All posts by Claire Sykes

Michel Huneault: Intersection

Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 2, Roxham Road, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Communiqué de presse – PDF en français)

New exhibition reflects upon contemporary migration and the confusing quest for safety

Toronto, ON, August 28, 2017Circuit Gallery is pleased to present a solo show by Montreal-based photographer Michel Huneault, premiering his new project Intersection. Incorporating audio, video, and photography, Huneault reflects upon contemporary migration and the confusing quest for safety.

Huneault has, since early 2017, been documenting the steady flow of asylum seekers into Canada at the Canada-USA irregular border crossing point of Roxham Road, in the Québec community of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, 60 kilometres south of Montreal.

Between February and July, he made sixteen visits to Roxham Road, documenting the evolution of this phenomenon as both the public and the authorities were trying to grasp its meaning and scope. Over the course of this period he witnessed 180 crossing attempts by asylum seekers coming from a wide range of countries: Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Syria, Palestine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, Guatemala, El Salvador, Angola, Chad, the Philippines, Nigeria, Burundi, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, and, in the most recent spike in the number of attempts, from Haiti.

Intersection started like most of my projects, initially motivated by my curiosity and interests. In the last two years, I had completed other projects on remittance flows and the migrant crisis in Europe. This long time interest in migration came into sharper focus because similar events were happening at home. When I start my projects, they often have a more current journalistic timing, but I am not a photojournalist per se. I don’t get many assignments and don’t think of my projects as being for the media primarily. What I think I do is photography with a deep anchor in current events, while questioning classic forms of documentation. And then, periodically, I pitch timely excerpts of this work to my media clients. The turning point of this project for me was the photograph I took of the pregnant Nigerian woman who stood, frozen in fear, just steps away from the border. In the end she did not cross, and was taken away by the US Border Patrol. I sent that photo to my entire media client list, but nobody published it. That is when the project became clearer to me, when I grasped the complexity and the tension that I wanted to capture. —Michel Huneault

Public discourse on both sides of the border, indeed around the world, and at every level, from eloquent idealism to naked racism, has swirled and clashed around this phenomenon. American and Canadian government policies, practicalities, rhetoric, and images have defined and defied each other here, where desperate and frightened people cross a line they cannot see.

That moment when, on the side of a dirt road, people make a fundamental choice about what freedom means to them, when they would rather be under arrest in one country than “free” in another, is profoundly political and public. It draws into focus the character and identities of the countries as much as of the individuals. But it is also a moment of great personal risk and change. It is intensely private. By overlaying the outlines of asylum seekers with various fabrics he photographed in 2015 during the European migrant crisis – blankets given to stay warm, clothes donated, and tents erected to provide temporary shelter – Huneault respects that privacy and turns our attention to the moment itself, and to its global and humanitarian context.

I hope that Intersection will help us to reflect on the larger context of humanitarian principles and migratory flows, on why people take to the road and what they hope to find, on the obstacles they face, and on our collective responsibilities towards them. —Michel Huneault

This exhibition will also be adapted as an interactive virtual reality piece produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), to be released in the fall of 2017. To access the NFB’s award-winning content, please visit www.nfb.ca/interactive/


BIO
Michel Huneault is a documentary photographer based in Montreal, Canada. Before devoting himself full time to documentary photography in 2008, Michel Huneault worked in the international development field for a dozen years, a profession that took him to over twenty countries, including one full year in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow, researching the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was a student and teaching assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, and afterwards held an apprenticeship position with him in New York. His practice—often mixing photography with audio/video elements—focuses on development and humanitarian issues, on personal and collective traumas, and on complex geographies.

Huneault is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize (2015) for his long-term work on the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe, and the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship (2016) to continue his research on migration. In 2016 his project Post Tohoku, looking at the impact of the tsunami in Japan, was nominated for the Prix Pictet 7 and received a Prix Antoine-Désilets. Huneault’s work has been exhibited in various venues in Canada, France, UK, USA, Japan and the Netherlands.

Artist Website: Michel Huneault


Michel Huneault: Intersection runs September 7 through September 30 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with a reception for the artist on Friday, September 8, from 6–9 PM, and a talk by the artist on Saturday, September 9, from 2-3 PM.


Michel Huneault

Intersection

September 7 – 30, 2017
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Artist’s Reception: Friday, September 8, 6-9 PM
Artist’s Talk: Saturday, September 9, 2-3 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM

Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 9, Roxham Road, 2017
Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 10, Roxham Road, 2017
Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 3, Roxham Road, 2017

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

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Alejandro Cartagena lecture video online

LECTURE VIDEO

Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism

Alejandro Cartagena

Friday, May 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
OCAD University
Toronto


For the past decade Alejandro Cartagena has been investigating the relationship between Mexico’s urban centres and the suburbs built around them, examining the ways in which explosive growth has altered the landscape and affected the lives of residents.

