Toronto specializing in contemporary photography
 

Michel Huneault: Intersection

Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 2, Roxham Road, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Communiqué de presse – PDF en français)

New exhibition reflects upon contemporary migration and the confusing quest for safety

Toronto, ON, August 28, 2017Circuit Gallery is pleased to present a solo show by Montreal-based photographer Michel Huneault, premiering his new project Intersection. Incorporating audio, video, and photography, Huneault reflects upon contemporary migration and the confusing quest for safety.

Huneault has, since early 2017, been documenting the steady flow of asylum seekers into Canada at the Canada-USA irregular border crossing point of Roxham Road, in the Québec community of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, 60 kilometres south of Montreal.

Between February and July, he made sixteen visits to Roxham Road, documenting the evolution of this phenomenon as both the public and the authorities were trying to grasp its meaning and scope. Over the course of this period he witnessed 180 crossing attempts by asylum seekers coming from a wide range of countries: Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Syria, Palestine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, Guatemala, El Salvador, Angola, Chad, the Philippines, Nigeria, Burundi, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, and, in the most recent spike in the number of attempts, from Haiti.

Intersection started like most of my projects, initially motivated by my curiosity and interests. In the last two years, I had completed other projects on remittance flows and the migrant crisis in Europe. This long time interest in migration came into sharper focus because similar events were happening at home. When I start my projects, they often have a more current journalistic timing, but I am not a photojournalist per se. I don’t get many assignments and don’t think of my projects as being for the media primarily. What I think I do is photography with a deep anchor in current events, while questioning classic forms of documentation. And then, periodically, I pitch timely excerpts of this work to my media clients. The turning point of this project for me was the photograph I took of the pregnant Nigerian woman who stood, frozen in fear, just steps away from the border. In the end she did not cross, and was taken away by the US Border Patrol. I sent that photo to my entire media client list, but nobody published it. That is when the project became clearer to me, when I grasped the complexity and the tension that I wanted to capture. —Michel Huneault

Public discourse on both sides of the border, indeed around the world, and at every level, from eloquent idealism to naked racism, has swirled and clashed around this phenomenon. American and Canadian government policies, practicalities, rhetoric, and images have defined and defied each other here, where desperate and frightened people cross a line they cannot see.

That moment when, on the side of a dirt road, people make a fundamental choice about what freedom means to them, when they would rather be under arrest in one country than “free” in another, is profoundly political and public. It draws into focus the character and identities of the countries as much as of the individuals. But it is also a moment of great personal risk and change. It is intensely private. By overlaying the outlines of asylum seekers with various fabrics he photographed in 2015 during the European migrant crisis – blankets given to stay warm, clothes donated, and tents erected to provide temporary shelter – Huneault respects that privacy and turns our attention to the moment itself, and to its global and humanitarian context.

I hope that Intersection will help us to reflect on the larger context of humanitarian principles and migratory flows, on why people take to the road and what they hope to find, on the obstacles they face, and on our collective responsibilities towards them. —Michel Huneault

This exhibition will also be adapted as an interactive virtual reality piece produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), to be released in the fall of 2017. To access the NFB’s award-winning content, please visit www.nfb.ca/interactive/


BIO
Michel Huneault is a documentary photographer based in Montreal, Canada. Before devoting himself full time to documentary photography in 2008, Michel Huneault worked in the international development field for a dozen years, a profession that took him to over twenty countries, including one full year in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow, researching the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was a student and teaching assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, and afterwards held an apprenticeship position with him in New York. His practice—often mixing photography with audio/video elements—focuses on development and humanitarian issues, on personal and collective traumas, and on complex geographies.

Huneault is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize (2015) for his long-term work on the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe, and the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship (2016) to continue his research on migration. In 2016 his project Post Tohoku, looking at the impact of the tsunami in Japan, was nominated for the Prix Pictet 7 and received a Prix Antoine-Désilets. Huneault’s work has been exhibited in various venues in Canada, France, UK, USA, Japan and the Netherlands.

Artist Website: Michel Huneault


Michel Huneault: Intersection runs September 7 through September 30 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with a reception for the artist on Friday, September 8, from 6–9 PM, and a talk by the artist on Saturday, September 9, from 2-3 PM.


Michel Huneault

Intersection

September 7 – 30, 2017
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Artist’s Reception: Friday, September 8, 6-9 PM
Artist’s Talk: Saturday, September 9, 2-3 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM

Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 9, Roxham Road, 2017
Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 10, Roxham Road, 2017
Michel Huneault, Intersection
Michel Huneault, Untitled 3, Roxham Road, 2017

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

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Philip Cheung: The Edge

Philip Cheung, "Lifeboats, Al Jaddaf, Dubai," 2015, from 'The Edge'
Philip Cheung, “Lifeboats, Al Jaddaf, Dubai,” 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New exhibition offers a contemporary look at the rapidly changing coastal landscape of the United Arab Emirates

Toronto, ON, January 4, 2017Circuit Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of ten large-scale photographs by Philip Cheung from The Edge, a new project that follows the 1300 km coastline of the United Arab Emirates looking at the region’s rapid development and transformation.

