Review: Losing Parkdale at the Ontario Crafts Council.

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dennis Lin

Even though the Ontario Crafts Council sits right on the periphery of the Parkdale neighbourhood, the gallery’s current exhibition, which is aptly tiled Losing Parkdale, readily calls attention to an issue that has become so commonplace in Toronto, that it tends to fly under the radar. The point of departure for Losing Parkdale is the urban gentrification of one of the city’s most diverse areas and the subsequent movement of Toronto based artists out of studio spaces that they’ve occupied for years. The exhibition’s pieces are not explicitly linked to the problem of workshops being disturbed, as curator Joel Robson instead aims to show off the woodworking talents that these studios have fostered.

Losing Parkdale features the work of four local artists: Dennis Lin, John Jackson (whose studio space was already emptied in September of 2011), Scott Eckert and Joe Yanuzielle. Eckert and Yanuzielle both currently own units in a building that has been sold and slated for demolition in the near future. In an effort to celebrate the “exquisite expressions” of these displaced artists, Losing Parkdale maintains the OCC’s mission to expand the city’s acknowledgement of both craft and craftspeople. While it is not often that I attend shows that primarily display usable pieces of artwork, it was surprisingly enlightening to reflect on the subtle beauty of Yanuzielle’s unique series of guitars as well as Jackson’s hand-finished, retro inspired, “Eyeglass Frames.” The show’s only non-functional piece is Dennis Lin’s “7238 sq. feet Veneer,” a steel and veneer creation made up of wavering lines that manage to appear equally raw and delicate.

Joe Yanuzielle

While the four artists of Losing Parkdale are linked through their common media, they are also all facing the repercussions of reduced usable workspaces. The show’s focus is constantly brought back to its political grounding through the fact that Amir Gavriely’s photos of ongoing Parkdale development are dispersed along the gallery walls. In this way, Losing Parkdale blends crafted material with the topical issue of upheaval. For more information on purchasing John Jackson’s eye frames or Joe Yanuzielle’s guitars contact the OCC at (416) 925-4222, info@craft.on.ca.

– Stella Melchiori

Losing Parkdale runs until February 26.

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