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Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre presents new free exhibits this spring, running April 10 to June 13
Children explore their own communities in Neighbourhood Stories,
part of interdisciplinary Fresh Ground new works national commissioning programme

TORONTO, ON (April 8, 2010) Harbourfront Centre prepares to open its new spring visual arts exhibitions, running Saturday, April 10 to Sunday, June 13 at York Quay Centre. Also continuing to June 6 is the architecture exhibit, COMMUNITY CENTRED.

Join us for the public opening reception on Friday, April 9 from 6-10 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Admission to the reception and exhibitions is FREE. For more information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Main Gallery Exhibition Hours: Tuesday, Thursday through Sunday, 12-6 p.m.; Wednesday 12-8 p.m., closed Mondays except holidays, 12-6 p.m.
Craft Studio Regular Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Spring 2010: Visual Arts

Neighbourhood Diaries: Stories from where I live: Over eight weeks, artist/writer teams worked with children from nine Toronto community centres to create video, drawings, photography, writing and other mixed media installations that reflect the children’s experience of their own surroundings. Part of Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme.
Cartoon City: Graphic novelists use their city’s neighbourhoods as settings for their illustrated stories to unfold. Featuring Marc Bell, Rose Bianchini, Michael Cho, Willow Dawson, Hyein Lee, Jeff Lemire, Zach Worton and Seth Scriver.
PORTRAITS FROM ABOVE: Hong Kong’s Informal Rooftop Communities: Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham present multimedia depictions of the endangered self-built settlements on the roofs of high-rise buildings in Hong Kong.
Grand Gestures: Jen Hutton uses thousands of thumbtacks to make a graceful statement in this text-based wall installation. This exhibit, which opened Jan. 22, 2010 will now continue until Jan. 2, 2011
On this momentous occasion: Kristen Wulff presents a collection of found status updates from social networking sites on festive metallic banners.
Hedging Desire: A photographic survey of Toronto’s urban gardens by Rita Godlevskis.
Glitter Beginnings: Amanda McCavour and Adriana McNeely explore the connections between traditional kids’ craft and their own current craft practices.
Slanguage: A look at the spoken “slanguage” within glass art that only the insiders and the aficionados truly understand. Featuring Niko Dimitrijevic, Sally McCubbin, Tyler Rock and Vanessa Yanow.

Continuing in Architecture…

Jan. 23 - June 6, 2010
For the current architecture show COMMUNITY CENTRED, Canada's ERA Architects Inc, Public Workshop and du Toit Architects Limited create installations that explore current practices in shaping our communities through architecture. The exhibition begs three questions. How do architects define communities? How do architects collaborate with communities to share goals and achievements? How do architects revive neglected spaces in cities to serve communities? The exhibition also features an installation of paintings by artist Martha Eleen entitled Necessities of Life. Originally slated to run to June 13, this exhibit will now close June 6, 2010.

Part of Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning programme
Created by Robin Uchida & Gillian Lind
The exhibition component of Neighbourhood Diaries is the result of a collaboration between artist/writer teams and children from nine Toronto community centres, supported by community staff, educators, volunteers and students. Over an eight-week period, participants worked together to create video, drawing, photographic, written and other mixed media installations reflecting the children's experience and understanding of their own neighbourhoods. Artists facilitated children's stories and visual expressions of “my place and my place in it”. As part of the multi-disciplinary objective of the project, the exhibition will intersect with other programming initiatives, including readings and public workshops as part of HarbourKIDS and Young IFOA (International Festival of Authors).

Created by Robin Uchida and Gillian Lind with assistance from:

Visual Artists: Gwen MacGregor (Art Lead), Lewis Nicholson (Art Lead), Sarindar Dhaliwal, Catherine MacIntosh, Liz Knox, Catherine Heard, Jen Hutton, Tanya Read, Graham Jarrett, Ed Pien, Shawna Reiter.

Writers: Liz Haines (Literary Lead), Kate Barris, Lisa Pasold, Stephanie Mclellan, Brooke Lockyer, Lauren Kirshner, Liz Haines, Marina Hess, Jaya Karsemeyer, Jim Adams, Lisa Nackan, Kirsten McMahon.

Supported by: Ontario Arts Council, Story Planet, York University Childhood Studies Program, The Movement, Somerset Graphics, Moveable Inc., Torch Partnership.

Neighbourhood Diaries is brought to you by the children at the following Community Centres: Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club, ArtHeart Community Art Centre, Parkdale Community Centre, Harbourfront Community Centre, St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club (Annex), Boys and Girls Club of Weston-Mount Dennis, Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre, 519 Community Centre, Ralph Thornton Centre.