In this talk, Cartagena discusses the development of his photographic projects including Suburbia Mexicana, Landscape as Bureaucracy, Carpoolers, and his latest work, Outgrowing.

Through these projects, Cartagena creatively sheds light on the complex issues surrounding the ‘ideal’ of homeownership and its recent boom in Mexico. He intimately observes many of the spaces and people involved, including buyers, public bureaucrats, and labourers. He illustrates how Mexico’s social and political context has proved to be both a benefit and a threat to many new buyers, opening up both new opportunities and challenges.

Cartagena’s work looks at the larger implications of the region’s rapid suburban expansion, from urban gentrification and inner-city ‘ghettoization,’ to the seemingly unplanned and unhampered suburban sprawl emanating from many of Mexico’s fast growing cities, and its environmental consequences.

His approach to photography is not overtly polemical; rather, he seeks to tell, from multiple points of view, the complex story of growth and development in Latin America in the context of an increasing globalization and the ongoing influence of its northern neighbour(s) and ‘North American dreams’.


BIO

Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in public and private collections in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, the Portland Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He has received the Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Lente Latino award in Chile, and the Premio IILA-Fotografia 2012 award in Rome. He has been named a FOAM Magazine Talent and one of PDN’s 30 International Emerging Photographers to watch. Cartagena’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as Newsweek, The New York Times Lens blog, Nowness, Domus, The Financial Times, View, The Guardian, le Monde, PDN, The New Yorker, The Independent, Monocle and Wallpaper. His monograph Suburbia Mexicana was published in 2011 (Daylight/Photolucida) and his latest book Carpoolers was released in 2014 (Fonca – Conaculta). He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).


The Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism lecture is co-presented by CONTACT, LACAP, the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Through the Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery. Special thanks to Shawn Micallef, Tamara Toldeo, Tara Smith, Rita Leistner, April Hickox and Sharon Switzer.

This event was held in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

Alejandro Cartagena to give public talk

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Escobedo, from the series Suburbia Mexicana, 2008

Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism

Alejandro Cartagena lecture & conversation with Shawn Micallef

Friday, May 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
OCAD University
100 McCaul St., Room 230
[ Google Map ]

Free and open to the public.

Join us for a lecture by noted Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena, to be followed by a conversation with author and urban columnist Shawn Micallef.


For the past decade Alejandro Cartagena has been investigating the relationship between Mexico’s urban centres and the suburbs built around them, examining the ways in which explosive growth has altered the landscape and affected the lives of residents.

In this talk, Cartagena will discuss the development of his photographic projects including Suburbia Mexicana, Landscape as Bureaucracy, Carpoolers, Roma-Roma and his latest work, Outgrowing.

Through these projects, Cartagena creatively sheds light on the complex issues surrounding the ‘ideal’ of homeownership and its recent boom in Mexico. He intimately observes many of the spaces and people involved, including buyers, public bureaucrats, and labourers. He illustrates how Mexico’s social and political context has proved to be both a benefit and a threat to many new buyers, opening up both new opportunities and challenges.

Cartagena’s work looks at the larger implications of the region’s rapid suburban expansion, from urban gentrification and inner-city ‘ghettoization,’ to the seemingly unplanned and unhampered suburban sprawl emanating from many of Mexico’s fast growing cities, and its environmental consequences.

His approach to photography is not overtly polemical; rather, he seeks to tell, from multiple points of view, the complex story of growth and development in Latin America in the context of an increasing globalization and the ongoing influence of its northern neighbour(s) and ‘North American dreams’.


BIOS

Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in public and private collections in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and the United States, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, the Portland Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He has received the Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Lente Latino award in Chile, and the Premio IILA-Fotografia 2012 award in Rome. He has been named a FOAM Magazine Talent and one of PDN’s 30 International Emerging Photographers to watch. Cartagena’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as Newsweek, The New York Times Lens blog, Nowness, Domus, The Financial Times, View, The Guardian, le Monde, PDN, The New Yorker, The Independent, Monocle and Wallpaper. His monograph Suburbia Mexicana was published in 2011 (Daylight/Photolucida) and his latest book Carpoolers was released in 2014 (Fonca – Conaculta). He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).

Shawn Micallef is a Toronto Star columnist, co-owner and an editor of Spacing magazine, co-founder of the mobile phone public space documentary project [murmur], and instructor at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, The Trouble with Brunch: Work, Class, and the Pursuit of Leisure, and was the Toronto Public Library’s non-fiction writer in residence in 2013.