As Cheung Explains:

The United Arab Emirates is a country in a state of constant geopolitical change. Once an obscure Gulf nation, the UAE has, in just 40 years, emerged from the desert sands. Substantial economic growth resulting from the discovery of major oil and gas reserves off the coast of Abu Dhabi have transformed the formerly semi-nomadic Bedouin society into a thriving localized culture, anchored in international business, tourism, and luxury

Significant urban and industrial development has attracted migrant workers, business people, consumers, and tourists from all around the world. Expatriates now make up 85 percent of the population in the major urban centers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. As a result, the cultural identity of the Emirates as a whole is evolving through a constant influx of foreign influences.

The Edge is a continuation of Cheung’s successful project Desert Dreams which offered a modern portrait of the Emirates and its negotiation of a relationship between traditional culture and lifestyle and the new cosmopolitan aspirations afforded by massive wealth, intense urbanization, and economic development. With this new work Cheung turns his attention to the landscape and to the varied activities taking place along the coast. In these photographs he’s looking at the expression of these changes and ambitions through the built environment, architecture, infrastructure, and indeed the use of space—the spaces various people occupy, from local Emirati’s to Western expats and migrant labourers, and the distance between co-existing and contrasting worlds.

As Leo Hsu astutely writes, in his essay accompanying the exhibition:

Cheung’s photographs are powerful because, beyond surveying, or describing, they suggest the seeming necessity of the present moment, which in his graceful compositions feels both inevitable and eternal. At the same time, they underscore the moment’s contingency—the feeling that the cultural features on display, functions of power, economics and globalization, look so specific, when seen in the context of the landscape that has made this wealth and power possible. Where nature cannot but look as it does, the built environment betrays human ambition in the way that it assumes its specific forms. The success of Cheung’s photographs is its evocation of the tension between these two imperatives.


BIOS
Philip Cheung is a Canadian photographer with experience in various forms of photography who, since 2007, has worked extensively in the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates. In recent years, his personal work has focused on research and exploration of issues of citizenship, capital, labour and industrialization through a layered approach of natural and urban landscapes and portraiture.

Cheung’s work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and festivals across North America and Europe, including The National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), the Lumix Festival (Hanover, DE) and the Flash Forward Festival (Toronto, CA), and has appeared in features and reviews in The British Journal of Photography, CNN, Boston Review and TIME, among others. Clients include The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Stern, The Independent Magazine, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and Wallpaper*.

In 2011 Cheung was named one of PDN’s 30 top emerging photographers, and in 2016 he was selected for the Canadian Forces Artist Program by the Directorate History and Heritage to continue a series that examines military culture in Canada’s post-Afghanistan military. He is currently based in Los Angeles and Toronto.

Leo Hsu is a writer, researcher and photographer based in Toronto. He is a regular contributor to Fraction Magazine and holds a PhD in Anthropology and Certificate in Culture and Media from New York University.


Philip Cheung: The Edge runs January 12 through February 4, at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an opening reception on Friday, January 13, from 6-9 p.m.. The artist is in attendance.


Philip Cheung

The Edge

January 12 – February 4, 2017
Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Opening Reception: Friday, January 13, 6-9 p.m.
Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Philip Cheung, "Friday, Fujairah," 2014, from 'The Edge'
Philip Cheung, “Friday, Fujairah,” 2014
Philip Cheung, "Roundabout, Khor Fakkan, Sharjah," 2014, from 'The Edge'
Philip Cheung, “Roundabout, Khor Fakkan, Sharjah,” 2014
Philip Cheung The Edge Circuit Gallery
Installation view of Philip Cheung’s solo exhibition “The Edge” at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, Toronto, Canada (January 12 – February 4, 2017)

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

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Alejandro Cartagena lecture video online

LECTURE VIDEO

Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism

Alejandro Cartagena

Friday, May 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
OCAD University
Toronto


For the past decade Alejandro Cartagena has been investigating the relationship between Mexico’s urban centres and the suburbs built around them, examining the ways in which explosive growth has altered the landscape and affected the lives of residents.

In this talk, Cartagena discusses the development of his photographic projects including Suburbia Mexicana, Landscape as Bureaucracy, Carpoolers, and his latest work, Outgrowing.

Through these projects, Cartagena creatively sheds light on the complex issues surrounding the ‘ideal’ of homeownership and its recent boom in Mexico. He intimately observes many of the spaces and people involved, including buyers, public bureaucrats, and labourers. He illustrates how Mexico’s social and political context has proved to be both a benefit and a threat to many new buyers, opening up both new opportunities and challenges.

Cartagena’s work looks at the larger implications 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 Mexico’s fast growing cities, and its environmental consequences.

His approach to photography is not overtly polemical; rather, he seeks to tell, from multiple points of view, the complex story of growth and development in Latin America in the context of an increasing globalization and the ongoing influence of its northern neighbour(s) and ‘North American dreams’.


BIO

Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in 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 in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, the Portland Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He has received the Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Lente Latino award in Chile, and the Premio IILA-Fotografia 2012 award in Rome. He has been named a FOAM Magazine Talent and one of PDN’s 30 International Emerging Photographers to watch. Cartagena’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as Newsweek, The New York Times Lens blog, Nowness, Domus, The Financial Times, View, The Guardian, le Monde, PDN, The New Yorker, The Independent, Monocle and Wallpaper. His monograph Suburbia Mexicana was published in 2011 (Daylight/Photolucida) and his latest book Carpoolers was released in 2014 (Fonca – Conaculta). He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).


The Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism lecture is co-presented by CONTACT, LACAP, the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Through the Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery. Special thanks to Shawn Micallef, Tamara Toldeo, Tara Smith, Rita Leistner, April Hickox and Sharon Switzer.

