May 1st-31st, 2013
Saturday May 4th, 6-9pm
Tuesday May 14th, 7pm
The pictures in Fossils were taken while on a paleontology
expedition with Dr. Martin Smith. We went searching in
New York State for ancient remains in old quarrys and on
the sides of highways. At one of those sites I discovered a
discarded and waterlogged photography portfolio.
The colour photographs had been left to the elements and
drenched from the recent flooding. The results were amazing
chemical and colour reactions on each photograph.
It was poetic to find this album while searching for fossils,
since these images represent another time in the history of
photography. Colour prints like these, along with film, have
become largely obsolete because of the Digital Age. These
photographs are the fossils of photography; weathered and
altered, but still here to remind us of our past.
For more information:
FILL’ER UP SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE 2013
Last month, ARTiculations posted a challenge: Do at least one creative thing in your sketchbook every day. Over 120 people accepted that challenge from the Yukon, New Brunswick and just down the street. From April 12-21st you can come to The Earl Selkirk Gallery to see what our contributing artists created!
P. ROCH SMITH
play – replay
February 25th – April 7th, 2013
Friday March 1st, 6-9pm
Saturday March 16th, 2pm
play – replay
“…all the toys that one commonly sees are essentially a microcosm of the adult world; they are all reduced copies of human objects, as if in the eyes of the public the child was, all told, nothing but a smaller (person), a homunculus to whom must be supplied objects of (their) own size”.
I believe that play and creativity have a fundamental relationship. Playing around – with objects, ideas, texts and of course, toys are the threads that I work with in the studio – trying things out and seeing the results. The subsequent challenge involves assessing whether to continue, to modify or to move on. While bronze casting normally speaks to permanence and the epic, the scale of these works creates an intimacy and anti-monumentalism which serves my purposes.
Using toys as a foundation material is a natural fit that I have gravitated toward as a means of speaking to my concerns. Toys have always fascinated me – how they function and how their meanings can be ‘read’. Starting with a collectivity of LEGO, plastic army men, Playmobile figures, pirates, and skateboarders I have cast a population of bronze castings. Each figure started in large part with the question, “what if I…”. Each result would subsequently inform the next effort. play – replay seeks to transform materials and expectations resulting from this play in the studio.
For such simple objects, toys inhabit a complex space – a space that might not be exclusive to issues of socialization, domesticity, gender, aggression, cooperation and play. I would highlight two examples that stay with me:
A good friend who grew up in the Kootenay region of BC to parents who lived what might be termed a “hippie lifestyle”. As a child, my friend desperately wanted a package of green plastic army men to play with. Being pacifist in nature, her mom agreed but only after cutting all the guns and grenades from the figures.
Sometimes the boundary between play and reality is razor thin: a wire photo I came across last year shows two Syrian boys in the middle of a war zone proudly posing with a rocket launcher and machine gun they had creatively (and accurately) constructed our of cardboard, plastic bottles and duct tape.
We manufacture toys with the intention enabling children to play with the assumption that this play is free, unencumbered and not contingent. Pulling back, however, it may be argued that the inherent structure of the toy itself echoes strictly adult concerns. Toys and play easily normalize certain ideas about one’s place in the greater scheme of things. Thankfully, children have also long subverted these rigid narrative structures. Along with most kids of my generation I took great pains to shave the “life-like” hair off of my GI Joe Adventure Team figure which was something that was never encouraged or seen on a TV commercial or comic book ad.
While ‘playing war’ is a longstanding trope in childhood it is difficult, within our media saturated society, not to view this with some trepidation and tension when we can see images of real child soldiers carrying AK-47s. While first-person shooter video games populate our consciousness it is interesting to note that the small plastic army figures are still widely available for purchase. Perhaps in spite of the hyper-real gamer options we still are drawn to hold, handle and manipulate a tangible object – a return to the real.
