Aleksander Hardashnakov (b. 1982) is an artist and the founder, along with Hugh Scott-Douglas and Tara Downs, of Tomorrow Gallery. Hardashnakov had his first solo, “I’d Rather Be The Weather Than The Weatherman”, with Clint Roenisch Gallery in 2011. All of the paintings in the exhibition were acquired by the National Bank of Canada. In 2012, Hardashnakov was a finalist in the RBC Painting Competition. He was also included in the group show, “trans/Form,” at MOCCA and had his first solo in New York, “Bring Me The You From You,” at Martos Gallery in Chelsea. He will have his second solo at Clint Roenisch in April 2013.
Regarded as one of Canada’s most important painters (Canadian Art, winter 2005) Chris Cran has for more than two decades consistently reinvented his work, always questioned the optical mechanics of perception and thoroughly examined the urge to apprehend space and form in art. His many series have all been widely exhibited, reviewed and collected, from the Self-Portraits (1980s) that established Cran’s name in Canada to the subsequent Stripes, Half-Tone, Clear and Screen paintings through the 90s to the Abstracts and more recent Sublime Sales Series. Nancy Tousley has written that “Cran’s analysis of the rhetoric of painting is as clear-eyed as it is unsentimental about painting’s present condition. At the same time, he reaffirms revelation, beauty and new ways of seeing as jobs that painting can still do. Painting itself might be a commodity but in Cran’s work perception and beauty are non-consumable and fluid.” His work can be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Glenbow Museum and several; in the corporate collections of McCarthy Tétrault, Osler Hoskin Harcourt, Petro-Canada, Arcis Corporation and others along with many private collections.
Dorian FitzGerald (*1975, Toronto) makes monumental paintings of materially excessive situations. The subject matter includes the dining room of Stefano Gabbana’s yacht; the throne room of the Queluz National Palace in Lisbon; table decorations for a party thrown by Oprah Winfrey for Sidney Poiter; a Fabergé Egg ornamented by a rose trellis; a Cartier bracelet and, most recently, an image of Elton John’s Sunglass collection at his estate in Old Windsor, England. Each of the paintings has been made using acrylic paint and caulking in a slow, precise method that FitzGerald has refined in his studio over several years, although the total number of paintings made in this manner is less than fifteen given their scale and complexity. The process involves researching suitable imagery, manipulating it with software, making a large-scale acetate transfer onto canvas and then using clear caulking to delineate areas of pure colour so that the image is built up slowly in a manner that resembles a kind of pointillism filtered into vector graphics. FitzGerald’s largest painting to date, “The Hacker-Pschorr Beerhall, Oktoberfest, Munich” (2005), at twelve feet wide by eighteen feet high, took the artist more than three years to complete. Of his work and his process, the artist has written that “the images that interest me are symmetrically organized, complex masses of objects that assume fractal-like forms. These opulent interiors and luxury objects not only benefit from the rich texture and application of paint, they also closely align with my socio-political interests. I see myself as a contemporary court painter, documenting on a grand scale the material and spatial excesses of our time.”
Harold Klunder is one of Canada’s leading painters. He has exhibited constantly for more than three decades since his first solo show at Sable-Castelli Gallery in 1976. Born in The Netherlands in 1943 Harold Klunder emigrated to Canada in 1952. He maintains three studios in Montreal, Flesherton (Ontario) and Pouch Cove (Newfoundland). His paintings are held in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, MuseumLondon and the Winnipeg Art Gallery among many others. He uses a refined vocabulary of forms that are uniquely his to suggest ideas of vitality and transformation, of biology and duration, of identities that are mutable and of the still-unfolding history of painting itself. Klunder works on single paintings for years at a time and in so doing they become invested with a palpable sense of lived experience and vivid evidence of his effort to give shape to consciousness itself. In his recent, definitive book “Abstract Painting In Canada” Roald Nasgaard wrote that “A sense of the history of art (at least back to the seventeenth century) pervades Klunder’s work, but not in any derivative or historicist way. His are no postmodern exercises of appropriation but something entirely internalized and personalized.”
Heather Peak was born in Desborough, UK in 1973 and Ivan Morison was born in Nottingham, UK in 1974. They are based in Arthog, North West Wales. Their work has been exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, including Tate Britain; the British Art Show 6 and at the Barbican among many others. In 2007 they represented Wales at the Venice Biennale. The curator, Bruce Haines, wrote at the time: “The Morisons’ artworks focus on our spatial relationships with ordinary things, things forgotten and unnoticed, and convey the simple pleasures and passions of their endeavours and of those they meet. The formal outcomes of their investigations have included LED displays of text messages, slide shows, LP recordings of conversations, radio broadcasts, special one-off events and science-fiction novels written whilst in transit. Many of these blend factual recall with fictionalisation, merging information into a shifting narrative that builds on the mythology of Heather and Ivan Morison’s lives and the lives of the people they encounter.
