New Work: Alejandro Cartagena’s Car Poolers

Cartagena doesn’t need to inject much commentary to create extremely powerful images. (Huffington Post)

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #2, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #2, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena’s Car Poolers

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, Untitled Car Pooler #4, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #4, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #1, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #1, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #3, 2011

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Car Pooler #3, 2011

Artist Bio

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: | 1-647-477-2487

Circuit Gallery Presents Bill Finger: Distant Smoke

Bill Finger, After Psycho

Bill Finger, After Psycho from the series Gravity Wins, 2006


Circuit Gallery Presents Bill Finger: Distant Smoke

Toronto, ON – November 15, 2010Circuit Gallery is pleased to present Distant Smoke, a solo exhibition of eleven large scale photographs by Seattle artist Bill Finger. This will be his first solo exhibition in Toronto.

Creating images that explore both television crime drama and the photographer as “unreliable narrator,” Bill Finger’s photographs elaborately play with both fiction and reality. Within each image Finger evokes and entwines memories of specific places from his childhood with those of the Hollywood movie sets he has worked on during a 20 year career as a motion picture Assistant Cameraman.

Each photograph in the exhibition began with a handcrafted miniature diorama that Finger painstakingly constructed for the point of view of the camera. Pulling back slightly with the camera, on certain images, he further exposes the illusion while allowing the viewer a glimpse off the set. With the edges exposed, Finger adds an emphasis to the constructed nature of photography. Where most photographs make a claim to represent the truth, Finger’s images do just the opposite, each one an elaborate fiction.

Without the physical presence of people or actors within his miniature sets of tenement bay windows, hospital rooms and derelict fields, he is still able to create a feeling of tension and foreboding that something has either just happened or is about to occur. It could be an approaching storm, the loss of something valuable or perhaps something much more sinister.

Bill Finger received his MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005. His work has been exhibited across the United States and Canada and is included in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography. Bill’s images have been published in the books Light & Lens and Exploring Color as well as the European magazine Fotograf.

Bill Finger: Distant Smoke

November 23 – December 5, 2010

Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 24, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Department Gallery
1389 Dundas St. West, Toronto M6J 1Y4
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday through Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Bill Finger, Watch

Bill Finger, Watch from the series Gravity Wins, 2009

Bill Finger

Bill Finger, 1969 - Age 8 from the series Paramnesia, 2004

Bill Finger

Bill Finger, Forest Set from the series Gravity Wins, 2006

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

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 or follow the daily conversation at


For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Tel: 647-477-2487

Circuit Gallery Goes On-site At Böhmer With New Exhibition Line-Up Of Contemporary Photography

Alejandro Cartagena, <em>Untitled Lost River #12</em>, from the <em>Suburbia Mexicana</em> Project” width=”450″ height=”

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Lost River #12, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008


Circuit Gallery Goes On-site At Böhmer With New Exhibition Line-Up Of Contemporary Photography

Toronto, ON – May 4, 2010Circuit Gallery and Böhmer are pleased to announce their partnership, one that gives the on-line gallery a vital and spacious physical exhibition space to showcase larger format work from their roster of both Canadian and international artists.

Böhmer, located at 93 Ossington Avenue in the heart of the thriving Queen West art district, is the new eponymous restaurant of renowned chef Paul Boehmer and partner Tracy Ulicny. Together, with designer Roy Banse, they have transformed a 5,000 square foot former auto garage into an impressive contemporary dining environment.

Circuit Gallery is an innovative web-based gallery whose primary mission is to make high-quality contemporary art more accessible by making it affordable. “As soon as we saw the Böhmer space we realized this was a perfect fit for us,” explains Claire Sykes, Circuit Gallery co-director, “not only in terms of its prime ‘art location’ and fantastic walls, but also in terms of our desire to showcase our artists’ work in physical spaces, in addition to our on-line presence.”