This event was held in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

Alejandro Cartagena to give public talk

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Escobedo, from the series Suburbia Mexicana, 2008

Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism

Alejandro Cartagena lecture & conversation with Shawn Micallef

Friday, May 8, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
OCAD University
100 McCaul St., Room 230
[ Google Map ]

Free and open to the public.

Join us for a lecture by noted Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena, to be followed by a conversation with author and urban columnist Shawn Micallef.


For the past decade Alejandro Cartagena has been investigating the relationship between Mexico’s urban centres and the suburbs built around them, examining the ways in which explosive growth has altered the landscape and affected the lives of residents.

In this talk, Cartagena will discuss the development of his photographic projects including Suburbia Mexicana, Landscape as Bureaucracy, Carpoolers, Roma-Roma and his latest work, Outgrowing.

Through these projects, Cartagena creatively sheds light on the complex issues surrounding the ‘ideal’ of homeownership and its recent boom in Mexico. He intimately observes many of the spaces and people involved, including buyers, public bureaucrats, and labourers. He illustrates how Mexico’s social and political context has proved to be both a benefit and a threat to many new buyers, opening up both new opportunities and challenges.

Cartagena’s work looks at the larger implications 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 Mexico’s fast growing cities, and its environmental consequences.

His approach to photography is not overtly polemical; rather, he seeks to tell, from multiple points of view, the complex story of growth and development in Latin America in the context of an increasing globalization and the ongoing influence of its northern neighbour(s) and ‘North American dreams’.


BIOS

Alejandro Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in 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 in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, the Portland Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He has received the Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Lente Latino award in Chile, and the Premio IILA-Fotografia 2012 award in Rome. He has been named a FOAM Magazine Talent and one of PDN’s 30 International Emerging Photographers to watch. Cartagena’s work has been published internationally in magazines such as Newsweek, The New York Times Lens blog, Nowness, Domus, The Financial Times, View, The Guardian, le Monde, PDN, The New Yorker, The Independent, Monocle and Wallpaper. His monograph Suburbia Mexicana was published in 2011 (Daylight/Photolucida) and his latest book Carpoolers was released in 2014 (Fonca – Conaculta). He is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).

Shawn Micallef is a Toronto Star columnist, co-owner and an editor of Spacing magazine, co-founder of the mobile phone public space documentary project [murmur], and instructor at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, The Trouble with Brunch: Work, Class, and the Pursuit of Leisure, and was the Toronto Public Library’s non-fiction writer in residence in 2013.


RELATED EVENTS

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Carpooler #15 (detail) and Carpooler #17 (detail), from his Carpoolers series, 2011

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities
May 1 – 31, 2015
Warden subway station
Warden St and St. Clair Ave W
Toronto M1L 4R7

A CONTACT Public Installation curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

Through the photographs of Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena and videos by Kingston, Ontario art duo Julia Krolik & Owen Fernley, Toronto’s subway corridors are transformed with images addressing suburban transportation, development, and sustainability.

Cartagena’s images are shown on 55 posters throughout Warden station, the penultimate stop on the eastern edge of the system. This station serves as a primary destination for many suburban commuters. The artist’s series Carpoolers (2011–2012) portrays a different kind of commute, adopting a bird’s eye view of construction workers and landscapers in the beds of pickup trucks traveling to build and maintain the wealthy suburban communities outside of Monterrey, México.


WORKSHOP

Alejandro Cartagena will be offering a workshop as part of the Contact Photography Festival on ‘The Photobook’

Alejandro Cartagena: The Photobook – workshop
May 6, 12:00 pm
Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond St W 120
Toronto M5V 3A8
416-979-3941
www.gallery44.org
info@gallery44.org

Alejandro will teach a two-day workshop focused on photobook history, and edit and sequencing methods. It is geared towards artists with work in progress who are looking for direction and guidance to create a book. His projects are primarily documentary-based and employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban, and environmental issues in Latin America. Cartagena’s recent self-published book Carpoolers was listed as one of the best photo-books in 2014 by Time magazine. Students are asked to bring up to three projects to work on with 20 to 30 image printed at approximately 4×6. $160/$140 for Gallery 44 members and CONTACT Portfolio Reviews participants.

Co-presented with Circuit Gallery, CONTACT, Gallery 44 and LACAP.

Visit www.gallery44.org/workshops/photobook to register.
Contact soJin Chun at sojin @ gallery44.org for more information.

This event is in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation at Warden subway station. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.


The Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism lecture is co-presented by CONTACT, LACAP, the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Through the Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery. Special thanks to Tamara Toldeo, Tara Smith, April Hickox and Sharon Switzer.

This event is in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, a CONTACT Public Installation. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

AC_contact_logos680

Alejandro Cartagena photo-essay in Maclean’s

Circuit Gallery artist Alejandro Cartagena has a nice photo-essay in Maclean’s Magazine, as lead-up to a pubic installation as part of the Contact Photography Festival

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena featured in Maclean’s Magazine, April 19, 2015

Keep truckin’: Portraits of Mexico’s morning commuters

Alejandro Cartagena spent a year photographing workers on their morning commute

by Aaron Hutchins, Maclean’s
April 19, 2015

When Alejandro Cartagena moved to Monterrey, Mexico, as a teenager in 1990, he was put to work as an assistant on his grandfather’s construction crew for a few months. His grandfather would pick up employees, who filled the back of his truck, and off they went to the work site. What Cartagena learned, he says, is “how hard it is to work for a living.”