Their work mirrors the passion, process and beauty of their subjects whether an astronomer, an ice fisherman, a florist or a beekeeper, to name but a few. They observe and collect the things they come into contact with, embracing chance encounters and seeking out subjects which are on the edge of daily life. The everyday and the incidental, the unusual, the hidden and the unforeseen, all are considered and brought together in an investigation of the things that surround us and to shed light on our place within these things. The artists take delight in revealing the essence of the mundane and its particularities and peculiarities.”
Jason de Haan is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Calgary. His work has been shown in group exhibitions in Canada, the USA, Ireland, Mexico, Sweden, Iceland and the UK. He has written that his work concerns itself with the conceptual, poetic and absurd, often manifesting itself as a combination in the forms of sculpture, installation, performance, drawing and bookworks. His projects, he says, always maintain a desire to achieve the positive. His first exhibition with Clint Roenisch, “Like Dust” (2009) brought together nine new works on paper, four sculptural works and an editioned set of photographs. These works, made of crystals, salt, marble, wood, metal, foil, “speculatively haunted” mirrors and brick, collectively suggested, often through slight gestures, various situations relating to time and material. Among other possibilities the exhibition proposed gazing into the grave plot directly above that of Marilyn Monroe’s; the containment of the Northern Lights; an energy generator composed of several dozen small selenite obelisks; and activity in outer space. Also notable was a new large work from the Salt Beard series which de Haan had previously built in Mexico and Iceland. These are mineral growths that are deposited onto the busts of various figures, based partly on the story of Rip van Winkle — the fictitious man who fell asleep under a tree for a number of years and awoke to an unfamiliar world. The Salt Beards aim to re-animate material, persona and style, allowing the sculpture to exist again as new while looking both forward and backward through time. The title, Like Dust, is therefore relative in one form or another to each individual work in the show, alluding to what, where and when we are, relative to the natural, the historical, the yet-to-happen and even to metaphysical realities.
Jason de Haan was included in Timeland: 2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Richard Rhodes, at the Edmonton Art Gallery. In 2009 de Haan produced THE END IS NEAR HERE IS NEAR THE END, a collaborative installation with Scott Rogers for Nuit Blanche 2009. By co-opting the familiar fatalist phrase “The End is Near” the artists wryly explored notions of apocalypse, suggesting that doomsday is not so much imminent as it is perpetually displaced in the vastness of the universe. De Haan was also included in Sleepless Nights: Visions from Western Canada at Kling and Bang Galleri, Iceland (2009). Recent solo shows include Overcoming Problems Related to This Planet: Hope, Love, Peace, Healing, Generosity, Purpose, Harmony at Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton (2008) and Life After Doomsday at Lump Gallery/Projects, Raleigh (2008) and Where The Ocean Meets This Guy at Stride Gallery, Calgary (2007). De Haan is a member of the collective Unconstrained Growth Into the Void and, with Scott Rogers, is the co-founder of the curatorial initiative Pocket Projects.
Jennifer Murphy: A Few Words around the Work of
I have a piece by Jennifer Murphy in my apartment. It is a mobile composed of eight elements dangling in a cluster from invisible thread, five to six feet from the floor. The largest of these is a paper cut-out in the shape of a hand. Patches of mint silk make up one side, reflective mylar the other. The rest of the dangling objects are cut-outs of eggs and a rock (all with photo on one side, reflective mylar on the other). This octet is never still; a nearby window and lamp provide constant drafts and air currents. When the sun is low in the west, the mylar surfaces smear rainbows around the room. In less dramatic light, a constant movement of shadows and reflections play on the wall.
And because everything is always moving, each individual element shifts moment-to-moment from one kind of object to a completely other kind. One moment shows a photo-representation of the natural world, the next a nearly invisible line, the next a flash of pure light. You can’t use the same eyes for each of these; your brain renames the object and your vision refocuses.
A lot of Murphy’s work is what you might call drawing in mixed media: a crow in black lace and coloured pencil; a chandelier in bookbinding tape; a skull in pressed pansy flowers. But there are also sculptures: a delicate curtain made of cut-outs of butterflies, horses, and cats; papier maché spheres with oblong openings and mysterious rainbows inside; a circle made of variously coloured ribbon pinned to the wall with photos of hands emerging; a corner installation made from the photo of a fox cut on one side to describe the close-up profile of its face and on the other to describe the distant profile of its body. In every case, modes of representation (usually photography, illustration, or published text) are put into material and representational flux. So while the images may be of bones, bugs, or amphibians and the materials might be velvet, tulle, or trash bags, the final work is more to do with complexities of presentation and perception in form and image.
