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- Art Exhibitions
We talked to some of the students in the class about what exactly is going on in the Art Hut right now, and why you should check out the show!
How would you describe Make/Shift?
Make/Shift is an art show that explores the relationship between urbanization and nature. As Toronto has expanded, development has altered many of city’s green spaces. At the same time, a growing consciousness surrounding environmentalism has led to attempts at reclaiming some of those spaces. The exhibition attempts to unpack and explore this relationship.
What kind of art/installations can people expect to see at your exhibition?
We have multidisciplinary works from five different artists, all exploring ideas and issues surrounding green spaces in our city.
There are paintings, works with reclaimed objects, photography, mixed media pieces, and light boxes. All add different dimensions to our theme. We’ll also have an interactive component designed to challenge people’s perceptions about the authenticity of fabricated green spaces in our city.
Where did the idea for Make/Shift come from?
Make/Shift was a collaboration of our entire class at Centennial College. Our initial interest was in the concept of safe spaces, and how these spaces are destroyed. We wanted to explore this concept in relation to the larger context of Toronto and its history, specifically.
What dialogue do you hope this exhibition inspires?
Our goal is to challenge the public’s preconceived notions about both artificial and natural green spaces within Toronto, and start a conversation about the relationship between urbanization and the natural landscape here. Hopefully guests will leave thinking about the development of Toronto, and the impact of our continuous manipulations of the environment.
Why did you want to exhibit at the Gladstone Art Hut?
The themes of our show connected really well with the Art Hut’s mandate of presenting work relevant to communities across the city. Plus, we loved the space instantly when we saw it; its location in the heart of the city, the vibrant neighbourhood, as well as the pre-development context of the space, all added site-specificity and urgency to the show.
Make / Shift is on up until December 4th. Come take a peek! 👀 🌿 👀
Gallery Hours: Dec 1: 6-9pm | Dec 2: 6-9pm | Dec 3: 12-5pm | Dec 4: 12-5pm
Why are so many companies abandoning their office boardrooms in favour of hotspots across the city for their most crucial meetings? We’ve got a hunch or two. Here are our top 5 reasons why offsite meetings inspire staff.
Said our favourite urban activist, Jane Jacobs. Sometimes your mind needs to gaze out a new window to do the blue-sky thinking required to solve your current work challenge. An space full of light, art, and colour will have your employees engaged from the moment they arrive. A place like the historic Gladstone Hotel, located in the hear of hip Queen West and the always bustling Parkdale, is guaranteed to be more inspiring than your typical boardroom.
When you take a break from the daily routine, brainstorming comes easily. Sometimes all it takes is an exciting space to get new answers to old questions. Plus, there’s no denying that offsite meetings are a lot of fun. And when your meeting takes place in a multi-purpose space, there are lots of opportunities for post-meeting group activities to increase morale and build company relationships. At the Gladstone, you can try early morning yoga, Music Bingo, or just grab dinner and a drink downstairs when you’re all done. Which brings us to…
Who doesn’t love a field trip! Employees enjoy experiencing a new location and neighbourhood together. And in a world of so much online and self-directed work, the importance of face time between co-workers is easily overlooked. Yet technology hasn’t progressed so much that online communication is better than sitting down together for an in-person conversation. Getting all your divisions and employees in the same room, rather than sitting at separate screens, allows for faster and more in depth communication and idea development. And talking about an issue over the course of a whole day can really help teams get to know and understand each other.
At an offsite meeting, employees can spend all their energy focusing on the issue at hand, pausing their day to day responsibilities in the office. It’s been proven that taking breaks and vacations actually boosts productivity in the long run. While not a vacation, a focused and fun offsite meeting can have the same effect. Your meeting will ensure that when your team gets back to work, they do so feeling refreshed and aligned.
Kick back and let the offsite venue take care of the details, so you can focus on your vision. In a venue designed to host meetings, the space can be optimized to increase innovation, collaboration, and comfort—from decor, to equipment, to gourmet catering. Do you want to have a group meditation session after lunch? Or a dance party? Or an improv class? This has all happened at the Gladstone, and these activities could be just what your company needs to get the creative juices flowing.
Picture this: A light dusting of snow surrounds your venue at magic hour (4-5pm) – due to the romantic natural lighting, your photos look perfectly lit. Your guests enter your venue to escape the cold and are welcomed with mulled wine. As the dark night approaches, your reception begins in a beautiful ballroom surrounded by fairy-lights, candles, tea lights and lanterns. It’s magic. Need I say more?