Cartagena has since turned to photography for a living, while life in Monterrey is hard in itself. Sometimes still alive, victims of the drug war were hanged from bridges or beheaded, then dumped in the city. But in the midst of the chaos and the deaths, there are locals trying to make an honest living.

During a housing boom 10 years ago, blue-collar residents were encouraged to become first-time homeowners in a suburb north of town. Construction jobs, meanwhile, were at least an hour’s drive from where the workers now lived. For an entire year, Cartagena waited on the same bridge between 7 and 9 a.m. as the pick-ups went by. The bird’s-eye view gave him an intimate look into their private lives. During their commute, some read the newspaper. Others listened to music. Many simply slept. “The culture here is very much of the macho cowboy,” Cartagena says. “So when you see the guys spooning each other, [it shows] we’ll do whatever it takes [to survive].”

The trucks weren’t always filled with people—an illegal practice, after all. And if someone died after flying out the back during a collision, police would patrol for a few weeks, but the commuters inevitably came back. “They’re having to risk their lives to keep their houses,” Cartagena says. “They inspire me.”

View original article and see more images: Keep truckin’: Portraits of Mexico’s morning commuters

Alejandro Cartagena’s work is part of Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities an official public installation for the 2015 Scotiabank Contact photography festival. Curated by Sharon Switzer. Co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters.

Learn more about this and related events.

Alejandro Cartagena public installation for CONTACT

Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Carpooler #2 (detail) and Carpooler #1 (detail), from his Carpoolers series, 2011

Circuit Gallery is thrilled that gallery artist Alejandro Cartagena‘s work has been curated into an innovative and ambitious public art installation as part of the 2015 Scotiabank Contact photography festival. The exhibition takes over Warden subway station (google map).

NEWS RELEASE

Alejandro Cartagena’s work to take over Toronto’s Warden subway station as an official public installation for the Scotiabank CONTACT photography festival

Toronto, ON, April, 2015 — PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters are pleased to present Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities, featuring noted Mexican artist, Alejandro Cartagena’s images on 55 advertising posters, converting Toronto’s Warden subway station into a distinctive exhibition space. The exhibition also threads throughout the city’s subway system, via a series of videos by Kingston, Ontario art duo, Julia Krolik and Owen Fernley capturing the attention of more than one million daily commuters from May 1 to 31, 2015.

An official public installation of Scotiabank CONTACT, Toronto’s annual photography festival, the 9th annual Contacting Toronto addresses issues of transportation, suburban development and sustainability. Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities is curated by Sharon Switzer.

Cartagena’s series Carpoolers (2011–2012) adopts a bird’s eye view of construction workers and landscapers gathered together in the beds of pickup trucks. Travelling to the wealthy suburban communities outside of Monterrey, Mexico that they build and maintain, the men lounge together, nestled among the tools and detritus of their professions. His Suburbia Mexicana (2006–2010) series focuses on the rise of poorer suburbs. Tiny cookie-cutter homes spread across the horizon, while families pose in front of these simple dwellings, proud of their new neighbourhoods.

Intersection (2015) is a series of videos by Krolik and Fernley, shown non-stop on 5 TTC LCD screens throughout Warden Station and every 5 minutes at 62 other stations across the city. Aerial views of suburban homes, roads, and parking lots are revealed with map-like precision, through the use of government orthophotos. The artists created a custom image processor to randomly sample images from a suburban region north of the GTA. Appearing as a triptych of changing images, this expanse transforms continuously as unnamed communities replace one another, details blurring into a seemingly never-ending suburban landscape.

“The artwork in Expanding Cities asks viewers to think critically about suburban expansion and sustainability,” said Sharon Switzer, National Arts Programmer and Curator, PATTISON Onestop. “Warden station, at the eastern edge of Toronto’s subway system, may seem like an unlikely place to mount an ambitious art installation, but I believe the relatively remote location will enhance viewers’ appreciation of work.”

For artist’s bios and statements, and to view a selection of Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities images and an exhibition essay by Nives Hajdin, please visit www.contactingtoronto.ca


Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities is co-produced by PATTISON Onestop and Art for Commuters, in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, with financial support from the Ontario Arts Council and PATTISON Outdoor’s Art in Transit program.

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Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
PATTISON Onestop – www.pattisononestop.com – @onestopmedia
Art in Transit – www.artintransit.ca – @ArtTransit
Art for Commuters – www.art4commuters.com – @art4commuters


About Onestop
Onestop is a world leader in the development and operation of Digital Out-of-Home Media (DOOH). Onestop creates and delivers uniquely engaging experiences that connect the physical and digital worlds, and provides audiences timely and relevant information in engaging spaces. Onestop leverages proprietary technology to deploy digital campaigns for mass transit, office, airport, residential, and retail environments, as well as being the exclusive media provider in the PATH – Toronto’s underground walkway connecting office towers and subway stations to over 1,200 shops and services. Onestop is a division of PATTISON Outdoor Advertising.
www.pattisononestop.com

For more information contact:
Marie Nazar, Arts Publicist, PATTISON Onestop
416-762-7702 | marie.nazar@bell.net

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CONNECTED EVENTS

Circuit Gallery is pleased to support the following connected events.

Friday, May 8th at 6:00pm
Alejandro Cartagena: Learning from Latin American (Sub)Urbanism
OCADU, 100 McCaul Street, Room 230

Artist talk, followed by a conversation with author, Shawn Micallef.

