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January 21–April 23, 2017
Curated by Patrick Macaulay
January 21 – April 23, 2017
The title Workaday may connote the humdrum nature and trappings of the work world. Indeed the artists here might, on many days, look to the tools of their work as routine. But to the viewer, who may rarely see inside an artist’s studio, these objects can reveal the underpinnings of pieces and point to the moments of inspiration for the creative process.
Current understandings of art tools and techniques can be bewildering due to the role new technologies often have in creating and making. But whether cutting edge or traditional, the tools the artist uses are still extensions of the human hand, imagination and ideation. How an artist uses their implements, indeed the tools themselves, creates significant linkages to appreciate an artist’s work and the “workaday” matter that matters in art.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre
Part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (January 16-22, 2017).
The installation title juxtaposes ‘itinerant’, which suggests the temporary occupation of a dwelling, and ‘planner’, meaning someone who designs permanent structures.
The Itinerant Planner is a tongue-in-cheek parody where the artist draws up various condo floor plans while capitalizing on the unique constraints found at the site – such as angled parking stalls. In the video, the artist plays the role of an itinerant planner, adapting marginalized infrastructure such as parking lots (where the artist rents vacant spaces at an hourly rate) and artificial rivers for the purpose of drawing up condo floor plans of nearby developments and performing walk-throughs. Realtors use the “walk-through” as a powerful online marketing tool which helps potential buyers to visualize how they would live in a projected space.
In this case, the projected space is conveyed using rudimentary tools such as lane marking tape, duct tape, and traffic cones, illustrated with the artist’s playful doodles.
Susan Campbell is an Oshawa-based interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of lens-based media, installation and intervention, and design. Campbell investigates signs and patterns of urban intensification as played out on development sites, parking lots and public sidewalks. Her work explores physical mapping practices as a means to interpret and reflect on the design dynamics found within the urban landscape, confronting issues caused by the intensification of development. Using codes such as floor plans and clearance zones, Campbell re-organizes space into performative zones. She obtained an MFA in Art, Media and Design from OCADU after extensive studies in design and digital media in Ireland.
Utilizing my original photographic prints this body of work explores the process of image making and the tactile nature of printed documents. Using large scale prints as the raw material for experimentation, these photo-interventions are arranged into new compositions to create works both serene and intertwined.
Thematically I have always been fascinated by the wilderness and natural landscape, and am driven to experiment with the physicality of printed materials as a means to observe and interpret my everyday encounters with my surroundings. The contour of forms and intricateness of hand cut imagery reflects the construction of hybrid spaces while investigating how imagery can straddle the line between documentation and fabrication.
– Becky Comber
Becky Comber is a photo-based artist living and working in Grey County Ontario. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Image Arts Program. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is held in the permanent collections of both corporate and provincial institutions. Her work frequently deals with the nature of photographs as both tactile and visual objects – original photographs are often the subjects of the final photographs, as they are cut out, altered and ultimately re-photographed into the final compositions.
This is a work which contains a record of its own creation. As an artist who has been making electronic-based art for many years, I’ve often hidden the circuitry of the pieces, avoiding what I consider unnecessary fetishization of the materials, the workings of which are usually opaque to the viewer, even if “revealed”. In recent years, electronic art has become increasingly visible, and with this mainstreaming comes a certain homogenization of methods. Many of my preferred techniques and materials date from the distant past of hand-fabrication and so I have preserved them here, as the results of an archaeological dig of sorts, down to the surface of my workbench.
– Robert Cruickshank
Robert Cruickshank is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist. His works in various media, including electronic, kinetic, and robotic installations, sound art, electroacoustic music, and photography, have been exhibited in Toronto and internationally. His work combines a knowledge of physical computing with an ongoing fascination with sound, light, and motion. It is as much informed by the kinetic art of the early 20th century as it is by contemporary new media art.
