Featured Artist: Susana Reisman

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.

Susana Reisman, One and the Same (after Hilla and Bernd Becher)

Susana Reisman, One and the Same (after Hilla and Bernd Becher), 2010

Susana Reisman, The Real Thing (after Andre and Judd), 2007

Susana Reisman, The Real Thing (after Andre and Judd), 2007

Susana Reisman, Endless Column (after Constantin Brancusi), 2010

Susana Reisman, Endless Column (after Constantin Brancusi), 2010

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these homemade, domestic sculptures—and in some cases homages—allow us to view these displaced materials (and their art historical references) any differently?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, Permutations (after William Wegman), 2010

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman), 2010

Circuit Gallery is pleased to feature new limited edition works from this series by Susana Reisman that playfully nods towards William Wegman‘s series Before/On/After from 1972.”

William Wegman, Before/On/After: Permutations, 1972

William Wegman, Before/On/After: Permutations, 1972

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman)

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman) #2, 2009

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman)

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman) #6, 2009

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman)

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman) #4, 2009

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman)

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman) #7, 2009

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman)

Susana Reisman, Permutations (after William Wegman) #5, 2009

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.

Website: www.susanareisman.com

See more photographic work from this series by Susana Reisman available through Circuit Gallery.

Featured Artist: Sharon Switzer

April 2010

Circuit Gallery is pleased to feature new limited edition works by Toronto-based media artist Sharon Switzer.

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Experience Hope, 2009

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Experience Hope, 2009

Continuing to experiment and push at the boundaries between media, Sharon Switzer’s series of new “digital video drawings” is an exploration, in the artist’s words, of “the possibilities of ‘creation’ within a digital compositing program. They are not traditional drawing, video, or animation—but something unique born from within this medium.”

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Dreaming of Butterflies, 2010

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Dreaming of Butterflies, 2010

In these works Switzer isolates moments from her animated digital video series—I Should Be Dreaming of Butterflies—and recreates them at a much higher-resolution. The resulting images posses a remarkable quality. Crisp, delicate, almost luminous lines create small events in an otherwise devoid space. Visually their precision is strangely comforting—perfect, clean, demarcated. Yet in the text based pieces, as is the case in so much of Switzer’s work, this aspect is held in an effective tension with the work’s disconcerting and often darkly humorous message(s).

As the artist explains: “I am thinking about what it means to search for happiness—balancing an undercurrent of worry with a sense of hope.”

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

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Happy Strangers, 2010

Sharon Switzer, Still #1 from Happy Strangers, 2010

As an artist Sharon Switzer has exhibited her media art in Canada and the U.S. since the early 1990’s. Her work toured throughout Canada in 2007 as part of the exhibition 18 Illuminations: Contemporary Art and Light, that originated by the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery. Her solo exhibitions include shows at the McMaster Museum of Art, The Koffler Gallery, Artcite, The University of Rochester, AKA Gallery and Corkin Gallery, Toronto, where she is represented.

As a curator, Sharon Switzer founded Art for Commuters in 2007 in response to an opportunity to showcase the work of artists and filmmakers to over 1.3 million people on the network of TTC subway platform screens. Switzer is the Director of the Toronto Urban Film Festival, curator of a month-long photo exhibition as part of Contact, and a program for Nuit Blanche—all annual projects on the TTC screens.

Switzer holds an MFA from the University of Western Ontario and in 2005-2006 participated in the Canadian Film Centre’s Habitat Interactive Art and Entertainment Program. As an instructor she has lectured extensively at the University of Western Ontario, Brock University and the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Sharon Switzer, Still #2 from the series Desert, 2008

Sharon Switzer, Still #2 from the series Desert, 2008

See more photographic work from this series by Sharon Switzer available through Circuit Gallery.

Featured Artist: Alejandro Cartagena

March 2010

Circuit Gallery is very pleased to present work by Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena from his award winning Lost Rivers series.

Suburbia Mexicana Lost Rivers

Untitled Lost River #10, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

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.

Lost Rivers is one part of a larger project entitled Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect, which seeks to tell a complex story of contemporary Mexican urban development and expansion: from urban gentrification and inner-city ‘ghettoization,’ to the seemingly unplanned and unhampered suburban sprawl emanating from many of its fast growing cities.

Alejandro Cartagena

from Suburbia Mexicana: Fragmented Cities

In Lost Rivers, Cartagena turns his attention specifically to the unintended environmental consequences of such rapid and unplanned growth, in this case in the region surrounding the northern city of Monterrey. (Monterrey, the third largest city in Mexico, has witnessed explosive growth over the past two decades with a current estimated population of 5.1 million in the metropolitan region). In order to meet increased demand for water from the fast expanding suburbs of Monterrey, many of the region’s rivers were re-routed and dammed, and as a consequence many of the rivers and streams have dried out, or are in the process of drying up.

Suburbia Mexicana Lost Rivers

Untitled Lost River #9, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008

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.

Suburbia Mexicana

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



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

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

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

Untitled Lost River #3, from the Suburbia Mexicana series

Untitled Lost River #7, from the Suburbia Mexicana Series, 2008

Untitled Lost River #7, from the Suburbia Mexicana Project, 2008