Army officers have long used the notion of “playing war” to serve their overall aim of victory notably on “sand tables”, where dirt and sand are molded to construct battlefields upon which small models would replicate the scene. These sand tables are essentially a way for army officers to plan (or re-enact) their battles. There are several mentions of the “sand table room” at Sandhurst where many generations of British officers learned their craft. I note this as it directly relates to the scaled down harvest tables I have constructed for some of the figures occupy. The harvest tables are intended to provide an intersection which speaks to the “plastic army figure” general who would use a kitchen table to play out a battle.
Reconfiguring – reconstructing – reimagining are strategies that I employed while constructing this work. Combining different scales of toys within the same composition, altering how the model sets were to be glued, creating tables of 1:2, 1:4, 1:8 and 1:16 all serve to destabilize the original intentions of the toys I used.
I am drawn to the idea of a work/play dialectic and how play can be the genesis of creativity and creative work. In the creative act, it is often beneficial to undertake “serious play” as a means of generating solutions and objects. To this end, I was compelled to create structures which speak to work and play: small people supporting larger house forms, pushing “body-sized” orbs uphill and shoving large blocks of LEGO up a ramp. The Sisyphean nature of the images might at first speak to a sense of futility, however, I would hope that it might also be read as an honest representation of the integrity of work and the importance of being intentional in our efforts.
P. Roch Smith February 2013
Many thanks to Heather and Miki for creating an incredible site to exhibit this work; Kevin Yates for generously sharing his knowledge and experience with small-scale bronze casting; Joel Wengle for much conceptual and technical trouble shooting; Jessica Van Heuvelen for spending hours at the sandblaster; and to Martha, Ronan and Sorcha for being awesome.
P. Roch Smith was born and raised on Vancouver Island and currently lives and maintains a studio in Toronto. Working mainly within the realm of sculpture, Smith also generates installations, paintings and drawings as part of his artistic output.
Roch received a BFA (Honours Sculpture) from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (ECIAD – 1997) and an MFA from York University (2003). A teacher as well as an artist, he has taught classes at the University of Waterloo, ECIAD and York University. He currently manages and operates the bronze and aluminum foundry at York University.
Roch has exhibited throughout Canada and in the US and his work is included in private, corporate and museum collections in British Columbia, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York.
ASH OUT OF QUARANTINE
Tumbling Ash…New Growth
January 19 – February 17, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 19 | 6-9pm
Part of the Junction Kick-off Weekend for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival
Branches Chandelier in Ash
on display at
The Beau & Bauble | 3092 Dundas Street West
Through Brothers Dressler’s continued exploration and experimentation with ash wood a pattern of growth has emerged. The small sapling is expanding. Its sprawling branches sprouting new buds of glowing light. This wall lighting system is part of their Ash Out of Quarantine project which seeks to bring to light the devastating effect an invasive species will have as Toronto loses nearly a million ash trees to the imported emerald ash borer beetle. Fragments of our cities missing canopy will be salvaged to create different ideas and objects to inspire creativity and awareness.
Brothers Dressler are material-based designers striving to maximize the natural features and strengths of readily available material and working to promote a return to local manufacturing and resources. Their design process uses as much of each material as possible, giving cut-offs and waste streams new life as new objects. As fine craft furniture makers specializing in sustainable design, their purpose is to make furniture that offers the opportunity for the conscious consumer to purchase goods that affect positive change.
Toronto Design Offsite (TO DO) is a not-for-profit, indie design festival happening annually at the end of January. TO DO’s aim is to provide exposure for local and national designers; to foster public understanding and knowledge of the practice of design; and to create an ongoing presence that promotes Canada’s creativity, drawing on great thinkers, practitioners, and educators to deliver an innovative celebration of art and design.
DAUNTLESS: a Catherine Toth retrospective
December 8th, 2012 – January 12th, 2013
Reception: Friday December 14th, 2012 6-9pm
The works in this show were all created in recent years by Catherine Toth (April 12, 1984 – September 24, 2010): a vital, dynamic young artist and a good friend of many. Having worked as a dancer and dance instructor, Inuit art curator and restorer, organic farm worker, exterior decorator, studio technician, many different roles in photography and as an artist – her experiences and references were diverse and demanding. With a strong mind for research and careful observation, and a gleeful, inexhaustible resourcefulness, she founded her work in community and sought intersections between individuals’ perceptions and values. Her art consistently reflects a socially- and historically-charged devotion to learning.