I have always been the person who liked to pick things up, touch things and question where they came from and why they were made. My capacity to learn and understand my surroundings came though physical and tactile memory – this may be the definition of every craftsperson or humanity as a whole. My work is the synthesis of all that I have seen, touched and experienced.
For over a decade now, I have created porcelain ceramics as functional art. Porcelain as a material is white, pure, ethereal. It is my muse. It is alive and has its own personality; at times impatient, sensitive, even temperamental. It is strong yet fragile, dense yet translucent. And when put under fire, like us, can be brilliant.
I make teapots that celebrate the ritual of tea, water pitchers that pour beautifully but stand alone as a sculptural object. My tea bowls, tumblers and mugs mould to your hand and give you warmth and comfort from the inside out. The kinaesthetic memory of all that I have experienced, remembered through my hands. It is a continual exercise in the creation of beautiful objects that are everlasting and that celebrate life’s daily rituals.
– Hannun Lyn
Hannun Lyn has created ethereal porcelain pieces that are a statement to her mastery of the craft for over a decade. The vision of her work stems from a culmination of life experiences, spiritual practice and technical prowess. Her life and work has been the fusion of both eastern and western culture. Moving often during her formative years, life seemed nomadic and chaotic at times. Lyn was immersed in her traditional Chinese culture but surrounded by the rituals of modern first world life. Her artistic influences reflect this melding; from the Chinese dynastic art and craft to modernists of the Bauhaus, Isamu Noguchi, Mark Rothko amongst others. She has found her grounding in her spiritual Zen Buddhist practice, viewing Buddhism not as a religion but simply as a way of life. Her work is an creative expression of her passion for porcelain as well as a continual exploration of thought, awareness, presence and our shared humanity.
Hannun Lyn’s works are exhibited at the Gardiner Museum, Aga Khan Museum, Distill Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Craft Ontario, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Burlington Art Centre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Montrose Market continues my ongoing occupation with unassuming subjects. Lately, this includes corner store displays and discarded fruit packaging painted in slightly odd and off-centred compositions in order to quietly allude to the underlying strangeness in our observable world. As subject matter, storefront fruit displays are always incidental and dynamic in their composition, perpetually re-composing themselves as customers and store owners add and subtract from the tableau.
Caitlyn Murphy is an artist working in Toronto. She studied philosophy at McMaster University before attending OCAD University where she won the Project 31 Illustration award. Recent solo exhibitions include Market Studies (No Foundation, Toronto) and Window Studies (Northern Contemporary, Toronto).
I have a strong conviction that in order to begin to perceive the connections between the decisions we make as individuals and as societies, and their consequences in the bigger picture, we need to cultivate our mental image of biodiversity; and, that this is best done using all of our senses, outdoors, and immersed in the environments with which we seek to connect. Audio Bee Booths and Cabinets foster the art and science of observing solitary wild bees and their role in pollination ecology. Aesthetically compelling, immersive and informative, these outdoor works intersect habitat interpretation, bio-art, sound installation and sculpture. They allow the public to safely view and listen to solitary-dwelling, (mostly) native bees — pollinators which are quite different than European honey bees — and solitary wasps, nature’s insect controllers. The cabinets present the nuances of these creatures and their activities within their tunnel nests; pairing magnified views in tandem with amplified sound, these installations facilitate an enhanced perception of their tiny inhabitants: solitaries and other nest biota in action, up close. In effect, the viewer extends her own senses and enters a micro world which normally takes place in the dark – safely spying on the solitaries’ nesting activities, life cycles, parasites, and their dynamic relationships with the surrounding habitat. Cabinets in Toronto include High Park Nature Centre and Access Alliance Multicultural Healthcare Centre’s rooftop garden (at Victoria Park and Danforth). All venues and details are listed at Resonating Bodies (resonatingbodies.wordpress.com).
