Surfacing

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
A detail view of one of Zipp's scale-model gallery sculptures.

A detail view of one of Zipp's scale-model gallery sculptures.

After making a name for himself with his video work, Collin Zipp is taking breaking a break. He had been editing something on his computer a few months ago and was getting a nasty headache. So he went out to his garage, picked some old wood and started building

The result ended up being his first non-video exhibition, Surfacing. For the exhibition, Zipp has compiled the products of the all ideas that had been popping into his head recently. Surfacing will include sculpture, painting and collage.

“I’m kind of making a leap away from my comfortable area, and jumping into some new work,” says Zipp. “I’m pretty pumped about it.”

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By Stacey Ho
One of Jerry Ropson's many lists from his new exhibition.

One of Jerry Ropson's many lists from his new exhibition.

A brief list of some of the items in Jerry Ropson’s upcoming exhibition, Hollow cores, other findings and one last chance: drawings, framed and unframed; drawings done on glass with vinyl; “There” prints depicting wooden shacks, smoke, piles, and other personal symbols of his native Newfoundland; black on black “Here” prints, featuring lists, himself and another character in the process of various tasks; axes that double as metre sticks; bottles; ice with messages frozen inside, molded into bottles; flags with scraps of love letters left in sidewalk cracks; tubes with secret messages written inside them; ladders; a worktable covered with pseudo-scientific notes and experiments.

“It’s funny,” says Ropson. “I had all these notions of what it’s about. There’s so much going on, anyone coming in and responding to the work will take away different things.”

This open-ended practice appeals to Ropson, as it draws others into his personal process, with an emphasis on chance encounters and happenings. Within the gallery, viewers are meant to tamper and interact with the space. Within the city of Montreal, flags, ice bottles and other tokens will be left around personal sites of significance. Ropson’s list-writing gives another glimpse of the small, fleeting things that make up his thoughts and life.

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Proverbs for Paranoids

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Pete Smith's "Owtzdowe."

Pete Pete Smith's "Owtzdowe."

Rather than spending his lunch hours Tupperware dining, Pete Smith would go exploring with his digital camera. He was living in Toronto at the time and was documenting the physical geography around his home and his work—graffiti, billboards, paint spills and what he calls “visual interferences in our visual landscape.”

“Our landscape is pretty much filled with junk—graphic junk that we don’t really notice or pay attention to because there’s just so much or it and it’s all competing,” says Smith.

His latest series of abstract paintings take these visual interferences, and reworks them in an act of escapism from this busy world. The works are part of a new exhibition called Proverbs for Paranoids. Sometimes he takes recognizable forms like the city of Toronto, or the recycling, logo, but mostly he takes images hidden in the background of advertisements and logos.

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House of Voltage

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
    Caution! Halifax's Eyelevel Gallery becomes a House of Voltage this week.

Caution! Halifax's Eyelevel Gallery becomes a House of Voltage this week.

Beginning just four years ago short term electronic workshops at Halifax’s Centre For Art Tapes begot long-term master’s classes. Those in turn got the wheels turning and director Ilan Sandler cobbled funding together to establish a pilot electronics program at the media centre. Now, set to begin its second Electronics Residency Program, the pilot program has become part of the centre’s core operations. Such was the demand for electronic arts in Halifax.

“CFAT has been around for 30 years and has looked on the horizon for the development of artwork. And as a media centre it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to set up an electronics lab.”

The fruits of the first electronic residency will be on display at Halifax’s Eyelevel Gallery for the exhibition House of Voltage. Featuring the work of five primarily visual artists, the pieces combine programmable microprocessors, electronic circuits, and sensors applied to audio, video, and new media applications with their own artistic practices.

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Madonnas

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
Get animated with Diane Landry's washing machine cinema.

Get animated with Diane Landry's washing machine cinema.

Looking at her secondhand washing machine fills Quebec City-based artist Diane Landry with appreciation for the convenience. Not only because for 12 years she schlepped her clothes to her local Laundromat, but because she can remember hovering around the machines all the time during her childhood.

The washing machine in her piece Stolen Waters isn’t all that different from her mother’s or the one quietly sitting in her home. The only difference is the mirrored cylinder sitting on the machines spinner reflecting an image of a woman. Landry has a few of the machines now, each with a different image of a woman.

“I try to keep [my objects] mostly the same without transforming them. By not modifying them you recognize the object but it doesn’t work the way you used to see it. But it’s still a washing machine. It’s possible after the exhibition for the washing machine to be a washing machine again.”

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Surface Dwellers

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
One of faux finishing veteran Rod Mireau's sculptures.

One of faux finishing veteran Rod Mireau's sculptures.

Eight years ago Ross Bonfanti, fresh out of art college, stepped into the world  with a fine arts diploma in hand and only pennies in his pockets. He wanted to find a job that could pay the bills and related to art so he could continue to grow as an artist. That’s when he landed a job in the faux finishing industry.

“It was kind of exciting to work with faux finishing, because they were doing a lot of commercial gigs. You’d be going into places building scaffolding and learning different finishes,” says Bonfanti. “I did it to gain experience, experiment with new material and also make a little bit of money.”

Bonfanti’s story isn’t uncommon in the art community. And for his coming exhibition at Toronto’s AWOL Gallery he’s brought together some artists he met during his tenure as a faux finisher. The show will highlight each artist using a larger work along with a couple of small “samples,” which are used in the faux business by designers and clients to show their ideas.

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Things of Desire Issue #9

October 16, 2008

A tip of the hat to you lovely ToD readers! Looks like we arts lovers will have to band together more than ever after Tuesday’s election results, and there’s no better place than here to know how active the Canadian visual  arts scene is. So sign up to subscribe, if you haven’t already, by shooting an email to thingsofdesire@gmail.com. Also, if you’d like to write for ToD we are now looking for one or two more writers who are willing to work for free and blogzine glory. If you know anyone, or would like to lend a hand yourself, please just send an email. Enjoy!
—Mike Landry

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