Elemental: Oceanic

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart… live in the question.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Tim Whiten’s broad and prolific creative practice reflects a life devoted to pursuing the nature of consciousness and the human condition. Drawing from over fifty years of production, this exhibition features sculptures and works on paper from the early 1970s to the present, representing material explorations of ritual, embodiment, ancestral knowledge, and transcendence. His work acts as a living question, attempting to reveal what cannot be seen and uniting the physical with the divine.

Elemental is part of an expanded, multi-venue retrospective and collaborative publication celebrating Tim Whiten’s career, developed in partnership between the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Art Gallery of York University, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and McMaster Museum of Art from 2022 to 2023. This series of exhibitions are thematically united by the classical elements of air, water, earth, and fire – referencing Whiten’s interest in alchemical practices. Elemental: Oceanic focuses on the element water and its associations with emotions, intuition, imagination, and the infinite. The oceanic has also been a concept used by mystics and theologians to describe the feeling of the eternal, and the ineffable experiences of unity and oneness between all beings. In this exhibition, Whiten’s drawings and sculptural works reflect this energy through a refined pallet of natural materials—leather, bone, glass, iron, graphite and cloth—which become charged with connotative potential. Referencing the cyclical nature of life, the work is a reminder that to live with the remembrance of death is to live fully and expansively.

Tim Whiten was born in Inkster, Michigan in 1941. In 1964, he received a B.S. from Central Michigan University, College of Applied Arts and Science, and in 1966 completed his M.F.A. at the University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Allied Arts. After immigrating to Canada in 1968, he taught in the Department of Visual Arts at York University for 39 years. An award-winning educator, he was also Chair of the University’s Department of Visual Arts where he is currently Professor Emeritus. Since 1962, he has had work presented in exhibitions throughout North America and internationally and it is included in numerous private, public, and corporate collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (both the de Young and the Legion of Honor/ Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts). Based in Toronto, Tim Whiten is represented by Olga Korper Gallery.

Images: Tim Whiten – Elemental: Oceanic at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2022. Documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew | Like the winter snow kills the grass, the summer sun revives it

Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew | Like the winter snow kills the grass, the summer sun revives it features seven Indigenous artists who create work in an Indigenous language from each of the major geographic regions of what is now known as Canada—Anishinaabemowin, Komqwejwi’kasikl, Michif, nēhiyawēwin, Nitsiipowahsiin, Tāłtān, and Uummarmiutun. The exhibition celebrates and centres Indigenous language revitalization and ways of knowing. Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew aims to address and initiate a discussion on how Indigenous languages intertwine with Indigenous epistemologies and how the dormancy and extinction of Indigenous languages leads to a hindrance of culture and knowledge. Bringing together emerging and established Indigenous artists based in so-called Canada, the exhibition gives space back to those artists whose practices deal with Indigenous languages in each of their visibilities, vulnerabilities, and regional voices.

Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew Like the winter snow kills the grass, the summer sun revives it is presented alongside Mamanaw Pekiskwewina Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory.

Taskoch pipon kona kah nipa muskoseya, nepin pesim eti pimachihew | Like the winter snow kills the grass, the summer sun revives it is curated by Missy LeBlanc and is organized and circulated by TRUCK Contemporary Art.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for this project.

Canada council logo

Undeliverable

Co-presented by Tangled Art + Disability and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

RMG: September 18, 2021 – February 13, 2022
Tangled Art + Disability: September 17 – October 29, 2021

Undeliverable is a continuation of artist Carmen Papalia’s curatorial practice. Envisioning curation as a form of care, the exhibition brings together six artists from the Mad, Deaf and disability community, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Chandra Melting Tallow, Jessica Karuhanga, jes sachse, Aislinn Thomas, and Carmen Papalia with Heather Kai-Smith, re-envisioning the museum around the demands and desires of the disabled body/mind. Presented across two spaces – Tangled Art + Disability and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery – the exhibition features ambitious new work that challenges institutional structures and centres mutual accountability.

Kindly note that both the RMG and Tangled Art + Disability are scent free spaces. In order to remain respectful of individuals who may have sensitivity to certain scents or smells, we would like to ask all visitors to help us in creating a fragrance free environment that everyone can enjoy.

