Posts Tagged ‘CONTACT’

Each year the CONTACT Photography Festival spotlights a few artists.  This year, Carrie Mae Weems is one of them.  As I’ve walked around Toronto the past month I have tried to check out all the place where Weems’s work is on display.

below: On Spadina, just north of King is a large portrait of Mary J. Bilge (singer and actor) in red with the title “Anointed”.  In the photo, Bilge is being crowned by Weems.

a large red photo of a woman being crowned, sitting in profile, the word anointed is written in large letters on the picture. Mounted on the side of a red brick building

below: A small pink photo of a girl in the parking lot that is adjacent to the building where the above photo is mounted.  The marks on the girl’s face are problems with the display case, not with the photo.

a pink and black photo of a girl's head, on a small display in a parking lot, with a Huawei ad behind it. Ad features that head of a model

***

below: At the Contact Gallery, 80 Spadina Avenue, part of ‘Blending the Blues’ which is collection of images from a few different projects that Weems has done over her thirty year career.  The picture shown here is “Untitled” 2017.

detailed picture of a woman sitting at a table with lots of things around her, on the table, behind her, and in front of the table, by Carrie mae Weems, the photo is only in blues and black

below: From ‘Blue Notes” 2014-2015 which involves blue toned images of people with coloured rectangles obscuring part of their faces.   The picture on the right is a copy of the Booking Sheet for Sandra Bland who was charged with assaulting a public servant (i.e. police officer) in July 2015.  She was died in police custody a three days later.

park of an exhibit in a gallery showing the picture of a black boy with a large red rectangle acros his face, beside it is an enlargement of the arrest record of a black man in Ferguson Missouri

***

“Scenes and Take”, 2016, is composed of two large photos (“Director’s Cut” and “The Bad and the Beautiful” below) on the outside walls of the TIFF Bell Lightbox at the corner of King West and Widmer Streets.  Each photograph is accompanied by text which reads as a summary for movie.  For instance, the text for “The Bad and the Beautiful” starts as “The Plot: Bright and beautiful, a young would-be starlet in Hollywood seeking fame and fortune.  Along the way, she encounters erroneous assumptions, bad luck, and dangerous men.”

large photo on a wall outside, of a woman in a long black dress, back to camera, one hand on door sill as she stands in open doorway, by Carrie Mae Weems

The photos are of Weems as a muse, or the embodiment of the black female gaze.  She places herself on the set of ‘Scandal’, a series created by Shonda Rhimes and starring Kerry Washington.

two large photos mounted on two walls that meet at the corner of King West and Widmer, two people walking them including a woman in a head scarf

‘Slow Fade to Black’, 2010,  is a series of large posters on King Street West near Metro Hall – black performers slowly fading from fame and memory.   They address the representation of Black women in popular culture

series of large panel photos by Carrie Mae Weems, Slow Fade to Black, each photo is a person or a face that is blurry, done with one colour on black

‘Slow Fade to Black’ was also the name of a book subtitled, the Negro in American Film 1900-1942 written by Thomas Cripps and published in 1977.

two men walk past two large photos on King Street, Slow Fade to Black photo by Carrie Mae Weems, one is blue and black and the other is burgundy and black

Performers, all black women, portrayed in this series: Katherine Dunham, Koko Taylor, Eartha Kitt, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington (twice), Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, Josephine Baker (twice), Mahalia Jackson, Leontyne Price, and Nina Simone.

people sitting in a streetcar with their back to the window, can see large photo on exhibit on opposite sidewalk through the windows of the streetcar

***

And last, at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (the Art Museum at the University of Toronto), is ‘Heave’.  From the gallery’s website, “multi-part installation Heave combines photography, video, news media sampling, as well as ephemera to probe the devastating effects of violence in our life and time. The complex installation explores the spectacle of violence in our contemporary lives relocating this present within sustained histories of conflict and uprising.”

a collection of pictures on the wall and Life magazines on a table, part of Heave, an exhibit by Carrie Mae Weems at University of Toronto art museum and gallery

living room furniture arrangement as part of a gallery exhibit, heave, by carrie Mae Weems

4 people watching a video on a large screen, one person is standing while 3 people are sitting on a bench with their backs to the camera

Palimpsest.  I had to look up the word too.  No, it’s not the superlative form of palimps.  As it turns out, palimsest has to do with surfaces that have been reused or altered while still retaining traces of its earlier form.

