Playing the Colour Field
By Betty Ann Jordan
His work is also featured in the related article by Wendy Jacob – “A New Look at Art” – in House & Home’s new online “Living Art” section.
By Betty Ann Jordan
His work is also featured in the related article by Wendy Jacob – “A New Look at Art” – in House & Home’s new online “Living Art” section.
Car Pooler #3 Makes You See
by Nick Kolakowski
We spend our lives refusing to see. We make a point of ignoring the disagreeable and the unjust. Every morning we board the subway or bus and stare past a rotating cast of homeless characters begging for change, even when they thrust a dirt-crusted hand under our noses; every night we click past images of genocide and warfare, instead directing our screens toward the scripted, bright and happy. You do it; I do it. There’s more than enough blame here to fill everyone’s bowl.
Alejandro Cartagena’s Car Poolers series hints at some Big Topic issues—immigration and exploitation, social status and the true cost of expansion—while forcing its audience to see what many choose to ignore. From most angles, the trucks he photographs would be nondescript. Shooting from high above, however, offers a view into the trucks’ flatbeds, and a world otherwise hidden by tailgates and steel sides: workers in worn jeans and dusty sneakers, packed flat amidst wheelbarrows and wooden pallets and buckets of tools.
In Car Pooler #1, Car Pooler #2, and Car Pooler #4 (all 2011) the workers appear asleep. An exception is Car Pooler #3 (2011), which features two of its three subjects awake but lying down, arms tight against their bodies; one of them has a hand cupped around his mouth, possibly smoking a cigarette. They are in transit, most likely to a construction site of some sort. There is a good chance that, if they keep quiet and still, nobody around them will notice their existence.
In a journalistic career spanning more than three decades of the twentieth century, Joseph Mitchell cataloged the people who built New York City and kept it fed. He wrote about the Mohawk construction workers scrambling along the steel skeletons of rising skyscrapers, and the hard lives of fishermen in the harbor. Whatever their occupation, the common denominator was pain: broken arms, failing livers, empty stomachs, dimming eyesight, and—perhaps worst of all—a creeping sense that in the end their efforts were all for nothing, that the world had abandoned them to die in crumbling hotels or on backwater reservations. One doubts many of the office workers in their gleaming towers, or the diners slurping down an oyster, gave much thought to the toil that had built the world around them.
Like Mitchell, Cartagena finds his subjects at low ebb, gathering strength for yet another shift of pouring concrete, shifting tons of soil, building the walls and floors of a new subdivision or office building. They create the bones of this world, even as they remain invisible to most of those within it. Cartagena’s environmental portraits aren’t imbued with the minutely choreographed symbolism of studio setups, but each is nonetheless weighty with subtext. We’re aware of the centuries-long fights over workers’ rights and immigration; we also know that, for as long as humanity’s existed, masses of people have been compelled into backbreaking labor for minimal payback. For anyone looking for a modern symbol of those eternal constants, it’d be hard to do better than a worker passed out beside his dusty tools, in a truck grinding toward the next job with the inevitability of Charon’s raft crossing the River Styx.
That’s what makes Car Pooler #3 so interesting. Unlike most other photographs in the series, two of its three subjects are awake. One of the pair wears sunglasses, hiding his gaze, but his compatriot to the right offers the viewer a flat gaze—wariness or defiance, depending on one’s point of view. Look at me all you want, he seems to be saying, or ignore me altogether. It makes no difference. I’m here, and I’m staring right back at you. Sooner or later, you won’t look away.
Nick Kolakowski is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. His fiction and nonfiction work has appeared in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Evergreen Review, Satellite Magazine, and Carrier Pigeon, among other venues. He’s also the author of “How to Become an Intellectual,” a work of comedic nonfiction. In the daylight hours, he helps edit the science-and-technology Website Slashdot.
Eight Toronto-based artists mash-it-up to explore and reveal the city’s transformations, hidden histories and surprises!
Circuit Gallery, in collaboration with Pattison Onestop, Art for Commuters (Toronto) and Dar Onboz (Beirut, Lebanon), present Flip-Toronto, a fun new project that collides flip-books and digital media screens, to bring to life animated anecdotes that explore and capture the city’s transformations, hidden histories and surprises!
Flip-Toronto features work by: David Grenier, Aubrey Reeves, Alec Dempster, Cortney Stephenson, Mary Porter, Tania Ursomarzo, Patrick Jenkins, and Lise Beaudry.
Artists were asked to choose a specific neighbourhood or location in the city to explore and portray in their flip-book project. The challenge – how do you tell a story about the city, in only 60 pages, without text and sound?
The results are amazing! The range of subjects and approaches taken are innovative and unexpected — from the use of pen and ink to bring to life a rain soaked 1950s football game, to Google maps being used as the source material for a series of encaustic paintings animating the changing urban landscape of the Junction.