This event is co-presented by CONTACT, Latin American-Canadian Art Projects Speaker Series (LACAP), the Faculty of Art at OCAD University (Photography Department), and Circuit Gallery, in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities.


Wednesday, May 6th – Thursday, May 7th
Alejandro Cartagena: The Photobook
Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond St W, Suite 120

Cartagena will teach a two day workshop focused on photo book history, edit and sequencing methods. Cartagena’s recent self-published book carpooler was listed as one of the best photo books in 2014 by Time magazine.

This event is co-presented by Gallery 44, Centre for Contemporary Photography, CONTACT, LACAP and Circuit Gallery, in conjunction with Contacting Toronto: Expanding Cities.

Akihiko Miyoshi: CMYKRGB

Akihiko Miyoshi
Akihiko Miyoshi, CMYKRGB, detail, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Akihiko Miyoshi: pushing the intersection of art and technology into new territory

Toronto, ON, March 26, 2015Circuit Gallery is pleased to present CMYKRGB, an exhibition of new abstract photographic and installation work by Portland Oregon based artist Akihiko Miyoshi.

In this latest work, Miyoshi pushes his interest in the intersection of art and technology into new territory. While Miyoshi has consistently engaged questions specific to photographic representation – exploiting the conventions of perception, questioning the status of both the photographer/author and the referent/real in the digital age – here he extends his investigation into the very processes and conditions of contemporary image production.

I believe we live in a moment where the torrent of the digital and the inertia of the analog collide with each other creating an aesthetic and lived experience unique to our time…. This collision is the subject of the works presented.

The works exhibited exist, conceptually, somewhere between painting and photography. Visually, they are between formal abstraction and photographic representation.

Using photography, a medium whose indexicality clings to the real, Miyoshi performs a variety of gestures that bring to the fore the tensions between the analog and the digital. These gestures range from very material and mechanical performative actions undertaken in the studio in front of the camera (using paper, paint, light, mirrors, and the artists own body), to manipulations within the software (digital gestures such as offsetting the color channel), through to collaborations with the digital algorithms of the software – “letting it think” and act.

Miyoshi seeks to represent something of our contemporary experience of what is pervasive yet elusive, known only through the effects of optics, algorithms, data, and mediation – and experienced though screens and web browsers, 8-bit aesthetics, and virtual worlds.

The works evoke what is intangible or unrepresentable, and yet oddly familiar, by revealing something of the processes underneath the act of representation. Questioning and revealing the spaces between pigment and light, the tensions between the material and immaterial, the real and the virtual, between human and machine, between certainty and uncertainty, Miyoshi’s new work allegorically offers a way to look at the complexity of our present state.

The exhibition is accompanied by the essay, “Photography and the ‘Artifacts of Software’: Akihiko Miyoshi’s CMYKRGB,” by Toronto-based writer and researcher Emily Doucet.


BIO
Born in Japan, Akihiko Miyoshi received his MFA in photography in 2005 from the Rochester Institute of Technology after leaving a PhD program in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University to pursue art. Miyoshi is an Associate Professor of Photography and Digital Media at Reed College (Portland, OR). His work explores the intersection between art and technology most frequently dealing with issues surrounding photographic representation.

His work has been exhibited widely including Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Toronto. He was named the International Award Winner of Fellowship 12 at The Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh PA, and the finalist for the Betty Bowen Award from the Seattle Art Museum in 2012 and Aperture Portfolio Prize in 2013. Miyoshi received a Hallie Ford Fellowship in 2012.


Akihiko Miyoshi: CMYKRGB runs April 9 through May 2 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an opening reception on Wednesday, April 8, from 6 – 9 PM.


Akihiko Miyoshi

CMYKRGB

April 9 – May 2, 2015

Reception: Wednesday, April 8, 6-9 p.m.

Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Akihiko Miyoshi
Akihiko Miyoshi, Process Structure #4, from the series Process Structures, 2014
Akihiko Miyoshi
Akihiko Miyoshi, Process Structure #1, from the series Process Structures, 2014
Akihiko Miyoshi
Akihiko Miyoshi, Process Structure #7, from the series Process Structures, 2014

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

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Shelagh Keeley: Barcelona Pavilion

Shelagh Keeley, Barcelona Pavilion I, 1986/2012
Shelagh Keeley, Barcelona Pavilion I, 1986/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canadian artist Shelagh Keeley to premiere Barcelona Pavilion photographs in new solo exhibition at Circuit Gallery

Toronto, ON, December 29, 2014Circuit Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by senior Canadian artist Shelagh Keeley. These images were taken in 1986 in the newly reconstructed Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain, just before it was reopened to the public.

Keeley is well known for her highly visceral and embodied drawing practice. She has always used photography, incorporating it into her site-specific installation work and drawings through collage, however Keeley’s own photographs are rarely the focus of attention in an exhibition.

Barcelona Pavilion, presented here for the first time, reveals an approach to photography that is consistent with this artist’s broader practice. Here is a subjective and embodied kind of ‘drawing with light’ and poetic engagement with space that is refreshingly irreverent, inconsistent with both our expectation of photography and for pictures of such an iconic work of modernist architecture.

Albeit attracted to the iconic aspects of the celebrated building—the materials (marble, glass, and metal), the key spaces, and light—they seem like asides, as her focus is more ambient and on the mundane. She uses photography in a subjective way, where her “less is more” minimal and abstracting compositions are less about describing these sober and rational spaces, than they are about a poetics of space, and about being in them.