Many of Catherine`s works are rooted in her love of the natural world. Incredible summers passed at her family`s cottages at Aylen Lake, where she would often be found swimming, fishing, canoeing and absorbing the world. With great fondness for the flora and fauna, she examined, documented and collected inspirations she encountered. The more she developed as an artist, the greater her need to make works from found and repurposed materials in a way that responded honestly to our habits of waste and consumption. She often sourced things directly from the land: birch bark, ice, bones, leaves, shells, vines, branches. Constantly adapting and learning as she went, we would find her designs stamped into the snow or assembled from bits of bark. For instance, her Webs grew out of observations of spiders and their web-spinning; Webs celebrate the imperative in many life forms to build and modify their own spaces. As such her works often draw upon the power and beauty of the regions she inhabited, and instill a respect for the biosphere. She was excited by the seasons and all they bring; she reveled in the growth of each summer, harvested in the fall, built fires in winter and collected seeds to replant in spring. She was enchanted by the plants` myriad ways to grow, and endeavoured to begin gardens wherever she lived.
Born with Cystic Fibrosis, her experiences inside disability discourse and the politics and structure of healthcare institutions were perennial. She received a double-lung transplant on November 15, 2007 and this event radically re-defined her life. During and after recovery she returned to her work with even greater vigor and zeal. Beyond Cystic Fibrosis she learned some of the realities faced by people with other disabilities, and this understanding helped contribute to her outstanding patience, kindness, and openness.
After earning a BFA from York University, she studied at the Toronto School of Business and enrolled in several night classes with the Toronto School Board. She knitted, sewed, and worked a bead loom, inspired by clever attire and costume design. She took up loom weaving, tried her hand at basket weaving, and studied yurt construction. She studied phenomena such as nuclear weapons testing and the effects of pharmaceutical residues and persistent organic pollutants in the food chain. She longed to grow the plants and make the compounds to create the drugs she needed. She dreamed of travels to Antarctica. She was inspired by the Arctic and the Inuit, and the complicated legacy of trade and colonialism they experience, and this led to her continued studies into the lives and histories of different indigenous peoples. She marveled at relations between humans and our actions, questioning the sources and justifications of exclusion and oppression and brutality.
Unlike many people her age she was drawn to the stories and advice provided her by older generations. She always had a healthy respect for our elders, enamoured with traditional knowledge and skills lost to time. In her art she forged links to the continuity with history she sought in life. For instance, after finding a collection of family photographs and uncovering the stories behind them dating back to the 1900s, she let loose a host of photographs, videos and installations. In The Nesting Habit (July 2010 at the South of 60 Arts Centre), she designed and built an installation at the site of the former railway station to resemble a section of the train which once regularly brought workers and their supplies to Barry’s Bay.
This exhibition is a glimpse into the story of a tremendously spirited, generous, bright young artist by which we may celebrate her loving energy and perspectives. There remain many unfinished projects, as befits the life of such a candid, earnest, creative woman. We hope you can depart from this place with a sense of peace and renewal, having seen through the eyes of a dauntless lover of life.
ANNE DEVITT & JOHN McCARTNEY
Finding things at the same time
October 26th – November 30th, 2012
Opening reception Friday October 26th, 2012 6-9pm
ARTiculations is pleased to present Anne Devitt & John McCartney : Finding things at the same time in the Earl Selkirk Gallery and window vitrine October 26th-November 30th, 2012.
Inspired by ARTiculations storefront entrance, long time Junction residents Devitt & McCartney saw the potential to create a piece that would make use of the unique gallery space. The collaboration came together through reworking a large drawing completed several years ago by McCartney. The work has been rolled up and seldom thought of until Devitt & McCartney saw the ARTiculations window vitrine and tiled entryway.