Interested in learning more about sensitivity to scents and fragrances? Head over to our Instagram feed for a Takeover by artist Aislinn Thomas that shares more information about how you can help make public spaces more accessible and safe for all those who experience barriers from the toxicants that are in so many personal care, cleaning, building, and fragrance products.

About the Curator and Artists

Carmen Papalia is an artist and disability activist who uses organizing strategies and improvisation to navigate his access to public space, art institutions, and visual culture. His socially-engaged practice expresses his resistance of support options that promote ableist concepts of normalcy, like white canes and other impairment-specific accommodations that only temporarily bridge barriers to participation in an otherwise inaccessible, policy-based system. Papalia designs experiences that invite participants to expand their perceptual mobility and to claim access to public and institutional spaces. Papalia’s walks, workshops, and interventions are an opportunity to model new standards and practices in the area of accessibility.

Heather Kai Smith is an artist who currently lives and works in the unceded Coast Salish Territory known as Vancouver. She completed her MFA at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2017), and her BFA in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2009). Her current practice explores the potential embedded within archival images of protest, collectivity, and intentional communities activated through drawing, observation and iteration. Rooted in the practice of drawing, her work has lent itself to projects in animation, printmaking, and installation.

Jessica Karuhanga is an African-Canadian artist who works through writing, video, drawing and performance. She has presented her work at The Bentway, Toronto (2019), Nuit Blanche, Toronto (2018), Onsite Gallery at OCAD, Toronto (2018), Museum London, London (2018), Goldsmiths, London, UK (2017) and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016). Her writing has been published by C Magazine, Susan Hobbs Gallery and Fonderie Darling. She has been featured in i-D, DAZED, Visual Aids, Border Crossings, Toronto Star, CBC Arts, filthy dreams, Globe and Mail and Canadian Art. She earned her BFA from Western University and her MFA from University of Victoria. She lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance, and has exhibited across Canada and the US, including Art Mur (Montreal), Eastern Edge Gallery (Newfoundland), The Queer Arts Festival (Vancouver), and Satellite Art Fair (Miami). Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre (Gatineau, Quebec), Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, and Seneca College. Vanessa is supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous partnerships fund as artist in residence at OCAD University for 2019.

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, sculpture, installation, and text. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, creating work that ranges from poignant to absurd, and at times straddles both. Her recent works explore the generative nature of disability while pushing up against conventional access measures. Aislinn is a settler of Ashkenazi and British descent. She currently lives and works near the Grand River, on land promised to the Six Nations.

Chandra Melting Tallow is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and writer of mixed ancestry from the Siksika Nation. Their practice confronts the ghosts of intergenerational trauma and their relationship to the body – utilizing both humor and surrealism to subvert oppressive structures of power. They have exhibited across Turtle Island as an installation, sound and performance artist.

jes sachse is an artist, writer and performer whose work addresses the negotiations of bodies moving in public/private space and the work of their care. Their work & writing has appeared in NOW Magazine, The Peak, CV2 -The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, Mobilizing Metaphor: Art, Culture and Disability Activism in Canada, and the 40th Anniversary Edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Jes presently lives in Toronto.

Image Description:
Relative Gradient by Vanessa Dion Fletcher. A large, thin circle is made of porcupine quills folded back and forth in a zigzag pattern. The colours of the quill embroidery form a gradient of warm reds, pinks, yellows, browns and whites.

Primary Structures

Bowmanville-based artist Ron Eccles’ abstract paintings draw inspiration from a deep sense of place. Rooted within this community, Eccles is inspired by his frequent drives along the shoreline of Lake Ontario from Bowmanville to Port Hope, enjoying the patterned farmland, weather changes, and seasonal colours. His reflections on time, geography, and light manifest in his geometric and structured abstract paintings.

With a prolific career spanning more than five decades, this exhibition focuses on a series of recent work called “White Line Compositions” and includes additional works created within the last fifteen years. Eccles is trained as a printmaker, which informs his painting process and allows him to create simplicity from complex processes, skillfully building layers within his work. Often working on more than one painting at a time, he begins by grounding the painting in blocks of colours, adding different tones to prevent flatness and create transparency and brilliance. A good example of this is Signal Warning (2020), where the red diptych seems to emit light from the wall. After colour, Eccles begins to build structure with white lines, allowing shapes and forms to bleed through, such as in works like River Ice (2020) or North Northwest (2019). While both titles of these works suggest landscapes, they are not representational works; instead, they conjure up feelings, moods, and recollections of a landscape. These connections to nature and memory are not clear to Eccles in the early stages of his process, and it is only after he lays down a primary structure of colour, line, and form that something cues his memory and a subject is realized. As Eccles says: “The painting process feeds you as much as you feed it, it tells you what to do.”

