Suspended (2018)

Photographic installation, 66“ h x 78” w x 5” d, collaged imagery, inkjet print on archival paper, mylar, corplast, clear cling, magnets

Collaged photographs and drawings that mine childhood memories, reflecting the volatility of nature, community and identity. 

With a Jewish father and an Anglo-Protestant mother, as a child, Lynne Heller, a multi- disciplinary artist, felt a sense of displacement in many settings. Raised in a distinctly gentile part of Toronto where her Jewish background set her apart, her experience of Jewish community was found at the summertime family retreat Camp Naivelt (Yiddish for “New World”). Located in Brampton, it was centred on secularist, progressive socialist values, activism, and a celebration of Jewish and Yiddish culture. At one time Naivelt was frequented by up to 5,000 people on any given weekend. While growing up, the artist experienced it as a place of sanctuary and freedom. 

The installation references a poignant childhood memory. Visiting Naivelt in the spring off-season, Heller’s family came upon enormous ice floes ejected from the Credit River that runs through the camp. Unpeopled and distant from the bustle and heat of summer, the site was made stranger still by this dramatic scene. Heller’s father lifted her onto one ice mass, which was taller than her seven-year-old stature, and she observed debris and fish frozen within. From that vantage point, she looked back to the one-lane bridge, the only passageway over the river and into the property. 

This eerie landscape and recollections frozen in time echo the dislocation of Heller’s upbringing. The massive ice blocks were both organic and oddly unnatural. Similarly, Heller felt both integrated into the Naivelt community during the 1960s and 70s yet often felt outside that milieu given her mixed heritage. And this haven of radical politics was in itself outside the norms of the Jewish mainstream. The ice-covered land evoked the gradual deterioration of the site that she witnessed alongside the dwindling of the community. Naivelt continues until today albeit with more modest participation. 

In the exhibition, the terrain of memory interweaves with the textures of College Street as perennial graffiti markings on our window enter the piece, linking the past with present-day realities where the artist’s self-conception is firmly grounded. An image of the Naivelt bridge appears, signaling possibilities in connecting two seemingly distinct realms, holding out the potential for crossing into the promise of a new world. 

Photograph of installation
Photographic detail of installation
Photographic detail of installation
Photographic detail of installation
Photograph of the installation as seen at night, across the street on College St.
Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 4:30pm
Lab Member: 
Lynne Heller

Scarborough Mycological Foray

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 11:00am to 2:00pm

Led by Diane Borsato, Amish Morrell, and the Mycological Society of Toronto's Alan Gan, this informal, family-friendly foray in the Highland Creek Ravine at the University of Toronto Scarborough will provide opportunity for participants to collect and study wild mushrooms, and enjoy nature.

The walk will begin from the Doris McCarthy Gallery promptly at 11 am and will go forward rain or shine. At 1 pm, the group will gather with Borsato, Morrell, and Gan to identify and share information on the mushrooms collected.

Please dress for the weather, wearing good walking shoes and pants you can tuck socks into (for avoiding scratches/insect bites if going off path). Please bring a basket in which to collect the mushrooms, and a folding pocket knife to cut them. Additional recommendations can be found on the website of the Mycological Society of Toronto:

This program is free and all are welcome, no registration required. Please note that while not difficult, the path to the ravine from U of T Scarborough is uneven terrain and quite steep in parts.

TAKE THE BUS! Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St) at 10 am, returning at 2 pm, first come, first served.

Venue & Address: 
Doris McCarthy Gallery, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough

Students share their experience of the Awenda Inspired! field trip

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 4:15pm

Angela Lea Tupper, Fourth Year, Drawing and Painting

The Awenda Inspired! field trip was my first time painting en plein air, and not having to worry about the travel arrangements made the experience less intimidating. Being joined by a large group of fellow artists was also a wonderful support, allowing me to devote my full attention to our surroundings—I could observe simply as a visitor settling into the serene rhythm of the park, and also as an artist recording the effects of light and colour on my canvas. The opportunity to display our work further offered an interactive activity to conclude the day. Both artists and visitors were able to compare our varied responses to the landscape that inspired the Group of Seven painters. It provided us with a creative way to share our perceptions of the park as a community. Hopefully the species newly discovered in the territory that day (a variety of inner-city rat) was not one of the elements we shared with the park!


Connie Santos, Fourth Year, Drawing and Painting

The Awenda-inspired trip was an amazing opportunity to get away from the busy urban life of Toronto and to be surrounded by nature. It was my first time going to Awenda and I found the beaches to be very breath taking and very inspirational for en plein air painting. The beaches provide a clear view of Georgian Bay and its many islands, as well as a clear view of the rocks underneath the water.  The staff was friendly and more than willing to provide individuals with more knowledge such as the wild life found in the park. This trip is a great opportunity for artists to include on their CVs. Awenda is a beautiful and tranquil place that will leave you wanting to go back. 