John’s six-panel drawing measures 24 feet long by 8 feet high. The drawing is based on the process of the ‘exquisite corpse’. While not a true application of the technique as it is the work of one person, it was done without being able to see the other panels as they were being drawn and the imaginary of the drawing was formed out of the techniques used to create it. Broad ink washes and thick lumber crayon were used to describe a dark imagery physical landscape, a place of playfulness and doubt, full of holes and yet very solid.
The technique Devitt has employed in her recent ongoing series of woodcut prints uses a special roller to be able to print marks that make up the background for many of her works. She then cuts the prints into strips and weaves them back together. This weaving process is a way to remake older works and the woven pattern compliments the tile design in the entryway of ARTiculations.
By cutting it, pushing it out from its background, and weaving it back together it gives the drawing/object a second life, a sense of synchronicity, hence the title Finding things at the same time.
June 16th – July 29th, 2012
Saturday June 16th, 6-9pm
artist in attendance
Thursday July 19th, 7pm
ARTiculations is pleased to present Micah Adams : Plaidwork: Voids & Masses in the Earl Selkirk Gallery June 16th to July 29th, 2012. In Plaidwork: Voids & Masses, Micah uses a system of ten colours (one for each digit) and finds simple mathematical patterns to replicate on paper. Through this system, Adams addresses the relationship colours can have to numbers, between grids stretched to interpret the third dimension on a two-dimensional surface and the grids found in decorative patterns.A first time departure from his small scale works, for Plaidwork: Voids & Masses, Adams will create two large scale wall drawings; one in the Earl Selkirk Vitrine and one in the main gallery space.
In both three-dimensional and flat works Adams uses systems and rules. Setting up these constraints creates new solutions to reoccurring situations. Throughout Adams’ work there is a dialogue between noticeably manufactured materials and natural growth patterns. How an object is made is part of its aesthetic, like biological forms whose patterns of growth can be revealed.
May 1st-31st, 2012
Saturday May 5th, 6-9pm
Saturday May 26th, 1pm
What happens when you deliver great art to an unsuspecting public? That is the focus of The Craigslist Project. A diverse collection of photographic work delivered through a series of postings on the social medium. View the ads, read actual responses and discover how great images, and alluring text, can evoke unexpected emotions and reactions.
For more information:
Last month, ARTiculations posted a challenge: Do at least one creative thing in your sketchbook every day. Over 70 people accepted that challenge and from April 12-22nd you can come to The Earl Selkirk Gallery to see what our contributing artists created.
Artists in attendance.
Do objects and images retain memories of their former uses and functions? What is the narrative value of a story or idea, once discarded? Two Toronto artists examine the uses of story and history – the margins between documentation and artifice – and through a domestic lens ask how and why roles, ideas, and possessions, once valued, are neglected and eventually abandoned.
Jocelyn’s photographs feature discarded toys as the protagonists and children’s detritus, the backdrop. They depict densely composed, fantastical settings, playful and bizarre, underscored by a sense of foreboding and dereliction. Conversely, her slowly and meditatively rendered oil paintings capture isolated figures on a featureless ground, much like nature studies or encyclopaedic illustrations. These characters – ugly, strange, flawed – are members of ongoing stories told in photos, and are meant to be viewed closely together.
Takashi’s paintings recycle and combine photographs from friends and family, and images found in old publications, films, and television footage. Telling stories through the convergence of pre-existing images, his work hinges on the notion that history often repeats itself and that, in the light of our information and communications culture, we are undergoing tremendous cultural amnesia. Here also, compositions possessing weighty realism demonstrate moments of peril, fragility, loss through time.
Both artists are concerned with the emergence of the strange and terrible in our domesticated culture and the daily transgressions that go overlooked. The ongoing pretense to normalcy that often underlies social fabrics, and the human ability to adapt to the dire and the insidious are notions that compelled the works here.
Amanda McCavour : neon glow
December 1st, 2011 – January 20th, 2011
Opening Reception : December 1st 8:00pm – 10:00pm with ARTiculations Grand Opening (aka, double fun)