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Nine visual arts exhibitions featuring multimedia, poetry, photography, textiles are unveiled on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

TORONTO, September 7, 2006 — This fall, visitors to Harbourfront Centre are invited to experience its nine, new intriguing visual arts exhibitions. Visitors can journey through the vast landscapes of Canada one motel room at a time in the exhibition Fifteen Restless Nights; enjoy e-poetry based on the works of Canadian-Welsh author Childe Roland in Astres/Stars/Goleuadau; see new textile works by recent graduates in NEXT; and explore abstraction and realism through Lisa Klapstock’s Picture 1-Toronto whose work reveals the complex relationship between photographic depiction and visual perception.

The public opening reception for the exhibitions takes place on Friday, September 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. in York Quay Centre. Admission to the reception and the exhibitions is free. Exhibitions run until November 5 at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. For information on these exhibitions, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Exhibition hours for Fifteen Restless Nights and Astres/Stars/Goleuadau: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon till 8 p.m.; closed Monday except holiday Mondays, noon to 6 p.m. Regular hours for The Craft Studio: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Regular hours for all other exhibitions: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Harbourfront Centre’s Fresh Ground new works, presents Fifteen Restless Nights (Quinze nuits blanches), a collaborative art installation led by visual artist Derek Michael Besant. In Fifteen Restless Nights, image, text and sound merge together to document the vast landscape of Canada through the intimate experience of a motel room. Fifteen large-scale photographs of unmade beds, shot during nights spent in motel rooms across Canada, are printed with advanced technologies in thermal inks on veil scrims. An original jazz piece based on the theme of long nights and the highways between cities is integrated with the fragmented telling of fifteen original texts, recorded as spoken word in French and English. Derek Michael Besant collaborated with Diane Schoemperlen, Paul Connolly, The Bent Spoon Trio, Jane E. Nokes, Randy Otto, Yves Trépanier, Sophie Saboureau McGoey, K. Gwen Frank, Renée Anique Francoeur and R.J. “Stu” Stuart.Fifteen Restless Nights is one of five projects awarded a $20,000 commission as part of Fresh Ground new works, a Harbourfront Centre initiative to commission new multi-disciplinary works in honour of its 30th anniversary.

Astres/Stars/Goleuadau is Agence TOPO’s latest multimedia creation, an e-poetry project that is based on the works of Canadian-Welsh poet Childe Roland and the images of Canadian photographer Susan Coolen. Launched within the Festival Voix d’Amériques, in Montréal, the new website, features the screening and reading of the poem Astres/Stars/Goleuadau in English/French/Welch by poet Roland and the poets Kim Doré, Tony Tremblay and Victoria Stanton along with photography by Susan Coolen. Eva Quintas, is artistic director of Agence TOPO, and is the project’s curator. The site’s design is by Guy Asselin, assisted by Vincent Archambault. Audio concept by Mike Di Sclafani. Michel Lefebvre is TOPO’s general director, and is the production manager/director for the exhibition.

Roland’s poetical body of work, Astres/Stars/Goleuadau, stands as a metaphorical representation of the black holes in astronomy and the death of supernovas. Written in French, English and Welsh, the texts are organized in sets of themes and approach various contemporary issues: environment, epidemics, computerization, globalization, etc. Susan Coolen’s photographic body of work also evolves around the cosmos’ theme. In this project, Coolen stages objects and links her collecting of specimens to space imagery. Her found objects and specimens become new ‘evidence’ in her constantly evolving stories about ‘who’ is ‘out there’ and ‘what’ is ‘out there.’ Often playful, and linking to fictional accounts of travel to the moon and beyond, Astres/Stars/Goleuadau opens up the imaginative possibilities of multiple entities and possibilities inhabiting our vast cosmos.

Danish artist Astrid Kruse Jensen presents Hidden Places, a new series of C-prints. In Hidden Places, Jensen attempts to interrogate our fundamental concepts of reality and naturalness by bringing a new, disquieting focus on all that is familiar. The work is created at night or in the evening and Jensen rarely use a flash, choosing instead to use the light source available on site. Rather than ‘illuminating’ the subject and making it easier to decode, this artificial light forms a barrier to recognition. The disturbing lighting pries open cracks in both the real and the imagined world, making the images difficult to decode. The light envelops the photographs in a mysterious and poetic atmosphere that opens the possibility of another reality, placing the viewer at the intersection of imaginings of scenery, the reality of the spaces depicted, and the fiction these images represent. The work does not posses specific narratives but rests rather on a series of suggestive ‘actions’. The work is based on implications rather than description; it is this ambiguity hovering as it does between what is imagined and what one sees between reality and fiction that reinforces the sense of intrigue for the viewer. In the photographs, Jensen does not show the scenes and locations as one would see them with the naked eye. Through the photograph, Jensen captures more than the human eye can see, creating a light that draws the viewer into a realm of the imaginary that only exists via the photographic gaze.

