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August 7 – August 7, 2020
Canada is a country of vast forests and wild untamed environments. Even if this depiction of our nation seems outdated, especially when most of the population lives in urban locations, these descriptions still resonate. We are a country that has built much of our national identity on lives seemingly always lived at the edge of the woods. Our national spirit exists in the deep woods offered to the consciousness as apart, mysterious, and full of possibility.
Walk through the deep woods of this exhibition, where artists explore the intuitive origins of Canada and intensify the Canadian narrative of the woods.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts
“That look between animal and man, which may have played a crucial role in the development of human society, and with which, in any case, all men had always lived until less than a century ago, has been extinguished.”
John Berger, About Looking, 1980
Inspired by George Monbiot’s Feral, these photographs are an imagined rewilding of the British Isles using the natural history legacies of the Rothschild brothers: Walter and Charles. Originally presented in book form, these overlaid images feature landscapes from the UK identified by Charles Rothschild in 1915 as “worthy of preservation.” They have been combined with images of specimens taken at the The Natural History Museum at Tring, originally established by Walter Rothschild.
Carl Bigmore is a documentary photographer based in London, UK. His work lyrically explores the relationship between people and their environment; how landscapes shape communities and how communities shape landscapes. He is particularly interested in how we relate to our environment during a period of rapid ecological change. Bigmore has exhibited in both solo and group shows in the UK and Germany. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Joan Wakelin Bursary sponsored by The Guardian and The Royal Photographic Society. In 2014, Bigmore completed a Masters Degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication.
Art and allegory – in technologically inflected landscape paintings. This is of interest to me, the artist. My continuing activity – to explore strange new images, to develop new meanings by new methods, to fearlessly find what I have not found before.
– David Clarkson (After Gene Roddenberry)
Since 1980, David Clarkson has exhibited his multidisciplinary art in many galleries and museums in the US and Canada, as well as Germany, England, Spain, and Brazil. His work has been discussed in numerous newspapers and magazines, including: Artforum, Art in America, and the New York Times; and featured in a variety of art books such as: Abstract Painting in Canada (2007) and Post-Hypnotic (1999). Clarkson’s writing about contemporary art has appeared in Flash Art, Bomb, and other international art magazines. Clarkson moved to New York in 1990, and returned to Toronto in 2010 to teach at OCAD University.
The Nature of Pixels series is inspired by technology’s ever-increasing role in our lives and how it affects our relationship with nature. I believe that the way in which we perceive our world is transforming from a natural perspective to a digital interpretation.
Created in 2012, The Nature of Pixels exists in a forest in Mississauga. Using palette knives and oil paint inspired by colours of the environment, I created pixels on the already existing patterns and shapes of the bark of each tree. I then photographed each unique pixelation.
The subtle markings on the trees may still be viewed today if walking along the path of the forest, however only those with keen awareness will take notice. Viewers may question the mystery of these markings, the anonymity of the artist, and why such patterns would be left behind.
– Amanda Marino
Amanda Marino was born in Mississauga, in 1989. She completed a Bachelor of Science and a diploma in Art and Art History in 2012 jointly at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. Further, she completed the Bachelor of Education program at Queen’s University as well as the Master of Education program at Brock University. She is working towards her dream of becoming an educator.
Marino works predominantly in the medium of oil painting and photography. She participated in the 2012 graduate exhibition at the Blackwood Gallery, and received an award for excellence in fourth-year painting.
Red and Blue are part of my Fungus series which investigates the regeneration, adaptability and destructiveness of nature. While creating the Fungus series, I was overwhelmed by the way these small elements resembled landscapes themselves.
Through layering these images with wildlife and ambiguous color, my aim was to accentuate these elements and to create new imaginative and surreal settings by combining the very large and the very small. Not only did I want to delve deeper into the woods, but also into the way our imagination and instinct react when we are completely surrounded by the untouched natural world. The incredible fierceness and power of nature, combined with the creative mind can produce a phantasmagorical experience.
– Natasha-Genevieve Ritchie
Born in Cochrane, Ontario, Natasha-Genevieve Ritchie is an emerging artist whose largest inspiration comes from growing up in a small Northern town where nature was just outside her the backyard. In her artwork, Ritchie constantly tries to capture the sublime sensation and importance of being in a place untouched by the hands of humans. She graduated from the University of Toronto with Honors in Art and Art History. She currently lives and works in Calgary, where she now explores Canada’s western landscapes and wildlife in her art.
