Flip-Toronto featured in the Toronto Star

Art for Commuters

TTC video screens display flip books by local artists

By Murray Whyte
Visual Arts

Circuit Gallery in Toronto Star

The article was originally filed on July 30, 2012.

SCENES FROM HERE: Eamon Mac Mahon, Jim Verburg

Eamon Mac Mahon, Inuvik Airport

Eamon Mac Mahon, Inuvik Airport, (2008)

NEWS RELEASE

Timely new exhibition asks us to consider our complex relationship with nature

Toronto, ON, April 25, 2012 — Circuit Gallery is proud to present SCENES FROM HERE as a Featured Exhibition in the 2012 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

This exhibition, curated by Claire Sykes, seeks to bring forward something of our complex and ambiguous relationship with nature, its role in our imaginary (specifically as represented in landscape) and our different experience and understanding of its reality (its strength and fragility).

SCENES FROM HERE presents the work of two photographers, Eamon Mac Mahon and Jim Verburg, whose considerably different interests in the natural landscape both seem predicated on a sense of disconnect and loss.

Mac Mahon is fascinated by our ideas and impressions of the ‘wilderness’, and the constant push-pull of man versus nature. He invites us to consider the range of attitudes that we have towards nature and to being in the natural world.

In a series of non-prescriptive images that focus on visual anecdotes: particular places, moments, and incidents, he effectively reveals our ambiguous relationship with nature, recognizing both its power as something unforgiving, destructive and “bigger than us” and its fragility as something in need of protection.

Jim Verburg’s photographs are not about specific places or nature itself, rather they are projections of psychic space—anthropomorphized conduits of moods and experience. The landscape and nature, often formally reduced to basic forms and elements (circles, light, water, fire, wood), function here as motif for the larger themes he explores in his work: interpersonal relationships, ideas of self and other, and our connectedness and difference.

For Verburg, being in nature, or ‘getting away’, becomes the ground or condition for connection, affording him that contemplative space to look inward, to strip things down and get in touch with what feels basic, honest and essential.

About the Artists
Eamon Mac Mahon is an award winning photographer/videographer currently based in Montreal. His photographs have appeared in various publications including the Walrus, National Geographic, and the New Yorker, as well as exhibition spaces such as the Griffin Museum of Photography, Higher Pictures NYC and San Jose’s Institute of Contemporary Art. A large-scale, year-long exhibition of his ‘Landlocked’ series, described as ‘magnificent and mysterious’ by the Globe and Mail, was presented at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport during CONTACT 2008. His video work has been exhibited at The Power Plant, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Music Gallery in Toronto. He is represented by Bau-Xi Photo.

Jim Verburg is a Toronto-based artist whose practice is mainly concerned with the complexities of relationships. His second film For a Relationship won the 2008 Jury Prize for the Best Canadian Short Film at the Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto. The work was also nominated for the Iris Prize in the UK. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Widmer and Theodoridis Contemporary in Zurich, Portrait Study at the New Stage of National Theatre in Prague, Domestic Queens at the FOFA Gallery in Montreal, So Many Letdowns Before We Get Up at Platform Gallery in Winnipeg, and One and Two, a solo show at Le Mois de la Photo in Montreal. The show was awarded the 2011 Dazibao prize.

SCENES FROM HERE runs May 3 through 26 at Gallery 345, with an opening reception on Thursday May 3, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.. Both artists will be in attendance.


SCENES FROM HERE

Eamon Mac Mahon
Jim Verburg

May 3 – 26, 2012

Opening Reception: Thursday May 3, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Saturdays, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m., or by appointment (please don’t hesitate to make one)
For more information contact Claire Sykes: claire@circuitgallery.com | 1-647-477-2487

Jim Verburg

Jim Verburg, Untitled (Diptych), 2011

Eamon Mac Mahon

Eamon Mac Mahon, Woodland Caribou, 2011

Jim Verburg

Jim Verburg, Untitled, 2012

Please visit Circuit Gallery online to learn more about this exhibition and to see more work: www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions_contact2012


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.

For more information, visit www.circuitgallery.com or follow the daily conversation at www.twitter.com/circuitgallery.

