Toronto specializing in contemporary photography

Trace Copy Render

Trace • Copy • Render

Alex Fischer
Rita Maas
Susana Reisman
Sharon Switzer

September 1 – 24, 2016
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M5V 3A8

Reception: Friday, September 9, 6-9 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM

Circuit Gallery is pleased to present Trace • Copy • Render, an exhibition featuring new work by Alex Fischer, Rita Maas, Susana Reisman, and Sharon Switzer. 

This exhibition brings together four artists who are thinking about origins, process, materials, and labour as they explore the possibilities and implications of working digitally.

At the heart of Trace • Copy • Render is a shared interest in revealing, hiding, and playing with digital and material processes and manipulations, and the coincidence or disconnect (as the case may be) between final output and the myriad steps involved in the process of its realization.

Alex Fischer is an artist whose practice deliberately blurs and confounds the borders between media, and constitutes digital-image making as an extension of traditional artistic media and concerns. He uses advanced digital imaging techniques to manipulate found source imagery, to layer and build-up complex new compositions that are often hard to pin down as to medium or process, and which maintain a tension between the physical and the virtual, the original and the copy, the index and the trace.

In a fascinating inversion of his work on the computer, Fischer just as easily jumps out from the digital realm—off the virtual canvas—and performs ‘photoshop’ by physically copying, tracing, blending, adding layers and various effects to printed and painted works. Fischer’s series of work in Trace • Copy • Render offers a self-reflexive glimpse into his process of creation and concerns and includes paintings, projections, and prints.

Sharon Switzer’s new digital paintings on the other hand, are pure digital creations. There is no source, referent, or trace in her lush and abstract generative forms. Their expressiveness belie the painstaking and time consuming process involved in their creation and in rendering their output. ‘Mis-using’ motion-graphics and special effects software, Switzer collaborates with her computer to create new forms and compositions unique to the digital process. The work involves manipulating timelines and algorithms, a great deal of chance, and almost limitless choice. She describes the process as not so much ‘expressive’ but rather ‘responsive’—”I respond, often with surprise, to the results of my choices, and keep on in this mode until I reach a result I am satisfied with.”  

Both Rita Maas and Susana Reisman work predominantly with photography and have been practicing long enough to have witnessed and indeed made the transition from analog processes and materials to digital ones, and both have explicitly made work about that experience.

Included in the exhibition is Reisman’s Digital Mapping, a large drawing that represents a month of her digital work life and seeks to visualize the virtual activity and the time which would otherwise remain invisible and unaccounted for. In this work she literally records, with stylus and carbon paper, the movements of her cursor as she performs various tasks on the computer. As she says—”what appear to be senseless and meaningless ‘marks’ have allowed me to achieve tangible results.” It is an indexical trace of the effort and time spent in the process of working digitally.

Rita Maas, like Reisman, is in dialogue with the new digital workflow in relation to the photographic process and materials. But, equally, she is engaging older questions that remain at the heart of photography itself, “reflecting upon the nature of reproduction, representation, perception, and interpretation.” In her series Residual Ink Drawings she playfully works with the newer technologies of digital printing and scanning. She ‘draws’ with the remnants of ink in spent cartridges and makes imprints from the printer’s reservoir pads that collect surplus ink in the printing process. Her drawings, relish in the “immediacy of mark-making,” taking the form of, and indeed are, stains, blots, drips, and marks. She then scans the original drawings and using the same materials prints them, using the highly precise, colour calibrated and controlled, digital inkjet process to create an exact copy.

The exhibition is curated by Claire Sykes. Sharon Switzer appears courtesy of Corkin Gallery. Sharon Switzer wishes to thank the Ontario Arts Council for Exhibition Assistance.

Trace • Copy • Render runs September 1st through the 24th at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an opening reception on Friday, September 9, from 6 – 9PM. The artists will be in attendance.


Toronto-based artist Alex Fischer received his BFA from York University in 2010. Since that time he has exhibited at O’Born Contemporary and Angell Gallery in Toronto, Art Mûr in Montreal, and VOLTA 12 in New York. His work has been featured in noted private and corporate collections including Statoil, TD Bank Group Collection, and BNY Mellon Bank. Alex was a finalist in the 2016 RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

Born in New York, Rita Maas received her MFA in Visual Arts at Lesley University College of Art and Design (formerly Art Institute of Boston) in 2013 after operating an award winning commercial studio for nearly thirty years. Her fine art work has been awarded numerous honors and included in several notable national and international exhibitions. Her work is held in the collections of: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Lishui Museum of Photography in Lishui, China, and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. She currently teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), in Rochester is NY.

Toronto-based artist Susana Reisman was born in in Caracas, Venezuela, has lived in Mexico City, and studied in the United States. She received an BA in Economics from Wellesley College (Boston) and an MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY), where she also taught for a number of years. Her work has been exhibited at Gallery 44, Power Plant, Typology, and Peak Gallery in Toronto, and wider afield at Plug In ICA in Winnipeg, Artcite in Windsor, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago to name a few recent venues. Her work is held in public and private collections including the Donovan Collection, University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.

Sharon Switzer is a Toronto-based media artist and curator. She has, since the early 1990s, exhibited widely across Canada and in the U.S, as well as at international art fairs with Corkin Gallery. For the past 10 years, her curating has focused on bringing contemporary art to public spaces. She founded the not-for-profit curatorial organization Art for Commuters, and produced the Art in Transit program as well as the Toronto Urban Film Festival, offering artists an opportunity to show their work in the public spaces frequented by urban commuters. Switzer has an MFA from the University of Western Ontario, is a Graduate of the CFC Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre. She is represented by Corkin Gallery, Toronto. 

Selected Works Exhibited


Alex Fischer

Rita Maas

Artist Statement – Residual Ink Drawings

Susana Reisman

Sharon Switzer

Artist Statement – Growth & Proliferation

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