The Lowest Relief

Maria Flawia Litwin

August 21–September 27, 2015

TYPOLOGY Projects
Toronto, ON

January 15–February 12, 2016

Back Gallery Project
Vancouver, BC


In this new body of work, Litwin uses wycinanki (pronounced vih-chee-nahn-kee), a Polish paper cutting tradition, to weave stories layered with personal memories, social history, symbolism and mythology. Each work stems from a significant autobiographical detail in the artist’s life. Yet the illustrations are stripped of overt personal narrative. The focus instead is on quintessential life experiences—those as simple and complex as birth and death, and as fleeting or all encompassing as love, alienation, pain, fear or passion—that transcend gender, geography and culture.

Whimsical but touched with dark humour, the complex cuts, colours and patterns draw the eye in. Through these intricate details we are eased into the absurdity of memory, a space where the recollections of the artist become a jumping off point for the experiences of the viewer. The fantastical vignettes, filled with elaborate costumes from Polish folk to Canadian plaid, and animal and human actors ranging from a murder of crows to an armed attacker or gentle lover, unsettle and disturb as much as they delight.

An exhibition catalogue was produced in conjunction with The Lowest Relief at TYPOLOGY Projects (now the Critical Distance Centre for Curators). The catalogue contains a Director's Foreword, Curatorial Essay by Katherine Dennis, and Interview with the Artist by Caiomhe Morgan-Feir. View/Download the catalogue here.

About the Artist:

Maria Flawia Litwin is a visual artist who grew up in both Poland and Australia, straddling the Iron Curtain. She has spent the last eighteen years living and working in Toronto. Encounters with communist and consumer ideologies within social and educational structures have made Litwin sensitive to the fluid and shifting nature of belief systems. She is particularly concerned with the way changes in ideology manifest themselves in her figurative and literal environment. Marxism, feminism and humour have greatly impacted her art production. Although trained as a sculptor, Litwin’s work is not medium specific and takes the form of textiles, data collecting, performance, acting, video, photography, and fiction writing. Litwin holds a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design and a Master’s degree from York University in Toronto.

About Typology:

TYPOLOGY is a not-for-profit project space devoted to curatorial and artistic experimentation. Providing opportunities for curators and participating artists to mount fully realized exhibitions within a critical framework, TYPOLOGY is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on exhibition-making as a way to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life.

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Memories of the Future II

Bambitchell and Aleesa Cohene

August 20—October 17, 2015

Campbell House Museum
Toronto, ON


Memories of the Future is an annual project that invites artists to respond to the history and development of house museums across Toronto. For this exhibition at the Campbell House Museum, artists Aleesa Cohene and Bambitchell employ a range of approaches that uncover and interpret the layered narratives of the house. The artworks consider the location of the house in Toronto’s justice precinct and Chief Justice William Campbell’s role in presiding over the ‘Types Trial’, the case against the rioters who destroyed William Lyon Mackenzie’s printing press, by unpacking contemporary issues related to citizenship, social justice, and governmental control.

Offering a kind of cultural excavation, this ongoing curatorial project digs deeper into the archive and provides alternate readings of historic accounts. Using the visual language of the present and speculating on possibilities for the future, memories of the distant past are newly exposed, interpreted and remembered.

Curated by Noa Bronstein and Katherine Dennis.

Campbell House Museum
160 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON
M5H 3H3

http://www.campbellhousemuseum.ca
memories.ot.future@gmail.com

About the Artists:

Bambitchell (Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell) met in 2008 and have been fostering an artistic collaboration ever since. Their practice uses queer and feminist frameworks in order to reimagine borders, historical patterns of movement, labour, migration and memory. Working in various media (print, video, sculptural installation and performance), they explore these constantly shifting narratives through the use of images, architectures, language, sound and bodies. Bamboat and Mitchell both have independent art practices and they are members of the Pleasure Dome Experimental Film & Video Programming Collective.

Aleesa Cohene a media artist who uses found footage and sounds to create videos and installations about human intimacies. Cohene has been making videos since 2001, and in 2010 completed a fellowship at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne, Germany. Cohene’s audiovisual collages are expertly edited, telling oblique, strongly atmospheric stories. The artist’s found footage tends to come from Hollywood films and TV shows popular during her childhood in the 1980s and early 1990s; one example is the 2008 three-channel installation Something Better, which showed at the 2009 Images Festival and later at the Power Plant’s 2011 exhibition “Coming After”—a look at younger queer artists who came of age during and after the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Cohene was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2011, and her work has also been shown at Oakville Galleries and Galerie Suvi Lehtinen in Berlin.


About the Campbell House Museum:

Built in 1822, Campbell House the oldest surviving building from the Town of York and an outstanding example of Georgian architecture. Saved by The Advocates’ Society from demolition and moved to its current location in 1972, Campbell House was originally home to Chief Justice William Campbell. Today, Campbell House Museum is a public museum intended to be a place where members of Toronto’s diverse communities gather to discuss, to create, to perform and to socialize, giving life to the words “freedom of expression.” The museum maintains its link to the administration of justice by serving as an important meeting and debating place for lawyers and the judiciary. The museum acquires and preserves artifacts related to Chief Justice William Campbell’s life and times, and to Campbell House’s ongoing history.

