Monday, May 30, 2011

Trailer for "Prom Storm" by Kirsten Johnson

More about this in our next post, but for now, a little teaser-of-a-trailer for Kirsten Johnson's exhibition "Prom Storm": new paintings and video installation. Opening at KWT this Thursday, June 2, reception from 5 to 7 (prom attire optional).

(Please note our  address is 624 Richmond St. West,  at Bathurst and 1 block south of Queen)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcoming Alexis Lavoie

 En Pièces  (9), 2010
Oil on canvas
121.9 x 121.9 cm
We enthusiastically welcome Alexis Lavoie as a guest artist to our roster, and look forward to presenting his work to a Toronto audience.

 Alexis Lavoie, recent winner of the coveted RBC Painting Prize, is featured on the cover of the current issue of "Vie Des Arts", with and article by Christian Roy. The magazine is well worth picking up this month, with articles on Shary Boyle, Nancy Spero, and Marc-Aurèle Fortin among others.

Lavoie's paintings are ambiguously staged set pieces, bearing traces of trauma or violence, incongruously mixed with mundane objects which float, disembodied and untethered across a screen-like ground. These objects are frequently related to children, their games or their toys. The confluence of the serious and the trivial, the bloody and the prosaic, produces an effect which is quite beautiful, but extremely unsettling. This ambiguity is further emphasized by Lavoie's flat, planar and rather matter-of-fact style of laying down his paint.

As mentioned in the article, Lavoie had expected to have a solo show this spring at Galerie Orange in Montreal, but unfortunately, the gallery was forced to it's doors at the end of March. Fortunately,  I had already been in discussion with him to arrange a show in Toronto. He will have work in inventory at the gallery from September through December of 2011, and plans are in the works for a show in the fall.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Elevator Art Lab

As any emerging artist soon learns, sitting around waiting for "things" to materialize is not an effective strategy. I am a big admirer of the young artists at Elevator Art Lab. They have taken the bull by the horns, and carved out their own space, with their own resources, and collective effort.

Founded in the fall of 2010, Elevator Art Lab is an independent artist run space in downtown Toronto, encompassing a gallery/event space & resident artists studios. They are a collection of contemporary artists working in the areas of craft, visual art and performance, seeking to broaden the potential at the intersection between artistic disciplines.

Two Elevator members have been visiting artists at KWT (glass artists Aaron Oussoren and Sally McCubbin) and two are represented artists at KWT:  sculptor Annie Tung and installation artist and printmaker Rachael Wong. Annie Tung comes from a metalsmithing background, and Rachael Wong from a glass background. Both make art which, while rooted in process and material, is conceptual in nature. Annie had a solo exhibition with us in January. Rachael was awarded the 2010 RBC Glass Award last fall, and has an upcoming solo exhibition with us this fall.

Elevator Art Lab is having a party this Friday, May 13, 2011 from 3 to midnight, and an open house on Saturday from noon to 6, in their space at 97 Niagara Street.  That's about four blocks south of KWT... why not check it out?

Rachael Wong: Installation detail (blown glass elements,  paint), 2010.

Annie Tung: Love Spoons (cast silver and brass, erotic love poem by Gwendolyn MacEwen, in Braille, meant to be read with one's tongue), 2009.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

At the Frankovich and Cronenberg Reception:

Before nightfall, and before things got  hectic (in a good way!) at the Frankovich and Cronenberg opening on Thursday evening, urban cycling consultant and photographer Yvonne Bambrick  arrived and snapped some candid shots, just a few of which are below:

Lower Gallery

 Caitlin Cronenberg and gallery owner Kristyn Wong-Tam

 Caitlin's dad, David Cronenberg

Upper Gallery: Gallery Administrator Jessica Vallentin with artists Daryl Vocat and Johnson Ngo.

David Frankovich and partner, artist Laura Paolini.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Caitlin Cronenberg is seeing RED

From Rebecca Spence"s article in the National Post, May 4, 2011:

"Last June, photographer Caitlin Cronenberg spent a full day snuggled up on her couch with her laptop, a cup of tea and a hard drive holding 54 folders filled with scanned photos from the New York Times Canadian Photo Archive. She didn’t move for eight hours as she examined about 24,000 photos, using her gut to decide which ones should be mounted and displayed in RED, an exhibit set to go on display in September as part of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. After several days, she had narrowed the photos down to 40. By the time the exhibit launched, there were only a dozen.
Christopher Bratty, co-founder of and Black Angus Media, purchased the archive’s collection of photos in an effort to trace the evolution of Canada over the past century. He then commissioned Cronenberg to use her bold and contemporary artistic vision to curate RED, which is now a part of Toronto’s CONTACT Photography Festival, featuring eight photos from the original exhibit that will be mounted at KWT Gallery until May 31.
The photos from the archive date back to 1910 and cover a diverse assortment of themes. Notable photos of Canadian icons include Pierre Trudeau, Karen Kain and Barbara-Ann Scott, while others feature international figures on official visits to Canada, including the Royal Family and Winston Churchill. But these aren’t the images that will be on display at RED.
“We wanted to use photos that showed Canada in a way that we haven’t really seen before,” says Cronenberg, daughter of acclaimed Canadian director David Cronenberg.
The photographer’s favourite image is QEW at Night, which shows the Ontario highway back when it was just a car stop. Other personal highlights include Virgin Mary on a Plane, which tells the story of a priest who flew a statue of the Virgin Mary all over the world for missionary work; and Nurses in NY, which depicts a group of Canadian nurses in long black coats and hats standing on the roof of the Empire State Building."
read more here

Opening reception tonight, from 7:30 to 9 pm.

