Eyeball @ 1 Spadina Crescent

December 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Eyeball @ 1 Spadina Crescent


1 Spadina Crescent, Toronto, Ontario. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Spadina_Crescent.

Last Friday marked the last Eyeball show at 1 Spadina Crescent (otherwise known as the creepy old building in the middle of Spadina Avenue shared by the University of Toronto’s Visual Studies and Architecture students). As the building will be undergoing extensive renovations starting in the new year, both departments are relocating and likely won’t be back for at least 3 years, if at all.

Eyeball is the annual University of Toronto undergraduate art show that features projects from both VIS and Architecture students. The name of the show pays homage to the history of the building, which operated as the Ontario division of the Eye Bank of Canada until just a few years ago. (Consequently, the student art show may have to undergo a name change in following years!)

As a VIS student myself, it is always rewarding to see all the blood, sweat and tears of my classmates and I coming together in the days leading up to the night of Eyeball. It is even more special to be able to share it with friends and family. It is a chance to interact outside of the classroom and see what has been going on in other classes – I often find myself in awe and inspired by the talent and dedication I find as I wander through the halls. Slowly the barren walls of the old, run-down building become covered with paintings, illustrations, prints and photographs, while various rooms are filled with sculptures, scale models, installations and performance pieces; the building is transformed into a museum playhouse of sorts! The variety of media reflects the variety of ideas and creativity contained within the building.


Artist with work. Hannah Watson, 16 Portraits of Strange Strangers, watercolour on paper, 2012. Taken by author with permission of artist.

While our Visual Studies program is frustratingly small, we are lucky to be offered the opportunity to try out many different artistic mediums and practices (many of us are actually forced to try things out of our comfort zone in order to fulfill our program requirements!). Additionally, the wonderful thing about studying art at U of T is that we are often involved in other areas of study and can integrate our academic experiences with our artistic expression – and it shows! Many of the works presented at Eyeball showcased artistic talent, but also plenty of underlying research, knowledge, concepts and theories from other fields that inform the work.

It is interesting to see the evolution of works displayed each year at Eyeball. With so many students, there is always something new and unexpected, yet there are often common themes or threads of ideas that may change or evolve through each generation of students. (For example, in recent years, internet trends or memes have become a very popular subject of focus in student works.) One can sometimes even trace the evolution of an artist as he or she matures. Regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar you are with the works produced by VIS or architecture students, there is always a rich variety of artistry to capture your attention.


Vivian Kong, Fortune Lanterns, two views (lights off and lights on) paper lantern installation, 2012. Courtesy of artist.

In addition to giving students an opportunity to relax and show off all the hard work that they have done, shows such as Eyeball really provide a great opportunity to illustrate that a largely academic university such as U of T also has a very creative and artistic side (hopefully also reminding those in charge that a little program like ours need nurturing!). It is my hope that the appreciation of art at U of T will grow and inspire more people to get in touch with their creativity!

Unfortunately all the works were quickly removed after Eyeball as everyone prepares for the big move out of the building, but please make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s student exhibition!

—Olivia Tang


Olivia Tang, Epigraph (after James Nares), relief print, 2012.

§ 2 Responses to Eyeball @ 1 Spadina Crescent

  • It’s hard to imagine the Visual Studies department not being in Spadina Crescent! I coordinated Eyeball in my very first year at U of T, many years ago, and the experience set me on a career path towards curating and the curious. I’m feeling very nostalgic knowing it’s the end of an era! Congratulations on the last Eyeball in the creepy, dusty, crumbly, wonderful spirit of the building- really wish I could have been there to see it.

  • ipad3 pris says:

    What’s up, this weekend is good in favor of me, for the reason that this time i am reading this impressive informative post here at my house.

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