Posts Tagged ‘art gallery’

Tinirrusiangit is an Inuktitut word that means “their gifts” or “what they gave”.   It is the name of the latest exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario features the work of two Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) and her nephew Tim Pitsiulak (1967-2016).   Ashevak (1927-2013) was born in southern Baffin Island although she grew up on the land in the traditional, semi-nomadic hunting lifestyle, living in igloos and skin tents.

In the 1950’s she developed TB and ended up, against her will, in a hospital in Quebec City  This was not a happy time in her life.  She had just given birth when she was forcibly transferred; the baby was adopted by a neighbouring family. Several of Kenojuak’s children died while she was in the hospital.   One of the ways of passing time at the hospital was making arts and crafts such as beading and doll making.

When she returned to Kinngait Nunavut (previously Cape Dorset), she learned printmaking.  She was also one of the early members of the West Baffin Eskimo Collective which became Kinngait Studios.

Ashevak was the first internationally known Inuit artist.  Her most famous piece, ‘The Enchanted Owl’ 1960, was used on a Canadian postage stamp in 1970 in honour of the Northwest Territories centennial.   Owls were one of her favorite subjects.

 

below: Ravens and Owl, 1979, stonecut and stencil on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

a picture of an Inuit artwork, Ravens and Owl, stonecut and stencil on paper, 1979, by Kenojuak Ashevak

below: Happy Little Owl, 1969, stonecut on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

a picture of an Inuit artwork, Happy Little Owl, stonecut on paper, 1969, by Kenojuak Ashevak

below: Untitled, 2004-5, pencil and felt tip marker on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

woman in an art gallery looking at two pictures on the wall, both by Kenojuak Ashevak

Tim Pitsiulak, born in Kimmirut Nunavut,  was a hunter and a painter.  He started drawing as a young boy and although he tried carving and jewelry making, most of his artwork centers around depicting everyday life in drawings and paintings.

below: GoPro Hydrophone, 2016, pastel on black paper, by Tim Pitsiulak.  Here, the artist (the hunter) throws a GoPro camera into the water to record the sounds and images of the animals in the water.

gopro hydrophone, a painting by Tim Pitsiulak at the art gallery of Ontario

“What more could I ask for, than for people to notice what we have up here? This is the best thing about being and artist and a hunter.” Tim Pitsiulak quote on the wall at the AGO.

below: Swimming with Giants, 2015, by Tim Pitsiulak.  Beluga whales swimming with a bowhead whale.

two people sitting on a black sofa, looking at a large painting by Tim Pitsiulak called Swimming with Giants, lots of fish and whales swimming in the water

 

The exhibit continues until 12 August 2018

A morning exploring some of the art galleries at the University of Toronto.

below: Robarts Library, a large concrete building, is part of the University of Toronto and is their main humanities and social sciences library. It opened in 1973 and has been called Fort Book ever since.

intersection of Harbord and St. George streets, Robarts Library, large concrete building

I have walked past this library many times but I have never gone inside. What I didn’t know about this building is that it is also home to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  It is named after a Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River.  In 1973, his grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated many books to U of T .  Since then, the library has grown to approximately 740,000 volumes including hundreds of versions of Alice in Wonderland in many different languages.  They also collect manuscripts, photographs,  and other rare materials.   You can search their holdings online.

below: The view from the 4th floor observation deck.

interior of Thomas Fisher Rare Book library, looking down from the upper level to the tables below. Shelves of books line all the walls, ceiling is open to 4 or 5 storeys up , large central light fixture

At the moment, the Thomas Fisher Library has an exhibition called “Fleeting Moments, Floating Worlds, and the Beat Generation: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg”. Ginsberg (1926-1997) is known for his poetry but he also took pictures. The Thomas Fisher library has the largest collection of Ginsberg prints in the world.

exhibit of photos by Allen Ginsberg displayed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at U of T, some black and white photos in a case, some books too, shelves of books in the background

below: Mr. Ginsberg took bathroom mirror selfies.  I wonder what he’d think of instagram?

picture of a black and white photo taken by Allen Ginsberg of himself sitting naked and cross legged in front of a bathroom mirror

Ginsberg became friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and the trio later established themselves as the main players in the Beat Movement with their unconventional writing and wild (for the times) lifestyles.  Ginsberg’s first published work was “Howl” in 1956.  It was called “an angry, sexually explicit poem”.   The San Francisco Police Department declared it to be obscene and arrested the publisher.  The court ruled that it was not obscene.  I can see it being “ahead of its time” in 1956 but today it’s fairly tame.

The opening lines:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,”

below: Three books about The Beats.

display in a glass top case, three books by Alan Ginsberg, the one in the middle has a yellow cover and is The Beats

The Ginsberg exhibit continues until the 27th of April.

