Gallery hopping: March 2023

March 31, 2023 Toronto

Hello friends,

Have you heard this expression of "do, don't tell". Well, these days I've been experimenting with new ideas and content on Instagram and over here on the blog. I've been doing this quietly but consistently and it's been interesting to notice the reactions from everyone, including myself.

I might write about it at some point. This idea of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and accepting the "cringe" of experimenting as part of the creative process. 

In the meantime, here's a selection of some of the galleries and shows I visited this month in Toronto. 

1. Something Like Arriving. Inaugural show at The Next Contemporary, a space dedicated to spotlighting, advocating, and showcasing BIPOC artists and those who have been historically marginalized from the mainstream narrative, founded and directed by Farnoosh Talaee, an Iranian Canadian curator and art advisor based in Toronto.

This group exhibition looks at comfort beyond a physical state. Each artist unmakes and remakes the idea of home, translating space and reimagining domestic objects as languages of both belonging and estrangement. 

Featuring works by: Alize Zorlutuna, Diyar Mayil, Sukaina Kubba.

On view until: April 22

2. Lydia Ourahmane: Tassili. Once a fertile “plateau of rivers,” as the translation of its name implies, the region is now an arid expanse of desert that is inhospitable to the many forms of life previously known to thrive there. Ourahmane, together with a group of collaborators and local guides, journeyed on foot for thirteen days to a part of Tassili n’Ajjer near the border of Algeria and Libya. 

Its mesmerizing imagery is seen structured in four parts, each respectively scored by commissioned musicians Nicolás Jaar, felicita, Yawning Portal, and Sega Bodega.

On view at: Mercer Union until April 15.

3. Derek Liddington: Marbled Bodies, Softened Earth. In a new series of paintings, Derek Liddington explores the material of bodies and their representations, the weight of flesh and stone, and the way both sink into the earth. 

If you look closer, you will notice there are little "bumps" around the canvas. "These small disturbances create real depth while reminding us of the illusory nature of painting alongside the physicality of the subject rendered flat. We are pushed back to the surface."

On view at: Daniel Faria Gallery until April 22. 

4. These cheeky plates by Alyssa Goodman were part of a recent group show at Cry Baby Gallery

5. Details of the intricate work by Winnie Truong. Currently on view at Patel Brown Gallery as part of the group show: Surface Temperature.

On view until: April 22

6. Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky The Pool in the Shell. Currently on view at Susan Hobbs Gallery (which recently celebrated 30 years at the same location!!).

On view until: April 8

7. Ben Walmsley: COLOUR CHARTS. On view at Birch Contemporary.

On view until: April 8

8. Discovering the new Toronto location of Galerie Nicolas Robert. The current show: The Return Project by Babak Golkar questions and challenges the logic of the art market.

"Each work begins with the artist wandering the aisles of large retail chains like Winners or Home Sense. Eventually, he selects an object based on its potential for critical and aesthetic intervention. He then purchases the object and takes it to his studio, where it is documented, altered, and re-documented with price tag and original packaging intact. The altered object is signed and dated, a notice of authenticity is attached, and it is returned using the original receipt of purchase, to an undisclosed store location."

On view until: April 22

Getting a bit personal

March 01, 2023

Lola Erhart, Cuerpo Sutil, 2022. Seen at Abbozzo Gallery

Well, hello friends!

It's been a minute since the last time I wrote and, believe me, I've missed blogging. 

You may be wondering, who blogs now?

To my own dismay, apparently I am one of those kids who grew up with the internet and who learned to think in blog form. So here we are: Twenty-something years later, still blogging as a way to make sense of the world. 

Before moving onto the art talk, I wanted to pause for a minute and reflect on how this site started and where it's going. 

Getting acquainted with Leonard Cohen

December 12, 2022 Art Gallery of Ontario

I first heard of Leonard Cohen in my late twenties through a musician friend while we were on tour, but it wasn't until several years later that I started to understand his work. To really get it, you know?

It all happened during the wee hours of the morning at a then-friend's place. Our heads were spinning after a night out. He was laying on the carpet. I was melting into the couch.

Then, this magical guitar started playing in the background and a man's voice told the story of a woman who feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China and who is half-crazy but that's why you want to be with her. 

I knew basically nothing about Cohen yet the melody and the lyrics of Suzanne pierced my mind and that feeling has stayed with me ever since.

A lot has been told about Cohen's poetry, his music, his lovers. Yet, I was gladly surprised to visit the AGO and discover more about the person behind the artist through his objects, notes, drawings and photographs in the new show: Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows

About the show:

An enduring artistic force, Canadian novelist, poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) is renowned the world over for his meditations on beauty, death, loss and the human heart.

The first museum exhibition to present the holdings of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust, Everybody Knows immerses visitors in the many facets of Cohen’s creative life. Rare concert footage and archival materials, including musical instruments, notebooks, lyrics and letters are featured alongside photographs, drawing, and digital art created by Cohen across several decades.

Two large-scale multimedia installations, on loan from the Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal, highlight Cohen’s singular voice, music and stage presence.

Curated by Julian Cox, the AGO’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto with the exceptional support of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust and Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows
On view at the AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario
December 7, 2022 - April 10, 2023


Curating an art collection for Partial

December 01, 2022

Nicole Krstin, Meditation Meds

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Partial to curate a guest collection for their site! 

I'm not gonna lie: after the initial excitement, this felt a bit daunting, too! Mostly because I wanted to create a collection that would tell a story and was more than just a group of works I liked. And so, after browsing through their impressive catalogue, I bookmarked some pieces and only then I started to notice a pattern: all of the works I had selected made me feel a particular sense of nostalgia. 

You know that feeling you have when you can't remember where you've seen something before? Was it only a dream? Did you actually see it somewhere?

Based on that feeling, the name of my collection is: Dreams are Memories and it features works by fifteen emerging Canadian artists: Pandora Owl / Evelyn Trista / Nicole Kristin / Tal Paz-Fridman / Caroline Ji / Sonya Katashonova / Devon Pryce / Helen Tran / Laura Key Keeling / Catherine Mills / Erin McGean / Lilian Sim / Diane Fine / Corynn Kokolakis / Esther Kim.

About the collection:

"I find it very interesting to think of why we dream what we dream. Why our minds decide to capture a specific moment in time: An object, a person, a place. Why sometimes the scenes are clear and why sometimes it's all out of whack? For this collection I chose works that evoked a feeling of nostalgia. Not about a memory of something lived, but for the memory of something I could have seen in my dreams." -Carla Rojas

"Dreams are Memories" is now live on Partial.

Thanks to Partial for letting me be part of this project!

Confluence by Striped Canary. An immersive installation at The Bentway

October 23, 2022 The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd

Photo: Courtesy of The Bentway

Striped Canary is the collaborative project of artists Stephen B. Nguyen and Wade Kavanaugh. Together, they are known for creating large immersive installations using everyday materials such as paper and wood and creating imaginative landscapes that investigate our memories and perceptions.

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