Shelagh Keeley: Barcelona Pavilion is the fourth exhibition for Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, a new presentation partnership where the commercial gallery is sharing exhibition space with Prefix ICA in the destination landmark arts building at 401 Richmond Street West in Toronto.

The exhibition is curated by Claire Sykes, with catalogue essays by Joel Robinson and Mark Kingwell.


BIO
Shelagh Keeley (born Oakville, Ontario) lives now in Toronto after spending 23 years in New York City and Paris. She received her Honours BFA in Art History / Anthropology from York University, Toronto.

Keeley has an extensive international exhibition history over the last 30 years and has travelled across the globe. Keeley’s recent production includes a commission by the Power Plant, Toronto, to create two new installations for the venue’s large clerestory walls (2014/2015), and by MoMA, Library and Archives, NYC, for a new research project / performance with choreographer Lin Snelling (2014/2015).

In 2013 she created a major on-site commissioned wall drawing installation at Stadtisches Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany, for the exhibition In Order to Join (2013). This exhibition will travel to the Goethe-Institut / Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (former Prince of Wales Museum), Mumbai, India (2015), and will include the Barcelona Pavilion photographs.

Keeley’s larger record includes exhibitions at: Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India (2013); Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto (2013); Nuit Blanche, Paris (2012); McMaster Museum of Art / Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa (2010); Vancouver Art Gallery (2010); Caoyang Village Public Art Project, Shanghai (2009); National Gallery of Canada (2008, travelling exhibition), RAM Foundation, Rotterdam (2008); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2007); Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi (2004); Printed Matter, NYC (1998), Indianapolis Museum of Art (1995); John Gibson Gallery, NYC (1994); Exit Art, NYC (1993); MOMA P.S.1 Museum, NY (1992); and DIA Art Foundation, NYC (1989).

Her work is in the collection of major international public institutions including: the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain Paris; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; the Musées de la Ville de Paris, Paris; the Getty Museum, Santa Monica; the Harvard Art Museum, Boston; the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; the Yale University Art Gallery, CT; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA.


Shelagh Keeley: Barcelona Pavilion runs January 8 through the 31st at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 8, from 6 – 9 PM. The artist is in attendance.


Shelagh Keeley

Barcelona Pavilion

January 8 – 31, 2015

Reception: Thursday, January 8, 6-9 p.m.

Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Shelagh Keeley Barcelona Pavilion
Shelagh Keeley, Barcelona Pavilion III, 1986/2012
Shelagh Keeley Barcelona Pavilion
Shelagh Keeley, Barcelona Pavilion II, 1986/2012
Shelagh Keeley Barcelona Pavilion
Shelagh Keeley, Barcelona Pavilion VIII, 1986/2012

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

###

Donald Weber: Interrogations

Donald Weber, Interrogations
Donald Weber, Interrogation X, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Interrogating the Interrogator: Donald Weber’s award-winning photography project Interrogations set for Canadian premiere in new exhibition

Toronto, ON, November 18, 2014Circuit Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Donald Weber from his award-winning project Interrogations, seen here for the first time in Canada.

The exhibition features twelve large-format photographs of suspected criminals being subjected to intense interrogation in an unnamed police station somewhere in Ukraine. This powerful series is accompanied by a selection of smaller photographs, which serve as a prologue.

Weber spent seven years traveling throughout Ukraine and Russia in an effort to understand and show something of life in the post-Soviet era. He observed how, since the collapse of Communism and its replacement with free-market Capitalism and an ostensible democracy, people are negotiating their places between ideologies, past and promised, and within “the system”.

Over the course of his research Weber became increasingly preoccupied with the subject of Power as exercised by the modern state, and how it deploys an all-encompassing theatre for its subjects. Amassed, his gritty photographs offer a complex portrait of people and a place, haunted by the past, and disillusioned with the present and its failure to provide a promised future.

Interrogations is the culmination of this seven-year project and a sharp distillation of subject and theme—one that seeks to go beyond the specificity of time, place, and individual, to reveal something more universal about the human situation.

Power is invisible, an abstract concept to which we are all subject. It can only be represented through its effects and consequences, its symbols and subjects (victims and perpetrators). Weber’s photographs from inside the interrogation room are simple stark images offering complex scenes.

Having gained the trust and permission of both the policeman and detainees to take photographs, Weber, as third party witness to the unfolding dramas (including the violent threats, aggression, and intimidation tactics of the policeman) focused his lens on the suspects, the men and women (and youth) who for whatever reason are brought in for questioning and find themselves in the room, subjected to interrogation.

Weber withholds context and specificity. We are not given information as to who they are, or the what, where, or why of their circumstance. Reduced to the confines of the room and to a succinct grammar of gesture and expression, Weber adeptly offers a series of types revealing a range of emotion and reaction: angry, defiant, pleading, ashamed, terrified, scheming, pliant, resigned.

We are unable to adjudicate guilt or innocence here. The implied indictment, it would seem, is not of the people portrayed nor is it limited to former Soviet states, but rather of the very idea of “the system” and the larger abuse of power and authority. The interrogator, rarely seen in the photographs, becomes the embodiment of Power itself in these emblematic dramas played out on the small stage, within the confines of the room.

This is a work which intelligently asks and invites all sorts of interesting and important questions about photography and the photographic situation as much as it does about the interrogations themselves.