In other words, Murphy takes illustrations from guides, catalogs, magazines, and other paraphernalia and removes them from their function as illustration. The images no longer subserve the staid conventions of the consumer object they were meant for – they proliferate in swarms of life-in-all-directions.
This work is often called gothic, fantastical, surreal. And yes, it is often some or all of these things. But one thing you don’t always hear it called is psychedelic – at times phenomenologically dazzling, but more important: involved in an open question about material, representation, perception, and consciousness. It is this level of subjective complexity that allows the work to radically complicate image, presentation, representation, and narrative, and yet to take pleasure in it all.
—Josh Thorpe, 2008 (revised 2010)
Born in 1965 Marcel van Eeden’s magnum opus is to make a drawing a day based on sources that precede the year of his birth. Using imagery culled from an array of historical material - illustrations from old books, topographical atlases, films, art history, newspaper clippings, photo archives, magazines such as Life, Paris Match and others - van Eeden has set himself the task of drawing a vast visual diary of a world he never knew. He begins a new drawing by starting in the top left corner and ending at the bottom right. In between emerges a bewildering range of images: explosions, trains, streetscapes, abstractions, accidents, sex acts, divers, diagrams, botanical specimens, on and on. That none of the imagery reflects the era of their maker suggests that his legacy will be a project that immortalizes his absence as much as it did his presence. In selecting more than one hundred of these drawings to be included in the 4th Berlin Biennale (2006) one of the curators, Massimilano Gioni, wrote that van Eeden’s “visual universe in fact seems affected by a radical form of iconophilia, an unstoppable urge to consume images and at the same time, by doing so, save them from oblivion.” Van Eeden’s project has been compared to the conceptual strategies of On Kawara and to the vast compendium of images compiled in Gerhard Richter’s Atlas.
Marcel van Eeden’s drawings have been widely exhibited.
Massimo Guerrera was born in Rome in 1967 and lives in Montréal. He has a degree in Plastic Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal (1992). In 2000 Guerrera was given a large room of the Biennale de Montréal dedicated to his installation Darboral. In 2001 he won the prestigious $25,000 Prix Ozias-Leduc from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan. Since 2002 he has shown at WhiteColumns (New York); the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux and the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) among other prominent venues. Major works were recently acquired by the Musée National des Beaux-Arts Montréal, the Banque National and the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec. In September 2008 a sprawling installation was included in the show “Caught In The Act: the viewer as performer” at the National Gallery of Canada, curated by Joseé Drouin-Brisebois. A large group of works from that installation was then subsequently acquired for the National’s permanent collection. Guerrera’s work, along with Adad Hannah and seven other Quebec artists, is included in Tactful Rituals at the Liverpool Biennial (until Nov. 28th). He is also included, with Sylvain Bouthillette, Pascal Grandmaison and Valerie Blass, in Chimère/Shimmer which just opened at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (until 3 April, 2011).
Niall McClelland (b.1980) grew up in Toronto, spent many of his summers in Northern Ireland, went to school in Vancouver and eight years later returned to Toronto where he now lives. His work has been published in Adbusters, Arkitip, Color, Design Anarchy, Hunter and Cook, I-Live-Here, Lowdown, Made, and The Walrus among others. Recent exhibitions include “In The Dark” at Eleanor Harwood (San Francisco); Resurrection at Cinders Gallery (Brooklyn); Sails, Cubes and Folds (CR). McClelland was also included along with Jeremy Jansen, Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra in the group show Black To Back And Light at CR in 2009. Of that exhibition the Globe and Mail surmised that “..the works of Jansen and McClelland are plenty gritty enough to hold up against the Serras and the Kelly. Indeed they demonstrate the same kind of uncompromising bravura.”
For Ballen, inspired by the American ‘Field painters’ of the 1960s and early 1970s, everything that resides within the visual field is significant. Accordingly, Ballen is not a photographer for whom standard divisions like subject and object, motif and background, make any sense: the drizzle and lilt of a wire, the shuffle of a shoe, the smear of sand on a wall are as important to the reading of the work, to its distinct power, as gestures more humanly communicative like a smile or grimace. This expanded pictorial focus produces a kind of animism where objects that might be mute in another photographer’s work speak in a chaotic and compelling tongue, making even the most ostensibly naturalistic image more sur-real than real.
Since the late 1990s Ballen has been working at intensifying this core of his practice. For instance, his often curiously unique subjects now perform with and for him to create images that are in all ways true theatrical partnerships. He has also worked on the environments themselves, responding to drawings on the wall and clusters of objects that become antic sculptural formations as we find an unfathomable blurring of fact and fiction. His most recent work (to be published by Phaidon Press in the Spring of 2009) has pushed this further still, often eradicating the human figure altogether to create intense and loaded subjective spaces that produce intense arenas of disease. While the figure is absent, these works feel like part of minds, as if the very spatial architecture of our internal states are mirrored by these ambiguous visual object poems.
