A New Grade-A Gallery in Sarnia, A Feedlot-Fuelled Performance in Toronto and Other Must-Sees This Week
POSTED: OCTOBER 4, 2012
From award-winning ceramics art in Vancouver to a slam-dunk installation in St. John’s, there’s lots of great art to enjoy across the country over the next seven days, October 4 to 10, 2012. Here are our picks.
October 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Rita McKeough performance and reception at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto
Calgary-based artist Rita McKeough (a 2009 Governor General’s Award winner) is known for immersive installations that integrate interactive robotics and social critique with equal aplomb. She is also renowned for performances amid these installations that involve no small amount of strength and endurance (see 1993’s Taking it to the Teeth, where she and other performers chewed holes in a gallery’s drywall). This week, McKeough’s latest work The Lion’s Share, which premiered in Lethbridge last year, has its Toronto performance debut. With the installation based in part on cattle feedlots, the work seeks to highlight contradictions and anxieties around choosing what is acceptable as food and what is not and considering the impact these choices have on the environment—issues with a particular currency these days given the unfolding beef food-safety crisis. Other promising events in Toronto this Thursday include openings for Lois Andison at Olga Korper Gallery, Wil Murray at P|M Gallery and Vanessa Maltese at Erin Stump Projects.
October 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Opening for Brendan Tang at Gallery Jones, 1725 West Third Avenue, Vancouver
Fresh off Brendan Tang’s Tuesday-night win of the second annual RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award, Vancouver dealer Gallery Jones highlights the artist’s work with a solo show. The RBC prize was voted upon by the public, and it’s little surprise that Tang took the award despite some tight competition from other ceramics-based artists. In addition to mastering all the technical skills necessary in the ceramic medium, 2010 Sobey shortlister Tang draws on the history of the form while taking it to an entirely new place—his Manga Ormolu series, which has been ongoing for several years, mashes up Ming vase patterning with comic-book forms to create works that are humorous and insightful, grounded and futuristic all at once. Other promising shows opening in Vancouver this week include Russian-born, Los Angeles–trained artist Marina Pinsky at Exercise starting October 5 and Selwyn Pullan’s documentation of West Coast modernism at the West Vancouver Museum starting October 9.
October 5: First day of “Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies” at the National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
An overlooked Canadian modernist photographer gets her first major retrospective starting this week at the National Gallery of Canada. Margaret Watkins made a name for herself during the 1920s in the world of commercial photography with the staging of everyday objects, such as soap, gloves and a pack of cigarettes, making them attractive and desirable. At the height of her career, living in New York City, she won prizes in international exhibitions and taught at the renowned Clarence H. White School of Photography. A life-long interest in music—she played piano and sang in choirs—is reflected in her portraits of musicians or the musical titles that she gave her photographs, like Domestic Symphony, a kitchen-sink scene that provides the title of the exhibition. Well worth a look.
October 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Grand opening of the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, 147 Lochiel Street, Sarnia
The Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery is the latest incarnation of Sarnia’s public gallery initiatives, which were originally founded in 1916. Friday marks the transition from the institution’s identity as Gallery Lambton, which it was known as since 1991. But it isn’t just the name that is new as of this Friday; there’s also a purpose-built, Category A facility for the gallery’s permanent collection and touring exhibitions, all housed in what was once a Saks Fifth Avenue—Sarnia’s Thom Building, built in 1893 by local photographer Major John Strathearn Thom to accommodate his photography studio. And there are some new works on view for the opening as well: Montreal’s Adad Hannah has been working on a commission there for two years, collaborating with local teens and children to manifest a school-house brawl/prison-break narrative in tableaux vivant form. Vancouver’s Ben Skinner, who was raised in the Sarnia area, returns to the region with site-specific interventions in the gallery and community that draw on his childhood memories.
October 6 at 3 p.m.: Reception for Hazel Meyer at Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive, St. John’s
Emerging Toronto-based artist Hazel Meyer received some acclaim from unexpected quarters this summer with coverage of her installation, performance and sculpture project Walls to the Ball appearing on NBC Sports’s college basketball website. Then again, maybe that wasn’t so unexpected after all, as Walls to the Ball (which has been touring various Canadian venues) uses macramé and hand-knotting techniques to construct fantastical versions of basketball nets in a commentary on both jock and handicraft culture. In the first weeks of the exhibition, Meyer transformed Eastern Edge into a pseudo-gymnasium, complete with a large-scale wall drawing and patterned floor, that became the site of performances and games juxtaposing craft and athletics. Though the official performances have already taken place, this reception will no doubt provide an opportunity to discuss the connection between one’s hook shot and one’s crochet hook with other interested parties.
For more art events from coast to coast, please visit canadianart.ca/calendar.