Being She: The Culture of Women’s Health and Health Care Through the Lens of Wholeness
Gladstone Hotel – TORONTO
Featured Artists – Sarah Anne Johnson, Nina Levitt, Jane Martin, Meryl McMaster
[June 9 to August 1 2011]
Juried Artists – Dawn, James Azzopardi, Caitlin Baker, Laura Barrón, Jennifer Bedford, Carole Conde + Karl Beveridge, Talia Eylon, Jeane Fabb, Hoda Ghods, Michelle Gibson, Katherine Hartel, Sophie Hogan, Moe Laverty, Manon Lizé with Marianne Lizé-Dumoilin, Yalda Pashai-Fakhri, Pam Patterson + Leena Raudvee, Larry Rossignol, Jasper Savage, Elida Schogt with Guntar Kravis, Lillian Sly, Alison Snowball, Gaëtanne Sylvester, Elaine Whittaker, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services
[June 9 to 15 2011]
Curators: Deborah Wang and Christina Zeidler
Curatorial advisors: Sophie Hackett, Michelle Jacques, and Betty Ann Jordan
Judging by a capacity crowd for opening night at the Gladstone, an intimate and thoughtful curated tour a few days later, and a high volume of press coverage that has been dedicated to the show – something about Being She has struck a nerve, if not the central nervous system of women’s health itself. Being held as part of centennial celebrations of Women’s College Hospital, the photo based exhibition is the first of its kind in the 100 year history of the health care institution.
My contribution as part of the juried show is dedicated to my mother Margie Snowball [1952-2010]. The series of photos was taken at Akropoli metro station in Athens.
Round & Round [She Goes] 2009
Often, the whole is illuminated only with the brilliance of hindsight. Kinetic forces of motion and change redraw borders and reshape lines, in staunch defiance of definition until – natural or otherwise – a conclusion is reached. My mom and I were in Athens when doctors discovered the tumour in her brain. With the forces at play, with our roles reversed, I mostly walked behind her. It was the beginning of her end and the end of my beginning.
While the juried portion of the show has come down the featured artists works remain up on the third and fourth floors of the hotel through August 1. Still, you can check out the Women’s College Hospital site for samples of all Featured and Juried artists’ works. Below, you can click through to more extensive press coverage of the show.
York University – York prof featured in Toronto hospital’s centennial celebration [June 1]
Xtra – Artists revisit troubling history of women’s health in Canada [June 2]
National Post – Five things to do this week [June 3]
CBC Radio One – Here and Now – Interview with curator Deborah Wang [June 8]
Globe and Mail – One Hundred Years of Healing [June 9]
Inside Toronto – Exhibit celebrates centennial of Women’s College Hospital [June 12]
Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from the Museum of Modern Art
Art Gallery of Ontario – TORONTO
[May 28 to September 4 2011]
Works by William Baziotes, Louise Bourgeois, Rudy Burckhart, Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, Walter Chappell, Willem de Kooning, Robert Frank, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Hans Hoffman, Franz Kline, Lee Krasner, Norman Lewis, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, David Smith, Clyfford Still
Curated by Anne Temkin, MoMA
This morning, I took in the members’ preview of the AGO’s latest exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from the Museum of Modern Art. The show officially opens this Saturday, May 28.
It is hard to draw solid lines around the beginning and end of the Abstract Expressionism movement, but it generally refers to a school of painting based out of New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. Curators credit art critic William Coates with first using the term and thereby naming the movement in 1946. Wiki points out an earlier usage, in 1919, by German magazine Der Sturm as it referred to German Expressionism. In this instance, presented along with the painters most usually associated with the era are several of their photography and sculpture contemporaries.
The exhibition leads with a quote from Jackson Pollock, not so arguably, the most well known of the featured artists. Pollock is quoted as saying, “The modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or any other past culture. Each age finds its own techniques.” Too true, Jackson, too true. As it refers to the show in its entirety, these ‘techniques’ are wide ranging but with a great commonality in the boldness of scale and strokes, colour and composition. Further to the definition of the movement, though pieces may have their roots in reality, the end results are abstracted and non-representational.
With at least six or seven galleries devoted to the show, visitors are invited to discover artists one or two at a time [with the exception of a few rooms]. This thoughtful setup allows for a quick, structured survey or a more ambling assessment. Either way you choose to go about it, there are surprises around every corner. On return visits [yes, worth repeat trips] I will be employing both techniques.
Arshile Gorky [1904-1948] Garden in Sochi, 1943
Adolph Gottlieb [1903-1974] Flotsam at Noon [Imaginary Landscape], 1952
Willem de Kooning [1904-1997] Painting, 1948
Aaron Siskind [1903-1991] series of photographic prints
Isamu Noguchi [1904-1988] Work Sheet for Sculpture, 1946 Untitled, 1946
Franz Kline [1910-1962] Chief, 1950 White Forms, 1955 Le Gros, 1961
Lee Krasner [1908-1994] Gaea, 1966
Joan Mitchell [1925-1992] Ladybug, 1957
Jackson Pollock [1912-1956] No.1A, 1948 Echo No.25 1951, 1951, White Light, 1954
Mark Rothko [1903-1970] No.5/No.22, 1950 No.14 [Horizontals, White Over Darks], 1961
Ad Reinhardt [1913-1967] Abstract Painting, 1960-61
Philip Guston [1913-1980] Painting, 1954 Inhabiter, 1965
A few of these works can be previewed on the AGO website.
This past Victoria Day long weekend, a group of artists [disclaimer: myself included] took to the streets to change the cityscape in straightforward, impactful ways. Depending on your generosity – oft or totally – neglected city tree planter boxes found themselves the subject of interventions all around town as a part of project entitled Outside the Planter Boxes. Organized by Sean Martindale in putting his FEAST grant to work, the scheme puts the simple back in the sublime. With no guidelines other than the starting point of the planter, a great range exists in artists’ media, mixing artificial and natural elements, as the planter boxes themselves do, not ironically.
I volunteered as a set of hands and my intervention at its most basic was cleaning garbage out of planters all along Bloor West from Lansdowne to Dufferin. Number one contribution from Torontonians – chewing gum. Followed in rapid and close succession by cigarette butts, coffee cups, chocolate bar wrappers, and in a strange and grizzly discovery in the planter outside the House of Lancaster some kind of jumbo animal bone [human or pig, maybe, remains TBD, but by someone else – I couldn’t bring myself to touch it further despite thick rubber gloves and had to leave it for the bouncers to identify].
When I came across the following planter, the abandoned crate alongside it naturally suggested the final design. The grass clippings were imported from a freshly mown lawn in North York.
BEFORE & AFTER
Text and images from One Year Lease solo photography installation [Dec 11 2009 to Jan 11 2010 – Snowball Gallery & Workshop, Toronto].
One Year Lease is a work in progress, a story still unfolding. Contrasting the strength of architecture with the frailty of our human existence. How the permanent can be altered by impermanent perspectives. How beauty is at once reinforced and betrayed by time.