Sara Angelucci: Undergrowth

SPAO, Ottawa (2021); Art Gallery of Sudbury (2021-2022)

Gros Morne Whirl, public art commission for Creative Gros Morne

Artists: Mary Ann Liu and Paul Slipper

Norris Point, Gros Morne, Newfoundland

Curator for Creative Gros Morne in Newfoundland, to oversee the commission of a piece of permanent, site-specific outdoor public art in the Gros Morne community. Paul Slipper and Mary Anne Liu's Gros Morne Whirl launched July 1, 2017 and is on display in the community of Norris Point from May to October annually.

Circling the Inverse Square

Artists: Adam David Brown, Jessica Eaton, Karilee Fuglem, Marla Haldy, Richard Sewell, Charles Stankievech

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, 2013–14

Circling the Inverse Square presents artworks that derive from a particularly speculative approach to making work, drawing connections to the intricate processes behind observation and enquiry in physics. The six artists brought together for this exhibition share a scientific state of mind in their systems- and process-based approaches, yet the works they create are not illustrative of scientific principles or theories. Instead, they circle the language, concepts and the aesthetics of physics toward more suggestive ends.

In these works, the boundaries between the individual and the universal are brought to the fore, as they lend form to connections that are usually invisible. The shape of sound, the connection between microscopic pores and star constellations, and our methods for processing the visual world are some of the areas under investigation. Paradoxes and conundrums are often at the root of these explorations, which are just as often humorous and playful as they may be serious and speculative. Here, the methods and edges of human perception are under examination, in ways that often embrace systematic approaches, yet result in sculptures, installations, photographs and drawings that are, ultimately, poetic.

Publication: Available through KWAG or ABC books

(Da bao)(Takeout)

Artists: Sara Angelucci and Han Xu, John Armstrong and Paul Collins, Cathy Busby, Gang Chen, Brendan Fernandes, Nan Hao, Ming Hon, Knowles Eddy Knowles, Laiwan, Minjeong Oh, Ed Pien, Shen Yi Elsie, Laurens Tan, Xiaojing Yan, Zhang Zhaohui

Varley Art Gallery of Markham (2012) and circulated to the Art Gallery of Mississauga, PlugIn ICA in Winnipeg, and Surrey Art Gallery (2012–2014)

(Da bao)(Takeout) attempts to locate a type of pan-ocean dynamic between China and the West, specifically Canada, by focusing on artists who investigate, adapt and instill ideas from abroad into their practice, while appreciating the palpable slippages that occur in the transference of ideas from one ethnicity to another. An exhibition of international scope, (Da bao)(Takeout) brings together the work of 19 artists, largely from China and Canada. Two curators, living on either side of the globe, worked together to push beyond the traditional “exchange” format to create an exhibition that functions as a cohesive whole. It focuses on the artists’ shared experiences of being “taken out” of familiar contexts and encountering a strikingly different culture. Their individual experiences and the ways in which they discover areas of shared experience inform the work included in this exhibition. While their individual voices each occupy unique positions, collectively, they speak to issues of cultural transference, highlighting the gaps, distances and misunderstandings inherent in communication across cultural divides.

Publication: Catalogue, available through the Varley Art Gallery

Hyper Spaces: José Manuel Ballester, An Te Liu and Lynne Marsh

Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square, 2011–2012

In response to the white-cube, uniquely cavernous space of the Centennial Square location of Oakville Galleries, this group exhibition explores urban architecture and public space through the lenses of tension and anxiety. With a quasi-science-fiction approach, these artists turn the familiar space of the metropolis into unsettling, parallel worlds where dislocation and estrangement takes centre stage.

José Manuel Ballester, An Te Liu, and Lynne Marsh each conjure unsettled spaces, micro-worlds on the cusp of transition. In all instances, they are triggered by public architecture, from the epic scale of a German sports stadium to a conference centre in China to the gallery itself. Each of these artists fabricate a view of reality where nothing is certain, suggesting the psychological impact of all public architecture, however muted the desired effect.

Publication: Pdf download available through Oakville Galleries

Viva Voce

Artists: Dorian FitzGerald, Alison S.M. Kobayashi, Richie Mehta, Johnson Ngo, Denyse Thomasos, Carolyn Tripp, Jessica Vallentin, Rhonda Weppler/Trevor Mahovsky, Andrew Wright, Robert Zingone

Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga), 2011

This exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of the Art & Art History Program (University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan). Given the occasion, the curatorial method focused on the complex relationships between students and professors, as the participating alumni were selected through recommendations from past and present faculty members.
The Latin phrase “viva voce,” meaning “with the living voice,” is playfully adopted here to highlight the celebratory nature of an anniversary, while making reference to the outspoken professors who responded to the curator’s invitation to participate in the process. It connects to the notion of sharing information by word of mouth, or through reputation. By relying on the experiences of the program’s professors (in keeping with the anniversary date, 40 past and present faculty were contacted for recommendations), the selection process became a collective effort. This exhibition brings the connection between student and teacher to the forefront, underscoring the ongoing support that occurs after graduation, in the transition from student to colleague.

Therese Bolliger: Four Echoes

Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens, 2009–2010

Since the mid-90s, Therese Bolliger’s practice has focused on the gaps between image and language, between abstraction and representation, and between object and viewer. Four Echoes surveys her recent work, bringing together a selection of drawings and sculptures. Throughout the four rooms of the gallery at Gairloch, Bolliger’s work explored the essence of form, consistently evoking shapes that lie beyond the world of objects.

The word choice “echo” in the title of this exhibition is significant. An echo reaches out from its originating object into space. Untethered from its source, it occupies a tenuous state of existence. Bolliger’s practice is occupied with these fragile spaces: articulating memory’s place between past and present, translating mathematical and philosophical constructs into form, and exploring the outer reaches of the animate. In doing so, she continuously hovers on the line between abstraction and representation, creating objects from the figments of imagination.

Publication: Pamphlet, pdf version available

Burrow: Janice Kerbel, Adriana Kuiper, Liz Magor and Samuel Roy-Bois

Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square (2007) and circulated to Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, Nova Scotia; and Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec (2007–2009)

Burrow focuses on the human desire for comfort and escape, and how it can breed isolation and paranoia in an impossible search for absolute safety. It investigates the need for shelter while alluding to its potential to become a barrier to the outside world. The works in this exhibition speak to a yearning for extreme personal boundaries; to become invisible in the hopes of achieving safety and security. More importantly, they suggest the vicious cycle of this process and the relative absurdity of believing that people are capable of self-sustainability, particularly within the conditions of contemporary civilization.

Adriana Kuiper, in her Snack Bar Shelter, built a recreational facility out of cinder blocks, based on a drawing from a brochure on fallout shelters. Absurd and disturbing, it suggests how the nuclear family might pass the long hours while the world is coming to an end. Samuel Roy-Bois’ Ghetto presents the viewer with a claustrophobically enclosed living space visible through a plexiglas window, raising questions about the minimum requirements for human shelter and the loss of privacy associated with homelessness. Two sculptures by Liz Magor (Burrow and Carton II), and her photographic Deep Woods Portfolio, blur the line between human and animal shelters in the forest. Floor-plan drawings by Janice Kerbel from the series Home Fittings generate a cryptic visual pattern from calculations arising from a fearful and obsessive inventory of living spaces.

This exhibition draws attention to a universal, timeless and complex human condition, pointing to individual attempts at refuge in the face of unknown threats. The mindset of Burrow represents a state of ongoing internal conflict at its most basic, human level.

Publication: Catalogue available through Oakville Galleries or ABC books