Interrogations is the third exhibition for Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, a new presentation partnership where the commercial gallery is sharing exhibition space with the highly respected Prefix ICA in the destination landmark arts building at 401 Richmond Street West in Toronto.

The exhibition is curated by Claire Sykes with a catalogue essay by Randy Innes.


BIOS
Donald Weber is a photographer fascinated by the subject of power (be it economic, political, or psychological) and how it deploys an all-encompassing theatre for its subjects. His Interrogations project and accompanying book (Schilt, 2011) has received notable recognition and accolades from World Press Photo, PDN, Aperture, and many others. It was preceded by Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl (2008) which won the Photolucida Book Award. Weber’s numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Duke and Duchess of York Photography Prize, and two World Press Photo prizes. Most recently he was shortlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award. He is a member of the acclaimed VII Photo agency and is represented by Circuit Gallery (Toronto).

Randy Innes holds a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. He has taught at several universities and he contributed to significant developments at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa. His research interests include the history and theory of photography, museum theory and exhibition practice, and aesthetic theory. Randy held the History of Photography research fellowship at the National Gallery of Canada, and he has published research and exhibition essays on historical and contemporary photography, along with other topics. An article on Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin appears in the special issue of the Canadian Art Review (RACAR) dedicated to War and Photography (Fall 2014).


Interrogations runs November 27 through December 20 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an opening reception on Thursday, November 27, from 6 – 9 PM.


Interrogations

Donald Weber

November 27 – December 20, 2014

Reception: Thursday, November 27, 6-9 p.m.

Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Donald Weber, Interrogation II, 2010
Donald Weber, Interrogation II, 2010
Donald Weber, Interrogations, 2010
Donald Weber, Interrogation VIII, 2010

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

###

Circuit Gallery now on ARTSY

Circuit Gallery on Artsy

GALLERY NEWS

The Art World Online – Artsy features the world’s leading galleries, museum collections, foundations, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place

Circuit Gallery is pleased to announce that we are now listing our work through Artsy. It is a great platform and tool with a tremendous global audience and reach. So if you use the platform (mobile or web), please FOLLOW US there to stay up to date on openings, available works, and more!

About Artsy

Artsy is an online platform for discovering, discussing, and collecting art, featuring 180,000+ works from over 2,000 renowned galleries and 300 institutional partners, including museums and foundations, from around the globe.

Robert Bean Exhibition Striking Type at ZKM

Robert Bean, Noiseless, 2006
Robert Bean, Noiseless, from the series ‘Writing Machines Archive’, 2006

ARTIST NEWS

Historic Typewriters in Changing Times. Writing Machines and Obsolescence

Gallery artist Robert Bean’s exhibition STRIKING TYPE opens at ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst Medialounge in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibition, curated by Hartmut Jörg, runs November 14, 2015 through January 6, 2015.

Historic Typewriters in Changing Times. Writing Machines and Obsolescence.
Photography by Robert Bean

The @-sign was first integrated into the keyboard in 1882, when North American typewriter manufacture, Caligraph, presented Model 2 in the USA. The occasion was a request by North American Association of Stenographers to integrate the @-sign into the keyboard as a commercial abbreviation. With the numerous historical items of Ludwigsburg expert, Lothar K. Friedrich, the exhibition Striking Types documents the evolution of mechanical writing machines from North America and Europe through to the emergence of the PC era. A parallel exhibition by Canadian photographic artist Robert Bean, takes an analytic look at the mechanics and type face of the typewriter that have now vanished from everyday life.

Judy Natal: Future Perfect

Judy Natal Energy Plant Baby
Judy Natal, Energy Plant, from the series Future Perfect, 2011. ©Judy Natal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New exhibition invites us to imagine the landscapes of the future and consider our present moment and the environmental choices we have yet to make.

Toronto, ON, August 22, 2014Circuit Gallery presents Future Perfect, a solo exhibition by Chicago-based artist Judy Natal. The exhibition is curated by Claire Sykes with a catalogue text by Timothy Morton.

In Future Perfect Judy Natal presents three peculiarly evocative and troubling sites where human intervention and land use are exploring the quality and state of futurity. A Las Vegas desert preserve that envisions a sustainable future; Biosphere 2’s experimental tracts in Oracle, Arizona, that research controlled eco-systems and space colonization; and Iceland’s geothermal landscapes are worlds apart from each other, but become, in Natal’s photographs, perfect foils to imagine what the landscapes of the future might look like, illuminating the present moment and the environmental choices we have yet to make.

The photographs establish unexpected but compelling resonances between these sites to distill and display our hopes, perceptions and misunderstandings of nature, and suggest both the potential and pitfalls of our future on earth. Natal describes how central nature can be to our lives, and how hopeful and confused we may be in using, recreating, and changing nature. While she envisions these areas as indications of our future, they are also touchingly poignant examinations of our current intentions, our limitations, our own fragility and ultimately human nature.


BIOS
Judy Natal is a Chicago-based artist, Professor of Photography, and Co-coordinator of the Graduate Program at Columbia College. She is the author of EarthWords (Light Work, 2004), and Neon Boneyard Las Vegas A-Z (Center for American Places, 2006). Her photographs are in the permanent public collections of the the Museum of Contemporary Art, California Museum of Photography, Center for Creative Photography, the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, among others. Her work has been exhibited at Projects International and Photograph Gallery in New York City, the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the São Paulo Biennal.