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For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Tel: 647-477-2487
E-mail: claire@circuitgallery.com

ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: SUBURBIA MEXICANA

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Girl Coming Home To Suburb In Juarez From A Night Out In The City from Suburbia Mexicana, 2009

NEWS RELEASE

ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: SUBURBIA MEXICANA

Circuit Gallery brings acclaimed project to Toronto for CONTACT Photography Festival Featured Exhibition

Toronto, ON – April 28, 2011Circuit Gallery is pleased to present, as a Featured Exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, a major solo exhibition of 30 large-format works by contemporary Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena from his acclaimed project Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect (2006-2009). The exhibition features works drawn from the project’s constituent parts—Urban Holes, Fragmented Cities, Lost Rivers, and People of Suburbia.

The recent monograph Suburbia Mexicana, co-published by Daylight and Photolucida (2011), accompanies the exhibition. The book features 36 colour plates, an Introduction by Karen Irvine, an Essay by Gerardo Montiel Klint, and an Interview by Lisa Uddin.


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, in multiple chapters, 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.

Alejandro Cartagena’s project pays homage to and distinguishes itself from the New Topographics—a 1970s American exhibition of landscape photography that evolved into a movement. His subjects include: tract housing, inner-city vacant lots, desiccated or polluted rivers, and the residents of these new developments. Yet beyond simple documentation, Cartagena is interested in foregrounding the larger picture: “the Mexican suburbs are symbolic; they represent corruption, a lack of standards in planning, and personal obsessions.” Through a sustained and holistic visual study, Cartagena effectively conveys something about the deeper mechanisms at work–the ideological, political, economic, and social ground–in his “man-altered landscapes.”

Cartagena’s work equally diverges from earlier New Topographic approaches in that it does not simply reject beauty, or seek to coolly “aestheticize the banal.” His images are aesthetically alluring and offer multiple points of resonance, reaching beyond the specific place represented and attesting to something more pervasive and palpable on a global level—greed, corruption, ecological fragility and loss—as shared issues under advanced capitalism.

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 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 honorable mentions and acquisition prizes in Mexico and abroad. He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).


Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect runs April 28 through May 29 at Gallery 345, with an OPENING RECEPTION on Thursday May 5, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.. The artist will be in attendance.

On Saturday, May 7, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Mr. Cartagena will talk about his project and be signing books.

Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more:
http://www.circuitgallery.com

Circuit Gallery at Gallery 345
345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Saturdays, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m., or by appointment
For more information contact Claire Sykes: claire@circuitgallery.com | 1-647-477-2487

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Fragmented Cities, Escobedo, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Business In Newly Built Suburb In Juarez, 2009

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Fragmented Cities, Santa Catarina #2, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Lost River #16, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

Alejandro Cartagena, Suburbia Mexicana

Alejandro Cartagena, Father With Children After Gathering Wood In Juarez Suburb, 2009

Please visit Circuit Gallery online to see and learn more about this work.
www.circuitgallery.com


About Circuit Gallery

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, visit www.circuitgallery.com or follow the daily conversation at www.twitter.com/circuitgallery.

-END-

For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Tel: 647-477-2487
E-mail: claire@circuitgallery.com

Lo que no se ve en la fotografía de Alejandro Cartagena

Critics Choice: Salvador Alanis escribe sobre el trabajo fotográfico de Alejandro Cartagena.

Alejandro Cartagena, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project: Urban Holes

Alejandro Cartagena, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project: Urban Holes

Lo que no se ve en la fotografía de Alejandro Cartagena
por Salvador Alanis

Una preocupación común en la expresión contemporánea es reflejar con un lenguaje directo lo que no se puede ver de forma inmediata. Ante la evidencia y obscenidad de los medios, al artista se le presenta la alternativa de jugar con los mismos valores de una articulación formal que pretende mostrarlo todo para referirse a lo que subyace en la imagen. Dentro de lo aparentemente cotidiano, el artista presenta un subtexto que trasciende la formalidad. Alejandro Cartagena (República Dominicana, 1977), juega con los valores formales de la fotografía documental para subvertir el discurso y señalar la discontinuidad en lo que vemos retratado. Para Cartagena, el llamado fotodocumento es una herramienta valiosa para la expresión personal, o como lo dijera el crítico de fotografía mexicano José Antonio Rodríguez, significa el trabajo de “la circunstancia externa como pulsión individual” (28).

