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The Power Plant announces two important exhibitions by Ian Wallace and Pae White,
each featuring a new work commissioned by The Power Plant

Oct. 9, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011

Toronto, ON (Sept. 28, 2010) – This fall, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre divides its gallery spaces to present new work by two acclaimed artists: senior Canadian artist Ian Wallace and mid-career American artist Pae White. The gallery has commissioned both artists to create work that will act as the centerpieces of their respective solo exhibitions, Ian Wallace: The Economy of the Image and Pae White: Material Mutters, on view fromOct. 9, 2010 through Jan. 2, 2011. Both shows mark the world premiere of this new work, and the gallery will celebrate with a FREE opening party on Friday, Oct. 8, from 8-11 p.m.

The new works by Wallace and White mark the sixth installment of The Power Plant’s Commissioning Programme, a major gallery initiative that was launched in 2006. Through this successful programme, The Power Plant contributes to both the local and international art worlds, and situates Toronto firmly on the map as a major centre, not only for presenting some of the best art today, but also for driving the production of new art. The programme thrives because of groups such as Partners in Art, who has supported it for the last two years. This year, the gallery is thankful for the extraordinary generosity of individual supporters: 2010 Commissioning Programme Partner Shanitha Kachan & Gerald Sheff and Commission Programme Supporters Liza Mauer & Andrew Sheiner, Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau, and Elisa Nuyten & David Dime. Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke expresses his thanks: “The gallery is extremely fortunate to have the support of these committed individuals whose investment has realized two major new commissions of both local and international significance.”

While the two commissions and exhibitions are distinct, both artists are interested in how the legacies of modernism play out in architecture and design, and the power of the photographic image, which is subjected to extensive manipulation in their works. Ian Wallace’s commission for The Power Plant is The Economy of the Image, a major multi-part new installation revolving around a suite of 12 large-scale photo-lamination paintings titled, Abstract Paintings I–XII (The Financial District). These paintings reference photographs taken by the artist in the heart of Canada’s most important financial district, emanating from the intersection of Wellington and Bay streets in downtown Toronto. The series continues and extends Wallace’s social analysis of the everyday, particularly in relation to urban environments where the legacies of modernism are actualized. The 12 new paintings are contextualized by a group of works originally made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including both photographic works and sculptural “concept pieces.” With this highly significant site-specific project, Wallace reflects on the context of Toronto (as previously commissioned artists have before him) in a manner that will resonate both nationally and internationally, and premieres at a time when the international currency of his practice is burgeoning.

Pae White began creating massive tapestries in 2004, ambitious undertakings that use heavily digitally-manipulated photos of crumpled aluminum foil, plumes of smoke and dynamic image collages of collected scraps of image, pattern, colour and text as their content. White’s ambitious commission for The Power Plant is a tapestry entitled Sea Beast, a large-scale image of a found macramé wall hanging. The new piece signals a new visual direction in her work – its source is a woven form, including mussel shells, label and tassels, and involves a three-dimensional scan. The survey Pae White: Material Mutters contextualizes Sea Beast with many of White’s past tapestries of epic scale, as well as two video projections and a series of new works on paper, Smoke Studies.

Ian Wallace: The Economy of the Image

For over four decades, renowned Vancouver artist Ian Wallace has drawn on both the broad sweep of art history as well as more recent developments in contemporary art to inform a wide range of innovative and conceptually rigorous installation, performance, painting and photographic practices. The photographic image has been a consistent component in his practice, from his early pieces in the 1970s to the works that came to characterize his practice in the 1990s, where photographic images were sutured into gridded canvases and frequently juxtaposed with painted monochrome sections.

Over the years, Wallace has undertaken several series focused on the street, drawing on photographs of individuals at busy intersections or crosswalks, urban environments where the legacies of modernism play out—for example, in the architecture of looming corporate towers. In Wallace’s paintings, these representational scenes of the photographic are juxtaposed with opaque, textured colour—planes reminiscent of modernist abstract painting. The Power Plant hosted a solo exhibition of the artist’s work in 1988, a traveling exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery entitled Ian Wallace: Selected Works 1970–1987. The gallery is very proud to present his return to Toronto after years of success at home and abroad, and to be the first to introduce his most recent work, which demonstrates Wallace’s continued interest in questions of pictorial representation, the photographic image and the depiction of everyday social life that have run through his work since the 1970s.

Ian Wallace: The Economy of the Image has been made possible by two long-term supporters of The Power Plant. “The Presenting Sponsors of this exhibition, Rogers Communications and RBC, are unified by their commitment to Canadian art and, fortunately for us, their commitment to The Power Plant. The gallery is incredibly grateful to both corporations, who have worked with the gallery over several years to bring the best of Canadian art into the international spotlight,” says Burke. Last year, Rogers helped the gallery bring legendary artist Michael Snow to the fore. The gallery is as equally grateful to RBC, whose support of Canadian art manifests not only in this project but also in the company’s Annual Canadian Painting Competition. Together, they bring the work of Ian Wallace to The Power Plant this year.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an artist book, which features a text by curator of the exhibition and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke and an interview with the artist by Josh Thorpe.