Working in diverse media (drawing, photography, paper-cut) these artists have captured and illustrated everyday moments and childhood memories, sought to reveal historic events, and to showcase this ever changing and dynamic city – replete with a bustling Chinatown, a colourful crossing-guard, and buskers!
A different approach to urban story-telling
View the projects below, or on the project’s dedicated website.
Flip-Toronto is curated by Claire Sykes and Susana Reisman, Circuit Gallery (Toronto) and Sharon Switzer, Art for Commuters.
Flip-Toronto was inspired by Flip-Beirut, the successful flip-book project conceived and realized by the Lebanese publishing house Dar Onboz. Flip-Toronto is the second installation in what is hoped to become a multi-city initiative, under the umbrella title of Flip-City.
About Circuit Gallery
Circuit Gallery is the shared vision and collaborative product of Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes. The gallery specializes in works by emerging and established contemporary artists with an emphasis on photographic, digital and print-based works on paper.
About Pattison Onestop
Pattison Outdoor Advertising is Canada’s largest Out-of-Home advertising company, serving over 100 markets coast-to-coast. Pattison Onestop, a division of Pattison Outdoor, is a world leader in the development and operation of Digital Out-of-Home Media (DOOH) for mass transit, mall, retail, hospitality, residential, office, and outdoor environments.
About Art for Commuters
Art for Commuters is a non-profit curatorial collective that initiates unique, thought-provoking projects in the public realm. As Pattison Onestop’s arts programming partner, they bring urban art festivals and exhibitions to over one million people daily on the network of TTC subway platform screens. Art for Commuters was founded in 2007 by Sharon Switzer.
In addition to the wonderful artists, Sharon, Susana and Claire, would like to sincerely thank the following people for their generosity, time and expertise, without whom the project would not have been possible:
Nadine Touma, Jean-Paul Kelly, David Grenier, Marie Nazar, Adrienna Matzeg, Aubrey Reeves, and the talent at Fourth Wall Media.
Daylight Magazine has just released Eamon Mac Mahon: LANDLOCKED, another in their series of multi-media features. Here Eamon Mac Mahon talk about his photographic work and inspiration.
Eamon Mac Mahon grew up at the edge of the boreal forest, in a coal mining town in the foothills of the Rockies. Ever curious, he wondered about the towns in the far northwest of Canada and Alaska that existed without any roads leading to them. These towns were quite literally landlocked and were situated amidst vast areas of uninhabited land. Beginning in 2004, Eamon began traveling with a bush pilot to visit and photograph these far-flung communities each autumn.
Cartagena doesn’t need to inject much commentary to create extremely powerful images. (Huffington Post)
Circuit Gallery is pleased to offer a striking series of new works by Mexican-based photographer Alejandro Cartagena from his award winning project Car Poolers.
Cartagena was recently recognized in both the “People” and “Architecture” categories by the jury of the 2012 Sony World Photography Awards.
Offering a different take on ‘car pooling’ Cartagena continues his pointed investigation of the multiple and complex issues relating to unhampered suburban expansion. This recognition is not surprising, as this project, like his earlier Suburbia Mexicana comes from a deeply committed practice and desire to tell the story of the dramatic changes (environmental, demographic, economic) he is witnessing play out in his home city of Monterrey.
Cartagena’s work was recently acquired by both the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (MoCP) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will be featured in SFMOMA’s upcoming exhibition Photography in Mexico (opening March 10 and running through July 08, 2012).
Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. His work has been exhibited and published internationally, and is in several 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, Chicago, the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, and the Joaquim Paiva Collection, Sao Paolo, Brazil. He is the recipient of several major national grants, numerous awards, and acquisition prizes in Mexico and abroad. He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).
For more information contact Claire Sykes:
email@example.com | 1-647-477-2487
Contemporary artists are links in a chain of influence that manufactures the possibilities of an artwork and are no longer its source.
- The Value of Things, Neil Cummings & Marysia Lewandowska
Creating homages from objects found around her house – food stuff, office supplies, dishes and cleaning items – Toronto-based artist Susana Reisman‘s ongoing series entitled Domestic Disclosures playfully speaks to the ‘history of art’ and engages with the idea of influence.
This series engages with the idea of familiarity, repetition and transformation, in relation to that which makes up our everyday. For this project I have turned inwards to take a close look at my domestic environment and the everyday items I use during the daily routines of cooking, cleaning and working at home.
To begin, I decided to set up a ‘stage’—a neutral background—where I could photograph these objects outside of their everyday environment and function. Each day, I would choose a new item, set it on the stage and perform a series of improvised alterations to it. In making these ephemeral sculptures I soon realized, and became interested in the fact, that in some instances the gestures I performed and the forms that these objects assumed, subconsciously referenced artworks of which I am very fond.
