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Harbourfront Centre unveils brilliant new works in engaging visual arts exhibitions


TORONTO, Tuesday, November 5, 2007—Harbourfront Centre is pleased to launch its Fall/Winter visual arts exhibitions showcasing the works of contemporary Canadian artists in photography, video and craft. The public opening reception takes place on Friday, November 9, 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 November 10 to December 30. For information, the public can call
416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

Exhibition hours for main gallery: Tuesday & Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, noon to 8 p.m. Regular hours for The Craft Studio: Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday & Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Closed on Monday.)

Fall/Winter Visual Arts Exhibitions
• The stories in Moving Stories presented by the work of Ingrid Bachmann (installation), Richard Fung (video), Joel Robson (wood) and Diane Nasr O'Young (ceramic) are both personal and universal. Curated by Kai Chan.
• Vic of Vic's Crane & Transport Ltd. and four of Toronto's leading public and environmental artists—Noel Harding, Eldon Garnet, John McEwan and Judith Schwarz—create vitrines revealing a map taking visitors through the environment of change, past and present, close ups, cross cuts and flashbacks. Curated by Patrick Macaulay.
Marie Claire RIP by E-J Major attempts to challenge the veracity of the photographic portrait by re-staging police mugshots of an unnamed woman that were originally published in Marie Claire magazine (2002).
David Then & Now, is a follow up to Micah Lexier’s 1993 project A Portrait of David, which documented one David of every age, from ages 1 through 75.
Peggy Mersereau uses recycled sweaters in The Generation of a Sweater to explore and generate ideas connecting her past to the present. Curated by Melanie Egan.
Blankety Blank: Candice Tarnowski features folded and layered domestic textiles.
Trophies and Medals for the Model Citizen showcases the metal skills and embroidery techniques by Suzanne Carlsen who creates innovative, humorous and thought provoking memorabilia.
Annie Tung, metal artist-in-resident, uses the chair in uncommon contexts to create wearable sculpture in Empty Chairs.
Warren Quigley creates a garden on wheels emphasized by winter grasses and evergreen shrubs in The Movable Garden, this year’s newest Artists’ Gardens.

Moving Stories: Ingrid Bachmann, Richard Fung, Diane Nasr O’Young, Joel Robson Curated by Kai Chan

The stories in this exhibition presented by the work of Ingrid Bachmann (installation), Richard Fung (video), Joel Robson (wood) and Diane Nasr O'Young (ceramic) are both personal and universal. Friends and families appear, as well as their surrounding world, both real and imaginary. Underneath the surface of the story lines are the viewpoints of each artist from their perspective and how they are facing the fast shifting currents of this earth we call home.

Moving Stories demonstrates the ways in which each of the featured artists draws on narratives from their personal life to inspire the works they present here. The exhibited pieces make visible how these artists use individual memories and stories to materialize their everyday lived experiences and, in turn, how they transform these personal statements to comment more broadly on the human condition. The bridge between the everyday and the extraordinary and between the local and the global as a theme moves across the issues each artist addresses in these exhibited works.

Ingrid Bachmann's installation features a provocative assemblage of parts: a growing nose assembles with several wiggling tongues. These elements speak of child's play—they are naughty and defy authority. Beneath this playfulness, however, the component parts recall the seriousness of lying associated with the growing nose of Pinocchio. The potential of these colourful tongues to tell tall tales, incredible stories and lies raise questions about what we believe is true. Bachmann is interested in the stories we tell, as individuals and as cultures, and the intersection between lies and stories, fact and fiction. Bachmann's keen observation on the human condition has always had a strong and piercing presence in her work, in Pinocchio's Dilemma there is an added sense of compassion hidden in the humour and the pathos.

Richard Fung generates the ideas for his films from his own diasporic life history. Fung’s new documentary video installation, Jehad in Motion, presents a two-screen documentary portrait of Jehad Al-Iweiwe, a Palestinian Canadian who lives in Toronto but frequently returns to visit his family in Hebron. In Toronto, we walk around Thorncliffe Park where he works providing services in one of the city’s key neighbourhoods for newly arrived immigrants and we watch him cook at a Passover Seder for peace. In Hebron, he celebrates his sister’s wedding at a feast for 1000 people. Al-Iweiwe makes the most of the challenges and possibilities in these two very different but overlapping worlds. The installation explores “the ways in which those of us with dual or more roots situate and resituate ourselves and negotiate our different homes,” says Fung. It is also a study of these two cities—Toronto and Hebron—from the unique perspective of Al-Iweiwe’s changed identity. As well as the philosophical and political concerns it raises, Jehad in Motion plays with the practices of documentary media, installation art and portraiture. Jehad in Motion was produced with assistance from the Ontario Arts Council.

Diane Nasr O’Young recalls how her aunt used the pieces of lace in her collection both as clothing and as elements with which to decorate her home. O’Young’s lifelong association of these lace textiles with her aunt’s presence, inspires her to communicate her family’s stories and her childhood memories by making works in clay. O’Young explains that she begins her ceramic work by using portraits of family members. As the work develops, her imagination, like the intricate patterns in lace, moves beyond duplicating a recognizable likeness to experiencing a personalized presence more revealing at the same time more hidden and with an air of mystery. In the process, she also brought out new and unusual quality in the clay she has been working on all her life.