What does it have to do with this blog post?  It is the name of an exhibit of photos by a Poland-based collective, Sputnik Photos.  Between 2008 and 2016 this group compiled their ‘Lost Territories Archive‘; this is a project that documents the “physical, political, and sociocultural” aspects of the former Soviet republics.  Some of the thousands of images that they collected are on display in the Allan Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place as part of this year’s CONTACT Photography Festival. It is on view for the month of May.

people in Allan Lambert Galleria, a couple of large photos, a workman on a crane,

below: “A sculptural model in a student atelier, Spitak Armenia, 2014”.

large picture of an old white statue, Brookfield Place, 2 men looking at it. Photo's title is A sculptural model in a student atelier, Spitak Armenia

below: “Cafeteria at the Heydar Aliev Centre, Gobustan Azerbijan, 2016”.   In 2013, to mark the 10th anniversary of the former president of Azerbijan, Heydar Aliyev, his son and successor, Ilham Aliyev, ordered the country’s 70 district capitals to each build a monumental centre named after his father.

people walking past a large photo in Allan Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place. Photo by Sputnik Photos, title is Cafeteria at the Heydar Aliev Centre, Gobustan Azerbijan,

below: “Semipalatynsk Nuclear Test Site, Kazakhstan, 2016”.  The Soviet Union conducted over 400 nuclear tests at this site in northeast Kazakhstan between 1949 and 1989.  The impact of radiation exposure was hidden by Soviet authorities and didn’t become known until the site closed in 1991.

a couple walk past a large picture, small reddih mounds of dirt on a barren grassy field, flat land, no trees or other plants

 below: ‘Homemade construction for growing grapes, Yerevan Armenia, 2013’.  Urban farming was popular during the post-Soviet crisis in the 1990’s.  Today grapes are grown in every neighbourhood using homemade constructions for supporting the vines.

a large picture on display in Allan Lambert Galleria of a homemade structure to hold up grape vines in a back yard in Yerevan Armenia

below: “Anaklia Georgia, 2013”  Anaklia is a village on the Black Sea.  In 2011, Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, announced a program to transform the village into a luxury resort.  Construction began in 2012.  Saakashvili’s party lost the parliamentary elections in 2013 and he fled the country.  Work on this project was discontinued.

large photo of a oval shaped structure on the top of a tower, on the coast, surrounded by barren land, abandoned building, in Anaklia Georgia (former USSR republic)

below: “Slutsk Belarus, 2013”.  This image is of ‘Cultural Space’, an installation in the sugar factory Saharny Zavod.  The factory was given an award for best ideological work in a contest organized by a regional committee for ‘admiration structures’.

two large photos on exhibit, with a woman standing in front of one of them.

Members of Sputnik Photos: Andrej Balco, Jan Brykczynski, Andrei Liankevich, Michal Luczak, Rafal Milach, Adam Panczuk, and Agnieszka Rayss.

***

More about the word palimpsest:

In Ancient Greek, it was παλίμψηστος (palímpsēstos) and in Latin it was palimpsestus meaning “scraped clean and ready to be used again”.  It was originally applied to wax covered tablets that the ancient Greeks and Romans used to “write” on by scratching out the letters with a stylus.  Smoothing the wax would erase the words.   Around the 6th century vellum, or parchment prepared from animal skins, became more commonly used.  It was expensive.  Early on, writing on parchment could be washed away using milk and oat bran but over time it would come back, but faintly.   In the later Middle Ages, writing was removed with powdered pumice which was more permanent.

Along with the historical definition, palimpsest has a more modern definition.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this newer meaning as, “something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface”  while the Cambridge English Dictionary uses these words, “something such as work of art that has many levels of meaning, types of style, etc. that build on each other.”

Now showing at the Onsite Gallery, is an exhibit of photography by T.M. Glass called “The Audible Language of Flowers”.  Glass’s work is inspired by 17th and 18th century northern European still life flower paintings.

below: On the back wall is  “Clematis in a Chinese Teapot”, 2017 (The teapot is from the Gardiner Museum).   The photograph on the right (with the red flowers) uses a vase from the Royal Ontario Museum, “Tulips in a Persian Vessel”, 2017.

people sitting on a bench in a gallery, reading, large photos of flower bouquets on the walls around them

But they are not just large photographs.   They have been enhanced in a process that has become known as digital painting.  This technique involves enlarging the image to the pixel level.   Attributes such as sharpness, colour and vibrance are then manipulated  giving the finished image more of a painted look.

below: Part of “Anemone Canadensis in an Italian Pharmaceutical Vessel”, 2017 (The ‘vase’ is from the Royal Ontario Museum). 

white flowers and greenery in a vase with a picture of a young man on it, part of a larger photograph by T.M. Glass in a gallery

below: Close up of some of the flowers in one of the photographs where you can see the “brush strokes”.

close up of photo of a red flower and a white flower that has been manipulated using digital painting techniques

below: Glass has also been experimenting with 3D printing.  On display are some sandstone and resin sculptures that were created from digital files, including these two.

