Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shary Boyle + Ilavska Exhibitions

The following are shows on now in Toronto that I'm really excited about seeing...

Shary Boyle- Wonderlust
Jessica Bradley Art + Projects
1450 Dundas Street West
February 3rd-March 3rd, 2007

This exhibtion brings together several groups of drawings and paintings, including works on paper from Boyle's Porcelain Fantasy series, large watercolours and new portrait paintings with colourful abstract patterning. The exhibtion also includes three extraordinary small sculptures conceived as part of the artist's drawing practice.

Over the past decade Shary Boyle has developed a multi-faceted practice that includes her renowned drawings, paintings, sculpture and unique performances. In 2006 she created multiple “live drawing projections” for events at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and for international tours with musicians Will Oldham, Doug Paisley and Christine Fellows. In 2006 Shary Boyle's lace-draped porcelain figures were featured in a solo exhibition at the Power Plant, written about in Art Papers and were the focus of a cover article in Canadian Art magazine. Beginning in March 2007, Shary Boyle will be on a six-month residency in London, England, awarded by the Canada Council's International Studio Program.

Ilavska: The Arts and Crafts of Grandmother
Sonja Ahlers, Lydia Klenck, Stephen Appleby-Barr, Kozue Kitchens, Tania Sanhueza, Melinda Josie, Noel Middleton and Trudie Cheng
Magic Pony
694 Queen Street West
February 23rd-March 18th

Magic Pony is pleased to present Ilavska, a celebration of the lost arts and crafts of Grandmother. Featuring installation, textile design, painting, collage and soft-sculpture, this exhibition showcases a diverse group of contemporary multi-disciplinary artists and designers who will take viewers on a captivating visit to Grandma’s.

Ilavksa was inspired by a pilgrimage into Eastern Europe to visit Grandma. In times of subsistence living under communist rule, women created beautiful objects and environments out of limited resources. Crochet, knitting, embroidery and textiles were executed with painstaking and time-consuming care, and became treasured objects in the home. As both feminine and feminist practice, these subversive gestures represented women’s skills, pleasures and desires; as each stitch became a record of richly-lived experiences and histories.

Ilavska explores a new generation of artists who integrate a deep appreciation for the craft tradition and aesthetic into modern techniques and styles; an approach which reveals scepticism toward today’s instantly-gratifying, disposable culture. As a re-valuing and re-imagining of historically feminine pursuits, the artwork of Ilavksa evokes a weighty sense of time, memory and nostalgia. Seamlessly juxtaposing artwork with found antique furniture, objects and decoration, the exhibit blurs past and present tense, and collapses the distinctions between “art,” “craft” and “design.”

Including Sonja Ahlers, Lydia Klenck, Stephen Appleby-Barr, Kozue Kitchens, Tania Sanhueza, Melinda Josie, Noel Middleton and Trudie Cheng, Ilavska will premiere at the Come Up To My Room designer showcase held at the Gladstone Hotel from February 23-25. The exhibition will then continue in expanded form at Magic Pony from February 26-March 18, 2007.

Pictured: Shary Boyle- Spring (2005)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Toronto Zine Library in The Brock Press

The Zine Scene: Small Press Means (Big) Business

Past decades may not have stood for low budget paperbacks masquerading as high art, but these days, small press publications are well known, widely read and an economically sound solution to starting a revolution - or simply getting one's voice heard.
"Zines are self-produced print publications, mostly photocopied and hand-assembled," said Tara Bursey, a volunteer collective member at the Toronto Zine Library. "Their roots lie in Dada publications of the early 1900s, science-fiction fan magazines of the '30s and Beat chapbooks of the '50s and '60s."
Zines were a large part of the punk rock movement in the '70s and '80s, gaining notoriety in the early-to-mid '90s as a part of the grunge/punk revival. These days, zines are a participatory cultural art form with a dedicated following and an unmatched reputation of inciting societal and institutional change.
Zine fairs, such as Canzine and Cut N' Paste Toronto, as well as the Brampton Indie Arts festival and various small press conventions across the country have opened up to the idea of these rough and ready creations as a valid literary art form.
"Some of my favourite zines from our collection are more art-focused," said Bursey. "[They] involve hand-touches such as silk-screened covers, sketchbook excerpts and reproductions of drawings."
Patrick Mooney, another collective member, relates to the somewhat radical roots in which zine subculture was first instated.
"Some of my favourite zines include Cometbus, America? and Doris," said Mooney.
Aaron Elliot, creator of Cometbus, is a lyricist, drummer, self-proclaimed poet and "punk anthropologist" who produces his seminal punk rock zine out of pure passion. Despite the Internet invasion and blogging overload, Elliot has created a name for himself through his and other hardcopy publications for which he has written - including Absolutely Zippo and Tales of Blarg.
Although print publications are slowly falling to the wayside in a world of electronic communication, Bursey suggests the sometimes-painstaking creativity involved with small print press is part of the appeal and authenticity, whereas virtually anyone can create a Web site. She lists her favourites in terms of true artistry rather than out-there ideals.

