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The Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre opens two exhibitions of contemporary Canadian art: ‘Recent Snow: Projected Works by Michael Snow,’ which opens on this senior Canadian artist’s 81st birthday and ‘Nothing to Declare: Current Sculpture from Canada’ which features the work of emerging, mid-career and senior Canadian sculptors.

From Dec. 11, 2009 – March 7, 2010
Opening party on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.


Toronto, Dec. 3, 2009 – Contemporary Canadian art provides the focus at The Power Plant this winter with a solo show of recent video projection work by the legendary Toronto-based multimedia artist Michael Snow and a group exhibition of current Canadian sculpture entitled ‘Nothing to Declare.’

Recent Snow: Projected Works by Michael Snow’ surveys the iconic artist’s forays into video installation from the past nine years. With seven projection works on display – most never before seen in Toronto – the exhibition includes the world premiere of two new pieces, Piano Sculpture and Serve, Deserve (both 2009).

Snow has broken ground in every medium imaginable. For decades, he has demonstrated a restless intelligence and a sharp wit in his work, which deftly juggles and juxtaposes the sensory and the cerebral. While he is a pioneer in experimental film, he has also made his mark on photography and improvisational music, all interests represented by works in this exhibition. The brand new, four-screen Piano Sculpture (2009) is a composition spanning a quartet of piano keyboards, evidencing the vitality of music – and that instrument in particular – to Snow’s aesthetic universe. Solar Breath (Northern Caryatids) (2002) takes inspiration from the Maritimes, footage that Martin Herbert of Artforum described as “…an extensible metaphor on the one hand, pure materialism on the other, accidental beauty all over the place.”

Sure to be yet another highlight of the exhibition for visitors from Toronto is the recent work entitled The Corner of Braque and Picasso Streets (2009), which projects a live video feed of traffic on Queens Quay West onto a cubist relief composed of rectangular plinths on the gallery wall.

This exhibition marks Snow’s return to The Power Plant 15 years after the ambitious retrospective ‘The Michael Snow Project’ (1994), co-organized by The Power Plant and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Michael Snow has exhibited internationally for over five decades, but he was born and currently lives in Toronto, making it all the more significant that he comes back to Harbourfront Centre, as The Power Plant celebrates his continued importance to art communities on a local, national and international level. Curator of the exhibition and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke explains, “The exhibition attests to the ongoing relevance of Snow’s playful and experimental practice, and the influence it continues to exert on the art world. The gallery is thrilled to host the most recent work of a local icon with such international prestige. It is only fitting that the show opens on the occasion of the artist’s 81st birthday.”

‘Recent Snow’ will be accompanied by screenings of some of Snow’s iconic experimental films, and by a feature article by art historian Martha Langford in issue #3 of The Power Plant’s magazine SWITCH.

This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Rogers Communications. Rogers is an important community leader, supporting the production and presentation of Canadian art projects. “The Power Plant enjoys a terrific relationship with Rogers, a valued Corporate Leader at the gallery,” says Burke. “The Power Plant is extremely grateful for Rogers’ continued support, and for their help with this initiative, which recognizes one of the stars of Canadian art.”

“Rogers is proud to support Canadian art, and in particular, this important project at The Power Plant, says Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications. “We celebrate Michael Snow’s legacy and we are happy to help bring the gallery’s related events, thought-provoking lectures and film screenings to the public.”

Many thanks are also extended to the exhibition’s Support Sponsor The Drake Hotel.

Nothing to Declare: Current Sculpture from Canada’ highlights the renewed interest of contemporary Canadian artists – emerging, mid-career and senior – in objects and materials. Participating artists include: Valérie Blass (Montréal); James Carl (Toronto); Liz Magor (Vancouver); Luanne Martineau (Victoria); Tricia Middleton (Montréal); Gareth Moore (Vancouver); Michael Murphy (Toronto); Kerri Reid (Toronto); Brendan Tang (Kamloops); Kara Uzelman (Vancouver/Berlin); and Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky (Vancouver). Taking place in conjunction with ‘Recent Snow,’ this exhibition also continues The Power Plant’s 22-year tradition of presenting Canada’s most engaging and influential artists in an international context.

Abandoning sculpture’s traditional job of memorializing the great and the good, the artworks in this exhibition instead revel in humble materials and everyday processes. Resisting abstract and overarching statements, meanings and metaphors result from intensive experimentation and improvisation. The work explores sculpture’s status and function, its history and future.

Curated by Senior Curator of Programs Helena Reckitt, this exhibition presents artists who do use conventional sculptural techniques and media yet put them to mischievously paradoxical ends. Often straddling the boundary between figuration and abstraction, elegance and awkwardness, invention and decay, the works in the exhibition can seem ambiguous, open-ended and messy. As Reckitt explains, “They tend to make their points with lightness, wit and humility, with ‘nothing to declare.’"