2 white 3 D printed sculptures of flowers in a vase, in a gallery, with large pictures, in colour, of bouquets of flowers in vases on tables

The exhibit continues until August 18th.
Onsite Gallery is part of OCADU and is at 199 Richmond St. West.
This exhibit is part of the CONTACT Photography Festival.

picture of a blue vase with red and white flowers, framed on a gallerywall, reflections of other pictures in the glass, black background

… and vicinity

The Bentway is a new park being built under the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst and Strachan.  I walked it almost two years ago when the park was only in the planning stages.   I thought that I’d take a look at it again the other day.  Originally, it was supposed to be ready last summer so it’s a bit behind schedule.  Surprised?

Walking south on Strachan from King, and whoa, there are changes happening here too.  Cranes everywhere.  Holes in the ground.   How many people are employed in the construction industry in Toronto?  in the GTA?

below: Looking eastward from Strachan Avenue, immediately south of King Street.

looking east from Strachan, immediately south of King, past older brick buildings to the CN Tower and city skyline

below: The view from a few metres farther south on Strachan.  The metal grid covers the railway tracks and supports the retaining walls on either side.  It also makes an interesting pattern.  These tracks turn northward – they are used by the UP Express to the airport and GO trains to places like Georgetown and Barrie.   There’s the CN Tower again – just in case you’re a CN Tower junkie like me.  I can’t resist taking pictures of it, especially when I find new angles, new foregrounds.

looing over the railway tracks to city skyline and CN Tower, construction of new building on the right

below: Immediately south of the train tracks is Ordnance Street.  Until recently it was a sleepy little dead end street of light industrials.

cement truck on street in front of construction site, cranes, fences, building about 20 storeys high

below: Ouch! Look at all those transformers on the poles.

 

white crane in the background, many hydro utility poles, with large grey cylindrical transformers on each of them

below: The east end of Ordnance Street is at Strachan.   It doesn’t actually end there, but continues on the west side as East Liberty Street.  This is the eastern edge of Liberty Village.

the NW corner of Strachan Ave and East Liberty Street, construction site with fence and hoardings.

Sorry, we haven’t got to the Bentway yet.  If you are a Torontonian you should now have your bearings and know at least approximately where you are.  Not far to go now.  It’s a beautiful day and we’re walking slow!

The Ordnance Street development is on a triangle of land with one side as Strachan Avenue and the other two sides as railway lines.

below: You’ll have to take my word for it that the construction on Ordnance Street is just behind the bushes on the left.   These are the tracks that run to the west and the bridge over the tracks is at Bathurst Street.  By this time, the two sets of tracks have come together as they approach Union Station.

railway tracks and CN Tower

below: One of the first views of the Bentway.  More construction.  I was standing on Strachan when I took this picture.  This is the beginnings of a new entrance to the Bentway – a large staircase down the hill from the street.  The steps are wide to allow for multiple uses – a place to gather, a place for entertainment.

construction under the elevated Gardiner Expressway, making a large set of stairs down from Strachan Ave to Grenadier Common near Fort York

below: This end of the Bentway parallels Garrison Common.  The Ordnance Street development can still be seen but there is also another structure being built on Garrison Common side of the railway tracks.

construction of an elevated ramp beside a park from a distance, with condo building going on behind it

below: A closer look.  It appears to be a ramp to a pedestrian/cycle bridge that will cross the tracks and join Ordnance Street to the Bentway, Fort York, and the streets/paths to the south.  I also really like the billboards – one with graffiti and the other is empty.

billboard beside construction of an elevated ramp beside a park

below: The new rusty entrance to the Fort York Visitors Centerentrance to Fort York visitors centre, rusted metal panels on exterior walls and as covering over doorway

 

below: Just beyond the visitor’s center, the Bentway is closer to completion. There was a skating rink here this past winter.

concrete path winds under the bents and pillars of the Gardiner Expressway

below: Also here is an installation by Dana Claxton called ‘Forest of Canoes’.  Colourful images of canoes on the concrete pillars.  Light-wise, they are probably best seen in the morning but that’s not when I was there.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - grey canoe on black background