Born in Oshawa, Ron Eccles studied art at the Ontario College of Art (1967), the University of Guelph (B.A., 1970), and the University of Iowa (M.A., 1972). During this time he specialized in printmaking, studying under Frederick Hagan, Walter Bachinski, Gene Chu, and Mauricio Lasanky. In 1972, he moved to Peterborough where he taught drawing at Sir Sandford Fleming College, and would go on to teach printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and the University of Guelph. His work can be found in private, corporate and public collections including the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Blackwood Gallery, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (Iowa, USA), The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, and the Art Gallery of Guelph. His studio and his home are located in Bowmanville, where he lives with his wife and fellow artist, Jane Eccles.

Terra Economicus

Will Kwan’s research-driven artistic practice maps complex cultural and economic relations to reveal how power is consolidated and how legacies of colonialism persist in the present. In Terra Economicus, Kwan pulls together a constellation of works created over the last decade that explore conceptions of landscape as expressions of privatization, commodification, and segregation.

The central work, Terra Economicus (Superior) samples from the palette of Lawren Harris’ iconic painting Lake Superior (1926), and links the northern Ontario landscapes captured by the Group of Seven with found video footage taken from online real estate listings in the same regions of the province. These clips, shot by drone, alternate between soaring views of the properties and floating interior shots of the luxury summer homes built on them. Although the area is densely populated with cottages, the footage had been carefully shot to create an illusion of solitude and exclusivity.

This impulse to frame and privatize land is also referenced in the title Terra Economicus.  A reworking of the Latin terra nullius, which means “no one’s land”, the term was used as a legal construct in the colonization of North America and Australia to justify claims to new territory. This deliberate negation of Indigenous people and history supported waves of settler colonialism in Canada. The empty landscape paintings of the Group of Seven further helped to forge a fictitious national identity that celebrated the land as open for ownership and extraction. Each work in this exhibition unpacks a different way that an economic belief system or cultural narrative is imposed on the natural world as a frame for exploitation and dispossession.

Will Kwan is a Hong Kong-born, Toronto-based Canadian artist. His work is held in the permanent collections of M+ (Hong Kong), Folkestone Artworks (Kent), and Hart House at the University of Toronto. Kwan has been artist-in-residence at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Manchester), the Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto). He has participated in exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York), ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe), CAC Vilnius (Lithuania), the MAC VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), the Art Museum at UofT (Toronto), the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Western Front (Vancouver), and in biennials/triennials in Liverpool, Folkestone, Montreal, and Venice. Kwan is an Associate Professor in Studio Art in the department of Arts, Culture and Media, University of Toronto Scarborough, and the Masters of Visual Studies Program at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto St. George.

Exhibition Publication

View a digital copy of the publication for this exhibition here.

Artist Talk + Q&A

Exhibition Tour with Will Kwan


Will Kwan: Terra Economicus

The artist gratefully acknowledges support from the Department of Arts, Culture and Media, University of Toronto Scarborough for this exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by the TD Ready Commitment.

If you see me, say hello

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 1, 2020, 2PM – 4PM

Jason McLean’s expansive and energetic practice spans works on paper, sculpture, mail art, performance, found audio compilations, hand-sewn costumes, and scavenged collections of everyday objects. Best known for his diaristic drawings, which trace the contours of his life through self-reflexive mapping and word play, he charts the world around him with a sense of humour and whimsy, while also deftly capturing the anxiety and precarity of the present moment. As writer Matthew Ryan Smith notes, he is, “a mapper of memory, a cartographer of the everyday, an archivist of minutiae, a chronicler of the prosaic.” Which is to say that McLean’s practice is world making. In his drawings, the surrealist roads and buildings loosely reference the towns and cities he has lived in and are marked with locations of celebrity sightings or important sporting events from his youth, and contain ruminations on everything from real estate speculation to the state of his career. There is an infectious energy and peculiar logic to the ways things are pulled together, reconstituted and presented again. A small sample of Pez dispensers from the now infamous “Felix and Henry’s Pez Museum” (a project started with his sons in 2012), as well as collections of cereal boxes and candy wrappers, are presented in the gallery alongside the drawings showing both his obsessive interest in material culture and also an irreverence for what is considered “important” art.