A short walk through part of the St. George campus….did I mention that it was snowing at the time?… to another art gallery on campus.

snow is falling, snow on the ground, tree in foreground, also black wrought iron fence, looking across the playing field of the U of T St. George campus to a building, tower,

below: We passed a moose standing in the snow.

a flat metal sculpture of a moose stands in a small space beside a tree, snow on the ground, snow falling from the sky. public art

The second gallery was the Art Museum at Hart House.   One of the exhibits showing there is “Figures of Sleep”.  Straight from the gallery website is this description of the exhibit: ” [it]…considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation”.  What it is is a collection of videos, photographs, and artwork depicting sleep, i.e. people sleeping by a number of different artists.  This exhibit ends on 3rd March.

below: Watching videos of people sleeping

a person watching a large video display in an art gallery

below: She’s very life like.  She’s also much smaller than life sized but even so, she was a bit creepy. “Untitled (old woman in bed)”, 2000-2002, by Ron Mueck.

very realistic and life like scupture of an old woman with grey asleep under a blanket with her head on a pillow

below: “Dream Catcher” by Rebecca Belmore, 2014 .  This wall hanging is quite large.

dream catcher by Rebecca Belmore, a large wall hanging of a person sleeping on the sidewalk, under a blanket with a picture of a lion on it.

below:  The Malcove Collection is in the same gallery.  The collection includes about 500 pieces, not all of which are on display at the moment.  Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) was born in Russia just before her parents emigrated to Canada and settling in Winnipeg.  She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and then spent most of her adult life as a Freudian psychoanalyst in New York City.  Over her life time she amassed a collection of art that she bequeathed to U of T.

wall display cases in an art gallery, religious pieces on display, old, antiquities

below: From the Malcove collection, ‘Male Dedicant’, made of limestone, Coptic, late 4th century or early 5th century

antique stone carving (relief) of a man with curly hair, both hands raised, one hand holding a spherical object and the other hand holding a cross

below:  Detail from “The Burning Bush”, 19th century.

very old painting, religious, virgin mary and baby jesus in the center surrounded by other religous scenes

 

below: Last but not least, and having nothing to do with art, is this plaque on a wall near the art gallery at Hart House.  It commemorates the relationship between the Canadian and Polish Armies during WW1.  A transcription of it appears below.

 

plaque on an exterior brick wall commemorating the role of the Polish Army

In the early months of 1917, twenty three Polish probationary officers were trained here by the staff of the Canadian School of Infantry in Toronto.  They were the forerunners of more than 20,000 North American volunteers of Polish descent who were trained in Canada (mostly at Niagara on the Lake) to serve in the French Army, ultimately commanded by Joseph Haller.  The existence of this Polish Army in France went far to assure the presence of Poland at the Peace Conference at the end of the war and played a significant role in the reconstitution of a reunited and independent Poland after 123 years of partition. 
The Canadian Polish Congress has placed this tablet to commemorate the ardent Polish patriotism of so many Polish volunteers from the United States and Canada.   The Congress also wishes to honour the Canadian officers who trained the volunteers, including notably Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Lepan of the staff of this university and his principal subordinates, all from this university as well as Major C.R. Young, Major H.H. Madill, Major W.F. Kirk and Major F.B. Kenrick. A.D. 1990

 

a bike parked outside an old brick building on St. George campus of U of T, snow covered

More information about:

Allen Ginsberg exhibition

Figures of Sleep, and others, at Hart House Art Museum

Illustrations of the holdings of the Malcove Collection

 

There are four exhibitions at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at the moment.

One of the exhibits is “A Wall is just a Wall” by Kapwani Kiwanga. Here, a hallway has been transformed with pink and blue lights. If you walk down this hall, you’ll find an entranceway to another section of the gallery with more of Kiwanga’s work. The gist of the thought behind her exhibit is the affect that architecture and design (such as colour) has on the behaviour of those exposed to it.   It’s a bit disconcerting to walk through the lights – they affect your perception of space and make you feel a bit dizzy.  Or at least that’s what happened to me!

a hallway is lit in pink and blue lighting, covers all walls and ceiling too

Another hall.  Another exhibit.  This time, an installation by Latifa Echakhch called “Cross Fade”.   You can see it in the Fleck Clerestory which is the long, high hallway that runs down the middle of the building.  For the installation, the walls were painted light blue with white cloud shapes.  Chunks of the outer layer of plaster were then removed and pieces left on the floor.    The sky is falling!  I can just see Chicken Little running around.  The sky is falling!  But in this case, he’d be right.