She has received numerous grants and fellowships including a Fulbright Travel Grant, Illinois Arts Council Photography Fellowships, Polaroid Grants and New York Foundation for the Arts Photography Fellowships. Natal has also been awarded numerous artist residencies nationally and internationally, most recently in Iceland and the Biosphere 2 for her current work Future Perfect 2040 • 2030 • 2020 • 2010.

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He gave the prestigious Wellek Lectures in Theory in 2014. He is the author of Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, forthcoming), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism and Critical Theory (Chicago, forthcoming), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), seven other books and 120 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, design and food.


Future Perfect runs August 28 through September 20 at Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA, with an Reception on Thursday, September 11, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (artist in attendance) and an Artist’s Talk on Saturday, September 13, 1 to 3:00 p.m. Both events will be in the gallery and are free and open to the public.


FUTURE PERFECT

JUDY NATAL

August 28 – September 20, 2014

Reception: Thursday September 11, 6-9 p.m.
Artist’s Talk: Saturday September 13, 1-3 p.m.

Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Toronto, ON, M6R 2G5
[ Google Map ]

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Judy Natal, Future Perfect
Judy Natal, Steam Portrait, Emergency Worker, from the series Future Perfect, 2011. ©Judy Natal
Judy Natal, Saguaro Armature
Judy Natal, Wrapped Saguaro, from the series Future Perfect, 2011. ©Judy Natal
Judy Natal, Plastic Curtain
Judy Natal, Plastic Curtain, from the series Future Perfect, 2011. ©Judy Natal

Visit Circuit Gallery for more information and to see more images:
www.circuitgallery.com/exhibitions


ABOUT CIRCUIT GALLERY
Circuit Gallery specializes in contemporary photography. Established in 2008 by Susana Reisman and Claire Sykes, the Toronto based commercial gallery represents both emerging and established Canadian and international artists.

Web: www.circuitgallery.com

Email: info@circuitgallery.com
Phone: 647-477-2487

###

New Exhibition Venue: Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA

Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA

GALLERY NEWS

Bricks and Mortar – Circuit Gallery has a new exhibition home!

Circuit Gallery is very pleased to announce that we have entered a presentation partnership with Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art.

Starting in 2014, Circuit Gallery @ Prefix ICA will present four exhibitions a year at this respected venue located in the 401 Richmond building, a destination arts-hub in downtown Toronto.

Our first exhibition, Embedded, features new work by Canadian photographer Donald Weber, from his new project War Sand, and Ukrainian born, U.S. based photographer Dima Gavrysh, from his award winning project Inshallah. The show opens April 10 and runs through May 3.

Prefix ICA is located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto, M5V 3A8

Donald Weber – 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist

Donald Weber 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist
Donald Weber 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award Finalist

Donald Weber was a finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award. A huge honour and well deserved recognition. Congratulations Don!

Watch the video of Donald talking about his work.

Canadian Art Critic and Writer Sarah Milroy nominated Donald for the Award.

Donald Weber
Nominator’s Statement

Documentary photography is a calling that entails all the aesthetic discrimination, technical expertise, and sophisticated reading of the world demanded of artists working in the fine art tradition. Added to this, however, is the added pressure of making pictures out in the world, often under conditions of threat. It’s a dance with fate: the operations of chance, of light judged on the fly, the threat of equipment failure, the chance nature of human encounter and connection, the sometimes steep requirements for personal courage, and the need for instinct that can never be quantified or explained — all must be summoned in the moment.

Donald Weber, now 40, is one of Canada’s most compelling practitioners in the field of documentary photography, a tradition too seldom honored in Canadian art. His insightful and piercing images of life in Russia and Eastern Europe have lifted the veil on a part of the world little known and understood in the west, his images powerfully bearing forth the vitality, violence and grim subsistence of a people burdened by the weight of a traumatic history, and stranded in a purgatorial present. Whether photographing the snow swept aftermath of Stalin’s purges, or the now-stilled landscapes of the western Ukraine and Siberia that were once the site of political atrocities, Weber captures the eeriness of a present haunted by the past. As we see in the faces of his urban denizens, gang members, and marauding police, the use of force has become a way of life, grimly accepted by its victims and exalted by its perpetrators.

In a similar vein, Weber has explored the vestigial curse of environmental disaster. In the long shadow of Chernobyl, he pursued connection with the human beings left in the wake of the 1986 explosion, either as survivors of the medical afflictions caused by radiation, or as scavengers reduced to rubbish picking in closed contamination areas. (More recently, he has documented the aftermath of the Fukushima explosion.) The sense prevails of people as subject to historical forces beyond their control, whether he is photographing a child living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone or an Inuk negotiating his abrupt cultural transition into the digital 21st century. Through Weber’s lens, poverty, the forces of oppression and the machinations of power are seen to grind the human subject in their gears.

In this regard, his most recent series of photographs, titled War Sand, serves as a solemn coda. The sands of the Normandy beaches are said to be eight percent shrapnel, metal exploded in combat and then corroded by time and the constant ministrations of the ocean tides. Added to this is its grim corollary: a portion of human remains, bone that has been crushed and crumbled to near powder-like consistency. Through the use of microscopic photography and with a kind of forensic inquisitiveness and existential wondering, Weber brings us close to these fragments, offering us, too, the longer view: the eerie hush of the beachhead and the expressionless features of the sea and sky, edged in grasses. The series invites a contemplation of the endless quiet that lies beyond the flare of bold historical events, offering a cautionary tale of the hubris of humankind.

– Sarah Milroy