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July 14 – July 14, 2020
Describing a person as an instigator can be considered disapproving, but even interpreted negatively it is hard to deny that the instigator is usually a person of energy and vision. In artistic terms, instigation is a crucial stimulus and perhaps the essential component in creating and inspiring others to create. Instigators shake up the status quo. They are the ones who are foremost in innovative approaches and do the heavy lifting for subsequent artistic accomplishments.
The artists in this exhibition are instigators. They are a group of individuals who, through remarkable influential approaches, have helped guide and shape Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre. In the 1970s and 1980s, many of these artists were members of the early art scene flourishing in a newly established exhibition space called the Art Gallery of Harbourfront Centre. Some operated as curators and gallery attendants here, while others sat on advisory committees. All were part of steering our early artistic objectives for a Canadian and internationally prominent exhibition space. These were vital initial influences from the local community that created powerful connections between creative movements in Toronto and artistic developments happening globally. These instigators were and continue to be fundamental to the commitment necessary to create eminent art spaces.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre
I’m fascinated by the history of photography and the ways different devices change our perception of time and space. A pinhole aperture can both capture light for an exposure and allow us to peek into another world. This piece made specifically for Harbourfront Centre challenges old and new theories about the Universe and our place in that space.
– Dianne Bos
Dianne Bos was born in Hamilton, Ontario, went to Mount Allison University and worked at Harbourfront Centre for many years in the last century. She currently divides her time between the foothills of the Rockies and the Pyrenees. Her photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions since 1981. Many of Bos’s recent exhibitions feature pinhole photographs, handmade cameras, walk-in light installations, and sound pieces. These tools and devices formulate and extend her investigations of journeying, time, and the science of light.
With its double quotation of the primer and the schoolroom blackboard, Euclid shares with others in the Writing series a fascination with touch and the act of drawing. These works are in effect drawings: they draw out, extend and disperse the intangible relations between word and image, just as we are drawn into and absorbed by their material presence. They draw our attention, and here Euclid draws our attention to school geometry and the euclidean architectonics of our everyday environment.
– Ian Carr-Harris
Ian Carr-Harris has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1971. Selected exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (1984), Documenta 8 (Kassel, Germany, 1987), the Sydney Biennale (Australia, 1990), Canadian Storiesat the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation (Toronto, 2000-2002), and CONTINENTAL DRIFT Conceptual Art in Canada: The 1960s and 70s (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2013). In 2007, he was named a recipient of the Governor-General’s Awards in the Visual and Media Arts and in 2012 the recipient of the Life Achievement Award from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts. He is represented by the Susan Hobbs Gallery (Toronto) and teaches at Ontario College of Art & Design University.
The name “cuckoo” is common to many parasitic bird species that rely upon others to raise their young and have evolved various strategies for getting their eggs into a host nest. The female parasitic cuckoos sometimes specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host. This phenomenon is the result of natural selection, as some birds are able to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own, leading to those eggs least like the host’s being thrown out of the nest. Parasitic cuckoos that show the highest levels of egg mimicry are those whose hosts exhibit high levels of egg rejection behavior. Some hosts do not exhibit egg rejection behavior and the cuckoo eggs look very dissimilar from the host eggs. It has also been shown in a study of European cuckoos that females will lay their egg in the nest of a host that has eggs that look similar to its own. Other species of cuckoo lay “cryptic” eggs, which are dark in color when their hosts’ eggs are light. This is a trick to hide the egg from the host, and has evolved in cuckoos that parasitize hosts with dark, domed nests. Some adult parasitic cuckoos completely destroy the host’s clutch if they reject the cuckoo egg. In this case, for the host, raising the cuckoo chick is less costly than the alternative – total clutch destruction.
– Mark Gomes
Mark Gomes has an extensive, thirty five year exhibiting career of his sculpture, installations and photography that have been well documented in a series of catalogues and publications. His work is in many private and public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Windsor, MOCCA and the Department of Foreign Affairs. He has shown his work in galleries nationally and internationally including the Cenci Gallery (Rome), Arco (Madrid, Spain), and the Freedman Gallery (Reading, PA), and The Albright Knox Gallery/University of Buffalo NY. He has completed several public art commissions in collaboration with artist Susan Schelle, including the Bloor/Spadina Parkette, The Granite sofa for Minto, and most recently, Jetstream, a sculptural installation for the new Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
Courtesy of The Katzman Contemporary Gallery
A precursor to Kids in the Hall performed (several times perhaps?) at Harbourfront Centre in the early 1980s, and asked them to open up for my band at the Iguana Lounge on Pears Avenue in 1984. I don’t remember why Dave Foley asked me to take this group photo but Mark McKinney recalls that it was for a show at the Tarragon Extra Space in late summer 1985, and where the troupe was discovered by Saturday Night Live scouts.