Awenda Inspired Exhibition poster with event info and photo of forest

Awenda Inspired!

Saturday, October 1, 2016 - 4:00am

This year's Awenda Inspired trip brings together nearly 50 students, alumni and faculty from Drawing and Painting to Awenda Provincial Park.

For a full day students have the opportunity to explore, investigate, research and produce work in variety of mediums on the historic and scenic park grounds.

This event is sponsored and organized in partnership with the staff of the Awenda Provincial Park, Friends of Awenda Association, First Student Canada, and the Faculty of Art.  

A follow-up exhibition will take place next month in the Ada Slaight Student Gallery, October 24-28. Participating students come from all year levels which culminates into a diverse and extraordinary group exhibition.

Venue & Address: 
Awenda Provincial Park
Free, but participants must register as space is limited
Awenda Inspired 2016 poster, text on landscape photo background

Looking at Nature

Chinkok Tan
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 4:00am to Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 5:00am

Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum & Art Centre presents an exhibition of paintings by Faculty of Art Professor Chinkok Tan.

When I began to paint over 40 years ago, the basic elements of art, as I view them, had not been established in books. Nor had I been taught them in a satisfactory manner.

Later, I discovered that it was because the elements themselves had not been understood or articulated in their simplest form. The basic elements of visual art should function much like musical scales do for the composer.
They establish a vocabulary by which the artist communicates. They provide a foundation that supports experimentation, enabling students/artists to create their subjects using a personalized style or technique. My strongest contribution as an artist and educator is that I have distilled the various elements of art, as I view them, into their purest expression, namely Shapes & Light Value.

Venue & Address: 
Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum & Art Centre 67 Pottery Road, Toronto, Ontario

Beaver Tales: Canadian Art and Design

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - 4:00am to Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 5:00am

Organized by the University of Toronto Art Centre, Beaver Tales: Canadian Art and Design showcases both emerging and established designers and craft makers, alongside seminal artists who spearheaded the tradition of interpreting and celebrating Canadian countryside and wildlife in their artwork.

Guest curators Rachel Gotlieb and Martha Kelleher selected just over 100 pieces, to illustrate how artists, designers and craft makers, working over the last two centuries, have managed to transcend the pitfalls of kitsch and cliché, while creating universal works drawn from and inspired by motifs of Canadian identity: antlered animals, the beaver, the Canada Goose, the evergreen, the maple leaf, and the trillium.

By bringing together works from art, design and craft, often regarded by scholars and curators as distinct and separate disciplines, the curators also address this low art/high art bias by revealing that Canadian symbolic flora and fauna are vital sources of inspiration and discourse across the craft, art and design communities.

Works by the following artists are included in the exhibition:
Alumnus Mauricio Affonso, Stuart Ash, unknown Anishnaabe artist, Natasha Bailey, alumna Mary Anne Barkhouse, Anne Barros, Amy Bélanger, Douglas Boyd, Carol Bradley, Keith Campbell, Emily Carr, Clarice Cliff, Brent Comber, E.B. Cox, George Dancy, Robert Davidson, Dominion Glass Company, George Emery, Excelsior Glass Company, OCAD faculty member Todd Falkowsky, Bob Ford, Michael Fortune, Bud Fujikawa, Andrew Fussell, Frank Gehry, Gordon & Keith, Frédéric Guibrunet, former OCAD faculty member Emanuel Hahn, Thor Hansen, Lawren S. Harris, Cynthia Hathaway, Arthur Heming, Robert Hendery, Heather Cooper Company, Sabina Hill, Robert Holmes, Hothouse Design Studio, Elizabeth Wilkes Hoey, George Huel, A.Y. Jackson, Virginia Johnson, J.W. Kilgour & Bros., Yvon Laroche, Tilman Lichter, former OCAD principal Arthur Lismer, Loyal Loot Collective, former faculty member JEH MacDonald, Thoreau MacDonald, Anthony Mann, Eric Matthew, Laura McKibbon, David Milne, Minton, alumna Katherine Morley, Melissa Morrow, Earl Muldoe, unknown Northwest Coast artist, Ontario Glass Company, Charles Pachter, Pierre-Yves Pelletier, Reeva Perkins, Ann Pocket, Pierre Poulin, Christopher Pratt, Mark Preston, Bill Reddick, Bill Reid, Bo Scaife Casey, Elda Smith, Steven Tracy Smith, alumnus Robert Southcott, Guy St. Arnaud, Harold Stacey, Thomas Furnival & Sons, Thout Design, alumnus Harold Town, Oksana Ulisko, Frederick Arthur Verner, alumna Anneke van Bommel, Edward Walley, alumnus Don Watt, Joyce Wieiland, alumnus Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Thomas Wyon, alumnus Thea Yuzyk, and alumnus Tristan Zimmerman.