Marc Bell, Rose Bianchini, Michael Cho, Willow Dawson, Hyein Lee,
Jeff Lemire, Zach Worton & Seth Scriver
In this exhibit, eight graphic novelists use their city’s neighbourhoods as settings for their illustrated stories to unfold.

Marc Bell lives in London, ON. Hot Potatoe (sic), a monograph of his recent art and comics work was published by Drawn and Quarterly in the fall of 2009. He was the editor of Nog a Dod: Prehistoric Canadian Psychedoolia and co-editor of The Ganzfeld #6, the "Japanada" issue. His work was recently included in Pulp Fiction at Museum London (London, ON) and Shayne Ehman and Friends at Tokyo Wonder Site in Japan.

Rose Bianchini is an artist, director, producer and writer who works in several mediums. Her radio work includes creating music profiles and documentary work for CBC Radio. Her television work has included a youth culture show for TVO, The Big Picture with Avi Lewis and The Hour on CBC TV. Bianchini is part of the art collective which created the Soft City, an ongoing plush metropolis installation that has been exhibited over a dozen times and is currently being developed as a game and TV series. She is working on a graphic novel about a surreal girl who talks to birds and has psychic powers.

Michael Cho strives to capture the atmosphere of places, especially those that are familiar. He finds landscapes can be as organic and unique as the human body, with mysteries and stories to be told. Cho is an illustrator and cartoonist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Nickelodeon, Owl Magazine and on book covers for Random House and Penguin Books. He's also had comics published by Marvel, DC, Image and Adhouse books. Michael is currently working on an art book of urban landscapes to be published by Drawn and Quarterly.

Having grown up in Vancouver, Willow Dawson is drawn to Dufferin Grove Park both for its sense of community and its quiet, natural beauty that reminds her of childhood adventures in the mountain forests. Dawson is the illustrator of many award-winning graphic novels, including the upcoming Lila and Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club (Kids Can Press) and a comic memoir, 100 Mile House.

Hyein Lee has traveled the cities of the world and prefers Toronto to them all. “With the infinite loneliness of its skyscrapers, the gritty colours of Chinatown, the dry memories of summer and the beige slush of winter, there is no place like here,” she says. Lee holds degrees in both engineering and illustration. Working as a freelance illustrator and a web designer, her work has been published in magazines such as Canadian Family, Shameless, Ricepaper, Crow Toe Quarterly and Applied Arts.

Jeff Lemire’s work is a collection of 12 images of “unseen treasures” in East York. Inspired by the details we often miss, he brings to light the things we never notice while walking in our neighbourhoods. Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy of graphic novels have been nominated for multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards. In 2008 Jeff won the Schuster and Doug Wright Awards recognizing the best in Canadian cartooning, and the American Library Association’s prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. Current projects include graphic novel work for DC Comics, Vertigo and Top Shelf.

Zach Worton is a graphic novelist. His work can be seen at

Most of Seth Scriver’s art making is based on personal experience and stories told to him. His visual aesthetics push toward a type of fantasy world created through a stream-of-consciousness drawing style. The drawings present a believable view of a chaotic world in which unknown entities play out small dramas.

PORTRAITS FROM ABOVE: Hong Kong’s Informal Rooftop Communities
Rufina Wu & Stefan Canham
A selection of photographs, drawings and transcribed oral histories from an original exhibition mounted at Cambridge Galleries (Design at Riverside) in winter of 2010 depicts self-built rooftop settlements constructed by immigrants to Hong Kong. Wu and Canham present five of these rooftop communities unique to the city’s older districts that are under threat of being destroyed as part of Hong Kong’s plans for urban renewal. This project won the Fifth International Bauhaus Award 2000 (third prize) and was published by Peperoni Books, Berlin.

Jen Hutton
Thousands of silver thumbtacks make a graceful statement in this site-specific wall installation. This self-reflexive announcement, styled like a pixelated marquee, refers to the spectacular and even the historical “grand manner”, one of the highest genres of academic painting endorsed during the late 18th century. The work generates a monumental presence through an accrual of thousands of tiny, anonymous gestures fashioned into a ubiquitous typeface. This exhibit, which opened on Jan. 22, 2010, will now continue to Jan. 2, 2011.

Kristen Wulff
A collection of found status updates from social networking sites is displayed on the familiar medium of festive metallic banners in this study of the information we choose to share with each other and the methods we use to do so. These recognizable decorations that traditionally mark special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, now communicate a variety of personal proclamations ranging from the mundane to the very intimate. By transforming the text’s virtual existence, which is always in a state of replacement or erasure, to a physical celebration, the work questions these interactions and our constant desire to self-reflect.