Pae White: Material Mutters

Los Angeles-based artist Pae White’s exhilarating and experimental oeuvre has continued to evolve in its roaming across different material forms and contexts—including expansive sculptures and installations, public art work, interior and graphic design projects, furniture, textiles and animation—with a sense of exuberant abandon. Now an internationally established figure in contemporary art, White revels in the rapport between art, design, the applied arts and architecture, while questioning the traditional and often nebulous boundaries between them. Simultaneously evoking the material and the immaterial, White’s exhibition Material Mutters at The Power Plant surveys her work from the past five years in a range of media, with a focus on her monumental tapestries.

In a recent interview for The New York Times Style Magazine, White explains the show: “It’s about the exploration of process and the material is doing the talking.” The exhibition will also feature a series of smaller works on paper she is finishing for this purpose. These Smoke Studies appear to be drawings of smoke, a reoccurring motif in the artist’s work, but are in fact carvings, via computer-driven laser, into painted paper. The exhibition also includes the 2009 video projections Dying Oak – Elephant and Wild Raspberry Bush – Ballerina, two of three animations White created using non-invasive data collection and mapping procedures to produce three-dimensional scans of different flora. The scans were then used as source material for digital animations created by a group of visual effects artists and animators.

A brilliant manipulator of materials, White has become internationally known for her expansive oeuvre. This exhibition does not capture the vast range of her practice, but focuses on her recent tapestries and tracks the evolution of her concerns through this form. After the run of her exhibition in Toronto, White will complete a solo project on the Bluhm Family Terrace at The Art Institute of Chicago and another at the Curve Space at the Barbican Centre, London. She is also working on a commission for Art on the Under¬ground, London, Eur¬ope’s largest neon installation at Gloucester Road tube station and a public commission at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, both to be realized by 2012.

Pae White: Material Mutters will be accompanied by an artist’s catalogue and features texts by curator of the exhibition and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke, Susan Emerling and Oliver Zybok. This publication is made possible by Catalogue Supporters Steven & Lynda Latner and Laura Rapp & Jay Smith.


Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, 8-11 p.m.

Ian Wallace: “The Financial District: The Economy of the Picture”
Saturday, Oct. 30, 6 p.m. (Room 204, Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
FREE admission with Art Toronto admission, $8 Members, $12 Non-Members
Tickets can also be purchased from the Harbourfront Centre Box Office: in person at 235 Queens Quay West, by phone at 416.973.4000, or at the door on the evening of the event.

Pae White
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. (Studio Theatre, York Quay Centre)
FREE Members, $12 Non-Members
Tickets can be purchased through the Harbourfront Centre Box Office: in person at 235 Queens Quay West or by phone at 416.973.4000.

A further release will be issued shortly with complete information about the diverse range of public programming scheduled for this fall.

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

Ian Wallace (born in Shoreham, U.K., 1943) has been exhibiting since the late 1960s and is one of Canada’s most respected senior artists. A teacher at the Emily Carr Institute of Art Design from 1972 to 1998, Wallace has contributed to the development of contemporary Canadian art for over 40 years. In 1972, Wallace accepted a teaching position at Emily Carr University of Art Design, a placement he would hold until his retirement in 1998. As a professor, he has had an indelible role in shaping the contemporary art scene, teaching the likes of Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Stan Douglas. Wallace is considered the father of what is known as the Vancouver School of Photography. In 2004 he received the Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts and in 2009 he received the Molson Prize, both from the Canada Council for the Arts. A three-part survey of his work was held at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Witte de With in Rotterdam and Kunsthalle Zurich in 2008, and a retrospective will open at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2012.

Pae White (born in Pasadena, C.A., 1963) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She has been exhibiting internationally since the 1990s and was included in the Skulptur Projekte Münster 07 (2007), Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art at the Barbican Art Gallery, London (2008), the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), and the Whitney Biennial (2010). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Manchester Art Gallery (2006), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2007), and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona (2008). Her city-block-sized Art Village, created for the 2009 Art Basel Miami Beach fair, was commissioned specifically to provide a functional social space for talks and parties. White’s temporary cityscape of “free-form monochromes” of scaffold structures covered in fabric became a temporary glowing village on the oceanfront.

The Commissioning Programme is a major initiative of The Power Plant, one that positions the gallery as a leading institution driving the production of new work by renowned contemporary artists across the globe. The programme includes past participants such as acclaimed artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Simon Starling, Scott Lyall, Candice Breitz, and Lawrence Weiner. Last year, The Power Plant commissioned artist Candice Breitz to produce Factum, a video series of double-portraits of twins filmed in Toronto. It further explored the idea of sameness and difference that has been central to Breitz’s video-based work, as represented in her exhibition at The Power Plant entitled Candice Breitz: Same Same. Out of this commission developed New York, New York, her first-ever live, improvised performance at Performa in November 2009, which featured two nearly-identical pairs of twins. Breitz even cast Torontonians Natalyn and Jocelyn Tremblay, both featured in Factum, as actors in this performance. Breitz’s success with Factum continued after the works debut in Toronto. The work later traveled to White Cube in London and Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria.


For more information on exhibitions and all public programs at The Power Plant, 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

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.


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