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April 21 - April 21, 2018
Any section of any daily newspaper seems an anachronism, but the section once known, as “The Funnies” seems even more spectacularly outdated. The “funny papers” were a quaint invention where media kept the serious stuff, like the gritty news stories and morbidity of real life, away from the lives of children and gave them a section to enjoy without fear of the sordid. Well, anyone old enough to remember these funny pages knows there was often more subversive material to be found than at first glance. In terms to appealing to children only – you would be hard pressed not to discover that most adults relished the humour and glimpses of real life that were captured in their colourful pages as much or more than for young readers.
So, now in the 21st century where do the funnies exist? The artists featured in this exhibition, if not influenced directly by “The Funnies”, are the inheritors of their significance in relation to the comic book arts. These artists are not bound by a publication format or the traditional subject matter. Instead, they reveal a current comic narrative expression through video, installation, objects or zines – sometimes even venturing to re–create the comic strip in direct homage to the form. But in all cases, the artists provide the viewer an immediate and insightful experience of funny.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre
Poland has a rich and fascinating history, too often dominated by war and destruction. Between the bloody pages of the country’s past, however, is the resiliency of the Polish culture, and the people who have held it together. The concept of nation states often serves to divide human beings, but there is also something within national pride that is worth preserving and admiring: the deep, tribal memory embedded in its traditions, which bring a sense of community and joy, and give meaning to the passage of time.
The sculpture in the centre of this piece is inspired by “pająki” (spiders), chandeliers made of straw and tissue paper, while the comic framing it follows in the tradition of “wycinanki” (paper cutouts). Both are traditional folk arts that brought colour and life to the simple wooden interiors of the cottages that most Polish farmers lived in less than a century ago.
– Marta Chudolinska
Born in Poland and raised in the Toronto area, Marta Chudolinska is a multidisciplinary artist who makes comics that are introspective, surreal, silly, and sad using woodcut & linocut prints, papercuts, and a variety of drawing materials. Her first wordless graphic novel, Back + Forth: A novel in 90 linocuts, was published in 2009 by the Porcupine’s Quill and nominated for a Doug Wright Award, recognizing excellence in Canadian cartooning. Since then, she has continued to produce comics that incorporate her interests in personal narratives, fantastical stories and the handmade. Her papercut comic, Babcia, a historical memoir which aims to rebuild her connection to her late grandmother, is currently being serialized in Broken Pencil Magazine.
As a writer of historical, journalistic and memoir comics, I find daily inspiration in the concrete world around me. On a rare occasion I take a step towards the unfamiliar, to the wide open realm of fiction. There, it feels most natural to detach from reality, reflect on specific symbolism, and piece the images together like a patchwork quilt. The resulting narratives often borrow tropes from Greek myths and Aesop’s Fables. As strange as the works may be, they sometimes feel like you could have read the story as a child, forgotten it all together, and are just now reminded of it as an adult.
Mythical bulls were a motif in my earlier fine arts practice. This is their first, and likely not last appearance in comics form.
– Meags Fitzgerald
Meags Fitzgerald is a prairie-born, Montreal-based illustrator, graphic novelist and performer. Her first book, Photobooth: A Biography is a history, travelogue and love letter won the 2015 Doug Wright Spotlight Award and was nominated for a Joe Shuster Award in the Best Cartoonist category, and for it she was named a 2014 Writer to Watch by CBC Books. Her follow-up book, the queer coming of age memoir Long Red Hair was nominated for an Expozine Award in the Best Book category and has received acclaim from CBC Books, Comicosity and Autostraddle. Fitzgerald’s short comics have appeared in the Secret Loves of Geek Girls anthology, in Bitch Magazine, Taddle Creek, The New Quarterly, Geist, Carte Blanche, and The National Post. She is currently working on a graphic novel about hands and handedness.
Fitzgerald has a fine arts background in textiles. Newborn is her first piece combining fibre arts and comics.
Morons is a comic story I am currently working on that is about two characters aimlessly exploring and experiencing different situations with no goal in mind.
– Keith Jones
Keith Jones has created two graphic novels, Catland Empire which is about cats saving humanity and Secretimes which follows a celebrity bounty hunter as he fakes his own death to move forth into the next phase of his life elsewhere. They are both published by Drawn & Quarterly. Jones lives in Montreal.
Ginette Lapalme is a Toronto-based artist. Lapalme is a graduate of the storied OCADU Illustration program, and is one third of Woweezonk, a Toronto-based comic arts collective, anthology publishers/editors and curators of new talent through their partnership with TCAF.
Her first solo collection is Confetti, published by Koyama Press. Confetti, like its namesake, is a fun and explosive mix of colour from the fertile mind of multidisciplinary artist. In comics, paintings, prints, sculpture, and jewelry, Lapalme uses cartoons and junk culture as raw material to make “cute” subversive and “pretty” punk.
Some paintings, sculptures and a sketchbook from when I was seven-years-old (ish).
– Amy Lockhart
Amy Lockhart is a filmmaker, animator and artist. Her animations have screened at festivals nationally and internationally, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival and International Animation Festival in Hiroshima, Japan. She currently works and lives in Chicago, IlIinois.
Pope Hats details a number of post-recession urban lives with a crisp, elegant line and an ear for the language of anxiety. Its serialized main story centres on the changing friendship of two young women on contrasting paths. “Rilly’s ongoing story of stressed-out Toronto law clerk Frances Scarland and her party-addled actress friend Vickie is one of the best things going in the medium right now: an uncannily astute depiction of two women in their early 20s dealing with very different kinds of career pressure.” – A.V. Club
– Ethan Rilly
Ethan Rilly is a cartoonist and illustrator from Toronto. His work has received Doug Wright, Ignatz and Joe Shuster awards as well as Eisner and National Magazine Award nominations. He has drawn for The Walrus, The Believer, Slate, Complex, Taddle Creek and Wired UK. He lives in Montreal with his wife and puppy of undetermined stock.
Wendy explores the narrative of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre, who aspires to global success and art stardom, but whose dreams are perpetually derailed. Romantic woes, professional frustrations, parties and awkward encounters play out in black and white. The position of the outsider and shape shifter is central to this body of work and the influence of feminist icons such as Mary Tyler Moore, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or artist, punk poet, experimental novelist and filmmaker Kathy Acker lingers. Wendy is an avatar who shifts between different cultural institutions, reinventing herself with every modality and juggling different fictions of herself.
– Walter Scott
Walter Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, video, performance and sculpture. He is the creator of the comic series Wendy, and has presented artwork and performed in places such as Montreal, Los Angeles, Yokohama, Chicago, and Warsaw. Wendy’s Revenge, the second book in the Wendy series, will be released in Fall 2016 from Koyama Press.
Seth Scriver’s work includes drawings, airbrush paintings, comics, sculpture, and animation, exploring compelling characters and reallife tales especially those that explore activities and histories that exist on the margins of capitalist culture through lo-fi, intuitive means.
His books, FlexibleTube with StinkLines (2014) published by Colour Code and Stooge Pile (2010), published by Drawn & Quarterly, were both nominated for Doug Wright “Pigskin Peters” Award, awarded to the best experimental and non narrative works in Canadian comics.
His feature animation Asphalt Watches co-created with Shayne Ehman, won best Canadian first feature at TIFF 2013. Seth Scriver is represented by Katharine Mulherin Gallery, Toronto, and lives in Toronto.