The Bentway follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario that existed before landfill was used to create a space for the railway lines.  Canoes were once an essential means of transport.  Now their images sit on concrete pillars that hold up the Gardiner Expressway where thousands of cars pass by every day.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - blue canoe

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - cedar strip canoe

below: In the bottom left corner of this picture is what looks like a bluish blob.  My apologies to the artist for calling it a blob but I’ll blame it on the lack of light and therefore, the lack of detail, in the photo.  This is another art piece.  It is ‘Future Snowmachine in Kinngait (Colossus)’ by Janice Qimirpik, Moe Kelly, Embassy of Imagination, and PA System.  Embassy of Imagination is a collaboration between PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka) and youth in the Cape Dorset community of Kinngait.  This sculpture started with small playdough models of snowmobiles made by Qimirpik and Kelly.  They were then scaled into a larger than life sculpture.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway

The next part of the Bentway is under construction and there is still no pedestrian crossing across Fort York Blvd and is passes diagonally under the Gardiner.   There is (was?) one in the plan.

below: This sculpture is on the corner of Fort York Blvd and Grand Magazine Street.  It is ‘Fountaingrove’ by Carlo Cesta and Nestor Kruger, 2014.  It sits above the Garrison Creek Culvert that carries the now buried creek to the lake.  Like the name states, it represents water in fountains.   Of course there is a white crane hiding behind it.

part of a metal twisty sculpture, condos behind, blue sky, sun spot

below: Just west of Bathurst Street

blue surface, window relief sculpture in it, other side is artifical rock, under the Gardiner Expressway, lock stone ground,

below: Getting cosy.  Condos rise up right beside the Gardiner Expressway.  If you’ve driven across the Gardiner, you’ll know just how close some of the buildings are to the traffic.   How useful is a balcony if it’s metres away from a highway and from all those cars and trucks?  They keep being built and people keep buying them.

below: I couldn’t resist all the yellow and orange bits and pieces!

yellow circular bike rack, bikes, condos,

below: On the east side of Bathurst is the construction of a new Loblaws.  It never ends does it?

construction site that is partially covered by the Gardiner Expressway

This blog may have been a bit heavier on construction photos than you were expecting, especially since the title was about canoes. There was just so much work going on in that area that it was hard to avoid.  The next time that I walk this area it will probably be totally different… unfortunately new buildings are a lot duller to look at than construction sites so there may not be many photos!

on grey construction hoardings, a sign tat says post no bills. Someone has added 4 stencils of different Bills, Bill Murray, Bill Clinton.

Dana Claxton canoe image at Bentway, Forest of Canoes, multicoloured, bright colours,

Tucked away in part of the old Lever Brothers (then Unilever) soap factory there is a small exhibit now showing.

below: Follow the yellow caution tape to find the installation…..

yellow caution tape marks a path through an old industrial space, sign on a post that says Danger no pedestrian traffic.

below: This is the sight that greets you when you first walk into the room…..   A large industrial sized funnel left behind when the factory was decommissioned dominates the room.  A few figures stand on the other side of it.

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls - three of them stand around a net on a circular frame, a large industrial funnel above them.

below: Moving closer.  Above the figures is a bubble making machine – how appropriate for a soap factory!

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls

As it turns out, these figures – mannequins or automatons – were originally made back in the 1980’s as props for the Wilderness Adventure Ride at Ontario Place.  When Ontario Place closed, these guys were abandoned.

below: He looks very intent on something. .. like destroying my camera if he could.

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls - solitary man with half an arm missing, staring straight ahead, beside a net to catch soap, a large soap bubble dropping from above him

Toronto artist Max Dean rescued their remains, cleaned them up and brought them back to life.

below: … and into the 21st century.  Playing Candy Crush to pass the time? Or checking his Tinder messages?

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls - sitting on a stool with a phone in one hand, a real woman behind him with a phone in her hand taking a picture

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls - an older man standing on the stairs and looking down

mannequin automatons as part of an art installation in the old Unilever soap factory, concrete floor and walls - the likeness of Andy Warhol, white hair, glasses on head, hand up, finger pointing

The Unilever factory site is now owned by First Gulf (a development company). Access is at 21 Don Roadway which also the DVP ramp from the Lakeshore. There is parking. Getting there by public transit is not easy as there is no access directly from the north (the railway tracks & DVP are in the way).

 

“Still Moving” continues until the 3rd of June.

This little walk starts with the artwork of Marleen Sleeuwits and her ‘Not the Actual Site’ exhibit at Brookfield Place (Allan Lambert Galleria).