Ultimately, therefore, the work of Roger Ballen is a form of radical, disquieting subjectivism, a psychology of the world itself that represents the inside of politics, the inside of ideology, the inside of ourselves.
Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Western Australia
“Manjushri is a bodhisattva associated with Vairochana, the Buddha Resplendent, who is like the sun in glory at its zenith. He is the patron bodhisattva of the Kadampa denomination, famous for its students of the written word. Manjushri’s sword of discriminating wisdom is tipped with flames to show that it severs all notions of duality. It can cut away delusion, aversion and longing, to reveal understanding, equanimity and compassion.”
Born in 1963 Sylvain Bouthillette took a Master’s degree in Visual Arts at Concordia University, Montreal. For more than twenty years he has developed his multidisciplinary practice of painting, sculpture, soundwork and printmaking. He has shown at or been collected by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal; Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, TD Bank and the Musee de Quebec among several others. A survey and catalogue, “Sylvain Bouthillette: Dharma Bum”, recently finished a national tour.
Over the last ten years Tony Romano and Tyler Brett have collaborated as T&T on images, models and sound works. Their melded vision is based on advanced engineering, ingenious upcycling, retrofitted architecture, sound ecological principles, rejigged technology and social harmony. They combine a sophisticated but survivalist mode of living with building strategies rooted in modernism and practices like the Coop Himmelb(l)au in particular. With futurist scenes of zero-footprint settlements, de-mobilized cars, wind turbines, water wheels, solar panels, filtration systems, bio-domes and green structures, T&T seem to propose a postapocalyptic situation that is both optimistic and pragmatically grounded. Far from being dark and violent, T&T have populated their futurist realities with hobo-troubadour collectives who roam the horizon, build sustainable habitats, perform music and deliver oral histories.
Tony Romano is a Toronto-based artist whose practice includes sculpture, film and
video, installation, music and text, in addition to his partnership with Tyler Brett as T&T.
Romano received his BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Sweden, Austria, Vancouver, Oakville, Montreal and Toronto. Recent solo shows include: The Last Act at Articule in Montreal, Onward Future at Oakville Galleries, and currently, Notary Moon at the MacLaren Art Gallery in Barrie. Recent group shows include: The Way I Are, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto; You Don’t Really Care for Music, Do You?, Red Bull Projects, Toronto; Everything will be OK, No. 9 Projects, Toronto; and Air Conditioned Jungle, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto.
Hugh Scott-Douglas was born in 1988 in Cambridge, England and lives in Toronto. He studied at Pratt (2005) and OCAD (2010). His thesis exhibition, “An Invitation To Lubberland” at the gallery attracted considerable interest for its cohesive melding of painting, monoprints, sculpture, furniture, lamps and installation elements. With his 2011 solo exhibition, “Chinese Whispers” the gallery proudly announced his representation. He has since exhibited at CliftonBenevento (NY); Wallspace (NY); Croy Neilsen (Berlin); Brand New Gallery (Milan) and Silverman Gallery (SF).
Scott-Douglas makes work that refers to production itself, to its consumption and to its container, using visual cues gleaned from minimalism and op art. The central dialectic of the work springs from the tension between the need for a rigid authority figure, on the one hand, and the very possibility of establishing such an authority, given that it is so easily subverted by its own parts. This tension arises when, in each work, the authority is embedded in a severed partnership – half medium, half author. However, through Scott-Douglas’s process-oriented methodology, one of the partners is elected over the other. In each case there is an emphasis on transparency and a push towards a paradoxical state of “non-denial denial”. In Scott-Douglas’s treatment formalism is detourned to allow the medium to execute its own mutiny. Experimentation and process become central themes that allow some works to be successful and others to fail; this produces a formalism that is equally in tension – working both towards and against a static form.
Jessica Eaton (b. 1977, lives Montreal) holds a BFA in photography from the Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver. Since graduating in 2006 Eaton has exhibited regularly in group and solo shows in Canada and the United States. Her photographs have been published in numerous publications including Hunter and Cook; BlackFlash; Color; Pyramid Power and Lay Flat 02: Meta among others. Artnews reproduced Eaton’s “cfaal (mb RGB) 18, 2010” on the cover of March 2011 to accompany the article, The New Photography.
Using a wide array of experimental, analogue-based photographic techniques such as colour separation filters, multiple exposures, dark slides and in-camera masking Jessica Eaton builds images on sheets of 4x5 film that address fundamental properties of photography such as light, chance, duration, illusion and spatial relations. Eaton has written: “I often set up parameters for phenomena to express itself. In the best of cases I push things so that the response comes in ways that I could not have thought up until I was shown it on film. Once you get to see or experience something you can use it. Then you can use it to see something else.”