In retrospect, this seems fortuitous and indeed bound to happen, as I am continually engaging with art of all kinds (in galleries, museums, books, magazines and on the web). Inevitably these artworks are processed and digested in various ways. And it is those artists, whose work, strategies and interventions I admire the most that have been more fully digested and have become such familiar territory. They have influenced how I work and how I see the world and they have become a part of my own visual vocabulary and repertoire.
Do these homemade, domestic sculptures—and in some cases homages—allow us to view these displaced materials (and their art historical references) any differently? Are we, as contemporary artists, indebted and possibly even bound or limited by the work of our predecessors and the history of art?
Susana Reisman was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1977. She received a BA in Economics from Wellesley College (Boston, MA) in 1999 and an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York) in 2005. An internationally exhibiting artist, she is represented by Marcia Rafelman Fine Arts (Toronto), Peak Gallery (Toronto) and Spazio Zero Gallery (Caracas). She lives and works in Toronto.
See more photographic work from this series by Susana Reisman available through Circuit Gallery.
Circuit Gallery @ upArt
Find Circuit Gallery at the 2011 upArt Contemporary Art Fair. We are very happy to be participating again in Toronto’s alternative art fair, scheduled to coincide with Art Toronto.
Our showcase exhibition features affordable and highly collectable works by:
upArt 2011 Contemporary Art Fair
Thursday, October 27 through Sunday, October 30
Gala Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29, 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Exhibition Hours: Friday, Saturday + Sunday: 12:00 noon – 5:00 PM
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M6J 1J6
We hope to see you there!
Claire + Susana
Toronto, ON— Circuit Gallery is pleased to present INTANGIBLES, a group exhibition of work by three photographers who all, in their own way, attempt to give representation to something experienced, perceived or felt, but not otherwise tangible—be it the phenomena of light, color, energy or the more transcendent, indeed spiritual state of being.
From his project In Dust, Robert Canali gives us a series of highly abstract and beautiful images about light and its corollary colour. Exploring the oppositions between the tangible and the intangible, abstraction and representation, Canali uses the very materials of photography—glass, paper, film, fluorescent tubes—to give objective representation to the essential yet utterly immaterial aspects of the medium.
In her own way, S. Billie Mandle’s work also relies heavily on the representation of light and color, in this case as metaphor, for spirituality and transcendence. In her series, Reconciliation, Mandle gives us photographs of the interiors of catholic confessionals. Here she shines a light, literally drawing the curtain, on these small, dark, non-descript and indeed well worn rooms for private introspection—spaces not meant to be seen or experienced in themselves as such. Mandle is interested in how the materiality, indeed how the tangibility of such space gets transformed into a space for the intangible ritual of confession. In these exquisite images, Mandle powerfully evokes, the presence of others, their secrets, and ultimately something of the desire for and experience of transcendence.
And finally, like other artists attempting to give representation to the “sublime”, Wayne Dunkley uses photography to capture something of the intangible, specifically something of his embodied and emotional connection to the landscape. Literally each image in his series TransForm is the product of a single hand-held exposure that effectively records the movement of his body, his breathing, as he experiences and connects with the land and its most basic elements: water, rock, trees and light.
In Dunkley’s photographs of the landscape he is bringing into the foreground what he describes as a “resonating energetic space” that exists below the surface of objects and within landscape, and that can be experienced when we are open to such experience. Dunkley’s photographs are less about the material world and any clear objective representation of it (photography’s traditional role) and more about our affective experience of being-in it.
INTANGIBLES runs September 15 through October 22 at Gallery 345, with an opening reception on Thursday September 15, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.. Both Mr. Canali and Mr. Dunkley will be in attendance.
Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more:
Saturdays, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m., or by appointment
For more information contact Claire Sykes: claire[at]circuitgallery.com | 1-647-477-2487
Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more about this work.
Circuit Gallery is the shared vision and collaborative product of Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes. The gallery specializes in high-end editions of works by emerging and established contemporary artists with an emphasis on photographic, digital and print-based works on paper.
For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Circuit Gallery presented, as a Featured Exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, a solo exhibition of work by Alejandro Cartagena from his acclaimed project “Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect” (2006 – 2009).
This is a video recording of the artist talk that Cartagena gave in Toronto, on Saturday, May 7, 2011. (Run time: approx. 32 mins.).
The photography exhibition Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect ran from April 28 – June 17, 2011.
Suburbia Mexicana is a documentary project deeply rooted in the local and the particular, in the artist’s own experience living and working in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. It is an ambitious and committed project that seeks to tell the complex story 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 its fast growing cities, including the environmental consequences.