Alejandro Cartagena: Lost Rivers

The inaugural “Circuit Gallery @ Böhmer” exhibition introduces the work of the award winning Mexican-based photographer Alejandro Cartagena to a Canadian audience.

Coinciding with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Cartagena’s first solo exhibition in Canada features eleven large format works from the highly acclaimed Lost Rivers series.

Coming from a deeply felt love and concern for the landscape, Cartagena’s Lost Rivers series presents exquisite images of dried-up streams and river beds, visually rich in detail, colour, and light. While aesthetically alluring, these photographs simultaneously offer a poignant social commentary on the ecological and environmental effects of untempered urban expansion.

Must see work, the images in this series subtly document the direct effects of “wrongly implemented economical strategies” on the local ecosystem, all the while exposing a beauty that, despite this, inheres in the landscape. As the river beds become scars, and trash and graffiti punctuate quasi-picturesque scenes, Cartagena gives us a poignant yet ambivalent testament to the absolute interdependence of humans and our environment.

Based in Monterrey, Mexico, Alejandro Cartagena is receiving international praise and recognition for his photographic work. In 2009 Cartagena won the Critical Mass Book Award and was named one of PDN´s Top 30 emerging photographers. In 2009 Cartagena was also a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Prize, selected as an “International Discovery” at the Houston FOTOFEST, a Hey Hot Shot Finalist, and a featured artist at the Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui China (with a solo exhibition of Suburbia Mexicana). With his career taking off, Cartagena has a very busy 2010 with shows in New York, Monterrey, Portland, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.

Alejandro Cartagena: Lost Rivers runs May 11 through June 26 at Böhmer, with a reception on Saturday May 15, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The space is open for viewing Monday through Saturday, 2:00 p.m. until close.

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

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 or follow the daily conversation at


For more information, contact:
Claire Sykes, Partner, Circuit Gallery
Tel: 647-477-2487

Circuit Gallery is based in Toronto, Canada | tel. 647-477-2487 | email:

Sharon Switzer’s “I Should be Dreaming of Butterflies”

Watch the six animated digital video drawings (below) by Circuit Gallery artist Sharon Switzer from her exhibition I Should Be Be Dreaming of Butterflies at Corkin Gallery, Toronto, November 19 – December 22, 2009.

I Should Be Dreaming Of Butterflies, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

Lost, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

Experience Hope, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

Happy Strangers, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

It’s Best Not To Think About It, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

Ghosts Not God, 2009 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

The original video series I Should Be Dreaming of Butterflies is represented by Corkin Gallery in Toronto.

Circuit Gallery artist Susana Reisman awarded for book

Susana Reisman

Pictured: Author Susana Reisman (right) and publisher Nadine Touma (left) receive their award at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

A BIG Congratulations to Circuit Gallery artist Susana Reisman whose first book, Time Flies (Dar Onboz, 2009), is receiving important international recognition.

Susana Reisman

In December 2009, Time Flies won in the “New Publications” category at the CJ Picture Book Festival is Seoul, Korea.

A silent book with no words, using photographs of the hands and numbers of different watches to create a world where time stands still, to reconstruct another time, another place, and another perception of what is around us and what we take for granted. As time flies, this book invites us to fly with time and look at things not as we think they are but as we construct them to be, allowing every reader to interpret and tell the story as they see and would write. Every reader becomes a composer of images and a writer of signs.

Susana Reisman

In March, 2010, Time Flies received a mention in the “Opera Prima” category of the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Awards at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.

What the Jury Said:
In Susana Reisman’s world, lines vibrate, triangles sing and numbers recall metaphysical clocks counting out the hours of eternity. Echoing Klee, Matisse and other 20th century artists, the artist aims to mesh music and painting. The result is so convincing that the pages seem to come alive. The tone, however, is always light-hearted, the medley of references and citations is always a source for enjoyment. The meticulous style provides an elegant framework for this delightful composition.

Susana Reisman

Pages 5/6 from Time Flies by Susana Reisman.

