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CONTACT @ The Gladstone

May 22, 2011 @ The Events, Articles, Top Picks

It’s the long weekend and Mother Nature finally gave us a break with some gorgeous weather on Saturday. It was the perfect day to head out and check out some CONTACT shows out in the West end of the city.

I hopped on the TTC – full, full, full on this beautiful 30° day – and headed out for a day of walking and adventure. In one afternoon I managed to check out the Gladstone Hotel’s 3 exhibits: EXPOSED, their annual group exhibit and one that I have participated in several times, Bruce Zinger’s Ten Years of Opera Atelier at the Art Bar, and Martie Geifert’s Re-Constructed up on the 3rd floor ; Robert Bourdeau’s The Station Point at Stephen Bulger Gallery; Dynamic Landscape and the Fred Herzog overview at MOCCA; The Aesthetic Choice of S. Vote at Elaine Fleck; and Dieter Hessel’s Structure and Symmetry at Heliographics. And although it wasn’t a CONTACT show, I couldn’t resist popping into Pentimento on my way home and checking out the highly acclaimed R. Kelly Clipperton photo exhibit Top 30.

Too many great exhibits to talk about in one post. I’m going to concentrate on the photographers and exhibits that really had an impact on me at the Gladstone and go over Stephen Bulger, MOCCA, Elaine Fleck, Heliographics, and Pentimento in a second post.

♥♥♥♥ Mafalda Silva


When I saw Silva’s stitched photographs, they reminded me of the work that I have produced in the past, stitching together multiple images to create a concept or statement. The series of photographs of repetitive industrial steel structures fighting against natural images are mesmerizing and beautifully composed with warm orange leaves on cold blue-grey steel or cherry blossoms on brick. The aim of the photographs is to show how human occupation eliminates nature, and it does so elegantly and softly. My favourite piece of the three is Fundamental Nature (shown).

♥♥♥♥♥ Tom Riddout


Traditionally, when you see shows with the words “Buffalo” and “Entropy” in the description, you expect images of urban exploration, interiors of abandoned buildings, exterior shots of houses left vacant from the effects of the mortgage scandal, and general images of urban decay. Riddout’s exhibit puts a twist on the idea of entropy, challenging the us to imagine the structures that used to inhabit the spaces left vacant in his photographs of urban family neighbourhood. Most of us are used to viewing the passage of time in urban exploration and landscape photographs from cities such as Buffalo, Detroit, Rochester, and Gary – these photos go one step further to show the final effect of time on abandonment with the inevitability of complete decay.

♥♥♥♥♥ Michael Krauss


Krauss has exhibited in the Gladstone’s CONTACT show in past years, one or twice when I was exhibiting as well, and his photos never disappoint. He is a master of large cloud and water photographs that leave the viewer breathless. Traditionally exhibiting 2 photos, this year’s submission do not disappoint. The 35′ x 35′ colour-rich resin coated photographs depict the water and sky as if taken by someone emerging from the sea, still half submerged, the surf pounding into the lens while birds fly overhead and whispers of a sandy beach and palm trees carry on the hot summer wind. The images are a beautiful mix of golds, blues, and teal greens and the resin adds a high gloss that emphasizes the feeling of summer heat and salty sea water to the photo presentation.

♥♥♥♥♥ Mark Belvedere


Belvedere’s imagery centers on mental health issues with themes of power and vulnerability, confidence and hesitancy, isolation and belonging, and the sway between them. Of the three images on display, my favourite image was a simple piece at first glance, but more complex in both image and story when taken in. A simple row of hospital patient wristbands that upon closer inspection aren’t simple at all as they document 8 famous artists throughout history and their mental illnesses: Warhol (Asperger’s), Pollock (bipolar), Munch (manic), Van Gogh (manic), Michelangelo (Asperger’s), Kurelek (schizophrenia), Ewen (clinical depression), and Miro i Ferra (clinical depression). Although I knew about a couple of these artists and their illnesses, I was surprised about the others. The photo spoke to me on a personal level and brings up the age old question about the correlation between great art and mental illness.

♥♥♥ Bruce Zinger

Ten Years of Images from Opera Atelier @ the Art Bar

Toronto’s Opera Atelier produces opera, ballet, and drama from the 17th and 18th century. It’s productions aim to draw upon the aesthetics and appeals of this time period while creating productions that will appeal to today’s audiences. The beautifully composed and lit studio photographs by Bruce Zinger, taken to commemorate the opera’s 25th anniversary deserve to be seen in a space that will do them justice. The Art Bar, although a great small space to showcase emerging solo and group shows, did poorly during the harsh light of day as the glare from the large main windows made it almost impossible to see some of the pieces. From those that I did get to see, the photo of Jack Renni and Marie MacDunnough entitles Armide was a standout, with Marie’s arms sporting a henna tatto from the tips of her fingers up to and over her shoulders. I think that with the an interior room sans harsh glaring windows and proper lighting, we would have seen the true impact of these photographs.

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