En principio, Cartagena, quien reside en México, participa de la tradición fotográfica mexicana que toma el paisaje como objetivo principal para estructurar su discurso. Dicha tradición se ha actualizado a lo largo de las diferentes generaciones, integrando las preocupaciones correspondientes a la época. En el caso del trabajo de Cartagena, el punto de partida evidente es el reflejo de las diversas transformaciones del paisaje, las marcas que dejan los diferentes estadios de las ciudades, las cicatrices del crecimiento y actividad humanas. Por eso, en primera instancia la lectura del trabajo de Cartagena es sin lugar a dudas relacionado con la responsabilidad ambiental, el desgaste del entorno, la multiplicación casi absurda de la mancha urbana sobre terrenos naturales mancillados.

Cartagena muestra en sus series fotográficas sobre la Suburbia Mexicana diferentes manifestaciones del desarrollo de las grandes metrópolis, basándose en el crecimiento de Monterrey, la tercera ciudad más grande de México. Cartagena toma la inserción de la ciudad a partir de viviendas en serie en la periferia inhabitada; dibuja el paso de las vías rápidas sobre espacios parafuncionales; da fe de la desaparición de los ríos al abastecer de agua las ciudades. La serie que Cartagena expone en Circuit Gallery, Lost Rivers, sigue la premisa documental que denuncia el daño ecológico que la ciudad infringe a las redes fluviales; muestra de arroyos y ríos secos de una forma visualmente muy afortunada. Sin embargo, más allá de esta preocupación evidente acerca del fenómeno, el documento pone de manifiesto instancias adicionales que pueden escaparse si solamente nos atenemos a lo eminentemente anecdótico del trabajo. Las fotografías de Alejandro Cartagena se centran en el registro de la discontinuidad, a partir de poner en evidencia espacios perdidos o mecanismos de sobreposición. Lo que importa en el trabajo a la vez paisajístico y documental de Cartagena es lo que no está, el elemento faltante. La falta se da como un encuentro formal, pero también como expresiones de la violencia. La discontinuidad genera un subtexto hacia lo antifuncional, aquello de lo que solamente queda el rasgo y que al mismo tiempo nos hace ver lo que realmente está en el paisaje. El crecimiento de la ciudad pone en evidencia lo faltante, el espacio inhabitable, lo perdido.

En otra serie del artista, llamada Urban Holes, Cartagena registra lotes sin construcción, los cuales de una forma o de otra escapan al continuo de las calles. En Symbolic Layering, el artista muestra capas y huecos en pasos a desnivel. Es lo que que no está lo que importa; lo que vemos es simulación, artificialidad, forma delirante que olvida espacios significativamente más importantes. La eficacia visual del trabajo de Cartagena logra poner en el mismo plano lo que no está en la fotografía de una manera que si bien, desde una perspectiva documental podría apuntar a una cierta nostalgia, en un nivel más profundo no es la nostalgia lo que opera, sino la presencia manifiesta de lo que no se ve, con todo su poder y misterio.

Rodríguez, José Antonio. “Los procesos de la fotografía contemporánea mexicana”, Huesca Imagen. Huesca: Huesca Imagen, 2004. 12-29.

Salvador Alanis (Mexico, 1964), is a writer. He has developed his work in the literary arena, as well as in the electronic media. He has been awarded by the National Fund for the Arts in Mexico and has been an artist in residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Salvador Alanis won the Multimedia Prize at the Video and Electronic Arts Biennial of Mexico, Vidarte, in 1999. He collaborates with major newspapers and magazines in Mexico, Spain and Canada. His published works include: “Del Paralaje” (Ediciones del Equilibrista, 1997), “Reojo” (Libros del Dragón, 1998), “Tránsito” (Libros del Dragón, 1999), “Fronteras, Borders” (La mano izquierda press, 2005), “De cuerpo presente”(Artes de Mexico, 2007), and “Fragilidad de las Fronteras” (K Editores, 2009). His visual work has been shown in several art spaces in solo and group exhibitions. He lives in Toronto.


See more work by Alejandro Cartagena available through Circuit Gallery:

Suburbia Mexicana

Untitled Lost River #2, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

Suburbia Mexicana

Untitled Lost River #6, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008