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Land Marks

Mary Anne Barkhouse, Wendy Coburn, Susan Gold, Brendan Fernandes
and Jérôme Havre

Co-curated with Andrea Fatona

28 June–11 August 2013  Thames Art Gallery, Chatham, ON

25 April–15 June 2014   Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, ON

Jan 24—March 22 2015  Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, ON



Land Marks features five artists whose works draw our attention to the ways in which humans mark themselves, others and their environments as a way of establishing identities, territory and relationships to the world. The artists highlight practices of marking, naming and classification as bound up in binaries that separate nature from culture. These organizing practices in turn create and emphasize categorical differences in our relationships with other living beings.

The works in Land Marks trouble the taken for granted yet complex concept of nature through re-presentations of animals, humans, the environment and museum practices. By representing spaces where these ideas merge, clash and create composite sites, the artists of this exhibition offer ideas on how to reconsider and reposition the constructed categories that limit people and their interactions with each other and the environment.

—Katherine Dennis and Andrea Fatona


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View/download the catalogue

MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE

Sara Angelucci, Robert Hengeveld, Eleanor King and Matt Macintosh

Co-curated with Noa Bronstein

Sept 20 – Nov 9, 2014

Gibson House Museum
5172 Yonge St. North York, ON

Memories of the Future is an annual project that invites contemporary artists to respond to the history and development of house museums across Toronto. For the inaugural exhibition at Gibson House Museum artists Sara Angelucci, Robert Hengeveld, Eleanor King and Matt Macintosh employ a range of approaches and media that explore the layered narratives of the house, museum and landscape.

Uncovering hidden stories and forgotten histories, the exhibition explores timely issues related to museums and authenticity, land claims, sustainability and urban development. Offering a kind of cultural excavation, this ongoing curatorial project digs deeper into the archive and provides alternate readings of historic narratives. Using the visual language of the present and speculating on possibilities for the future, memories of the past are newly exposed, interpreted and remembered.

toronto.ca/gibsonhouse
memories.ot.future@gmail.com

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View/download the catalogue

as perennial as the grass

Amalie Atkins, Brian Cauley, Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai and Ellyn Walker

19 October–14 December 2013

The Elora Centre for the Arts
Elora, ON

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all
aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.


– “Desiderata,” Max Ehrmann, 1927

Simple gestures – writing a love letter or anonymous note, embracing someone tenderly, or watering a plant—are poetic affirmations for ways of interacting in and connecting with the world. As Perennial as the Grass shares visual segments from stories about love in the form of textile, video and installation art.

The artists of this exhibition, Amalie Atkins, Brian Cauley, Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai and Ellyn Walker, manifest intimate insights into their worldviews with actions and images that resist cynical, aloof attitudes too commonly cultivated in contemporary society. These candid artworks demonstrate genuine affection for the self and other.

Thank you to the Middlebrook Fund for Social Innovation at the Centre Wellington Community Foundation for their support and dedication to contemporary artistic practice.

This project would not be possible without the support of Ed Video Media Arts Centre and the Ontario Arts Council.

Neighbourhood Messages
Brian Cauley

16 August–13 October 2013
Bissell Park, Elora, ON

During the two months leading up to the exhibition As Perennial as the Grass (16 August–13 October), Cauley’s Neighbourhood Messages (2012) invited the Elora community to leave inspirational notes that carried their goodwill to strangers. Located in Bissell Park, a frequented community park next to the Grand River, a typewriter awaited participants who chose to adorn the overhanging tree branches with their messages. As the collection of notes grew visitors were invited to read, respond or remove and hopefully reflect on the traces left behind by others.

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View/download the catalogue

//THE ANNUAL//

SHIFTING GROUND

10–13 October 2013

The Gladstone Hotel
Toronto, ON

At junctures of transformation, powerful and contradictory feelings are exposed: uncertainty and possibility, trepidation and hopefulness. While the ground presupposes the solid surface of the earth safely positioned below our feet, this surface, like all things, moves and morphs, often without warning, restructuring the very foundation on which we build.

By examining the effects of important personal, cultural and societal changes, this exhibit illuminates the threads that bridge distinct reshaping of worlds. Participating artists responded to this year’s theme by thinking literally – natural disasters, urban development, border negotiations – and metaphorically—reinvention, disruption, the creation of new worlds. Their eclectic responses consider topics ranging from the micro- to macrocosmic, the deeply personal to widely public and the philosophical to the technological.

2013 PARTICIPANTS
Jessica Marion Barr, Cindy Blažević, Julia Callon, Adam Chapman, Dominique Cheng, Mel Coleman, Kevin Day, Marc De Pape, Maria Flawia Litwin, Tahireh Lal, Ryan Louis, Pascal Paquette, Adrienne Marcus Raja, Alison Snowball, and Walnut Contemporary Gallery supported artists Julie Gladstone, James Olley and Anna Pantcheva; and ART BOMB supported artists Tom Ridout and Cate McGuire.