If you see me, say hello, a reference to a Bob Dylan song by the same name, marks a moment of looking back from the vantage point of the mid-career mark in the artist’s practice. Bringing together works from the last twenty years, the exhibition draws on emergent themes: critical regionalism, collaborative production, collected ephemera, and an intense preoccupation with the cult of celebrity. While at times deeply personal and confessional, the works point to larger societal questions that chart the uncertainty of our time, sharing insights on the parts of life that cause anxiety and also the parts that bring the most joy.

Jason McLean was born in London, ON in 1971. After attending H.B. Beal Secondary School, McLean graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver in 1997. He has exhibited nationally and internationally including shows at the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Loyal Gallery in Malmo Sweden, Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, Franklin Parrish Gallery, and Zieher Smith Gallery in New York City. He has work in major collections throughout North America including the Museum of Modern Art, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Bank of Montreal Collection, and the Royal Bank of Canada. McLean is represented by Michael Gibson Gallery in London, ON, Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Mónica Reyes Gallery, Vancouver, BC, and Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY.

 

Learn more about Felix and Henry’s Pez Museum here

 


Jason McLean: If you see me, say hello

Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 1, 2020 2PM – 4PM

With a Performance by Basil AlZeri:

everyone under the sun
Basil AlZeri

“The sun opens the floorboards to light, the light shafts gradually towards her ankle, moves up her body like a brush, feathery. She watches herself in half light, half dark, and it is this preoccupation with herself that makes someone stop at the window. Though it is not seduction, but a genuine fascination with the sun creeping up her ankle.”

–Dionne Brand, At the Full and Change of the Moon

Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold is a contemporary exploration of the sun, as an activator of sensory engagement, provoking deeper contemplations on sensuality, eroticism, pleasure, and politics of desire. Inspired by Dionne Brand’s descriptions of her young protagonist Maya and her awakening self-awareness, the selected works by Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Rajni Perera, draw attention to a multilayered sensory ecology that weaves together embodiment, space, and the radiance of the sun. Mundane, yet seducing moments such as the warmth of soaking in the soft ambient morning light or relishing in the golden hues of the magic hour can spark meditations on a specific being-ness that is responsive to the present moment—a quiet unfolding of bodily and spiritual presence. In this exhibition context, the sun is a catalyst providing a language that infuses wonder and awe into the amplitudes of Black and Brown inner lives, substituting oppressive imaginaries for consuming fantasies. Contemporary poets such as Rupi Kaur, Upile Chisala, and Nayyirah Waheed compare the spectrum of melanin’s luminescence to luxurious and sun-like materials such as honey, gold, and marigold. By employing these qualifiers as an affirmation of inner and outer radiance, it also addresses a strong desire to assert a bodily embrace that is expansive while reclaiming melanated people’s cosmic relationship to the sun.

 

Basil AlZeri is a cross-disciplinary visual artist living and working between Toronto and Guelph, Canada. Basil’s practice involves the intersection of art, education, and food, taking multiple forms, such as performance, interventions, gallery and public installation. Basil examines the socio-political dynamics of the family and its intersection with reproductive/unproductive labour, drawing on the necessities of everyday life and the (in)visibility of ‘work’ as sites of exploration. Basil tries to facilitate a space for empathy through gestures of inclusivity and generosity. Basil presented his work in Amman, Dubai, Halifax, Mexico City, Montreal, New York, Ottawa, Regina, Rome, Santiago, Tartu And Toronto.

Born in Ontario to Tanzanian parents, Kapwani Kiwanga lives and works in Paris. She studied anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal, completed the “La Seine” program at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, and has worked at the Centre national d’art contemporain Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing, France. She was artist in residence at the MU Foundation in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and at La Box in Bourges, France. Her works have been exhibited by world-class institutions such as the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume (Paris), Ferme du Buisson (Noisiel, France), London South Gallery (London), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), Logan Art Center (Chicago), Power Plant (Toronto), Esker Foundation (Calgary), and Glasgow International (Glasgow). In 2018, Kiwanga was the winner of the Frieze Artist Award and the Sobey Art Award.