Susana Reisman

Pages 13/14 from Time Flies by Susana Reisman.

Susana Reisman

Pages 39/40 from Time Flies by Susana Reisman.

Susana Reisman

Pages 63/64 from Time Flies by Susana Reisman.

Reisman’s statement about her book:

Time Flies is a visual book that is thematically concerned with frameworks of perception and understanding—it is about seeing, reading and context. In it I want to bring awareness to these things; and draw attention to the structures that surround us, that we grow to accept as given or that are invisible.

I have chosen to use ‘time’ as the primary motif—time being an overarching structure that we live by. The clock-hands are animated in order to take us into a world of imagination, a realm where things shift and where play and experimentation abound. The numbers function as building blocks for a new world of patterns and structures where the slightest variation creates very different forms.

In doing so, I want to emphasize that such structures, systems, languages, frameworks, etc. are all constructed entities and that while necessary to communication, they are susceptible to change, to shifting views, offering new possibilities, new alternatives…

Essentially this book is metaphorically about the place of grey. It is about the place of ambiguity and complexity, neither black nor white but shades of grey.

Circuit Gallery artist Alejandro Cartagena APERTURE 2009 Portfolio Prize finalist


Untitled Lost River #9, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project

Congratulations to Circuit Gallery artist Alejandro Cartagena, who was selected as a finalist from among the nearly 800 applicants to this year’s APERTURE Portfolio Prize, an international photography competition run by the Aperture Foundation.

Suburbia Mexicana

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

Read what they have to say about the LOST RIVERS series:

APERTURE Editorial Statement
The photographs in Lost Rivers by Alejandro Cartagena (b. 1977), which are part of a larger body of work entitled Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect, interrogate the interdependence of humans and landscape in the face of urban expansion. Although artists and activists alike have placed intense focus on the negative impact of urban sprawl since the 1960s, Cartagena’s work is unique in its preoccupation with the subtler effects of suburban expansion, largely overlooked but indicative of significant, irrevocable change within a local ecosystem.

The city of Monterrey, at the heart of the Mexican state of Nuevo León, is the third largest city in Mexico, with a population of 3.8 million in the metropolitan region. As Monterrey’s population expands outward from the city center, increased demand for water has necessitated the reallocation of the region’s limited resources. Cartagena explains that, in the last twenty years, many local rivers and streams were “rerouted to dams to supply water for the nine cities of the metropolitan area of Monterrey, or have dried out as suburbia’s approximately 300,000 new houses move closer, destroying vegetation that sheltered and preserved the riverbeds’ running water.” The images in Lost Rivers provide explicit evidence of botched urban development and inadequate economic policy, even as they reveal the beauty to be found within the spoiled landscapes.

Formally, Cartagena’s photographs recall the monumental images of Minor White and Ansel Adams, while simultaneously reaching further back to the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. The photographs are steeped in the Romantic tradition: sublime landscapes charged with glowing color and rich texture. Cartagena’s sensitive handling of color is evident in his saturated palette, which blends bright green, sienna, and sky blue with the deeper grey and purple notes of tires, spray paint, and bags of litter. The sharply detailed images reveal the lush texture of a bank of swamp greens, as well as the oily surface of a rivulet in the morning light. In many Romantic works, a central human presence unites the composition, serving as an emotional or inspirational keystone to the painting’s moral message. Unlike these scenes, however, Cartagena’s photographs are characterized by their focus on the traces of human presence—trash, graffiti marking a bridge, an empty riverbed—leaving the referent a vacuum.

Cartagena’s deliberate play on these visual tropes renders the desecration of these landscapes aesthetically as well as ethically repugnant. This tension between Romanticism and realism charges Cartagena’s work with both the artist’s love for the landscape and his sadness at its destruction, rendering the photographs simultaneously paean and admonishing elegy.