Stanzie Tooth’s recent work explores identity formation through landscape and figuration. Tooth’s identity is informed by both the forest of her childhood home, as well as the pro-generative space of the history of landscape painting. The figure plays a pivotal role in this new series. Bodies not only inhabit these spaces but are susceptible and porous to their surroundings. Abandoning narrative hierarchies of body and ground, these works are bodily receptive to, or conductive of, their environment. Tooth draws on the traditions of landscape painting, skewing its idyllic, sublime vistas through the tumult of her own lived experience. Creating a new parallel history between these two spaces, Tooth employs her unique mark as a means of asserting herself in these scenes.
Stanzie Tooth is an MFA candidate at the University of Ottawa. In 2007, she received her BFA from the OCAD University with an award for excellence in painting. In 2012, her work was included in 60 Painters at Humber College, an ambitious overview of contemporary Canadian painting. Tooth’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada. In June 2013, she had her first solo exhibition, Into the Forest, at General Hardware Contemporary (Toronto). Her second solo show with the gallery will take place in January 2015.
In this painting I am attempting to create a sense of depth and luminosity.
– Douglas Walker
After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1981, Douglas Walker received early acclaim for his work in photo-drawing, photography, and sculpture. In the 1990s, Walker turned to painting and soon after began the ongoing Blue and White series. Through these disparate media he has consistently articulated a vision of the beautiful residing in the strange. He has an extensive national and international exhibition history including shows at the Institute for Contemporary Art (London, UK), AGO, and the Power Plant. In 2011, he began touring Other Worlds: an installation of large paintings that will include a catalogue and exhibitions at six venues across Canada.
These photographs are vignettes from a larger body of work entitled Cousin, We Have Grown Up. The expansive project tells the story of Jon who, having lived in a tipi for three years, directly participated in procuring his own food, clothing and shelter. Having adopted this sustainable lifestyle, Jon was able to develop an intimate connection with nature as he began to discover his true, raw self.
The series depicts the complexities and contradictions of a man coming to terms with questions that involve self-identity, rejection of modern society, and the difficulties in establishing an authentic connection with nature.
The grid presented not only serves the narrative of Jon’s story, but also functions as a self-reflexive exploration of the natural world and the artist’s evolving relationship with it.
– Ryan Walker
Ryan Walker is an emerging photographer based in Toronto, specializing in documentary and editorial photography, and visual advocacy. Walker holds an MFA in Documentary Media (2013) from Ryerson University. His creative practice explores intimate storytelling through film and photographic mediums. Walker’s work has been exhibited in Canada, Australia and the US. He has also received several awards, grants, and scholarships including the Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographers award, an Ontario Graduate Fellowship, and a Magnum Photos scholarship. Propelled by a curiosity to explore unique narratives, Walker’s work attempts to blur the boundaries between photojournalism, documentary, and conceptual art.
When I was seven years old, my dad went moose hunting. He had done this for a few years with his friend Mr. Blackport, our neighbour. They went somewhere way up in Northern Ontario – I don’t know where – and they’d be gone for a week. On this trip, they decided to drive Mr. Blackport’s Morris Mini, a maroon little car jammed with two big men and their rifles. A week passed and my dad returned. I remember watching them from a distance as they turned the corner onto our street, this little car with what looked to be a hideous cargo. On the roof of the Morris Mini, a bloody moose carcass was strapped. Head, antlers and blood streaming down the side of the car, streaking the windshield. The moose’s legs were splayed like it was nonchalantly walking the car home to the city. Perhaps the moose wasn’t the cargo, perhaps the cargo was my dad and Mr. Blackport. Kids and adults from the street gathered around this strange beast, the anticipation and excitement pumping through us all. It was at that moment, when the car door opened up and my father strutted out in a puff of cigarette smoke, wearing a white t-shirt (blood stained) with the sleeves rolled up and a cigarette dangling from his mouth, that I knew, for at least one day, that I had the coolest dad in the neighbourhood.
– Donald Weber
Prior to photography, Donald Weber originally trained as an architect and worked with Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam. Weber is the author of three photography books. Interrogations, about post-Soviet authority in Ukraine and Russia, has received much acclaim; it was selected to be included in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s seminal The Photobook: A History, Volume III. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lange-Taylor Prize, the Duke and Duchess of York Prize, two World Press Photo Awards and shortlisted for the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Prize. His diverse photography projects have been exhibited as installations, exhibitions and screenings at festivals and galleries worldwide. Currently Weber is working on his next project, War Sand, about historic sacrifice, and the meaning of war in our modern world. He is a member of the acclaimed VII Photo and is represented by Circuit Gallery in Toronto.