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Artists Undress Fashion, Objectify Animals and Reuse Car Parts for Nature Walks
at New Harbourfront Centre Exhibitions Beginning January 24

Harbourfront Centre presents new free art exhibitions that undress fashion, objectify animals and reuse car parts for nature walks. Additionally two photo-based exhibitions and two large billboard installations are accompanied by an exhibition that personalizes map iconography, a large-scale wooden sculptural work, and a collaborative glass/metal exhibition of deceptive decorative objects. All these exhibitions (profiled individually below) run from January 24 to March 8, 2009.

A free public opening reception takes place on January 23, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Hours for the main gallery: Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, noon to 8 p.m.; closed Monday. Hours for The Craft Studio: Tuesday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Monday. For information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com. All exhibitions are located at 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto.

Harbourfront Centre Visual Arts Exhibitions - January 24 to March 8, 2009

Fashion No-no
None of the works in Fashion No-no are about fashion. Yet, this is how the exhibition has come about. It mashes together art and craft in an attempt to dialogue work by and about women. Six diverse Canadian views about identity and performance reveal the complex relationships between material, display and author. Curated by Paola Poletto, who presents the lecture Fashion No-no: prototyping and processing on January 24 as part of the Innovators Ideas Craft lecture series.

Freed from the dressmaker's mannequin, influential Toronto artist Annie Thompson's fabric manipulations are like mysterious cocoons of life-sized dolls; they are also vulnerable, tortured, fallen ghosts. Andrea Ling combines architectural visualization, furniture design techniques and a photographic folktale narrative to fabricate a wooden dress that appears impossible to get in to. This unique work was Ling's Master Thesis in Architecture and was the recipient of a 2008 Ontario Association of Architects Award. Internationally known Joanna Berzowska explores the relationship of the body and clothing utility to electronic textiles and responsive garments - developed through her work with the Tangible Media Group of the MIT Media Lab and the XS Labs design and research studio in Montreal. Hilly Yeung replicates designer shoes into paper sculpture, heightening the torture of the woman's high-heeled shoe while referencing the ritual of replicating material possessions as offerings to burn and take into the afterlife. Dorkenwald - Spitzer erase the body/habitat scale by flattening and miniaturizing interior designs into tent like structures. Linda Imai crafts wildly creative purses with non-traditional and recycled materials.

It's A Beastly World After All
Felieke van der Leest is an uniquely talented anthropomorphist whose work is a fantastical blend of traditional metalsmithing, crochet, knitting and found plastic toys. This sixteen work solo exhibition is a survey of van der Leest’s most recent work where imagery is drawn from the animal kingdom. She will also present a lecture, The ZOO of Life, on Saturday January 24 as part of the Innovators Ideas Craft lecture series. Born in the Netherlands, van der Leest now lives in the Norwegian country-side. Over the last ten years she has been exhibited at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, at SOFA in Chicago and New York and at shows throughout Europe and Japan. A book covering the past 10 years of her career was recently published entitled 'Sieradenfabels / Jewellery fables'.

Mountain Man
The work of multi-media artist Elinor Whidden consists of reconfiguring car parts into sculptural assemblages that reference modes of transportation used during the opening of the Western Frontier - canoes, dogsleds, knapsacks, walking sticks and snowshoes. These objects are then portaged, dragged, or carried along early trade routes. During these performances, the routes of this historic period stand in as forefathers to our current system of highways. By inverting the relationship of human to automobile, Whidden questions the notion of progress. Her current installation combines sculptures used during her Mountain Man performances with documentation from these events. Steel Belted Snowshoes re-use scavenged shredded tires found on the side of the road. Then, lacing snowshoes from the steel belting in these tires, Whidden trekked through the Rocky Mountains posing as an intrepid mountain man. Rearview Walking Stick was also used to strike imperialistic poses in this epic landscape.

And sunlight thronged the glass
This Service Canada exhibition by Toronto photographer Virginia Mak is about light - its intensity as well as its softness. This photographic series, intentionally or inadvertently, records moments of grace - where light's passage through objects creates abstract shapes and subtle colours. In this body of work, Mak draws attention to the act of looking; seeing magnified details and fresh truths, wondering what is not there, or asking what it is that we are seeing.

Gone Hunting
This collaboration between artists-in-residence Einav Mekori (Glass Studio) and Annie Tung (Metal Studio) is an exploration of their shared curiosity for the overlooked. Objects associated with hunting (animals, trophies) act as a starting point. At first glance, their works appear as decorative objects but upon closer inspection, the viewer discovers that they may have been deceived by their beauty.

Monument
This Toronto-based photographer documents a photo album constructed in the 1940’s. Erika Jacobs' found this flood-damaged photo album and created the work Monument around the narrative created by the book’s original compiler. While looking through the fragile pages, Jacobs was struck by both the value of the album as a historical object, and the sadness that came with the realization that the book and the photographs in it would eventually disappear completely.

The Old Guard is Dead!
Daryl Vocat presents two billboards on top of York Quay Centre in connection with his new series of screenprints on view at the Fleck Dance Theatre.

United We Stand
Rob Southcott's new installation of United We Stand is an expanded version of a four-chair piece created in 2007. This installation of chairs is inspired by the consciousness that we do not stand alone in our daily lives. Alone each chair is top heavy and less stable but when woven together each chair becomes structured with the support of their neighboring seats. The piece is constructed from birch plywood and fastened together with a delicate and decorative brass hardware detail.

You can't get there from here
Artists Anna Lindsay MacDonald, Gwen MacGregor, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay and Flavio Trevisan adapt map iconography to present visual memories and experiences, fabricated from non-traditional map making materials. Conventional maps contain universal symbols and keys, icons that people will recognize as streets, parks, monuments, etc. and are markings help get us from one point to the other. These personal maps contain recollections and perceptions of a place and how the individual connects to their environment. Curated by Toronto-based artist Joy Walker.


FOCUS: Pause
Harbourfront Centre wants you. to. slow. down. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and images, what happens when someone really takes the time to reflect? From September to May, Harbourfront Centre wants you to pause and make a connection to art, technology, the world. Find time for yourself by taking one of our Courses and Workshops; reflect while you wait for the World Stage curtain to rise; enjoy while you skate on the picturesque Natrel Rink. Harbourfront Centre - time well spent.

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Media Contact: Shane Gerard at 416-973-4518, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
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