Rita Godlevskis
A photographic study of Toronto’s urban gardens, this installation reveals the seemingly limitless enthusiasm and passion for nature exhibited by GTA’s inner city gardeners. This reverence, sincerity and patience for the process are rarely seen in contemporary urban environments, especially when so limited by lack of physical gardening space.

Amanda McCavour & Adriana McNeely
Curated by Melanie Egan and Patrick Macaulay
Artists working in two different studio disciplines have collaborated to present a new series of work which explores the connection between traditional children’s craft and their own current artistic practices. Making crafts out of paper, glitter, glue, plastic beads and embroidery floss as children helped spark an early interest for artistic ideas and material exploration. Though the materials and meanings have changed, McCavour’s intricate thread drawings and McNeely’s fine Jewellery are both inspired by their early experiences with arts and crafts. Glitter Beginnings is filled with favourite imagery of childhood craft projects, emphasizing the artists’ close relationships with those formative activities.

Niko Dimitrijevic, Sally McCubbin, Tyler Rock & Vanessa Yanow
Curated by Melanie Egan
Within each art discipline there is a spoken “slanguage” that only the insiders and the aficionados truly understand. Jargon, short-hand, dialect and lingo can impress and confuse the uninitiated. But is that truly the essence of what is created? You can talk it up or talk it down, but the object must eventually stand on its own, tell its own story and speak for itself. In this exhibit, four glass artists explore the vocabulary and dialect that defines their craft.


Saturday, Jan. 23 – Sunday, June 6, 2010

Harbourfront Centre’s architecture gallery presents exhibitions which will educate, challenge and question the thoughts and ideas which inform contemporary architecture. It is a multi-functional space which is able to present exhibitions, act as a classroom a meeting space for the discussion of issues relating to architecture.
For COMMUNITY CENTRED, Canada's ERA Architects Inc, Public Workshop and du Toit Architects Limited create installations that explore current practices in shaping our communities through architecture. The exhibition begs three questions: How do architects define communities? How do architects collaborate with communities to share goals and achievements? How do architects revive neglected spaces in cities to serve communities? The exhibition also features a selection of paintings by artist Martha Eleen entitled Necessities of Life documenting a cultural phenomenon that influences how communities develop. Originally slated to run to June 13, this exhibit will now close June 6, 2010.

Harbourfront Centre thanks the architecture advisory committee for their assistance: Valerie Gow, Margaret Graham, John Ota, Marco Polo, Lisa Rapoport, Scott Sorli and Tim Scott.

This exhibition space devoted to architecture is brought to you in part by the generous support of our corporate donors:

Core Architects
Kohn Shnier Architects

Diamond and Schmitt Architects

We also acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

ERA Architects Inc.
Density is one of the key tools currently used for planning cities. Architects, planners and policy makers all use it as a calibration of the city. As our cities change, we need to understand density in order to make our cities better, more vital, more full of possibility. For this exhibit, ERA Architects surveyed different locations in our city and asked “How did density affect built form?” and “How did density affect the quality of the environment?” Thus, they are now able to consider how Toronto’s neighbourhoods compare.

ERA Architects is not your typical architectural firm. Its work in architecture, planning, heritage and cultural conservation, publications and exhibitions is indicative of a broadened approach to city building that engages and influences each of its projects. ERA regularly advocates for Toronto and critically engages city issues through various mediums. This is ERA's second installation at Harbourfront Centre and follows last year's Found Toronto project for the Building on History exhibition. For more information visit

TEAM: Kirsty Bruce, Philip Evans, Virginia Fernandez, Judy Gervais, Joey Giaimo, Jessie Grebenc, Jeff Hayes, Ben Huntley, Sara Jazaeri, Jan Kubanek, Chris Lawless, Will MacIvor, George Martin, Michael McClelland, Andrew Pruss, Alec Ring, Edwin Rowse, Matthew Somerville, Brendan Stewart, Graeme Stewart, Sonya Tytor, Scott Weir & Alana Young.

Special thanks to: Adrian Blackwell, Astley Gilbert, Paul Hess, Carolyn Humphreys (City Planning, City of Toronto) & Lindsay Reid.

Public Workshop
Under the Gardiner presents a call to action for the wider ‘Gardiner Community’ to discover the spaces under the expressway before they are lost. The Gardiner Expressway’s form was questioned even before it was completed but, for better or worse, the Gardiner has played a significant role in shaping the city and people’s perception of it. Architects and planners can offer ideas and shape construction – but, in the end, it is people’s use of spaces that make them work, or not. Many people have an interest in what happens to the Gardiner – those who drive, cycle and walk its course; those who live, work or play alongside it; and those who own property and businesses nearby – but is there a community for the public space under this piece of infrastructure?