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View/download the catalogue

House & Home

Cindy Blažević, Zoe Kreye and Gwenessa Lam

7 September–30 October 2013

The Campbell House Museum
Toronto, ON

What makes a house a home? Built in 1822, the Campbell House is the oldest remaining building from the original town of York. Once a family home, this dwelling is more than an example of Georgian architecture; it is a site of heritage and a relic of personal and collective memory. Contemporary Canadian artists Cindy Blažević, Zoe Kreye and Gwenessa Lam capture how the physical structure of a space contributes to individual and shared identities, thereby drawing our awareness to the historical performance of “home” within the Campbell House Museum.

Exhibited in the second floor ballroom surrounding the fireplace – the hearth, the symbolic soul of the family – this exhibition animates a space frozen-in-time. Together the artworks offer an open-ended narrative about the transformation of space into place, house into home.

I would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Sir William Campbell Foundation.

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View/download the catalogue

NOW

A Collaborative Project with Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette

21 January–1 April 2012

Toronto Now series
The Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON

Relocated from the street, local Toronto artists Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette come together in the gallery for a collaborative installation using convergent forms of street art, graffiti writing and activist interventions combined with contemporary painting, sculpture and design. Taking inspiration from their daily environment, the gallery and the current socio-political and cultural climate of Toronto, this installation invites audiences to reconsider Toronto Now.

The NOW Service Bureau offers visitors the opportunity to use the gallery as a forum for pressing Toronto issues. Pushing the idea of Toronto Now to its edge, the artists appropriate the AGO logo and the NOW name to provide a place of artistic creativity that encourages mindful action on local issues. This project explores the tension between the rush and impatience of our current lifestyle, while also offering the possibility of slowing down and being mindful of environmental, political and cultural subjects.


GIFT SHOP GIFT SHOP
Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette

21 January–1 April 2012
The Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON

This store within a store features souvenirs of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) gift shop itself—rather than the expected gallery mementos—as well as other related open-edition art multiples. In GIFT SHOP GIFT SHOP, works by Martindale and Paquette were available alongside both collaborative and independent multiples by other local Toronto-based artists, designers and illustrators. The products for sale developed out of self-reflective art making and many of the works transformed raw street and everyday materials and images into privileged, valuable objects. This project builds on the artists’ affinity for collaboration and the practice of using reclaimed materials. Taking inspiration from existing gift-shop souvenirs or using gift-shop overstock, these items were examined and reworked to deconstruct how consumable objects are given value.

Participating Gift Shop Gift Shop Artists:

• Karen Abel
• Poitr Adas
• Xenia Benivolski
• Cecilia Berkovic
• Cindy Blazevic
• Erica Brisson
• Chou
• Keith Cole
• Jessie Curell
• Janis Demkiw
• Vanessa Dion Fletcher
• EGR
• Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten
• Maggie Flynn & Kassem
• Globe
• Li-Hill
• Luis Jacob
• Sarah Kilpack
• Amber Landgraff
• Hyein Lee
• CN Tower Liquidation
• Adam Krawesky
• Sean Martindale
• Hazel Meyer
• Sarah Nasby
• Pascal Paquette
• Courtney Parks
• Sandy Plotnikoff
• Matias Rozenberg
• Seth Scriver
• Alison Snowball
• Cara Spooner
• Spud
• Tongue & Groove
• Jessica Vallentin
• VSVSVS
• Deborah Wang
• Well and Good

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9 to 5

Anitra Hamilton, Graeme Patterson and Ed Pien

Co-curated with Mary MacDonald and Zach Pearl

27–30 April 2011

Art/Work: A Symposium
The Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON


Art is work. Hard work.
9 to 5 is an exhibition that lets visitors experience art in an unexpected way: by interacting with the artists while they make it. From April 27th to the 29th, 9 to 5 transforms one gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) into a live office space. For three days, contemporary Canadian artists Anitra Hamilton, Graeme Patterson and Ed Pien welcome AGO visitors to meet with them and enjoy a conversation about their artistic practices.

Using the familiar setting of the office, 9 to 5 creates a space for collaboration and inspiration, and a forum for new knowledge and understanding about the artistic process. In addition, the artists are invited to select a work of their choice from the permanent collection to “decorate” their cubicle. Accessible and interactive, 9 to 5 is an experience not to be missed!

Art/Work: A Symposium
Keynote Speaker: Rebecca Duclos

Saturday, April 30, 1:00–4:30 pm,
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario


The first half of the symposium features 9 to 5 artists Anitra Hamilton, Graeme Patterson and Ed Pien, and curators Katherine Dennis, Mary MacDonald and Zach Pearl reflecting on the project. Following this discussion, curator, artist and educator Rebecca Duclos expands on the burgeoning topic of artists' research. Research that takes art, media, design or visual studies as its object is informed by a wide variety of methods that push the boundaries of traditional research methodologies accepted in other disciplines. In response to 9 to 5, Duclos addresses what it means for artists and other cultural practitioners to undertake this type of research. Duclos's work includes The Compulsive Browse, a two-year research project that investigates creative “research.” To learn more about Rebecca Duclos and The Compulsive Browse, visit her website at http://www.compulsivebrowse.net/.


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Upcoming Exhibitions


 

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