RELATED EVENTS

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Carpooler #15 (detail) and Carpooler #17 (detail), from his Carpoolers series, 2011

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities
May 1 – 31, 2015
Warden subway station
Warden St and St. Clair Ave W
Toronto M1L 4R7

A CONTACT Public Installation curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

Through the photographs of Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena and videos by Kingston, Ontario art duo Julia Krolik & Owen Fernley, Toronto’s subway corridors are transformed with images addressing suburban transportation, development, and sustainability.

Cartagena’s images are shown on 55 posters throughout Warden station, the penultimate stop on the eastern edge of the system. This station serves as a primary destination for many suburban commuters. The artist’s series Carpoolers (2011–2012) portrays a different kind of commute, adopting a bird’s eye view of construction workers and landscapers in the beds of pickup trucks traveling to build and maintain the wealthy suburban communities outside of Monterrey, México.


WORKSHOP

Alejandro Cartagena will be offering a workshop as part of the Contact Photography Festival on ‘The Photobook’

Alejandro Cartagena: The Photobook – workshop
May 6, 12:00 pm
Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond St W 120
Toronto M5V 3A8
416-979-3941
www.gallery44.org
info@gallery44.org

Alejandro will teach a two-day workshop focused on photobook history, and edit and sequencing methods. It is geared towards artists with work in progress who are looking for direction and guidance to create a book. His projects are primarily documentary-based and employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban, and environmental issues in Latin America. Cartagena’s recent self-published book Carpoolers was listed as one of the best photo-books in 2014 by Time magazine. Students are asked to bring up to three projects to work on with 20 to 30 image printed at approximately 4×6. $160/$140 for Gallery 44 members and CONTACT Portfolio Reviews participants.

Co-presented with Circuit Gallery, CONTACT, Gallery 44 and LACAP.

Visit www.gallery44.org/workshops/photobook to register.
Contact soJin Chun at sojin @ gallery44.org for more information.

This event is in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation at Warden subway station. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.


The Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism lecture is co-presented by CONTACT, LACAP, the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Through the Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery. Special thanks to Tamara Toldeo, Tara Smith, April Hickox and Sharon Switzer.

This event is in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

AC_contact_logos680

Alejandro Cartagena public installation for CONTACT

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Carpooler #2 (detail) and Carpooler #1 (detail), from his Carpoolers series, 2011

Circuit Gallery is thrilled that gallery artist Alejandro Cartagena‘s work has been curated into an innovative and ambitious public art installation as part of the 2015 Scotiabank Contact photography festival. The exhibition takes over Warden subway station (google map).

NEWS RELEASE

Alejandro Cartagena’s work to take over Toronto’s Warden subway station as an official public installation for the Scotiabank CONTACT photography festival

Toronto, ON, April, 2015 — PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters are pleased to present Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, featuring noted Mexican artist, Alejandro Cartagena’s images on 55 advertising posters, converting Toronto’s Warden subway station into a distinctive exhibition space. The exhibition also threads throughout the city’s subway system, via a series of videos by Kingston, Ontario art duo, Julia Krolik and Owen Fernley capturing the attention of more than one million daily commuters from May 1 to 31, 2015.

An official public installation of Scotiabank CONTACT, Toronto’s annual photography festival, the 9th annual Contacting Toronto addresses issues of transportation, suburban development and sustainability. Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities is curated by Sharon Switzer.

Cartagena’s series Carpoolers (2011–2012) adopts a bird’s eye view of construction workers and landscapers gathered together in the beds of pickup trucks. Travelling to the wealthy suburban communities outside of Monterrey, Mexico that they build and maintain, the men lounge together, nestled among the tools and detritus of their professions. His Suburbia Mexicana (2006–2010) series focuses on the rise of poorer suburbs. Tiny cookie-cutter homes spread across the horizon, while families pose in front of these simple dwellings, proud of their new neighbourhoods.

Intersection (2015) is a series of videos by Krolik and Fernley, shown non-stop on 5 TTC LCD screens throughout Warden Station and every 5 minutes at 62 other stations across the city. Aerial views of suburban homes, roads, and parking lots are revealed with map-like precision, through the use of government orthophotos. The artists created a custom image processor to randomly sample images from a suburban region north of the GTA. Appearing as a triptych of changing images, this expanse transforms continuously as unnamed communities replace one another, details blurring into a seemingly never-ending suburban landscape.

“The artwork in Expanding Cities asks viewers to think critically about suburban expansion and sustainability,” said Sharon Switzer, National Arts Programmer and Curator, PATTISON Onestop. “Warden station, at the eastern edge of Toronto’s subway system, may seem like an unlikely place to mount an ambitious art installation, but I believe the relatively remote location will enhance viewers’ appreciation of work.”

For artist’s bios and statements, and to view a selection of Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities images and an exhibition essay by Nives Hajdin, please visit www.contactingtoronto.ca


Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities is co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters, in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, with financial support from the Ontario Arts Council and PATTISON Outdoor’s Art in Transit program.

