George Whiteside Talks Photography

Black and white image of flowers
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 11:45pm

After graduating from OCAD in 1979, George Whiteside started his career as an artist showing regularly in galleries across Canada and internationally. He was a founding member of YYZ gallery in 1979. By 1981 commercial work began taking up the majority of his time, contributing to most major magazines and fashion advertising campaigns in Canada as well as the U.S. He has also managed to continue exhibiting personal work for the last 4 decades and in the last 5 years began focusing again on fine art. He is in the permanent collection of the AGO and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

The Faculty of Design has entered Scotia Bank Contact as a celebration of Photography and the work of the students in the Faculty of Design.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul Street Auditorium, Room 190  

Student Marvin Luvualu Antonio featured in AGO exhibition

Photograph by OCAD U student Marvin Luvualu Antonio on display at AGO
Marvin Luvualu Antonio flanked by Aimia AGO scholarship recipients
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 7:00pm

OCAD U Photography student Marvin Luvualu Antonio is one of three recipients of the Aimia | AGO Photography scholarship currently exhibiting at the AGO. Antonio’s work will be on display in the Weston Family Learning Centre Community Gallery through the end of January 2015

Part of the prestigious Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, this inaugural $7,000 scholarship will be applied towards tuition for Antonio's final year of undergraduate studies at OCAD U. He is joined by Kristiane Church from the University of Manitoba and Paige Lindsay of Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts.


Photo credit: Art Gallery of Ontario

Bottom photo from left to right:

Sophie Hackett, Associate Curator of Photography, AGO; Alden Hadwen, Director of Community Engagement, AIMIA; Paige Lindsay, Recipient Scholarship, Ryerson University; Marvin Luvualu Antonio, Recipient Scholarship, OCAD University; Kristiane Church, Recipient Scholarship, University of Winnipeg; Kevin O’Brien, Chief Commercial Officer, Aimia ;Judy Koke, Chief, Public Programming and Learning, AGO.

Grange Park Revitalization Project Community Meeting

Monday, July 7, 2014 - 10:30pm to Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 12:30am

Organized by the Grange Park Advisory Committee (GPAC)

Please come to this community meeting to review the feedback that was received from our April 22 meeting and to learn more about the design that has been developed for the Grange Park revitalization project.

In co-operation with:
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
Grange Community Association (GCA)
Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U)
St. George the Martyr Church University Settlement
City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation

For more information, please contact:
Bev Carret, AGO –
Ralph Daley, GCA -
Joan Heeler, St. George the Martyr Church –
Ena D’Altroy, University Settlement -

Venue & Address: 
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario
416-979-6660 ext. 477


Circle drawing by Nicole Collins. Image by Nicole Collins
Nicole Collins, Giotto's O, digital projection with sound, image by the AGO and Nicole Collins.

“An education in art is excellent and opens you up. But you can think you know where you’re going and end up somewhere else. Not knowing what’s going to happen and having to accept that is true about life in general. You do the best you can and I find that strangely reassuring. It’s more about tenacity and perseverance and unexpected things happen when you repeat yourself.” Nicole Collins

Artists can sometimes set extremely high standards for themselves, and as artist and OCAD U instructor Nicole Collins reveals in her new work, Giotto’s O, perfection is not always attainable — but something wonderful can happen when you try.

Giotto’s O, which is on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) until June 23, is the result of Collins’s attempts to draw a perfect circle and sound a perfect note. Collins draws a circle on the gallery wall using her arm as a compass and silverpoint, a medieval art material as her drawing tool. When she’s not in the gallery, viewers see a looped projection of her drawing and erasing a circle. The work is about constantly making and unmaking circles, and arriving at perfection only through repetition.

The other component of the work is sound — listen as you approach the work and you’ll hear Collins trying to sing the sounds of the bells she heard every day in Florence while she was teaching at the OCAD U Florence program and developing Giotto’s O. “The relationship between the sound is the idea of attempting, failing and at some level succeeding through the attempts,” says Collins.

Collins, who’s been exhibiting works as painter for more than two decades, went back to school in 2007 to do her Master’s of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She found a footnote in a Julia Kristeva article about how Giotto, while working on his frescoes in 1320, was approached by a courier to submit a sketch for a commission from the pope. Giotto, who hadn’t prepared anything, took a paintbrush, some red paint and executed a perfect circle for his submission. (He of course got the commission.)

“It’s brilliant because it was an exhibition of his mastery, and so brazen,” says Collins. “As a 21st century woman artist it made me laugh at first, then I wondered if I could create a perfect circle. I went back to my office, in King’s College Circle, and my immediate attempts were failures. I started making repeated circles and they made me think about our definition of perfection, and what labour means to art.”

