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

Visit Toronto studio Moss & Lam

Visit Toronto's Moss & Lam, an amazing art studio that creates custom artwork, wall surfaces and installation for some of the world's top designers. The firm's founder and many of its artists are OCAD Universty alum. 

Video created by OCAD U student Olga Kholod

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Visiting Artist: Chantal Gibson

Between Friends/Entre Amis. National Film Board of Canada,
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 2:00pm to Friday, November 3, 2017 - 5:00pm

Between Friends is an interactive, altered book installation. It is also the name of a large, hardcover, photography book that was gifted to the United States by Canada in 1976 to commemorate the American bicentennial. The preface is written and signed by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The book functions as a map, an atlas, a tourist guide and a diplomatic agreement. Over 250 pages document and represent the US/Canada border from west to east, including maps of the regions from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Together with images of people, places and landscapes it provides a portrait of both countries and the friendly relationship between them—there is no evidence of the ethnic and cultural diversity of the countries, no signs of a history of struggle, conflict and violence.

To "commemorate" Canada 150 in the time of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and directly engage conversations with the AGO/Massey Hall and other institutions, Between Friends is an intervention, a meditation on the present relationship between Canada and the US in the time of Reconciliation and Trump. It exploits the erasure of erasure, by rewriting the past as it envisions the future. The Canada/US border is 8891 kilometers or 5525 miles. The book will be rewritten, the pages redacted—knotted, twisted, braided—with 8891 yards of black cotton yarn. One yard of thread for every kilometer, because irony and humour are also tightly woven in our border narratives.

Participants' hands will be recorded as they work with thread in collaboration with others to create a new edition that speaks to contemporary experience of the border.

Staged in the OCAD U Learning Zone, Between Friends will be “written” by the facilitating artist, as well as students, faculty and library visitors. The artist will be on site throughout the day, and participants can join in at any time.

Faculty wanting to book a class visit to the installation, please contact Stephanie Dayes, Coordinator, Writing and Learning Services (sdayes@ocadu.ca).

 

Chantal Gibson (chantalgibson.com) is A Historical In(ter)ventionist, an artist-educator living in Vancouver. Interests in race, gender and history are evident across her altered texts that challenge the cultural production and historic consumption of knowledge. Her work explores power, exploiting colonial mechanisms of oppression—myths, tropes, metaphors—persistent across writings and representations of African/Canadian history. Her current altered book installations encourage public participation—Re(d)action as activism. Her work aims to create new spaces—to use historic silences and omissions—to include alternative voices. She teaches writing and design communication in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University. 

 

Image citation: Between Friends/Entre Amis. National Film Board of Canada, Still Photography Division, Ottawa, Canada, 1976. McClelland and Stewart Limited, Toronto.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Learning Zone, First floor, 113 McCaul St.
Email: 
sdayes@ocadu.ca
Cost: 
n/a

Richard Fung: Landscapes

image of a castle
Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 11:00am to Sunday, December 10, 2017 - 6:00pm

Ground Signals

Listen and look at multisensory art representing the land beyond landscape.

Paintings and picturesque photographs of Canada’s rugged wilderness and untouched nature continue to permeate our media and underwrite our national identity. Yet the Canadian landscape has rarely ever been untouched. The land has long been inhabited. There have been many centuries of cultural production by Indigenous Peoples that represent the land and the connection between nature and human experience in very different ways from the traditions encompassed within Western landscape art. During recent decades, new generations of artists working in Canada have drawn from a wealth of other non-Western practices and developed new forms of media to represent the land beyond the romantic, expressionistic styles and pictorial forms that have become so familiar. These artists invite us to consider our own presumptions and relationship to the places around us—beyond seeing them as scenic or banal, as sources of investment and industry, or as sites of recreation.

Gathering works by over a dozen artists from across Canada, Ground Signals features immersive, multisensory art that engages with land and water. The exhibition includes ceramic bowls that emit environmental audio recordings and Indigenous songs from northern Quebec; a towering sculpture of woven copper wire that broadcasts shortwave marine radio reports from a proposed pipeline terminus on British Columbia’s coast; a time-travelling shadow machine made of wax, paint, and human hair that transports visitors to the deep past of Tahltan territory; a gigantic mural of found blankets and building materials framed in words and writing about waterways impacted by industrial accidents; composite videos of Southern Ontario vistas morphing into English Romantic landscape paintings; and a solar-powered culture station collects stories in exchange for energy.

Building on several recent Surrey Art Gallery exhibitions that have addressed landscape, ecology, territory, and mapping, Ground Signals challenges viewers to listen and experience the land in fresh  and compelling ways through a combination of sounds and images.

Artists: Ruth Beer, Roxanne Charles, Marie Côté, Lindsay Dobbin, Richard Fung, Brandon Gabriel and Ostwelve, Farheen HaQ, Peter Morin, Valérie d. Walker and Bobbi L. Kozinuk, Charlene Vickers and Cathy Busby

Join us for the opening party on September 23.

Curators: Roxanne Charles and Jordan Strom
Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery

 

Richard Fung, Warkworth Castle, part of Landscapes (2008), video still.

Venue & Address: 
Surrey Art Gallery is located in the Surrey Arts Centre 13750 88 Avenue Surrey, BC
Website: 
http://www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation/24172.aspx
Email: 
artgallery@surrey.ca
Phone: 
artgallery@surrey.ca

DIY LOVE: Queer Knowledge & History Then, Now, and Forever

We're a Gay & Happy Family
Friday, June 23, 2017 - 7:00pm to Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 6:00pm

Participants will have the opportunity to make posters and use original posters made for this installation to create a wheat pasted wall that celebrates queer knowledge and history, which will be on display at multiple sites across Toronto after the Pride festival. Come talk and create with us!

The project is supported by OCAD University, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Toronto's larger LGBTQ2S+ community.

    • Artists: Kaythi, Seiji, Will Carpenter, John Wigle, Maya Wilson-Sanchez, Natalie Mark, and Lex B.
    • Location: Pride Street Fair
    • Dates: June 23 (7 to 9 p.m.), June 24 & 25, 2017 (12 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
    • Full description of the collective’s project is located here, as well as its original posters that will be available for download in the future: diylove2017.tumblr.com
    Venue & Address: 
    Pride Street Fair
    Website: 
    https://diylove2017.tumblr.com/
    Cost: 
    Free

    Michael Trommer

    Michael Trommer is a Toronto-based producer and sound artist; his experimental work has been focused primarily on psychogeographical and acoustemological explorations via the use of field recordings, infra- and ultrasound, as well as multi-channel installation and expanded video techniques.

    Paulette Phillips

    Paulette Phillips works in Europe and Canada in film for installation and also with audio, performance, electro-magnetism, digital photography, video, light and mechanics. During her career she has established an international reputation for her tense, humorous and uncanny explorations of the complexity of social and physical energy and contradictions that play out in our construction of stability.

    Ginette Legaré

    A mixed media artist, Ginette Legaré has been teaching in OCAD University's Faculty of Art (mostly in the Sculpture/Installation program) since 1990, and in its Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media & Design graduate program. Her work has been shown in many group and solo exhibitions throughout Canada, in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, the U.S. and in Tokyo, Japan. She has also taught at the University of Toronto/Sheridan College's Art and Art History Program, and at York University.

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