Sited is about feeling different qualities, which help us form rich, inclusive and appealing environments. In a generic world of homogenized strip malls, fast food burgers, designer-label clothes and never-ending building sprawl of where so many things look, taste, feel, sound similar—how do we design something that is unique, appeals to our memories and makes a connection to our lives? How do we create places that are meaningfully sited? We are emotionally attached to multiple places in our lives, from the neighbourhoods of childhood to special restaurants, from favourite vacation spots to grandparents’ homes. These are sites that do not necessarily have to create happiness or be spectacularly life altering, but they do have something of sensory significance able to provide a unique sense of belonging. There is a need for a different inspiration in design. Perhaps it is the willingness to recognise the emotional and inherently sensual. Our obsession with the visual is at risk of obscuring any potential for some of the most powerful and memorable sensory experiences. The participating artists are Adrian Blackwell, David Fujiwara Architect, Drew Mandel Design, Dubbeldam Design Architects, Paul Raff Studio, Johnson Chou Inc., PLANT Architect Inc. and Natalie Cheng Studio. Curated by John Ota.

Eight recent textile graduates from NSCAD University, Alberta College of Art and Design, Concordia University and the Ontario College of Art and Design present their new work in NEXT, part of the Textile Society of America Conference, October 11 to 14. Participating artists are Candice Tarnowski, Chantal Durand and Angela Silver, Wednesday Lupypciw and Anneke Henderson, Mackenzie Frere and Kate Jackson and Amelia Musselman.

Andrée Wejsmann’s Wallpaper examines why some things are immediately noticed, while others are not; and some things are only noticed when they are absent. Which leaves one to wonder: if a thing is only noticed when not there, then why should it be there at all? Wallpaper is part of the Textile Society of America Conference.

Let Loose is a series of work by Queenie Lui who uses fused plastic, thread and wool to create fluid pattern, texture and structure, part of the Textile Society of America Conference. Lui is a current resident at the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre.

Yardage is a fibre-based installation by Joy Walker. Lengths of paper are cut and manipulated and then presented as yardages of repeat pattern, part of the Textile Society of America Conference. Walker is a Toronto artist originally from Montreal, Quebec who trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design and completed an artist residency at the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre. Walker also owns and operates WORK Textiles producing custom silkscreen printed fabrics. Her textile work is held in several public collections, and she has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Walker is currently teaching in the Textile Department at Sheridan College.

Lisa Klapstock displays her Picture 1-Toronto, from the Depiction series. Depiction is a photographic series that employs the lens-based phenomenon of depth of field to investigate the fragmented nature of human vision and the artifice of pictorial construction. With a focus on everyday places and their human occupation, Klapstock’s practice investigates mechanisms of seeing and the role of the camera in affecting and challenging the way we view and experience our surroundings. Her photographs and videos explore abstraction and realism, revealing the complex relationship between photographic depiction and visual perception. Picture1-Toronto is a single 41" high x 210" wide image comprised of 5 side-by-side images of the same view at multiple focal depths/planes that were shot consecutively with a stationary camera. The complete spatial picture is gradually revealed, layer by layer, as your eyes move across the composite image. The photograph elongates time, slowing down the eyes’ movement and making us conscious of the way that we see. Klapstock (born in Kamloops, B.C.) is a Toronto-based artist whose work is in corporate, private and public collections in North America and Europe.

Many of these exhibitions explore the idea of power of place. Visitors are invited to walk in the shoes of the artists we are bringing to our galleries and experience intimate journeys that consider the powerful and formative connections to "place." Geography, history, memory all guide us as we struggle to find a sense of belonging and identity. They can direct us as clearly as a map or a compass. But does your heritage define you or does it make you part of a community? Do you belong to your neighbourhood or does it belong to you? What is your place in the world? Power of Place is part of an ongoing exploration of ideas-based programming at Harbourfront Centre, September through December 2006.


Media Contact:
Linda Liontis

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