—JB (Aperture)

See more photographic work from this series by Alejandro Cartagena available through Circuit Gallery:

Alejandro Cartagena, Untitled Lost River #3, from the Suburbia Mexicana series

Untitled Lost River #4, from the Suburbia Mexicana Series, 2008

Untitled Lost River #4, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

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

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

Circuit Gallery artist Susana Reisman is featured in EMERGENCE


Emergence: Contemporary Photography in Canada. Edited by Sarah Parsons. Co-published by Gallery 44 and Ryerson University.

Circuit Gallery artist Susana Reisman is featured in EMERGENCE, a new publication by Gallery 44 that celebrates contemporary Canadian photography. It is an attractive volume with solid essays by Matthew Brower, Liz Park, Gabrielle Moser, Marie Fraser and Katy McCormick.

Reisman was selected by Suzy Lake.


Pictured: Suzy Lake's Extended Breathing 2. Lake is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art.

I chose Susana Reisman because of her interest in how we see, counter to assumptions of photographic information. There is a sense of extended duration in her works Camera Lucida and On the Scale of History that allows us to accrue detail towards a subjective experience of her photographs. These works are sequenced to a “panorama” for space or movement, rather than a topical narrative.

The subject matter in both of these series us a staging or sculptural construction of seminal texts on photography. To photographers, our past moves linearly present. Thought becomes material. And this emphasis on materiality brings poetry to “about photography.” Form and content marry.

Susana Reisman's The Art History of Photography

Susana Reisman's - Art History of Photography, from On the Scale of History, 2007. Resiman is represented in Canada by Peak Gallery.

Congratulations Susana!

See more photographic work by Susana Reisman available through Circuit Gallery:

Susana Reisman, Endless Column (after Constantin Brancusi), 2007

Susana Reisman, Endless Column (after Constantin Brancusi), 2007

Susana Reisman, The Real Thing (after Donald Judd), 2007

Susana Reisman, The Real Thing (after Donald Judd), 2007

Bill Finger’s empty stage sets

I am re-posting a nice short post on Circuit Gallery photographer BILL FINGER and his latest show “Gravity Wins” at Punch Gallery (Seattle) by Regina Hackett from her Arts Journal Blog Another Bouncing Ball.

Bill Finger spent 16 years working as a movie-set cameraman before packing it in to become an artist. He can run, but he cannot hide. In every way, the career that he ditched informs the one he moved into.

He builds models that he photographs as full-scale environments. After Thomas Demand, Oliver Boberg, James Casebere and Ross Sawyers,
it’s a popular strategy, but Finger’s are unlike anyone else’s. They were born worn out and anonymous, as if endless actors had been interrogated inside his police station…

billfingerinterogate.jpgstared out his window …

billfingerwindw.jpgor glanced at the extra sleeping on a mattress that had been distressed by the special effects department.

billfingerbed.jpgAlthough he tends to avoid the particular, when he engages it, he goes all the way to iconic.

billfingerpsycho.jpgThe stage sets Finger filmed and later recreated to photograph and dispose of resonate with moments of his childhood. They are memories potent enough to register outside his head and generalized enough to connect with similar memories of others. The only fox holes he dug, for instance, were in his childhood, playing war while Vietnam was ablaze on the nightly news. He was both bored and transfixed by what looked like his future. The ladder he made is missing a few rungs, giving its user a reason to continue to hide in his hole.

billfingerfoxhole.jpgAt Punch Gallery through Nov. 28 [2009].

See the post in its original context on Another Bouncing Ball (posted November 11, 2009).

See more of Bill’s photographic work on his gallery artist page.

David Grenier participates in “Bank on Art”

Circuit Gallery artist David Grenier is participating in Bank on Art, an interesting new project bringing contemporary Canadian art to ATM screens.

David Grenier, Petalhead 7: Attack No. 2, 2007

David Grenier, Petalhead 7: Attack No. 2, 2007

BANK on ART is a project showcasing contemporary artworks on the display screen of a functional bank machine. Developed by artist and curator Kelly McCray, this money-dispensing ATM features images produced by contemporary artists before and after each banking transaction.