When developing the work Collins was assisted by three of her OCAD U students: David Clark; Renee Dykeman and Megan Hunter. Giotto’s O is part of the Toronto Now series at the AGO, which celebrates the work of local artists and invites the public to engage with some of Toronto’s most exciting contemporary art projects, free of charge. Toronto Now is, fittingly, supported by The Contemporary Circle.

Where to see it

Art Gallery of Ontario, Young Gallery (inside FRANK restaurant)
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Note that the work can be viewed from either inside the gallery or from the outside. From the outside it’s accessible 24/7 to everyone.

108 drawings from this project can also be viewed at General Hardware Contemporary until June 23



Dr. Sara Diamond enjoys a panel session at the Urban Ecologies conference. Photo by Nicole Torres.
Patricio Davila, Shelagh McCartney, Behzad Sarmadi, Adrian Blackwell, Nicolas Barrette. Photo by Caroline Vani.

Urban environments are the location of ever increasing populations. How can we achieve a sustainable balance between human impact and environmental resilience? What ecological considerations can we apply to the design of urban environments, and how do we use ecology as a source of new theoretical, methodological and metaphorical directions? How do designers reconcile interlocking imperatives, such as social needs and desires, cultural norms and aspirations, economic restrictions and the allocation of natural resources and aesthetics?

These are some of the questions raised and discussed at the first Urban Ecologies conference, by speakers and delegates from a diverse group of backgrounds and professional affiliations—from local, national and international experts to thinkers and practitioners drawn from academic, professional, public service, business and grassroots communities. 

The conference, (June 19-21), included keynote talks, panels and workshops, and was held at OCAD U and the Art Gallery of Ontario, along with offsite event tours to the Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto’s waterfront and the Leslie Spit.

According to the conference co-chairs, Bruce Hinds, Chair, Environmental Design and Jesse Colin Jackson, OCAD U’s sustainability officer and an assistant professor in the Faculty of Design, urban ecologies operate dynamically across time and space and challenge the two-dimensional logic of conventional design methods. “Ecology provides a way of looking at cities that is not new but is extremely important and has the potential to transform the way we understand cities,” says Jackson. The overall goal of the conference was to examine relationships between ecology and urbanity and begin to foster strategies for designing sustainable, inclusive, healthy, engaged and resilient cities. “Urban Ecologies 2013 was an opportunity for us to examine our relationship to the city as a laboratory,” adds Hinds. 

The event was organized around five intersecting themes shaping the future of design in our cities: 

Thinking Systems: Applying knowledge of the urban environment’s complex and dynamic patterns of exchange to design stronger communities.

Visualizing Information: Using advanced visual strategies to improve our understanding of data-intensive human and non-human urban activity.

Regenerating Cities: Developing regenerative urban design strategies to create restorative relationships between cities and their surrounding environments.

Building Health: Bringing integrated concepts of human health, quality of life and inclusion to the design of the urban environment.

Creating Community: Fostering design partnerships between grassroots and professional communities to co-create sustainable urban places.

The conference kicked off with an opening address by Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president, and included panel talks on topics such as building the biocity, healthy communities by design, lessons from the global south, urban parkscapes, urban botanics as community catalyst and innovation for urban transresilience. Keynote speakers included Kathryn Firth, Chief of Design, London Legacy Development Corporation, Peter Hall, Head of Design, Griffith University Queensland College of Art and Teddy Cruz, Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism, University of California in San Diego.

A sample panel at Urban Ecologies 2013: Lessons from the Global South

Patricio Davila, Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, OCAD U, the panel moderator. 

Shelagh McCartney, Assistant Professor Carleton University, who spoke about slums in Sao Paolo and Manila.

Behzad Sarmadi, PhD candidate, Socio-cultural Anthropology, the University of Toronto, who gave a talk on urban transformation and migration in Dubai.  

Adrian Blackwell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design, who presented on the ecological paradox of Shenzhen, China.

Nicolas Barrette, graduate student, Architecture at the University of Toronto, who spoke about land reclamation in China. 


Installation by Nathalie Quagliotto. Image courtesy Nathalie Quagliotto.

Seven graduate students in OCAD U’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice programguest curated the popular First Thursday event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on February 6. First Thursday is a monthly art party bringing together art, artists and music.

The OCAD U team developed a theme of The Duel: Competition at the Heart of Play, choosing to explore the competitive nature that drives us, and our need, even as adults, for play. “The gallery can be a neutral and somewhat intimidating space,” said Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, whose role on the team was to coordinate the pop-up talks and logistics. “We wanted to transform it into a place where new and playful interactions could occur and give people a new way of relating to the artwork.”

