variation and string has a propensity to articulate what is ephemeral and phenomenal. My work uses textile processes and materials to bridge what is rational and imagined, fixed and fluctuating. It extends science into the subconscious in a pursuit to make visible the experience of imminence and multiplicity.
The Astronautics series was created in response to diagrams selected from the book Design Data For Aeronautics and Astronautics (Ed. Richard B. Morrison, University of Michigan, 1962). The drawings were created by looping wire around a constellation of pins placed in points throughout the found diagrams.
– Meghan Price
Meghan Price is an artist and educator raised in Montreal and now living in Toronto. She holds a degree in textile construction from the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles and an MFA from Concordia University. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Turkey, Ukraine, Italy, Cuba, Sweden, Argentina and Australia. Price is also one half of String Theory, a label for which she designs jacquard woven textiles.
A love for objects, making and our relationship with the material world has informed my practice. Through altering, combining, and re-contextualizing objects, recognizable forms, and visual tropes, my work explores how this relationship is intricately woven through our daily routines and embedded in our experiences.
Lying at the interstice of the two-dimensional and three-dimensional, I find continuity through a minimal color palette and pared-down visual elements. An unbiased approach to making relies on the fusion of material, process, and content, and emphasizes scale and repetition.
Objects construct narrative and act as markers of social and cultural values. Decoration and beauty are at the heart of the human experience. By engaging the vocabulary of jewellery, architectural ornament, and signage, my work speaks to the rich human history of adornment and reveals the layers of meaning hidden in the decorative landscape.
– Amelia Toelke
Amelia Toelke hails from New York’s Hudson Valley. Her practice draws from a passion for making and the objects and ornament that shape the material landscape. Toelke completed her MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011) and her BFA at the State University of New York at New Paltz (2005). Prior to graduate school, Toelke helped organize a shared studio and community gallery space in Kingston, New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and she continues to explore an interest in collaboration and public art. Currently, Toelke lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
In this body of work – a series of large charcoal drawings of Victorian jet mourning jewellery – I am interested in scale and perception. I am intrigued by the way viewers relate to or perceive these historical objects when rendered larger than life, out of scale, and how this shift from three dimensions to two, parallels a rift between jewellery and fine art.
Being trained as a jeweller and sculptor, I am aware that people view the disciplines differently. They are drawn to them for different reasons, and I’m also aware of how the larger art world classifies them. I invite the viewer to speculate on the myriad of reasons they might be intrigued by the qualities inherent in both jewellery and fine art and perhaps explore what this shift means. Would they perceive these drawings differently if framed behind their couch or worn as a brooch?
– Jonathan Wahl
Jonathan Wahl has received a BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University (Philadelphia) and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Wahl has been awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships (one for Craft and one for Drawing). His work has been featured and reviewed in publications as diverse as the New York Times, Art in America, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, W Jewelry, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Metalsmith magazine, Harpers Bazaar and the Advocate. Wahl’s work is part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Arts and Design (New York City).