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The Power Plant heats up winter 2007-08 with three solo exhibitions


TORONTO, Thursday, November 8, 2007 — Following two dazzling fall exhibitions by art world phenomenon Francesco Vezzoli and Canadian painter Paul P., a host of related public programs and the ever-popular Power Talks at the Toronto International Art Fair, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre rings in the colder weather and announces its winter 2007-08 program.

The Power Plant’s winter 2007-08 program features three solo exhibitions, by Canadian artists Steven Shearer and Stephen Andrews, and American Andrea Bowers. In tandem with these shows is a packed schedule of lectures and forums by leading contemporary artists, curators, art historians and activists, live performances, gallery tours, film screenings, and more.

The winter program runs from 1 December, 2007 to 10 February, 2008. Exhibitions open with a Free Public Reception on Friday, 30 November, 2007 from 7-11 PM.

‘Steven Shearer,’ in collaboration with Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK, is the first major survey of the Vancouver artist’s work, and includes photography, painting, drawing, collage and sculpture that probes Heavy Metal and other facets of masculine adolescent culture. All of Shearer’s works originate in his personal ‘archive’ of more than 36,000 reproductions, snapshots, and JPEGs. Viewing Heavy Metal merchandise on eBay as a form of proletarian folk art, Shearer painstakingly reproduces such amateur documentation in his collages and prints. Steven Shearer was short-listed for the 2006 Sobey Art Award, Canada's pre-eminent prize for a young Canadian artist. He will be the subject of a solo show at the New Museum (New York) in 2008.

‘Steven Shearer’ is presented in Canada with the support of ROGERS. The exhibition is co-curated by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs at The Power Plant and Nigel Prince, Curator at Ikon Gallery.

“Despite his rapidly developing international reputation, Steven Shearer’s work has not been widely exhibited within Canada,” says Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant. “It is an important part of our mandate to advocate for Canadian contemporary art practices on the world stage and commit to significant Canadian content in our programs and exhibitions. Thanks to the generosity of Presenting Sponsor ROGERS and the collaboration with Ikon Gallery, we are thrilled to present this major exhibition of an important Canadian artist to the Canadian public.”

The Power Plant would also like to acknowledge the support of The International Cultural Relations Division at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) with the assistance of the Canadian High Commission in London.

In collaboration with Ikon Gallery, an exhibition catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

The second solo exhibition this winter introduces the work of Andrea Bowers to Canadian audiences with an exhibition that addresses the legacy of AIDS activism. Timed to open on World AIDS Day, 2007, ‘The Weight of Relevance’ is a major multi-media installation that focuses on the current state of the AIDS Memorial Quilt—the largest piece of folk art in the world—and on the people who maintain and display this monumental cultural artifact.

Bowers is an artist based in Los Angeles whose work investigates the intersection between activism and art. First presented earlier this year at the Secession in Vienna, this version of the exhibition includes a three-channel video combining documentary style interviews with slow moving still-life shots of the quilt in storage. Another video portrays the longest serving seamstress as she works away quietly at the overwhelming and never-ending task of mending the quilt. Also in the exhibition are a series of drawings, books and a light work, including new works made for The Power Plant that make particular reference to HIV/AIDS art and activism in Canada.

‘The Weight of Relevance’ continues a 20-year tradition of presenting exhibitions on HIV/AIDS-related art and activism at The Power Plant.

Like Shearer and Bowers, the third solo show this winter features an artist who also uses archival materials and found footage. Since 2002, Stephen Andrews (Toronto) has been taking images of the Iraq war from the Internet and hand-rendering them in crayon drawings rubbed over a window-screen on mylar. This technique imitates the CYMK dot-matrix of a newspaper image. For ‘Cartoon,’ his first solo exhibition at The Power Plant, Andrews presents an animation and related drawings that allude to the violence and consumer motivations for the situation in the Middle East. ‘Cartoon’ is curated by The Power Plant’s Assistant Curator, Swapna Tamhane.

Public programs this winter elaborate upon the exhibitions’ themes. Leave the Hall: Metal v. the Mainstream (7 January, 2008, 7 PM) wonders whether Heavy Metal culture deserves or rejects high cultural validation. After the Storm (4 February, 2008, 7 PM) considers the legacy of AIDS representation and activism in relation to the changing global realities of HIV/AIDS.

Three events explore the contemporary obsession with found footage. ‘The inventor of appropriation,’ Toronto’s John Oswald, talks about his work as a visual and sound artist (11 December, 2007, 7 PM). New York’s Seth Price introduces an evening of his films appropriated entirely from existing sources (14 December, 2007, 7 PM). Drop the Camera presents works by Canadian and international artists that sample and scramble film footage, including Steve Reinke, Aleesa Cohene, Dara Gellman and Leslie Peters, Nicolas Provost, Christoph Girardet and Matthias Müller, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Eduardo Menz, Heidi Phillips and Seth Price (17 January, 2008, 7 PM).

Our International Lecture Series brings New York artist, critic and curator Matthew Higgs to Toronto (31 January, 2007, 7 PM). In LIVE, Toronto artists Nicholas and Sheila Pye explore co-dependence and gender strife in their first public performance (22 January, 2008, 7 PM).

For more information on exhibitions and all Public Programs, the public can call
416-973-4949 or visit

The annual Winter Party and Exhibition Openings are held at The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, Friday, 30 November, from 7 PM to 11 PM. Admission to the reception is FREE and open to the public.

Regular Gallery Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Students/Seniors, FREE to Members, FREE to all Wednesday evenings 5-8 PM.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Sunday 12 – 6 p.m., Wednesday 12 – 8 p.m. Closed Mondays (Open Holiday Mondays 12 – 6 p.m.).


Media Contacts:

Linda Liontis
Media Relations
Harbourfront Centre

Tony Hewer
Development & Marketing Coordinator
The Power Plant

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