My role as the photographer was equal to a tacit agreement by the subjects; in that way we collaborated. I used a borrowed, and then inherited, 35mm Honeywell (Asahi) Spotmatic camera from Anita Aarons, the Art Gallery at Harbourfront’s founding director.
– Ihor Holubizky
Ihor Holubizky was born England, emigrated to Canada, and has lived and worked in Australia. He has an undergraduate degree in history and political science from the University of Toronto and a PhD in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Queensland. He has held curatorial positions across Canada and in Australia. Holubizky worked at Harbourfront Centre from spring 1979 to spring 1988. He is currently Senior Curator at the McMaster Museum of Art, and an adjunct assistant professor at McMaster University.
This work, a model of a model #4, is of course inspired by a long appreciation and admiration of sculptural works in Classical Modernism. The awareness with in the work was made was a self-conscious reviewing of some of the ideals of Classical Modernist artists by means of a ‘super-Essentialism’which is neither nostalgic nor ironic. It is a fond appreciation of their ideals roughly 100 years later.
In the mid-to-late 1970’s Anita Aarons gave me a studio visit. I was then in the last years of my MFA at York University. I was very grateful to her for doing this and then for later including my works in exhibitions at the Queen’s Quay Gallery, ones such as “Small Sculpture”and “Artists and their Children.”I very much appreciated the very helpful affirmation that came through these exhibitions. Richard Sinclair was an Assistant Curator at the gallery then, as was Ihor Holubizsky a bit later. I remain very grateful for their kindness and support. Queen’s Quay Gallery, and Anita Aarons and her staff, played a large part in helping emerging artists of that period.
– Ted Rettig
Ted Rettig was born in West Germany in 1949 and lived in Canada since 1953. He studied at York University (B.A Honours Visual Arts ’74; M.F.A. Visual Arts ’77), at NSCAD (1974-75) and at University of Toronto (B.Ed., O.T.C. ’87). His work has been represented by Wynick/Tuck Gallery (previously Aggregation Gallery) since 1974. He has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for 40 years. Currently he is teaching in the Fine Art Program (Visual Art) at Queen’s University, and lives in Kingston, Ontario.
This work by Ted Rettig appears courtesy of Wynick/Tuck Gallery.
Both The House Haunted and Spectregraph are inspired by the Buster Keaton film The Haunted Housefrom 1921 and an interest in activated rooms. Keaton’s film is predominantly a chase scene depicting Buster as a hapless bank clerk, his sweetheart, crooks dressed as ghosts, cops and a costumed theatre troupe including a devil.
My video, The House Haunted reconstructs the architecture of the set so that you can follow the action as it moves through the rooms. The new spatial connections revealed encourage viewers to see the flow of action in a new, architectural way.
Spectregraph, uses the same footage but focuses on the central stairwell to consider the coexistence of ghosts within a space. Here, all the action is overlaid so that it happens simultaneously. Through layering, colour inversion and elongation,the ghosts of cinema past hover in a transitory state of existence.
– Lyla Rye
Lyla Rye is Toronto based installation artist, who began her studies in architecture. She works in installation, video and photography to explore our experience of architectural space. She has exhibited galleries across Canada and internationally including San Francisco, New York, Adelaide (Australia), Paris, and Berlin. She has work in the public collections of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, York University, Cadillac Fairview Corporation, The Tom Thomson Art Gallery, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and an artist garden at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. She has founded and exhibited with a number of collectives including NetherMind, 5 things, hic and Persona Volare.
This work filmed at dusk on the west coast of Canada depicts the flight paths of bats, capturing their gestural movement in one continuous shot as they swoop past the camera lens.
– Susan Schelle
Susan Schelle was born in Hamilton Ontario, and currently lives and works in Toronto. She is an Associate Professor, in Visual Studies in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. Working with sculpture, photography and video, Schelle is interested in the “manipulation of the familiar: images that deal with the phenomenon of the physical world and the customs of a particular time and place”. She has completed a number of public art commissions, notably salmon run (The Rogers Center Toronto), passage (York University, Toronto) and laws of nature (Court House Square Park, Toronto). She has shown both nationally and internationally including The Cenci Gallery (Rome, Italy) and The Freedman Gallery Albright College (Reading Pennsylvania). Her work resides in the collections of Air Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Vancouver Art Gallery, and The National Gallery of Canada, to name a few. In addition to her own work, Schelle has collaborated with Mark Gomes on several public commissions, most recently jetstream (Terminal One, Pearson International Airport, Toronto). She has received numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council and two Urban Design Awards for her public projects. She was a founding member of the collective “Cold City Gallery” and has served on the boards of Mercer Union Toronto and The Power Plant Toronto. Schelle is represented by Katzman Contemporary in Toronto.