Sarah Peebles is a Toronto-based installation artist, composer and music improviser. Much of her work explores digitally manipulated found sound, unconventional methods of amplification, and distinct approaches to performing shô, the Japanese mouth-organ used in gagaku (court music). She has collaborated with artists, technicians and bee biologists on a series of projects addressing pollination ecology and biodiversity, entitled “Resonating Bodies”, since 2008. Peebles’ activities over the past 3 decades have been wide-ranging and include music for dance, multi-channel sound, radio, video/film, performance art, integrated media, sound installation and improvised performance. She has been active in North America, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. She has collaborated with musicians, visual artists, data visualizers and with the groups “Smash and Teeny” (Peebles & guitarist Nilan Perera), and “Cinnamon Sphere” (Perera, Peebles & action calligrapher Chung Gong). Peebles’ music has been published on Unsounds, innova Recordings, Cycling ’74 , Spool, Post-Concrète, and others.
Thanks to Rob Cruickshank – electronics design and fabrication; John Kuisma – nest plank R&D;
Chris Bennett – pyrographic illustration of bee lifecycle from illustrations by Celeste Green and Phyllis Thompson (Bumblebee Economics by Bernd Heinrich; used with permission); and, Mike Cameron and Siri Robinson – small bee condo fabrication, wood spalting.
The Workaday project creates a mini intervention where the walls and ceiling are covered in beeswax tiles framing both sections of a large plaster mould and a beeswax beeskep (a manmade beehive) cast. Included is a short slide presentation of the artist creating the complicated mould while Artist in Residence at Canberra Glassworks, Australia.
Penelope Stewart is a Toronto-based artist working across the varied media of sculpture, installation, photography, works on paper and architectural interventions. Re-current themes address notions of cultural memory, of time and space and a considered approach to the relationship between objects, architecture and the places between these two- places to intervene, inhabit and above all activate. Whether it is her large scale beeswax architectures or her trompe l’oeil prints and photographs she hopes to bring a sensory intensification, a haptic quality to the encounter.
Stewart was born in Montréal, Québec. She received an MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Stewart has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council and in 2010 she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts (RCA). She has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions in both national and international venues including such notable institutions as The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo New York; Musée d’Art de Joliette, Québec; Lotusland, Montecito, California; Musée Barthétè, Boussan, France; and the Koffler Gallery, Toronto.
The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson is the second of my wordless narratives, based on original hand-printed limited editions, to be published by the Porcupine’s Quill. In it, I tell the story of Canadian painter and cultural icon Tom Thomson (1877–1917). There is no shortage of art historians who recognize Thomson as a key influence on the Group of Seven, founded in 1919, and instrumental in the shift of Canadian Art towards modernism. Most Canadians, however, know of him from the enduring mythology surrounding his short life and the curious circumstances of his death.
Each image is drawn in reverse onto a piece of end grain Canadian maple and then inked in with pen and brush before the engraving process begins. The blocks are then engraved with spitstickers, scorpers and lining tools and readied for the press and first test proofs. The book is available in both a popular edition from The Porcupine’s Quill and in a limited edition of 39 numbered and signed copies.
– George Walker
George A. Walker holds an MA in Communication and Culture from Ryerson and York University. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) in 2002 in recognition of his achievements in Canadian Book Arts. He is an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University where he teaches book related arts in the Printmaking program. He is the graphic novel acquisitions editor for the Porcupine’s Quill and has eleven titles in print with them. Since 2000 he has worked as creative director for Firefly Books Ltd. He has over 25 years of experience in publishing both with commercial publishers and private presses. He is the author of the popular how-to book, The Woodcut Artists’ Handbook (Firefly 2005) now in its second revised edition (Firefly 2010), Written in Wood is an Anthology of his wordless narratives (Firefly Books 2014) and he is recognized for his art history book on wordless novels, Graphic Witness (Firefly 2007) which has sold over 16,000 copies. Since 1984 his letterpress hand printed artists’ books have been collected internationally by institutions such as the University of Toronto, Morgan Library and Museum N.Y., Columbia University, N.Y. and Princeton University N.J. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC and the Victoria and Albert museum in London England.