Yet, this show also smuggles in foreign baggage: partly by mixing unexpected materials and references, but also by combining artists born in Canada with those who have immigrated to the country, creating a heterogeneous picture of Canadian creativity.

‘Nothing to Declare’ public programming includes a LIVE performance by Gareth Moore on Jan.19, 2010. The exhibition will also be accompanied by an essay by curator Helena Reckitt in issue #3 of The Power Plant’s magazine SWITCH.

The Power Plant at Harbourfront Centre is proud to present this project with the financial support of The Royal Bank of Canada. It is a mandate of The Power Plant to foster the conditions for the production and reception of contemporary art and to develop new possibilities for artists within contemporary culture, making RBC a natural partner in related initiatives. RBC is a seasoned supporter of art in Canada, represented most recently by the gallery’s partnership with the corporation to present the 11th Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition, helping to nurture and support promising new artists in the early stages of their careers. Director Gregory Burke further explains, “One key objective of the gallery is to promote Canadian artists internationally and our commitment to this is evident in a project like ‘Nothing to Declare,’ which connects regional, national and global art worlds with work that contextualizes important developments in contemporary art. We are very grateful for RBC’s support of this initiative.”


The opening reception on Dec. 10, 2009 will feature the launch of two new publications. The catalogue for the recent Power Plant exhibition UNIVERSAL CODE features essays by curator Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant, and by scholar Janine Marchessault, Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization at York University, as well as entries on all 22 of the artists: Adel Abdessemed, Franz Ackermann, Angela Bulloch, Mircea Cantor, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Cerith Wyn Evans, Henrik Håkansson, Antonia Hirsch, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ann Veronica Janssens, Kimsooja, Jed Lind, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Josiah McElheny, Tania Mouraud, Gabriel Orozco, The Otolith Group, Adrian Paci, Trevor Paglen, Katie Paterson, Fred Tomaselli, and Keith Tyson.

We are also pleased to launch the book NEW COMMUNITIES, co-published by The Power Plant and Public Books. The volume is edited by Nina Möntmann following the exhibition ‘If We Can’t Get It Together: Artists rethinking the (mal)function of communities’ that Möntmann curated for The Power Plant and the symposium ‘We, Ourselves and Us’ organized by The Power Plant and Public. NEW COMMUNITIES includes texts by Carlos Basualdo and Reinaldo Laddaga, Simon Critchley, Jon Davies, Brian Holmes, Luis Jacob, Saara Liinamaa, Maria Lind, Nina Möntmann, Nikos Papastergiadis, Raqs Media Collective, and Emily Roysdon, as well as contributions from the artists in the exhibition: Shaina Anand, Egle Budvytyte, Kajsa Dahlberg, Luis Jacob, Hassan Khan, Hadley Maxwell, Emily Roysdon, and Haegue Yang.


Press Preview
Friday, Sept. 18, 2009: 10 a.m.
The Power Plant invites all members of the press to an exclusive preview of the exhibition in advance of the opening. Artists Michael Snow, Luanne Martineau, Tricia Middleton, Michael Murphy, Kerri Reid, Brendan Tang and Kara Uzelman will all be available for interview, as well as the curators of the exhibitions, Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke and Senior Curator of Programs Helena Reckitt.

Opening Party
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009: 8-11 p.m.

Forum: Making Do and Getting By
Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009: 6 p.m., $4 Members, $6 Non-Members
Participating artists in ‘Nothing to Declare’ share their perspectives on the status, history and future of objects, materials and sculpture: Tricia Middleton, whose work was a highlight of the Québec Triennial (2008); Kerri Reid, whose storefront and off-site project Small Things Forgotten was part of the exhibition ‘Into the Streets’ (2009) at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Brendan Tang, a ceramicist whose works were exhibited in ‘How Soon is Now’ (2009) at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and Kara Uzelman, an artist from Vancouver currently living in Berlin, where her work is represented by Sommer & Kohl. Chaired by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs and curator of ‘Nothing to Declare.’

A further release will be issued shortly with full info on The Power Plant’s wonderful and diverse range of public programming scheduled for this winter.

The Power Plant is pleased to continue to offer free gallery admission from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

For more information on exhibitions and all public programs, call 416-973-4949 or visit

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

FREE Members
$6 Adults
$3 Students / Seniors
FREE Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Wednesday 12-8 p.m.
Open Holiday Mondays

Holiday Hours:
Dec. 24: 12-3 p.m.
Dec. 25: CLOSED
Dec. 26: CLOSED
Dec. 31: 12-3 p.m.
Jan. 1: CLOSED


Media Contact:
Robin Boyko
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Power Plant

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