Kosisochukwu Nnebe is a Nigerian-Canadian visual artist. An economist by training and a policy analyst by profession, her visual arts practice aims to engage viewers on issues both personal and structural in ways that bring awareness to their own complicity. Her work has been exhibited at AXENEO7, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Place des Arts, the Art Gallery of Guelph, the Nia Centre, Studio Sixty Six, Z-Art Space, Station 16, and the Mohr Gallery in Mountain View, California,. She has given presentations on her artistic practice and research at universities across Quebec, including Laval, McGill and Concordia, and has facilitated workshops at the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and Redwood City High School in California. She is currently based in Ottawa.

Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka in 1985 and lives and works in Toronto. She explores issues of hybridity, sacrilege, irreverence, the indexical sciences, ethnography, gender, sexuality, popular culture, deities, monsters and dream worlds. All of these themes marry in a newly objectified realm of mythical symbioses. They are flattened on the medium and made to act as a personal record of impossible discoveries. In her work she seeks to open and reveal the dynamism of these icons, both scripturally existent, self-invented and externally defined. She creates a subversive aesthetic that counteracts antiquated, oppressive discourse, and acts as a restorative force through which people can move outdated, repressive modes of being towards reclaiming their power.

Geneviève Wallen is a Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal-based independent curator and writer interested in issues of ethnocultural representational spaces in Canada. Wallen’s practice is informed by diasporic narratives, intersectional feminism, intergenerational dialogue, and alternative BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) futurities and healing. Her current research focus is on the notion of longevity as radical resistance. Wallen is an Exhibition Coordinator at the FOFA Gallery. She is also a curator/board member at Younger than Beyoncé Gallery and a member of the ad-hoc collective We Critique, We Curate.

 


Further Reading

 

Read Online

 

Literature included in this exhibition:

 


 

Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold

Colin Medley: 16 Photographs of Oshawa

 

 

[envira-gallery id=”8187″]

Oshawa: A History of Local 222

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 5 2PM – 4PM

Coming to the opening reception from Toronto? We have organized a bus to bring you to and from the opening! Pick up: in front of OCADU at 1:00PM at 100 McCaul Street and will return to OCADU for 4:30. To reserve a spot on the bus: RSVP to [email protected]

For over 40 years, artists Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge have been creating urgent and insightful work that challenges the status quo and brings to light the important issues facing our time. With unwavering attention and unapologetic political analysis, Condé + Beveridge’s work continues to explore the social and environmental impacts of globalization, racial inequality, class struggle, gendered labour divisions, precarity, and the complex struggles of consensus building. In tandem to this practice, they have worked collaboratively with union members and fellow artists, bringing the labour movement and art world into dialogue and in doing so, have transformed them both.

This exhibition presents the photo series Oshawa: A History of Local 222 (1982-83), a comprehensive body of work that traces the history of the autoworkers union in Oshawa from its formation in 1937 through to the mid-1980s. To produce the work, Condé + Beveridge spent two years interviewing and working with members of the Local 222 Retirees Committee. The resulting work, uses intricately staged tableaux to narrate the workers struggle from the perspective of women working in the plant and highlights gender-specific inequalities, including the fight for married women to be able to work and the inclusion of women in the union.

Looking back over the past 35 years since this series was made, we can see the reversal of many hard-won rights, the slow erosion of jobs and the waning strength of the union. With the threat of General Motors of Canada closing the Oshawa plant in January 2020, Condé + Beveridge have returned to work with members of the Local to create a final image in the series. The large-scale photomural pictures members of the union leadership confronting corporate executives and politicians as they stage a burial for the jobs that will be lost at the plant. Working collaboratively with current members of the union, the piece opens up new possibilities for cooperation, solidarity and artistic production, blurring the distinction between art and work, and aesthetics and politics.