Venue & Address: 
University of Toronto Art Centre 15 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario

Kiwi Sculpture Garden Project 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008 - 5:00am to Friday, August 1, 2008 - 5:00am

The 2008 summer edition of the annual Kiwi Sculpture Garden Project marks the 7th anniversary of the Perth based site-specific sculpture project. For the past six years artists have been invited by Edward Day Gallery owner, Mary Sue Rankin to create sculptural installations with the assistance and support of Paul Loiselle, owner of Kiwi Gardens.

Faculty of Art Instructor Christian Bernard Singer mounts his environmental intervention in the Kiwi Sculpture Garden Project.

The ongoing theme expressed by the artists for the 2008 Kiwi Project relates specifically to the natural environment within which they are created, but also speak to global concerns of the alteration of the earth’s natural condition. Reinhard Reitzenstein* states that his use of tree imagery through his work "has become a marker of the ravages upon, and attempts at reconciliation with the natural world". His installation of two conjoined bronze trees, Curl, represents the simple gesture of reaching for light and its sustaining energy. Ania Biczysko, represents the hope for a "clean and unpolluted atmosphere" through her 9’ x 13’ cloud of stainless steel strips and ribbons, suspended above our "radically changing environment".

Denise Atkinson looks to powerful totems relayed through the symbol of her wire crow’s head and wings, mounted on a 6’ high steel rod. Worn during major tribal ceremonies, the crow keeps an omnipotent eye on the world and the environmental rituals conducted throughout. Also looking to bird and sky motives, Christian Bernard Singer’s Nest Hotel, will nestle throughout the Kiwi foliage as an environmental intervention.

Co-curator, founder of the Tree Museum, Ann O’Callaghan installs a stainless steel box and glass rods in a Kiwi brook to investigate how the "natural surroundings soften and transform the hard static object into an active changing element" while Penelope Stewart suspends an image of a glass bell jar laminated to a transparent image of Kiwi trees in situ, overlooking the state of the planet. Known for his glass installations, Mark Thompson has constructed a glass Adirondack chair that reminds us of our Canadian cottage heritage and traditions, as well as the fragility of our environment inherent in both.

Venue & Address: 
Kiwi Gardens 687 Harper Road, Perth, Ontario

Vaeltava Metsä / Nomadic Forest

Vaeltava Metsä / Nomadic Forest
Friday, March 28, 2008 - 4:00am to Sunday, September 21, 2008 - 4:00am

Vaeltava Metsä is an artistic and social reflection on the preservation of nature and a study of environmental problems. It brings together twenty professional members of the Atelier de l’Île of Val-David and nine Finnish printmakers. The show includes work by OCAD faculty member Claire Brunet.

In its fragility, this installation witnesses the precarious equilibrium of woodland resources, the haunts of stories and legends.

As the image of the living forest, the installation presents printed tree scrolls of suspended Japanese Baïka paper supporting plant boxes like fragile gondolas. Architectural wooden structures hold digital images nestled in paper boxes symbolizing buds of life, continuity and our connection with technology.

Vaeltava Metsä uses traditional and new techniques of printmaking including etching, collography, silkscreen, monotype, typography, xylography, digital and computer numerical control technologies.

The Atelier de l’Île is an artist run studio of sixty professional artists. Established in the Laurentians in 1975, the studio offers local as well as international artists, facilities for research, creation and production of contemporary prints while favouring the use of non toxic materials and techniques.

Venue & Address: 
Canada Science & Technology Museum 1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, Ontario

Art of Nature 2008 Auction & Sale

Art of Nature 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008 - 5:00am

Art of Nature 2008 is a fundraising sale of Canadian art inspired by the natural world – or by the degradation of the natural world. Some of the contributing artists are established and some are emerging. The work they donate ranges from the iconic to the ironic. Last year, Art of Nature contributed over $100,000 to Canadian environmental organizations, a splendid result for a first-time event.

The sale includes work by alumni Linda Montgomery, Joanne Todd, Rita Vindedzis, George Boyer, Norah Borden, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Dominik Modlinski, Brynley Longman and Mel Delija. For a full list of contributors or to bid, visit the website.

Venue & Address: 
Direct Energy Centre Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario

Christian Bernard Singer: Cabinet of Curosities

Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 4:00am to Sunday, June 8, 2008 - 4:00am

OCAD alumus, Christian Bernard Singer’s exhibition incorporates Singer’s trademark materials of earth, moss, and clay all formed into symbols for dance and language – these symbols are then displayed as museum artifacts in ornate wooden cabinets. Singer’s works also raises complicated questions about cultural interpretations, contrasting cultural ideals of possession and renunciation, as well as the problematic notion of placing another culture on display. Cabinet of Curiosities will show in the Dr. Douglas Wright Education Gallery.

Venue & Address: 
The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery 25 Caroline Street North, Waterloo, Ontario
$10 for Adults, $5 for Students and Seniors