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Harbourfront Centre launches its visual arts exhibitions and no-fee wireless Internet, making it a “hotspot”

TORONTO, July 5, 2007—Harbourfront Centre is pleased to launch its seven summer visual arts exhibitions featuring the works of Canadian and international artists and no-fee wireless internet access. The public opening reception takes place on Friday, July 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Admission to the reception and the exhibitions is free. The exhibitions run from July 14 to September 9. For information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

Exhibition hours for main gallery: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 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.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Summer Visual Arts Exhibitions

Massclusivity, part of Harbourfront Centre’s Innovators Ideas Craft Series, showcases design collections collaboratively produced in the developing worlds.
On the go II is an incredible fibre-based installation by Taiwanese artist Wen-Chih Wang.
Stacy Renee Morrison presents a photographic series documenting 19th century keepsake items in the girl of my dreams.
• Artists draw upon their Ukrainian heritage to present new work in ReSource.
• In Family Album: China Patterns, Thea Haines creates textile portraits of her ancestors.
• Situated on opposite ends of the world and time zones, Han Xu (Beijing) in Toronto and Sara Angelucci (Toronto) in Shanghai explore their perspectives as outsiders through photographic diptychs and video in Your Morning is My Night.
Waterfall is an installation composed of recycled plastic bottles and containers by Katharine Harvey.

Massclusivity – New models of viable design and craft collaboration in the developing world is part of Harbourfront Centre’s Innovators Ideas Craft Series, a dynamic and lively programme addressing current issues and needs within the contemporary craft field by inviting artists, curators and writers who are spear-heading contemporary practice and sparking innovative investigation through lectures, panels, discussions and exhibitions. The exhibition is curated by Patty Johnson, designer consultant and Melanie Egan, Head of Craft at Harbourfront Centre and a 2007 recipient of the John Mather Award.

The idea or trend of massclusivity includes objects that embrace handmade traditions without the sentimentality of wares mostly produced for the tourist market. Skillfully designed and made in small batch production, by micro industries, the result is affordable and appealing objects available to the mass consumer. Respect for the hand-crafted, traditional materials and skills, rigorous design applications and the economic viability of such objects define the idea of massclusivity. In some ways, it also repositions the reverence for the hand-made that was evident in North America’s Craft Movement of the 60s and early 70s. In keeping with the philosophy of Patty Johnson’s North South Project—an initiative that has fostered partnerships with the African nation of Botswana and Guyana in South America to bring design collections such as woven baskets, lights and garden furniture she produced in the developing worlds to Northern markets—Massclusivity also presents new models of viable design and craft collaborations in the developing world.

It is important to distinguish these global collaborative projects as completely counter to the cultural imperialism of the past. The work in Massclusivity genuinely represents mutual collaboration with local craftspeople, collectives, individuals and governments that promotes respect and appreciation for other cultures. The work highlights the techniques and materials that are unique to each culture and takes into consideration the impact that the designs will have on the region's community and economy. In addition to the North South Project, Johnson is working with COFOCE (Guanajuato World Trade Commission) and the Inter-American Development Bank in Guanajuato, Mexico on a project that brings together designers with local potters and furniture makers. Participating in the exhibition and symposium: Rachel MacHenry (CAN)—her work with women’s collectives in Nepal; Maham Anjum (Pakistan/UK) her work with a ceramic collective in Sri Lanka; Richelle Sibolboro and Bao Nhan (CAN), their work in Peru for DesignAid and Asociacion de los Artesanos en Tejido Pallay Lloraypu; and William Gordon (NY, USA) his recent collaboration in Manila, Philippines.

As part of Massclusivity, Harbourfront Centre presents a one day symposium on Friday, September 7, from 1 to 6 p.m. This symposium brings speakers together to discuss issues such as other models of craft practice, resource sustainability, economic viability for individuals/families/villages/countries, fair trade practice and environmental/social concerns and present case studies. Symposium fee is $40 ($20 for students & seniors). To register or for more information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

Harbourfront Centre’s Bounty, Toronto’s leading store for quality, one-of-a-kind contemporary Canadian craft, showcases a selection of pieces from the North South Project in Massclusivity: A Window on the World.

Wen-Chih Wang (Taiwan) hand-weaves rattan indigenous to Taiwan into an architectonic based installation that transforms the character of the gallery space in the exhibition On the go II, part of Harbourfront Centre’s Taiwan: Ilha Formosa summer weekend (August 24 to 26). “Through the physical interaction with the artwork, viewers are stimulated to contemplate values in different civilizations and experience the endless energies brought forth by the primal universe that are metaphorical, territorial, indigenous and intuitive,” says Wang.