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge
Canadian artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge moved to New York City in 1969, and soon were at the centre of the burgeoning conceptual art movement. In 1975, they joined the Art & Language journal The Fox (with Joseph Kosuth and Ian Burn) and picketed the Whitney Museum of Art to protest its lack of inclusion of women artists and artists of colour, while critiquing the apolitical minimalism of Donald Judd. This ferment culminated in a major museum show, It’s Still Privileged Art, at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1976, just prior to the artists’ return to Toronto in1977.
By the late 1970s, Condé and Beveridge drew a focus on various issues that were urgent within the trade union movement. Their method of working dialogically with their subjects was invented for the landmark 1981 project Standing Up, and has been refined in numerous subsequent collaborations. In the past three decades, over fifty solo exhibitions of Condé and Beveridge’s work have been presented at major museums and art spaces on four continents, including: the Institute of Contemporary Art (London, UK); Museum Folkswang (Germany); George Meany Centre (Washington); Dazibao Gallery (Montreal); Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires); Art Gallery of Edmonton; and the Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney).
Equally, and congruent with the artists’ commitment to accessibility, their work has been displayed in a host of non-art and public settings, such as union halls, billboards, bus shelters and bookworks. The artists continue to work and live in Toronto.

body language

The RMG is wheelchair accessible and manual wheelchairs are available. Large Print, Tactile Tours & Audio Description are also available upon request. Service animals may accompany visitors at any time.

This exhibition includes work that can be touched, and ASL interpretation at the opening reception.

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 5, 2PM – 4PM

Body language is comprised of all that is not said during a conversation. It is the intangible and subjective understanding of the expressions, gestures, intonations, temperaments, spatial configurations and feelings during an encounter with another that allow us to make sense of the experience. In much the same way, the works in this exhibition are about an intuitive understanding of another person’s experience and a desire for connection that exceeds the limits of language. Working collaboratively, Oshawa-based illustrator and artist Dani Crosby and London-based multi-media artist David Bobier each produced a new body of work that responds to personal stories of Durham residents.

Collected anonymously through an online survey, participants were prompted with questions intended to inspire personal reflection such as: “What challenges you most on a daily basis?” and “When you first meet people, what do you wish they understood about you that is not immediately noticeable?” The artists then selected twelve stories from the diverse group of participants to translate and represent in different ways through their work.

For Crosby, understanding and visually interpreting these stories of struggle is an important way to build connection and resilience. For each of the twelve selected participants she has created larger-than-life illustrated portraits that capture elements of their stories through vibrant and evocative visual iconography. In one portrait, a female figure is presented with an anvil on her protruding tongue, which curls into knots. Various elements appear almost psychedelic: an open book reveals a passageway lined with bricks and a witch hat sits on top of a poisonous mushroom. Beside them, a swaddled infant is resting against an anthill and a series of ghoulish figures climb up her knee. Although the imagery may not directly represent the stories collected, it clearly articulates the urgency of the emotions and the sensitivity Crosby brings to them.

Bobier’s practice is similarly invested in forging new ways to build connection and understanding. Developing and integrating what he describes as “inclusive technologies,” his interactive sculptural works use multi-sensory experiences to share ideas. To create the sculptures, Bobier began with a line of text or element that stuck out to him from the collected stories, which he would then translate into different forms. In the work vibro-projector, a modified film projector and music box are mounted on top of an antique wooden school desk. Through turning the handle of the music box, a score in braille transcript is converted into vibration and sound as well as dancing visuals from the shadows cast on the wall. Here, the transformation of language from one modality to another opens up new possibilities for communicating in more inclusive and holistic ways, and where one method of understanding is not privileged above another.

Together the works reframe personal stories into sensuous and participatory experiences, allowing for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the challenges and desires that exist just below the surface.

David Bobier is a self-identified hard of hearing and disabled media artist and is the parent of 2 deaf children. His work has been exhibited internationally and has been the focus of prominent touring exhibitions in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Bobier has received numerous grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Grand NCE, Ontario Arts Council and New Brunswick Arts Council.
Using performance and interactive installation Bobier explores the bridging of methods of communication and language and ways of interpreting or transforming one modality to another. His work is engaged in a multi-sensory approach and experimentation that allows for the transitioning and re-interpreting of content and experience from one medium to another with particular emphasis on the tactile as a form of creative expression. He is the Director of VibraFusionLab in Thorndale, Ontario

Dani Crosby is an artist, commercial illustrator, arts educator and community collaborator based in Oshawa. Art has become many things for Dani. It has become a service she offers, an experience to share in academic settings. But before any of these things it serves as a place to put the parts of herself that had nowhere else to go. Dani recognizes how lucky she is to have this outlet. That is why many of her favourite projects involve working collaboratively with the public to help individuals find a place to put their stories, express their identity and share their experiences.