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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
PATTISON Onestop – www.pattisononestop.com – @onestopmedia
Art in Transit – www.artintransit.ca – @ArtTransit
Art for Commuters – www.art4commuters.com – @art4commuters


About Onestop
Onestop is a world leader in the development and operation of Digital Out-of-Home Media (DOOH). Onestop creates and delivers uniquely engaging experiences that connect the physical and digital worlds, and provides audiences timely and relevant information in engaging spaces. Onestop leverages proprietary technology to deploy digital campaigns for mass transit, office, airport, residential, and retail environments, as well as being the exclusive media provider in the PATH – Toronto’s underground walkway connecting office towers and subway stations to over 1,200 shops and services. Onestop is a division of PATTISON Outdoor Advertising.
www.pattisononestop.com

For more information contact:
Marie Nazar, Arts Publicist, PATTISON Onestop
416-762-7702 | marie.nazar@bell.net

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CONNECTED EVENTS

Circuit Gallery is pleased to support the following connected events.

Friday, May 8th at 6:00pm
Alejandro Cartagena: Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism
OCADU, 100 McCaul Street, Room 230

Artist talk, followed by a conversation with author, Shawn Micallef.

This event is co-presented by CONTACT, Latin American-Canadian Art Projects Speaker Series (LACAP), the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery, in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities.


Wednesday, May 6th – Thursday, May 7th
Alejandro Cartagena: The Photobook
Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond St W, Suite 120

Cartagena will teach a two day workshop focused on photo book history, edit and sequencing methods. Cartagena’s recent self-published book carpooler was listed as one of the best photo books in 2014 by Time magazine.

This event is co-presented by Gallery 44, Centre for Contemporary Photography, CONTACT, LACAP and Circuit Gallery, in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities.

Donald Weber – 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist

Donald Weber 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist
Donald Weber 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist

Donald Weber was a finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award. A huge honour and well deserved recognition. Congratulations Don!

Watch the video of Donald talking about his work.

Canadian Art Critic and Writer Sarah Milroy nominated Donald for the Award.

Donald Weber
Nominator’s Statement

Documentary photography is a calling that entails all the aesthetic discrimination, technical expertise, and sophisticated reading of the world demanded of artists working in the fine art tradition. Added to this, however, is the added pressure of making pictures out in the world, often under conditions of threat. It’s a dance with fate: the operations of chance, of light judged on the fly, the threat of equipment failure, the chance nature of human encounter and connection, the sometimes steep requirements for personal courage, and the need for instinct that can never be quantified or explained — all must be summoned in the moment.

Donald Weber, now 40, is one of Canada’s most compelling practitioners in the field of documentary photography, a tradition too seldom honored in Canadian art. His insightful and piercing images of life in Russia and Eastern Europe have lifted the veil on a part of the world little known and understood in the west, his images powerfully bearing forth the vitality, violence and grim subsistence of a people burdened by the weight of a traumatic history, and stranded in a purgatorial present. Whether photographing the snow swept aftermath of Stalin’s purges, or the now-stilled landscapes of the western Ukraine and Siberia that were once the site of political atrocities, Weber captures the eeriness of a present haunted by the past. As we see in the faces of his urban denizens, gang members, and marauding police, the use of force has become a way of life, grimly accepted by its victims and exalted by its perpetrators.

In a similar vein, Weber has explored the vestigial curse of environmental disaster. In the long shadow of Chernobyl, he pursued connection with the human beings left in the wake of the 1986 explosion, either as survivors of the medical afflictions caused by radiation, or as scavengers reduced to rubbish picking in closed contamination areas. (More recently, he has documented the aftermath of the Fukushima explosion.) The sense prevails of people as subject to historical forces beyond their control, whether he is photographing a child living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone or an Inuk negotiating his abrupt cultural transition into the digital 21st century. Through Weber’s lens, poverty, the forces of oppression and the machinations of power are seen to grind the human subject in their gears.

In this regard, his most recent series of photographs, titled War Sand, serves as a solemn coda. The sands of the Normandy beaches are said to be eight percent shrapnel, metal exploded in combat and then corroded by time and the constant ministrations of the ocean tides. Added to this is its grim corollary: a portion of human remains, bone that has been crushed and crumbled to near powder-like consistency. Through the use of microscopic photography and with a kind of forensic inquisitiveness and existential wondering, Weber brings us close to these fragments, offering us, too, the longer view: the eerie hush of the beachhead and the expressionless features of the sea and sky, edged in grasses. The series invites a contemplation of the endless quiet that lies beyond the flare of bold historical events, offering a cautionary tale of the hubris of humankind.

– Sarah Milroy