Your Morning is My Night is a collaborative photo and video project by Han Xu a native of Beijing who has been living in Toronto since 2001 and Sara Angelucci of Toronto, part of Harbourfront Centre’s Dim Sum Chinese Festival (July 20 to 22). Han and Angelucci began working together in the spring of 2006 with the intention of helping each other to develop their language skills in English (Han) and Mandarin (Angelucci). As artists, their language collaboration soon developed into an artistic collaboration. What became apparent in these language meetings was the desire to not only master pronunciation and vocabulary, but to grasp an understanding of the other’s culture. As Angelucci was preparing for an artist residency in Shanghai for the fall of 2006, they realized they would soon be living concurrently in the other’s native countries. Situated on opposite ends of the world and time zones (there is a twelve hour difference between Toronto and Shanghai) Han and Angelucci developed the idea of both critically and literally exploring their perspectives as outsiders, taking photographs simultaneously twice daily at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The resulting shots are presented in a series of photographic diptychs.

In addition, as food is a central component of cultural expression and can reveal so much about the characteristics of a culture, Your Morning is My Night also features a video diptych depicting each of the duo ordering and eating a meal; Xu experiencing all the fixings of a hearty Canadian breakfast, and Angelucci managing her chopsticks and enjoying dinner in a popular Shanganese restaurant.

the girl of my dreams: Stacy Renee Morrison (NY, USA) is a photographic series documenting keepsake items found by the artist in a trunk. With these 19th century remnants, the artist pieces together information which reveals a woman's past. The photographs set against black are the objects which belonged to Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander (1841-1925). The complementing photographs are Morrison’s interpretation of her life. Morrison’s photographs have shifted from describing objects, which once belonged to an anonymous woman, to describing the very real life of DeWolf Ostrander. Morrison spent the past year visiting her home, wandering her town, meeting her descendants, wearing her clothes, reading her books and simply trying to understand her. A century of time separates them, yet they are becoming intertwined.

How does one become acquainted with someone who is only possible to know through fragments left behind? Photographs, linens, clothing, pieces of china and silver, notes, letters, journals, ledgers, recipe books, tools and trinkets: these research documents are used as the basis for a series of album pages in Family Album: China Patterns. Using layers of print, stitch, quilting and assemblage—the method of construction found in traditional “women's work,” Thea Haines constructs “portraits” of her ancestors even with limited knowledge. For some, vaults of information exist, collected through stories and items passed down through her family; for others, little is known. The various branches of Haines’ family have inhabited a region of South-Western Ontario for the past 200 years; some of her ancestors have lived continuously on the same land since after the War of 1812, the origins of others can be traced to their arrival from Pennsylvania after the American War of Independence. Though she lives in modern times, Haines believes to a certain extent the way she lives her life reflects her deeply rooted sense of history and connection with place.

Artists draw upon their Ukrainian heritage to present new work in ReSource, part of Harbourfront Centre’s Ukrainian Zabava summer weekend (August 31 to September 3). The exhibition brings together eight contemporary artists that share, as one element, Ukrainian ancestry. Can the viewer find a common thread or theme running through each artist’s work? Can ancestry hold a key to sourcing cultural identity and in doing so ultimately source cultural products? Is there an obvious cultural affiliation? Is there a shared theme of origin? Well, even the artists represented here hold mixed feelings about such culturally narrow readings. Many of the eight artists appear to be in opposition to their work being “limited” by having a purely ethnographic reading. While others embrace examining their histories and finding new ways to interpret that cultural experience. In a sense we are searching for the source material from which each artist draws. Can it be traced back to a cultural identity? ReSource highlights eight answers. Participating artists are Sophia Isajiw, Vera Jacyk, Matthew Murphy, Terry Pidsadny, Sandra Semchuk, Oleh Sirant, Anna Yuschuk and Olexander Wlasenko. Curated by Patrick Macaulay.

Service Canada at Harbourfront Centre features Katharine Harvey’s Waterfall, an installation composed of recycled plastic bottles and containers revealing the sometimes still and sometimes turbulent qualities of water.

Free Wireless Internet Access launches at York Quay Centre

Harbourfront Centre is pleased to be working with Wireless Toronto to "light up" the York Quay Centre with free wireless Internet access year-round. Visitors will be able to use their laptops to get online, and also—through the community portal page—find information about what's going on at Harbourfront Centre. This deployment is one of Wireless Toronto's largest to date, and offers a valuable service to visitors.

Wireless Toronto is an all-volunteer community group dedicated to the growth of no-cost wireless Internet access in Toronto's public and publicly accessible spaces. Wireless Toronto is equally dedicated to exploring how technology can be used to build community in interesting and innovative ways. Since the group's founding in May 2005, its volunteers have set up almost 40 “hotspots” across the GTA, including St. Lawrence Market, Yonge-Dundas Square and Dufferin Grove Park. For more information on Wireless Toronto, the public can visit wirelesstoronto.ca.

FOCUS: GENERATIONS
Harbourfront Centre bridges the generation gap. What are the defining moments of your generation? How deep are the roots of your family tree? What legacy will you leave? Generations are defined by history, cultural movements and shared experiences. They both divide and unite us. From June to December 2007, Harbourfront Centre is talking about your generation. Discover the dynamic melding of contemporary design and honoured craft skills in the exhibition of Massclusivity. Contemplate objects steeped in age-old traditions that enliven our current culture. Generations is part of an ongoing focus on ideas in programming at Harbourfront Centre. Our Lens. Your View

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Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
416-973-4381
lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com


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