Claro Cosco, Piffin Duvekot, Grey Muldoon: Crave Crawl Cave @ UTAC

November 7, 2012 § 1 Comment

Crave Crawl Cave at the UTAC art lounge

On the evening of September 29, Toronto hosted its Annual Nuit Blanche art festival. On this occasion, the University of Toronto Art Centre showcased the installation Crave Crawl Cave by artists Claro Cosco, Piffin Duvekot and Grey Muldoon. The all-night exhibit of this interactive art installation consisted of three geodesic tent-like pods connected by tunnels. The circular pods were about a meter in height and the low, narrow tunnels allowed the audience to crawl from one pod to another.

As visitors arrived at the  Art Centre, they were encouraged to remove their shoes and enter the pods in order to experience the environment inside. Live music added to the intensity of the experience. The three pods each had a distinct theme. The pod closest to the entrance contained numerous smooth, glowing rubber balls. The middle pod was entirely dedicated to furry objects, be it the rug on the floor, the stuffed toys, or the pieces of materials hung on the ceiling of the pod. The third pod had web like nets hanging from the ceiling and was lit by UV lights which reflected off the painted floor and added an eerie effect.

Duvekot informed me that while coming up with this project, the artists looked at Snoezel rooms in the Netherlands, as well as research done on autism spectrum disorders. Through this installation, the artists tried to create a space that would stimulate the senses. They were successful in achieving their goal because not only did we get to see the art installations but we also got the opportunity to feel different kinds of textures inside the pods. Our senses were further stimulated by the improvised music being played by the musicians. In fact, the electric violin created quite a dramatic atmosphere.

Crave Crawl Cave has been previously exhibited at the Monster festival, as well as at the Milton Centre for the Arts. Didn’t get the chance to crawl through the caves during Nuit Blanche or still craving for more? Come see, hear, smell and feel the exhibition which stays at UTAC until the 6th of October.

Tanzila Ahmed

Above: interior of the first Crave Crawl Cave pod.          Below: interior of the third pod.


October 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last weekend, DREAMERS RENEGADES VISIONARIES: The Glenn Gould Variations festival was held in honour of Glenn Gould, a revolutionary and renowned twentieth century pianist particularly known for his interpretations of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Performances, installations and an exhibition were put on to celebrate Gould’s life and work. One of the artists who paid tribute to the Canadian pianist is Robert Wilson, using a series of video portraits specially designed for UTAC’s galleries to create an exhibition called Robert Wilson Gould Variations: A series of Video Portraits in celebration of Glenn Gould. Reportedly recreating a moment he experienced while dining to the sounds of Gould and croaking frogs, Wilson meticulously combines his South American Horned Frog Video Portraits with nature recordings and Gould’s arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Eleven HD screens are mounted on the walls of the gallery, each displaying a brilliantly coloured frog that boldly stares back at the viewer.

Wilson masterfully creates an atmosphere that intrigues, captivates and stimulates. The rooms of the gallery are lit only by the vivid colours of the screens and the viewer is confronted with the gaze of a frog at every turn – a truly surreal experience. The frogs, each with a name, gender and colour scheme, seem to have individual personalities and places within the court of frogs ruled by Lord Suckfist (2012) who dominates the central space. Their stares compel the audience to engage with every one of them.

The genius behind Wilson’s Gould Variations lies in how the artist has woven together such a multiplicity of details in order to manipulate the viewer’s reaction, but in a way that is still open to each individual’s imagination. The images and music work together to transform the space: a feeling of serenity can be quickly succeeded by a disturbing loneliness. Wilson encourages the visitors to develop their own interpretations and provides them with a contemplative space in which to do so. This exhibit is truly an experience for the mind and senses.

Robert Wilson Gould Variations: A series of Video Portraits in celebration of Glenn Gould runs until October 6, 2012 at UTAC.

Olivia Tang

Below: Robert Wilson, Mr. Speedball, South American Horned Frog Video Portrait, 2012, video still. Courtesy of the artist.

60 Years of Designing the Ballet @ The Design Exchange

August 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Nutcracker Wardrobe Crate

Focusing largely on the Canadian National Ballet’s past productions of The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake, the Design Exchange’s, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet, is a must-see for theatre and dance lovers alike. With only one full weekend left to catch the exhibition, which displays costumes, set items and sketches from six decades of Canadian ballet tradition; time is running thin.  However, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet is certainly worth the trip as it more than delivers on its promise to provide a comprehensive look into the National Ballet’s backstage story and design process.  Through combining the three-dimensional facets of the stage (i.e. sets, costumes and maquettes) with typical gallery elements, some of which include, video footage, photographs and an interactive station that teaches you standard dance poses, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet aptly documents the humble beginnings of the National Ballet company as well as its critically acclaimed performances of today. While Caroline O’Brien, the curator of the exhibit, did place her focus on commissioning archived costume pieces, she did also make sure that 60 Years of Designing the Ballet was in part dedicated to the art form’s laborious and intricate design production processes. In this vein, the inclusion of ballet “bibles”, a vital stage document that is filled with sketches, scale drawings, inspirations and fabric swatches, offered up a fascinating look into the grueling process of putting on a show, rather than solely the glamorous end product. 60 Years of Designing the Ballet is also paired with a smaller retrospective and community-outreach venture, The Tutu Project.

