Onsite [at] OCAD University presents "Letter Rip! Art, Words and Toronto," an exhibition exploring the interplay of visual art and literary expression in work by Toronto's cultural community.
"Letter Rip!" samples contemporary explorations of the connections between the visual and the literary, a theme that has engaged Toronto's cultural community for generations. The exhibition features work by designer Andy Callahan and artists Hyang Cho, Michelle Gay and Gary Taxali with an anchoring contribution from Stephen Fowler, proprietor of the eclectic book shop The Monkey's Paw. Fowler will curate a display from his collection of books by niche publisher Charles C. Thomas.
"Literary expression, the letter's materiality, the word's abstractness — these themes have been important in Toronto's art community for generations," said Onsite curator Charles Reeve. "Letter Rip! suggests that the overlap between visual art and literary expression engages cultural sectors beyond visual art, and that emerging generations of artists, designers and literati continue this engagement." Reeve cites OCAD U's recently announced Faculty of Art undergraduate specialization "Cross Disciplinary Art Practices: Publications," to begin in September 2012, as evidence for this continued interest in these relationships.
ANDY CALLAHAN A multi-disciplined graphic designer and illustrator with a background in creative print and web design, he is originally from Brighton, England. His work has been featured in various British and, as of recently, international publications. He lives in Toronto.
HYANG CHO holds a BA from Sogang University, Seoul, Korea (1998), a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2007) and an MFA from the University of Guelph (2009). Her recent solo exhibitions include being, thing, something at Georgia Scherman projects and That's How It Is, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph (2009). Her recent group exhibitions include Permutations, Truck Contemporary Art Gallery, Calgary (2011);The Black and the White: An Allegory of Colour, 5th KWAG Biennial, curated by Robert Enright, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (2011); and, Autofunction, curated by Derek Sullivan and Shane Krepakevich, G Gallery, Toronto (2011). She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects, and lives in Guelph.
STEPHEN FOWLER is proprietor of The Monkey's Paw antiquarian bookshop in Toronto. He is a former poet and journalist, and first explored the intersection of dead print and contemporary media in the mid-1990s with his column Salvage Culture on the seminal webzine Word.com.
MICHELLE GAY studied art and art history at the University of Toronto and received her MFA from NSCAD University. Her work often experiments with the ubiquitous desktop computer, as a site of intimate virtual or digital experiences-teasing out resonant connections between machines and bodies and between digital and actual spaces. She often collaborates with her brother, particle physicist Colin Gay, on these "artware" projects. Interested in the possibilities of touch and poetics within new media platforms, they develop artware designed to play with technologies in non-useful ways. She is represented in Toronto by the Birch Libralato Gallery.
GARY TAXALI is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in many major magazines, galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe. In 2005, he launched his first vinyl toy, The Toy Monkey, which included a special edition along with a silkscreen print commissioned by The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. This led Gary to create his toy company, Chump Toys, and to release his OH NO and OH OH vinyl figures. Gary also teaches at OCAD University and has lectured widely, including at The Art Director's Club of Houston, Dankmarks Designskole (Copenhagen) and Istituto Europeo Di Design (Rome). A Founding Member of The Illustrators' Partnership of America, Gary also sits on Canada Post's Stamp Advisory Committee. The many student and professional competitions he has juried include the Juno Awards (Screening Committee), the Society of Illustrators, the National Magazine Awards, the Dallas Society of Visual Communications and 3×3: The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. Gary created the cover art and inside illustrations for Aimee Mann's latest album @#%&*! Smilers, nominated for a 2009 Grammy for Best Package Design. Major publications include the children's books This Is Silly!, I Love You, OK? and the monograph Mono Taxali. Earlier this year, The Royal Canadian Mint released a special edition of six Gary Taxali 25¢ coins. Gary lives in Toronto.
Carl Wagan Bookmobile
July 5th, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Carl Wagan is a traveling gallery, printshop, studio, library, reading room, classroom, and community project-all contained within a 1988 VW Westfalia camper van. Carl Wagan promotes active engagement with book-based cultural activity such as self-publishing, zine-making, screenprinting, and bookbinding. The project creates inventive situations for promotion, distribution and exhibition of self-published materials. Subtitled The Spaceship of the Imagination, this project is partly a loving homage to the radical innovation of astronomer Carl Sagan whose passion for dreaming continues to inspire generations of thinkers. Carl Wagan is a community hub and proactive experiment in radical pedagogy-bringing the strategies, materials, ideas and dialogues of independent publishing to audiences in a variety of settings.