When I first saw the installation, I only saw the lower portion and I assumed that it was a neglected wall.  It looks like many of the walls you find in lanes and alleys.  To me it represented the cycle of building and decay that plays out all around us.   I struggle with the idea that painting it to look like the sky changes how the piece should be perceived.  Are we supposed to be upset that the sky is broken and lying on the ground?  Is the use of the normal (plaster falling off a neglected wall) to try to show the abnormal (the sky falling apart) on purpose?  If so, to what purpose?

high walls in a narrow room, walls covered with plaster and painted light blue with clouds, some of the plaster is peeling away and it's supposed to look like the sky is falling . a large window is at the end of the room

below: Looking up towards the skylights.   It is more apparent from this angle that the walls are painted to look like the sky.   By the way, cross fade is the technique in sound or movie editing  where a picture or sound gradually appears at the same time as another disappears.

looking upwards to a skylight two storeys above, the walls of the narrow room (hall) are covered with plaster and painted light blue with clouds, some of the plaster is peeling away and it's supposed to look like the sky is falling

From the online description of the exhibit:  “…. Cross Fade evokes the remains of an action that has already taken place. Echakhch’s wall painting of the sky appears to be falling apart. Fragments of the sky still exist intact on the upper sections of the walls, out of reach, reminding us of its beauty. However, large parts of the sky lie on the ground, creating a peculiar feeling that something beyond our control is either happening or has just happened. The technique employed here references the classical fresco, a second skin that usually leads the viewer into a painted world, a trompe-l’œil, rendering the two-dimensionality of the wall invisible. On the contrary, Echakhch’s work shatters this illusion, rooting us in the present, which like a cross fade, is caught between the past and the future.”

 

Leaving the hall theme behind, the last two exhibits are:

below:  Part of “On Fishes, Horses and Man”  by Jonathas de Andrade

a room in an art gallery filled with posters of men hanging from the ceiling at various levels. All have the words museu do homem do noreste

below:  And “The One Who Keeps on Giving” by Maria Hupfield

art installation on a gallery ceiling of many light bulbs of different shapes and sizes hanging from a piece of wood on cords of different, but short, lengths.

All exhibits continue until mid May.

The exhibit is called ‘Black Cloud’ and it consists of thirty thousand black moths, each one individually attached to the walls and ceiling of the clerestory of the The Power Plant Gallery.   Artist Carlos Amorales has reproduced the shapes and sizes of thirty six different species of moth with black paper.  They swarm towards the lights and they congregate in the corners.  It’s a fascinating display both in the overall composition and in the attention to small details.   This installation first appeared at an art gallery in Paris in 2007.

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - looking up at all the moths on the ceiling

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - looking at the corner of the hall, where the wall meets the ceiling

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - this picture is a close up of some of the moths

As much as I liked the display, I was glad they weren’t real moths!

A hallway covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway

#PPBlackCloud

Obsolescence, by Shelagh Keeley, 2014
at The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre

A man is looking at a large art piece on a wall.   A collage called Obsolescence by Shelagh Keeley,

The piece covers a wall that is 25 x 40 feet in a room that is only 10 feet wide.

close up of part of a large collage art piece on a wall

The large collage includes photographs taken inside an abandoned textile factory in Monchengladbach Germany.

close up of part of a large collage art piece on a wall.  One of the pictures is of a typewriter

A dictionary definition: “Obsolescence: being in the process of passing out of use or usefulness; becoming obsolete.

close up of part of a large collage art piece on a wall

One of the inspirations for this piece was Marshall McLuhan’s 1970 “Notes on Obsolescence” which opens with the lines:  “When print or the motor car is referred to as “obsolete” many people assume that it is therefore doomed to speedy extinction. A casual glance at the historical record indicates the contrary. Gutenberg did not discourage handwriting. There is a great deal more handwriting done even in the age of the typewriter than was ever done before printing”.

And it ends with: “Obsolescence is a very large and mysterious subject that has had very little attention in relation to its importance.” The present paper may … thus help awareness of the role of obsolescence in sparking creativity and the invention of new order.”

A woman is looking at a large art piece on a wall.  A collage called Obsolescence by Shelagh Keeley,

Like all art, it is subjective.   Like good art, it has the potential to make you want to linger in front of it and even to reflect and think.

The upper part of a collage by Shelagh Keeley at The Power Plant gallery.  This is the top part of the piece which is 25 feet high.

This piece is scheduled to remain at The Power Plant until 17 May 2015.

Preparing for the Toronto Photowalks Exhibit

20 October – 2 November

Art Square Cafe & Gallery, 334 Dundas St. West (across from the AGO)

 

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Toronto Photowalks Group Exhibition

Art Square Cafe & Gallery