60 Years of Designing the Ballet run until September 2.


trans/FORM @ MOCCA

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Georgia Dickie’s “Smoking Gun Sculpture I” (2012)

This summer the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is set to host, trans/FORM– an exhibition featuring Toronto based artists, curated by the gallery’s director, David Liss.

trans/FORM showcases a variety of work by eight local artists, who, despite their disparate media preferences, do share a bond through a common materialist perspective. In this sense, trans/FORM upholds a “New Aesthetic” mandate in that, as the show’s title suggests, these artists aim to primarily stress the material and physical processes that are involved in making visual art. While trans/FORM’s main point of issue is centered firmly on the materiality of the highlighted work, and not it’s narrative or conceptual meanings, each of the show’s artists employ starkly different mediums and thematic sources, some of which hone in on, most obviously, materiality, but also physicality, scale and presence.

Georgia Dickie’s “None Genuine without This” (2012) sets the tone for trans/FORM. Not only is this work the first displayed installation upon entering the gallery doors, but, the piece also manages to literally evoke the artist’s material process and fabrication techniques in that the work is entirely comprised of objects that inhabit Dickie’s studio.

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Emnowaangosjig: Coming Out @ the Toronto Free Gallery

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Adrian Stimson

The Anishnaabe term “emnowaangosjig”, is a literal translation of the process of opening up, exposing one’s true self or actively coming out.  In keeping with its title, the Toronto Free Gallery’s current exhibition, Emnowaangosjig: Coming Out, The Shifting and Multiple Self, specifically highlights issues of individuality within the aboriginal community. This group show consists of nine artists; connected through the fact that they are all of aboriginal ancestry and are all practicing homosexual artists or queer theorists. Each artist individually examines the notion of “hierarchical identity”, wherein personal traits are either revered or reviled based on socio-political and cultural contexts. The space of the “Other”, a concept related to the ways that individuals or groups define their existence via a position of difference, is yet another theme examined in Emnowaangosjig: Coming Out. Adrian Stimson’s digital print series “Buffalo Boy’s Born Again” (2002) stems from a performance work of the same name and directly confronts Stimson’s self identification as “Other”. In so doing, the sequence of prints all place Stimson himself, who is dressed in drag, within historically and socially dominant narratives, i.e. the Bible and classic children’s fables.

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Opening: prose; apostrophe, prior.

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Francisco-Fernando Granados

Please join us for the opening of the 2012 University of Toronto, Department of Art MVS Studio (Masters of Visual Studies) Graduating Exhibition at the University of Toronto Art Centre, located at 15 King’s College Circle.

Breeze and Mulamadhyamakakarika from Matt Macintosh on Vimeo.


prose; apostrophe, prior features the work of FRANCISCO-FERNANDO GRANADOS, MATT MACINTOSH and FAYE MULLIN.

There will be an opening reception and performance on Thursday, March 29 from 7:00 -9:00 PM with remarks at 7:30 PM.

The exhibition runs from March 27 – April 7 at UTAC.

Catalogue texts by writer/curators for the 2012 MVS Exhibition, Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher.

Gallery Openings for the Week of March 26.

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sharon Switzer (Corkin)

Here is a list of some of the new shows on display in Toronto this week.

“4 Artists, 4 Perspectives” is on at Art Square Gallery from March 27-April 8.

Corkin Gallery is showing “Nearly Present,” a new set of video animations by Sharon Switzer. From March 24-April 24.

At Diaz Contemporary, Chris Kline examines the ‘architecture of painting’ while Manon de Pauw uses video to explore the relationship between performance and presence. From March 22-April 21. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jesse Harris at Georgia Scherman.

March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stepping off of Tecumseh St. towards the Georgia Scherman Gallery, I was greeted by a conspicuous black tag stuck to the front of the door, ominously warning ‘Parental advisory: explicit content.’ Largely ignorant of Jesse Harris’ artistic style, I couldn’t figure out if it had been pasted there by the curator, or a neighbourhood kid. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a sort of introduction to the solo-exhibition of Toronto artist Jesse Harris, entitled Language, Sex, Violence. « Read the rest of this entry »

Gallery Openings for the Week of March 19.

March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Michael Dumontier

Here is a list of some of the new shows on display in Toronto this week.

Christopher Cutts is showcasing paintings by Ron Martin. From March 17-April 11.

Clint Roenisch is hosting a show of new sculptures and works on paper by Jason de Haan from March 15-April 21.

“What Just Happened” a group show from the OCADU sculpture and installation students will be showing at Gallery 1313 from March 21-April 1 and Katharine Mulherin from March 15-25. « Read the rest of this entry »

Gallery Openings for the Week of March 12.

March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Arnaud Maggs at Susan Hobbs

Here is a list of some of the new shows on display in Toronto this week.

A Space Gallery is currently hosting the works of video artistDipna Horra and painter Mary Kainer. From March 8-31

Bezpala Brown Gallery is showing the paintings of Rubens Korubin until March 22.

Birch Libralato has two shows running. One by multimedia artist Sylvie Bélanger and the other by Richard Storms. Both shows run until April 14. « Read the rest of this entry »

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