The team selected pre-existing works from some of the artists involved in the evening, including concept artist Nathalie Quagliotto, whose fun, large-scale playground architecture installations, Maturity Correlation and Double Your Chances, bring giant swings, mini-golf and gumball machines to the AGO’s European galleries.

The team was excited to commission new works by performance artists Geoffrey Pugen and Sarah Febbaro specifically for the event. Pugen’s King’s Court is a table tennis duel played on a modified, circular table with Pugen head-to-head against a professional table tennis player. Sarah Febbraro’s Let’s Figure This Out Fast So We Can Just Be Together! is an alternative speed matchmaking service over text messaging that sets couples up on instant dates.

The evening line-up also includes pop-up talks by AGO artist-in-residence and indie videogame maker, Jim Munroe and collective artists from VSVSVS, plenty of music spinning and playing in the AGO’s Walker Court. “Between Tape Deck Bros., Tasha The Amazon and Pick a Piper there will definitely be a lot of music to dance to!” said Blakeney. 

The team of Criticism and Curatorial Practice students coordinating the event included Rui Amaral, Vicki Clough, Matthew Kyba, Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, Natasha Peterson, Erin Saunders and Genvieve Wallen. Blakeney said the opportunity to work with AGO staff in was an invaluable experience: “it definitely gave us a great insider view as to how an arts institution of this size functions on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Learn more

The Art Gallery of Ontario First Thursdays

Criticism and Curatorial Practice


AGO First Thursdays

Event Poster
Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 11:00pm to Friday, September 5, 2014 - 3:30am

With OCAD U 2013 and 2014 Scultpure/Installation Medal Winners Shannon Lea Doyle and Alex Beriault

On September 4, Toronto’s most popular cultural night returns with a special celebration of the exhibition Alex Colville. Join us and headliner Bry Webb, frontman of the newly reunited band The Constantines, to celebrate this extraordinary exhibition, featuring more than 100 works by the internationally renowned Canadian icon, marking the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date.

Experience one-night-only artist projects and performances, stimulating tours and talks, as well as an interactive opportunity to engage with Colville’s oddly familiar scenes in surprising ways. The night will feature performances from contemporary dancer Katie Ewald, musician/artist Tor Lukasik-Foss, as well artists Alex Beriault and Shannon Lea Doyle who will present a three hour durational performance. Want some expert, on-the-spot info on Colville? The night will also feature Pop-up speakers including the exhibition’s curator Andrew Hunter, artist Simone Jones, academic Amy Lavander Harris and AGO Associate Curator Georgiana Uhlyarik.

In addition to Bry, the musical lineup also includes The Weather Station, result of our partnership with SappyFest, the beloved music festival in Colville’s adopted hometown of Sackville, New Brunswick, as well as DJ Leon Taheny.

Plus, one of the most talked about destinations at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Grolsch Open House, brings its creative spirit to AGO First Thursdays. Featuring a performance by River Tiber, this dynamic Grolsch Open House teaser will take place in AGO's Galleria Italia, and will also include a DJ and interactive art-making.

Of course, it wouldn't be a First Thursday without amazing music from local DJs, the Out of the Vaults exhibition of rarely seen works from the AGO collection, delicious food and drinks, and a few creative surprises!

Tickets for the September First Thursday are on sale now. Regular-priced tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission for AGO members is $10 in advance and $13 at the door.

Party-goers can also purchase $22 advance combo-ticket packages for Alex Colville and September’s First Thursday. The exhibition will be open until 10 pm, with the last entry at 9:30 pm. AGO members enter the exhibition for free but are encouraged to book tickets in advance.

Image: Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965, acrylic emulsion on masonite, 61.9 x 92.5 cm, Purchased 1966, National Gallery of Canada (no. 14954) © A.C.Fine Art Inc.

AGO First Thursdays Media Partner: NOW Magazine
AGO First Thursdays Supporting Sponsor: JOE Fresh
AGO First Thursdays Official Beer Partner: Grolsch Beer

Venue & Address: 
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) 317 Dundas St. W. Toronto, Ontario
$10-$15 Admission (19+ Cash Bar)

Bonnie Devine’s Battle for the Woodlands on view at the AGO

Bonnie Devine with her installation. Image courtesy AGO.
Bonnie Devine's Battle for the Woodlands in the gallery. Image courtesy AGO.

Bonnie Devine, an associate professor and the founding chair of OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program, spent part of her summer installing a new work, Battle for the Woodlands, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The installation expands an early 19th century map of Upper and Lower Canada to reflect an Anishinaabe world view. 