See the complete list of participating artists. The first BANK on ART ATM location is at 952 Queen St. West, Toronto.

See more work by David Grenier.

Susana Reisman in PhotoDimensional

Susana Reisman was selected for inclusion in the group show “PhotoDimensional” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) in Chicago.

Photosculpture (wood), 2005

Photosculpture (wood), 2005

The exhibition was curated by Karen Irvine (MoCP).
February 13 – April 19, 2009

Artists in PhotoDimensional: John Coplans, Heather Mekkelson, Katalin Deér, Laurent Millet, Leslie Hewitt, Vik Muniz, Bettina Hoffman, Susana Reisman, Pello Irazu, Lorna Simpson, David Ireland, Florian Slotowa, Melinda McDaniel

Karen Irvine’s curatorial essay: Found in Translation

It would seem that photography has recorded everything. Space, however, has avoided its cyclopean evil eye.” —Robert Morris, “The Present Tense of Space,” 1978

As Robert Morris, a sculptor, observed, something is inevitably lost when a three-dimensional sculpture is translated into a two-dimensional photograph. The experience of sharing a space with an object (and being able to move around it), and the experience of seeing that object represented and embedded in another object—a flat photographic print—are very different. But do we always experience the photographic image as absolutely flat? Isn’t it the tension between the flatness and the illusion of space in photography—its fidelity to the real—the very thing that makes it compelling, possibly troubling? Photography clearly allows us to imagine space. So is there a strict distinction between phenomenological space and imagined space, and how unambiguous, or understandable for that matter, is the difference between the two experiences?

The relationship between photography and sculpture, and the effects that are found in translation between the two mediums, have been of interest to artists since photography was invented. Some of the first photographs featured sculptural objects: both Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot recorded marble statues and plaster casts in the late 1830s and early 40s. An early attempt to overcome the limitations of photography, specifically its inability to translate three dimensions, was the invention of the stereoscope in 1849. Using a special viewing device that rendered two photographs taken of the same subject from slightly different angles, the viewer experienced one image as having lifelike depth and volume.

In the early twentieth century sculptural forms fascinated photographers such as Edward Weston, who took pictures of vegetables and shells, Edward Steichen who photographed Auguste Rodin and his sculptures, and Man Ray, who studied the female form. One recent example of artists documenting what they considered to be “found” sculptures is Bernd and Hilla Becher’s first book, Anonymous Sculptures: A Typology of Technical Buildings, published in 1970, which presents multiple pictures of lime kilns, cooling towers, and silos as elegant structures without any overt pictorial embellishment or romanticism. In the 1980s Robert Mapplethorpe used dramatic lighting and cropping to make nude photographic studies that refer to photographs of sculptures from art history. His two-dimensional translations of his models arguably increase the feeling of the body’s weight, mass, and permanence beyond what would be experienced by seeing it in the flesh. And of course there are artists who use photography to more practical ends to document their sculptures, especially if their creations are ephemeral or remote, such as Andy Goldsworthy’s interventions in nature and Robert Smithson’s land art. Similar to performance art, photographs allow this type of work to be documented and disseminated. These documents raise the question of the privileging of experience, and circle back to Morris’s concerns about documents always lacking some aspect of the firsthand experience.

PhotoDimensional is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists who investigate the relationship between sculpture and photography, between two and three dimensions, and explore perceptual issues intrinsic to those relationships. Their works resist the notion that the world simply gets folded into the two-dimensional surface of the photograph. As a result, their works are almost always layered, with subjects translated in ways that invite us to imagine passing from the experience of one dimension to another, and sometimes back again. Thus, perceiving their works provokes feelings of unsettledness, a wavering between seeing and knowing in our minds, a tension that becomes an engaging condition of their artwork. [...]

Read the entire essay by Karen Irvine as it originally appeared on the MoCP website.

See more work by Susana Reisman.