Public Workshop is a practice based in Toronto that engages people with the design of architecture and public space through installations, events and education programs. It seeks to involve the people who will be most affected by physical changes to an area. Public Workshop’s projects are often temporary and only sometimes physical, but they often catalyze permanent improvements to buildings or public spaces. For more information visit

TEAM: Helena Grdadolnik & David Colussi

du Toit Architects Limited
L’Arche is an international organization of communities for people with disabilities and those living with them. The L’Arche Daybreak community, founded in 1969 on a 20-acre pastoral setting in Richmond Hill, includes a number of buildings, as well as a creek, pond and woodlot. The late 1980s wave of Toronto sprawl, in the form of low rise suburban residential development, brought many development pressures to this existing community, and threatened that peaceful setting. In this context, the L’Arche Daybreak community engaged Joe Lobko to assist them in developing a master plan for the site. In the end, L’Arche Daybreak chose to maintain the integrity of their physical place, despite numerous opposing pressures, a fundamental decision which has helped to foster the group’s sense of community and its own history. This is the story of how an existing rural-based community is confronted with, and ultimately integrates with, an encroaching suburban community. For more information visit

Du Toit Architects Limited / Du Toit Allsopp Hillier (DTAH), is a Toronto-based firm of 40 architects, landscape architects and planners dedicated to the creation of meaningful spaces, landscapes and communities. As one of Canada’s foremost interdisciplinary design practices, the firm’s work is characterized by the integration of landscape design and architecture within a solid planning framework. For more information visit

Team: Jordan Darnell, Kristen Dobbin, Erika Lobko, Joe Lobko & Megan Torza.
Collaborators: The entire L’Arche Daybreak community with special thanks to Joe Child, Debbie Dew, Alan Dobb, Carl MacMillan and Warren Pot for their assistance in making this exhibition possible.

Martha Eleen
Necessities of Life is a selection of paintings that explores the poetics of big box mall signage in the context of the cultural landscape. This is the fourth series in an ongoing investigation into suburban sprawl outside Toronto, which depicts an environment based on the unsustainable, and already collapsing, car culture. The language of the big box mall signage is a deeply significant description of our needs and desires. It is also an expression of our denial of the impending global ecological crisis. Marshall McLuhan talks about buildings as self-contained communication systems; the very architecture is a dynamic medium that conveys the message of
a high demand for social order. How does something as imposing and monolithic as a big box mall fall so beneath our notice as to become almost invisible? Institutions operate to control what we are able to see. To view a building as a medium enables us to see its social function.

Martha Eleen is an honours graduate of Emily Carr College of Art, Vancouver, Canada. Her paintings have been exhibited in public galleries in Canada, U.S.A and Mexico and will be shown in Japan in 2010. Martha Eleen is represented by Loop Gallery in Toronto. She teaches painting and drawing at Toronto School of Art. For more information visit

*MEDIA NOTE* High-resolution images available at

A key component of Harbourfront Centre's mandate is to champion the creation of new artistic works, providing a platform for innovation, creation and excellence. Recognizing that some of the most creative and fascinating work being produced across the country today is the result of artists working in different ways and through non-traditional collaborations, Harbourfront Centre launched Fresh Ground new works, a national commissioning programme, in 2004.

This legacy programme has become a catalyst for new Canadian artistic works incorporating more than one discipline or field. Through open national submission calls in 2005, 2007 and 2008, Harbourfront Centre awarded over $300,000 toward fourteen new Canadian commissions. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, a fourth call for submissions was issued in September 2009; five separate projects will be commissioned for creation and presentation at Harbourfront Centre during the 2011-2012 season.

Fresh Ground new works is made possible by the generosity of several major individual donors who have actively assisted in the creation of new Canadian artworks: Peter Allen, Lionel F. Conacher and Joan Dea, Margaret and Jim Fleck, John Kazanjian and Susan Soloway, Michael and Sonja Koerner, Judy and Wil Matthews, George E. Myhal, and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the J.P. Bickell Foundation.

Made up of 10 exhibition spaces which are both traditional and unique, these venues are located within and outside York Quay Centre and range in size from a 1,400 feet square exhibition gallery to individual vitrines which are nine feet square. York Quay Centre exhibits the works of contemporary artists creating new works in fine art, craft, new media, design, architecture and photography. The exhibition schedule changes six times a year in all of the venues except the site-specific spaces. For more information, please contact 416-973-5379.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.


Rosie Shaw

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