"A few that come to mind are zines by Michael Comeau - a Toronto printmaker, and a zine called Thumbprint Biographies by his wife, Tara Azzopardi," said Bursey. "Both contain drawn and silk-screened elements."
"We recently acquired a zine called Old Weird America, in which the author recounts things that happened to her in her hometown of Detroit. All the stories are rather dark, and involve the poverty and extreme social conditions that some parts of Michigan are known for."
The cost of making a bi-monthly zine of a couple hundred copies is approximately $100, give or take the corners one cuts; however, the expression of self is priceless and, as the Toronto Zine collective suggests, worth the effort it entails.
"I would say that the most important thing," said Mooney, "is to just do it."
The Toronto Zine Library is located at the Tranzac club in Toronto. If you happen to be in Toronto, the collective encourages volunteers to work throughout the weekdays or 1-3 p.m. on Sundays.

The Brock Press, February 6, 2007.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sex Pots II at Prime Gallery

I'll be showing two of my garlic works at Prime Gallery's annual (I think?) Valentine's event, Sex Pots II. The show will feature several pieces of erotic material-art works: fine ceramics, jewellry, glass and mixed media pieces will all be featured. It should be a fine show...if you can't make it out to the opening on the afternoon of the 17th, try to pop by Prime before the show ends in late March

Sex Pots II
A group exhibition of erotica and sensual works in a mix of mediums.
February 14 to March 24, 2007
Vernissage: Saturday, February 17, 2007. 1-3pm
Prime Gallery
52 McCaul Street

Following the success of Sex Pots 2005, PRIME is pleased to present Sex Pots II, the inspiration for which began with Paul Mathieu's Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics and through our director's burning desire to heat things up in February. This exhibition features erotic works in photography, painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, and mixed media. As an invitational show, we expect an eclectic examination of sexuality, eroticism, and sensuality. Come warm your cockles.

Representations of erotica are as old as the Neolithic, going back 15,000 years, as early as the ceramic tradition itself, including the modelling and firing of symbols of fertility; and then again a mere 10,000 years ago, with the advent of pottery. This fascination with all things sexual continued throughout the Greek and Roman civilizations, in the near and far East, in Africa and South America, and continues to flourish today after the so-called (possibly short-lived) sexual revolution of the mid-20th century.

PRIME is pleased to be able to mount an exhibition of contemporary works in various mediums depicting the full range of erotic representation. We'll see works by Tara Bursey (Mixed Media: garlic skins), Mimi Cabri (ceramics), Mary Delmage (oil on canvas), Jeremy Drummond (silkscreen on tile), Beth Godfrey (jewellery), Julia Harris (oil on canvas), Carol Louie (jewellery), Alexandra McCurdy (mixed media), Jennifer McGregor (oil on canvas), Julie Moon, Alwyn O'Brien, Matthias Ostermann (all ceramics), Mimi Schulman (jewellery), Jurgen Sommerer (ceramics), Robin Tieu (mixed media and ceramics), Magda Trzaski (mixed media), Annie Tung (jewellery), Andrée Wejsmann (mixed media), Susan Wilde (oil on canvas), and Vanessa Yanow (glass).

As Paul Mathieu, one of the exhibition's previous contributors, wrote in his book Sex Pots (A & C Black, London, 2003): "Among many ironies of sexual desire now is the ever more present visualization of the naked male body, the availability of flesh and the constant erotisation of masculinity by commerce and popular culture in a society that still largely remains paternalistic, heterosexual and heterosexist – something not seen to that extent since Classical Antiquity."

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Flyer

I just finished this flyer for a friend who is putting on a show in Montreal. The image is drawn from a Vietnam War-era photograph. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out...a pretty timely concept, doncha think?