The Flash Forward 10: Uncanny Worlds exhibition on now at OCAD U’s Onsite [at] OCAD U gallery brings together works by a diverse group of past Flash Forward Festival winners from OCAD U, as the international photography festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. The show runs until December 20, 2014.
The collaborative exhibition could be considered a departure for Onsite, but Lisa Deanne Smith, the gallery's curator, was won over after talking with MaryAnn Camilleri, the director of the festival (and founder of the Magenta Foundation which hosts it) together with Barbara Astman from OCAD U’s photography faculty, and then reviewing the range of work.
“It was very inspiring to research each artist’s full body of work since they graduated from OCAD U,” Smith said. “The Photography department at OCAD U fosters experimental, critical, conceptual work and I was blown away by the depth conceptually as well as visually. The educational foundation these photographers received is evident in the successful manner in which they are evolving.”
What unifies the work of the 12 photographers in the show is how they build a complex conversation addressing the relationship of humans and the physical world. When you walk into the gallery and start looking around, you’ll see a wide range of images that you pull you into their worlds and tell engaging stories. In Jinyoung Kim’s video, “The Passing” a person stands against the backdrop of the ocean, slowly letting a fistful of sand blow into the wind. It could evoke a sense of release and letting go, or loss, depending on how you view it.
Danny Custodio’s series, taken in the St. Catherines suburbs, shows trees growing up around hydro poles and wires—nature accommodating built structures, and perhaps even thriving in spite of it.
In Meryl McMaster’s “Murmur #3” hundreds starlings swirl around a woman’s head, but the birds are made from paper, and she’s standing against a concrete backdrop.
The exhibition also showcases Sanaz Mazinani, Nathan Cyprys and Stacey Tyrell, described by Smith as having developed “challenging, rigorous, gorgeous work.” She says she was drawn to the “formal qualities nearing perfection” of featured works by Geoffrey Pugen, Kotama Bouabane, Adrian Fish and Elise Victoria Louise Windsor, and notes Sebastián Benitez and Alex Kisilevich “employ humour and critique, always a difficult endeavor.”
“In its state of rapid change I find our world extremely exciting and often quite scary. Every day an article or conversation voices concern for our environment and the effect of humans on the earth. Every day there is someone, something or a moment that inspires and, I feel, makes our world a better place. The artists in Flash Forward 10: Uncanny Worlds do just that.” Lisa Deanne Smith, Curator, Onsite [at] OCAD U
Find out more:
Upcoming events as part of Flash Forward 10: Uncanny Worlds
Flash Forward 10
Flash Forward 11 Call for Submissions