A short walk from Brookfield Place westward along King street towards Metro Hall….

where pictures from John Edmonds ‘Hoods’ series are on display (as are the people who walk past!).

Across the street from ‘Hoods’ is Caroline Monnet’s, ‘History shall speak for itself’.  These photos are the south and west wall of TIFF.

caroline Monnet's large mural on the side of TIFF building, King street, people walking past, bikes parked in front of the art.

Just a bit farther west (at Spadina) you can find a large purple hued image by Felicity Hammond on the north wall of 460 King St. West.

A few more smaller works by Felicity Hammond are in the Contact Gallery at 80 Spadina – the building immediately north of the parking lot where you can find the image above.    The gallery glowed in pink and purple light.

below: Object shapes are cut outs from a thin sheet of acrylic on which photos were printed.  These shapes are held up by clay blobs.

And that’s our tour for today!

May is CONTACT Photography month in Toronto and like in previous years, some galleries start the month early.  One of these galleries is the Ryerson Image Centre.  This year, in the main gallery they are featuring the work of Shelley Niro, the 2017 winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award.  You may have seen some of her work at the AGO where her shirts series of photos is also on display.   Outside the building, in Devonian Square, there are large colourful abstract images glued onto large rocks.  These are the work of Scott Benesiinaabandan, a Montreal-based artist from the Obishikokaang Anishinabe First Nation.

below: First, the poster/sign at the entrance to the Ryerson Image Centre.  The four images on the left are from Niro’s shirt series of pictures – the full series is shown inside the gallery.  There is also a video from 2003 that features this woman and the T-shirts standing in this location.

4 photos by Shelley Niro, of indigenous woman wearing a white t shirt with words on them, plus aboriginal/original pictures of the artist.

below: A series of three photos framed together titled ‘Mohawk Worker’.  It is one of a series of six triples called ‘This Land is Mime Land’ (Apparently there are 12 in the series, but only 6 are on display here).  Each set in the series has an old sepia toned black and white photo in the center, a casual posed photo on the right (of the same woman in each), and a posed, hand coloured ‘parody’ photo on the left.  In this case, she is dressed in working clothes and a hard hat, but she’s applying lipstick and has a small compact mirror in her left hand.   Other works in this series include,  ‘Love Me Tender’ with the woman dressed as Elvis, and ‘Final Frontier’ with the woman dressed in a Star Trek outfit.

three pictures frames together, on the left is a woman in workmen's clothes and hard hat but putting on lipstick, in the middle is a vintage black and white photo

below: One of another set of pictures.  Hand painted black and white photos of these women posing (hamming it up) for the camera.  They are on the yellow brick road, and like Dorothy on her way to see the Wizard, they are wearing red shoes.  “Red Heels Hord” 1991.   It, like a lot of her work, challenges the stereotypes and cliches of Native American women.

a colourized black and white photo of three women hamming it up for the camera. All wearing red shoes and walking on a yellow sidewalk, beside a metal fence. by Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro was born in 1954 in Niagara Falls NY and grew up on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve near Brantford.  She graduated from OCA and a masters in Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario.

below: Four photos from “Are You My Sister?” 1994.   This is only part (4/12) of the series.  The glass was very reflective so you can see the shirt series that was on the opposite wall.  Like most of her work, the matte has been hand decorated.  In this case, patterns are made with performations in the matte.

four pictures of women, standing, matted in orange, orange tone to the photos, relfections of other photos in the glass, art by Shelley Niro

Scott Benesiinaabandan’s installation, ‘newlandia: debaabaminaagwad’  is in two parts.  First, on the sidewalk in front of the statue of Egerton Ryerson, the man who founded the University, is an image that has been glued to the ground.   Parts of that statue have been used in the making of the image – it’s not too easy to see in this photo, but the top part of the image is the same shape as the top of the statue of Ryerson.  Maybe you can see the purple draped head and the outstretched arm.  It’s like the statue has been draped with cloth and/or pictures.  In fact, the images used to create this were taken from photographs that Benesiinaabandan took of three First Nations flags.

below: The other part of ‘newlandia: debaabaminaagwad’ consists of large images adhere to rocks in the square, taking on the texture of the rocks.

Devonian Square in Toronto, large open area with wading pool (empty at the moment) and large boulders, small trees growing around the edge of the pool, two people walking through the pool area, a woman walking her dog on the sidewalk beside, rocks covered with artwork

rock covered with a digital image, glued on it, outside, trees around

Both of these artist have their own websites:
1.  Scott Benesiinaabandan
2.  Shelley Niro