While Joel Robson has been making furniture for over 20 years, the birth of his son, who is now seven and half years old, has added a new dimension to the way he thinks about his practice. Robson constructed one of the works in this exhibition to serve as the elements in a playground for his son—an environment he envisions as caring and intimate, yet protective. Upon completion of this project, Robson says this assemblage brings together, in one forum, disparate fragments of his varied life experiences. The outcome is far from the beautifully crafted furniture he has been making. There is a deeper understanding not only in the nature of wood and his skill but also has a heightened sensibility in his own aesthetics, his surroundings as well as his observation in human relationship.

Toronto-based Kai Chan, internationally recognized for his experimental approach to the art of textiles and mixed media work, immigrated to Canada from China in 1966. Chan's work straddles many craft genres and has been exhibited and described as jewellery, basketry, tapestry, fashion, bookwork, fibre work, toys, contemporary art and sculpture. He has exhibited in Europe, Asia and the United States, and extensively across Canada: Museum London, Ontario; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK; The Art Gallery of Sudbury, Ontario; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Musée des Arts Decoratifs de Montréal; and The Library and Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario.

Vic's Crane: Noel Harding, Eldon Garnet, John McEwan, Judith Schwarz
Coordinated by Susan Berthelot Spagnuolo
Curated by Patrick Macaulay
As part of Harbourfront Centre's Generations focus, curator Patrick Macaulay invited Vic's Crane & Transport Ltd. and four of Toronto's leading public and environmental artists to create an engaging exhibition. Vic's Crane consists of eight vitrines that reveal a map taking visitors through the environment of change, past and present, close ups, cross cuts and flashbacks. The artists’ visions, past and present are preserved by public installations depicting individual innovation, memorial appreciation and universal transformations. These artists embrace the city, enlighten and educate those open to explore modernity and change. Vic's Crane assists this group of artists to communicate with new and emerging tools that illustrate world changing impressions for art and community. The sculptor writes the story while the crane operator narrates the novel. Vic's Crane and Generations is a tribute to all the artists work from concept to completion. Victor Berthelot of Vic's Crane has supplied crane service to Toronto’s leading sculptors to assist with public art installation. Vic’s Crane is part of Generations, an ongoing focus on ideas in programming at Harbourfront Centre.

Marie Claire RIP: E-J Major
Marie Claire RIP is a series of 12 images based on an article published in Marie Claire magazine in 2002. The article features police mugshots of an unnamed woman taken over a 14 year period, after which she was found dead. Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images whereby the artist uses herself as subject. The titles are partial anagrams using the letters from the article’s title, alongside the year the original mugshot had been taken. In attempting to memorialize an unknowable woman, E-J Major is perpetuating a fiction. In doing so, her intention is to open up the narrative by inhabiting the space of the other. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait, it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. Major always asks the viewer to look again at something, which because of its shift of context, may also invoke a shift in meaning. Supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

David Then & Now: Micah Lexier
Consisting of 75 pairs of photographs, David Then & Now, the exhibition at Service Canada at Harbourfront Centre, is a follow up to Micah Lexier’s 1993 project A Portrait of David. For that initial project, the artist put an ad in a Winnipeg newspaper looking for Davids and selected one David of every age from age 1 to age 75. Ten years later, Lexier returned to Winnipeg and working with the local newspaper, tried to locate all the original Davids in order to invite them to come back and be photographed again. David Then & Now is that result of that search and consists of pairings of the two photographs, taken exactly 10 years apart. Part of Generations.

The Generation of a Sweater: Peggy Mersereau
Curated by Melanie Egan
Solo exhibition of work by Peggy Mersereau, Textile Studio alumnus. Using recycled sweaters, and inspired by her mother, Mesereau explores and generates ideas connecting her past to the present.

Many of the materials that Mersereau uses are generational. She loves taking found things—objects, clothing, fabrics—and transforming them into ‘new’ objects and wearables. Re-inventing wool sweaters has been her focus for a few years, and Mersereau thinks she has only scratched the surface of how they can be changed. As the sweaters have unknown previous lives, she likes to imagine someone wearing a collar or bracelet that contains part of a sweater that they previously owned. The cycle completes, and another generation takes shape. Part of Generations

Blankety Blank: Candice Tarnowski
Protected by the glass of the vitrine, Blankety Blank by Candice Tarnowski, showcases folded and layered domestic textiles that form a cross-sectioned, stratified landscape; its forest-fired top is occupied by miniature tents and meteorological equipment.

Trophies and Medals for the Model Citizen: Suzanne Carlsen
Trophies and Medals for the Model Citizen features the metal skills and embroidery techniques by Suzanne Carlsen who creates innovative, humorous and thought provoking memorabilia.

Empty Chairs: Annie Tung
Annie Tung, metal artist-in-resident, uses the chair in uncommon contexts to create wearable sculpture in Empty Chairs.

The Movable Garden: Warren Quigley
The Movable Garden by Warren Quigley is this year’s newest edition to Harbourfront Centre’s existing 24 Artists’ Gardens. Quigley creates a garden on wheels emphasized by winter grasses and evergreen shrubs. The new garden is located at the west side of York Quay Centre (Garden #25). Artists’ Gardens is supported by Sheridan Nurseries.

With thanks to Pikto for printing support for David Then & Now, Marie Claire RIP and Vic’s Crane.

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. Until December 2007, Harbourfront Centre is talking about your generation. Generations is part of an ongoing exploration of 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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