Battle for the Woodlands will be on view at the AGO for a year, and is an extension of the AGO’s major temporary summer exhibition, Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, which features work by leading modern and contemporary artists, including Norval Morrisseau, Michael Belmore, Daphne Odjig, OCAD U instructor Robert Houle, and others. Before and After the Horizon opened on July 30 and runs until November 25.

Before and After the Horizon is co-organized by the AGO and the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s a celebration of visual expressions of the spiritual and social dimensions of our relations with the earth, and at the same time challenges certain accepted accounts of history. 

Devine, whose work “Letter to William,” is part of the temporary exhibition, was talking with Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator for Canadian Art, about a historic map of upper and lower Canada and what it meant one day earlier this year when she came up with the idea to overlay an Anishinaabe vision over the map to show the four great lakes represented as spirit animals, as well as the important sites of conflict and contact between European and Anishinaabe people. 

Hunter saw the idea as an opportunity to both respond to and extend the ideas of the temporary exhibition through the rest of the gallery and spark conversations. As part of the installation process, Devine worked in the gallery during viewing hours so she could engage with viewers and answer questions. 

“Devine’s installation has accomplished a great deal, and at the same time resulted in endless intense and meaningful conversations with the public, guests and officials in the gallery,” said Hunter. “The goal for us with projects like this to create a deep engagement, not only between the AGO and OCAD U, but also with this place and the land — the deep human history and our part of our community. It challenges the institution to learn, change and grow.”


Learn more

Before and After the Horizon 

Bonnie Devine image timeline 

Bonnie Devine faculty biography 


Alumni, faculty make both Sobey Art Award and Aimia | AGO Photo Prize longlists

Jean-Paul Kelly, "Service of the goods," HD video (still, detail), 2013.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 4:00pm

Awards season is here. This week longlists were announced for the Sobey Art Award and the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.

The Sobey Art Award, Canada's pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art, is an annual prize given to an artist age 40 and under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner will receive $50,000; four finalists will receive $10,000; and $500 is given to each of the remaining longlisted artists.

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada's largest photography prize, awarding more than $85,000 to artists working in photography. The prize includes an annual exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), an online exhibition, international artist residencies, public programming and a national scholarship program.

This year’s Sobey longlist includes alumna Reena Katz (2010 Integrated Media medal winner), alumnus Chris Curreri (1998, Foundation Studies) and Visual Studies and Integrated Media Instructor Jean-Paul Kelly. Both Curreri and Kelly have also been announced among the Aimia longlist selections. Bios and work by all the artists can be viewed on Sobey Art Award and Aimia | AGO Photography Prize respective websites.

The Sobey shortlist will be announced in June. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery opening on November 1, with the winner being announced at a Gala event on November 19.

The Aimia shortlist will be announced on August 13. Each shortlisted artist will receive a fully funded six-week residency in Canada and their work will be exhibited at the AGO beginning September 3. The winner, selected by public vote inside the exhibition and online, will be announced on October 29.

Marvin Luvualu Antonio among recipients of the inaugural Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship

Marvin Luvualu Antonio, Self Portrait #1, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 4:00pm

Photography student Marvin Luvualu Antonio has won a prestigious scholarship toward his fourth year of studies at OCAD U. His work will also be featured in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

From a field of 110 candidates, a jury selected three to receive $7,000 CDN each toward tuition for their final year of undergraduate study. Antonio is joined by Kristiane Church from the University of Manitoba and Paige Lindsay of Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts.

Antonio was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is of Angolan descent. His interdisciplinary work explores the topics of identity politics and the artist as subject.

Of this year’s winners the jury wrote, “We’re thrilled to be offering these inaugural scholarships to Kristiane, Marvin and Paige. Each of them demonstrates a restless experimentation and a unique view on the ways images are made and operate in the world. They have embraced photography as an expanded practice — their work includes performance, installation and participatory sculpture, as well as still and moving images. We’re pleased to support their final year of undergraduate study.”

Valued at more than $20,000 CDN, the scholarship program is intended for full-time students — Canadian or international — who are entering their final year of study toward a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in photography at one of eight participating post-secondary institutions.

An exhibition of their work will be displayed inside the Weston Family Learning Centre Community Gallery at the AGO beginning in November 2014. Their schools will each receive a $1,000 honorarium.

The national scholarship program is part of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, Canada's largest photography prize and one of the largest art and culture award programs in the world. The Aimia | AGO Award provides more than $85,000 CAD directly to artists working in photography each year. A short list will be announced on Aug. 13, 2014.