Plus de Deux/Pas de Deux

David Frankovich's "Plus de Deux" is wonderful on the small screen, but seen as it was intended, projected in large format in a gallery setting, it is a sublime, serene and hypnotic contemplation on the human form. Taking his inspiration from Norman McLaren's 1969 classic short film, Pas De Deux, Frankovich has used digital compression artifacts and datamoshing to open up possibilities for representation. Bodies become increasingly abstracted and genders indistinguishable. All that remains is form, colour and movement.

Frankovich is an emerging film maker, and a recent graduate of York University's Experimental Film program. Norman McLaren (1914-1987) was Scottish-born animator and experimental film director, who, during his years at Canada's National Film Board, produced many award winning, internationally recognized short films. He was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation, including drawn on film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound...all long before the advent of digital processes.  Among his many honours and prizes (an Oscar, Silver Bear, BAFTA, CC, QC....), he was awarded an honorary doctorate from York University in 1972. It is wonderful to see that his work continues to be an inspiration to young film makers at York University and beyond. Visit the NFB's fabulous website to learn more.

Opening reception, with David Frankovich in attendance, from 7:30 to 9 this evening, May 5, 2011, at KWT Contemporary.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Caroline DeMooy in the studio

A video by Jasper Savage showing Caroline DeMooy at work  in her studio in rural Ontario, preparing for her recent show at KWT Contemporary, "Visible World". (music credit: Sigur Ros)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Frankovich and Cronenberg: Opening Thurs. May 5, 2011

KWT Contemporary is pleased to present two exhibitions in association with the
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday May 5, 2011 from 7:30 - 9 p.m.

David Frankovich: Plus de Deux 

KWT Contemporary is very pleased to announce our first presentation of time-based work, as we continue to unroll our new curatorial mission following our re-launch in February.

Starting Thursday, May 5, and running through to May 28th, KWT Contemporary will mount a continuous screening David Frankovich's remarkably beautiful 13 minute single channel video, "Plus de Deux". Frankovich, a very talented young experimental film maker, is a recent  graduate of the Experimental Film program at York University. "Plus de Deux" is inspired by, and a tribute to, Norman MacLaren's classic short film, "Pas de Deux,".

Frankovich has used digital compression artifacts to open up possibilities for representation. A technique called "datamoshing" is used to edit the video, which allows for the composition of one shot to be carried over to the next, and transformed by that shot's movement.  The image becomes unstable and littered with digital artifacts and traces of previous shots. Colours are swept across the frame by the dancers' movements, like the stroke of a paintbrush, and bleed into one another. The dancers' bodies themselves become transformed, and gender becomes unstable as they transition between male and female forms. A rigid gender binary gives way to a fluid spectrum of possibilities, lying just beyond the represented. The dancers' bodies become increasingly abstracted. All that remains is form, colour and movement.

The film will be available for purchase as a special signed and numbered DVD, edition of 10.

Also included in the exhibition are archival pigment prints, (selected stills from the video, edition of 5 each, image size 47" x 20"). Printed on fine art paper, these prints have a dynamic and painterly quality.  Figures are captured mid-transition, in between states of maleness and femaleness, in a state of motion between two states of rest. In contrast to the video, in which these moments are fleeting, as prints, they become frozen in time. Consequently, our attention becomes drawn away from the figure as male or female, towards gender as a field or landscape through which these bodies move.

Caitlin Cronenberg "RED: Selections from the New York Times Canadian Archive"

Christopher Bratty, co-founder of and Black Angus Media, purchased the New York Times Canadian Archive with a goal of both preserving this remarkable historical record in it's intact form, but also to use as a jumping-off point for an ongoing artistic project. It is Bratty's intention to invite Canadian artists to select images from the Archive and to provide their own unique interpretations of this historical record. Emerging photographer Caitlin Cronenberg is the first artist to have been invited by Bratty to participate in this multi-year project.

Caitlin Cronenberg's "RED" features interventions and re-imaginings of eight images selected from the New York Times Canadian Photography Archive. Using digital alterations, salvaged barnwood frames, and remote-controlled lightboxes, Cronenberg has produced a dramatic and cinematic narrative, resulting in a succession of revealing glimpses into how Americans have historically viewed Canadian culture, and how Canadians in turn view themselves. Dating back to 1910, the Archive consists of 24,000 images taken by New York Times photographers forming an invaluable cultural record that traces the evolution of Canada as a nation.

In addition to Cronenberg's interventions, framed reproductions of the 8 original images she selected from the Archive will be on display and available for purchase.

Installation Shots: McCall, Britton and Selected Works Group Show

One last look at our Exhibitions for April, 2011. 

Starting in the Lower Gallery with  Kai McCall: "The Weightlessness"



 And now, up the stairs to the Mezzanine Gallery and Kelvin Britton: "That and This"

On to the final gallery...

The view into the Upper Gallery, Group Show of Selected Works by Gallery Artists.

Paul Dignan painting in foreground, Khang Pham New marble sculpture in background.

       Two Caroline DeMooy's flanking a Kieran Brent.

Annie Tung: three new spoon sculptures

Three Pearl Van Geest paintings.

A Kelvin Britton "Rose" painting, sculptures by Svava Juliusson, and a Lauren Nurse self-portrait.

And, tucked away in the reference corner, a Jan Ollner painting and another Svava Juliusson sculpture.