Weddings are expensive. That’s right, we’ve said it. Choosing a date in the winter gives you an opportunity to take advantage of off-season pricing. You know what that means? More budget for the fun stuff like midnight food stations, musical entertainment and of course, booze!
As one of Toronto’s most popular wedding destinations, we know all about competition for dates from May – September! Saturdays are often booked up a year, if not 2 or 3 in advance. Have the choice of any Saturday you please during the winter months! It’s also a lot easier to find accommodation for out of town guests.
Have you been to 10 weddings this summer? How did you feel around the 8th? or 9th? Wedding fatigue for guests is a real thing. With each one, the weddings become less special and memorable, blending into one. Getting hitched in the winter, it’s unlikely your guests will have been to a do in a while and they’ll be ready to celebrate!
What better way to end your big day than a direct flight from Toronto’s snowy core to the tropics? Case made.
Images by Samantha Ong Photography, Wild Eyed Photography and Tara McCallum.
Garnet Willis is taking over the south wing of the Gladstone’s second floor lobby this October 1st for the Gladstone’s signature Nuit Blanche exhibition. He’s a musician, an engineer, and a philosopher, as you have to be to reimagine music the way he does! We sat down to with Garnet to talk about his journeys in sound and to get a sneak peek of what he has in store for Nuit Blanche.
What’s the appeal of making giant abstracted instruments?
I love dreaming up and building things. It’s something I’ve always done. Building the work is also very satisfying for me. I enjoy the physicality of working with my hands—especially with wood, which is a beautiful and forgiving material. As the work nears completion, my impatience to hear it and to interact with it in its finished form propels the process to its completion.
How does a sculpture evolve as you’re designing it?
At the conceptual stage, I have to consider how the piece looks, predictions about how audiences will interact with it, as well as the mechanical needs of the work. All this combines to create some exciting design challenges for me!
Can you describe your creative process?
Most works start with a small detail—an object, or an idea, that I store in the back of my mind. Like many pots simmering on the back of the stove, I keep a mental inventory of possibilities relating to this idea or that object, which sort of dangle in my mind waiting for connections to form. At some point, things start to come together, forming a network of ideas.
At this point, I start to actively research and design the work. During this building phase, the project iteratively re-designs itself, often a number of times, with increasing imagination and materiality. At the same time, it is contained by the degree to which my skill set can expand to encompass the work within a given development time frame.
You mentioned that you conducted experiments with tape recorders as a child. At what point did you decide you’d like to link tinkering and music?
My parents and one of my older sisters were into music, and I started piano lessons as a child, sang in choirs, the works. I had a small reel-to-reel tape recorder in the late 1960’s, and I loved to speed it up and play it backwards. One of my favourite activities was to record my voice, play it backwards, learn to speak it backwards, record it spoken backwards, then reverse it again and listen to it front on again. Strangely, this was an exercise I was later assigned as an undergrad studying music. I can still do silly things like sing row row row your boat backward! I also used to use tape to make installations, sometimes all around the room–which I think were probably my first foray into building musical contraptions. Later on I traded a motorcycle for a Hammond organ, an amazing electro-mechanical contraption from the 1940’s. I totally took that apart, analyzed it and put it back together again.
How do the tensions between chance and control, and beauty and structure, play into your work?
John Cage was always poking fun at the majority of what we call “music,” which to his ear, sounded contrived and predictable. One way of making the music structure, or in my case, instrument structure, more vivid, is to set up the work so that it embraces the risk of unexpected outcomes. This gives the work the freedom to breathe into the future—forever formed and reformed through the irrepeatability of sound.
What does your work say about music as a medium?
Over the course of my career, I’ve slowly been moving away from the notion that music is only “the signal of sound in the air” as my works have become increasingly sculptural, both physically (bodies in space), and in terms of sound (mapping of sound morphologies onto space.)
So my priorities, previously rooted in composition with sound as a cornerstone, have shifted. I now favour the physical and its manifestations of form in space, so SOUNDsculpture to become soundSCULPTURE. This evolution away from a popular definition of music, does not, in my mind, mean that it is not music. I think my work expands ideas about music through the unique physicality I give it.
Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be showing at the Gladstone for Nuit Blanche?
In the second floor lobby is a large circular platform. Attached to this via tensioned cables are clusters of sound-producing objects, strung together on springs tensioned in space. The public can interact with the installation at any time, by standing on the platform, which tips it under the distribution of weight and changes the diverse plucking sounds that it produces. This vibrant cascade of sound is intended to sonically map the internal architecture and bodies within the space.
So basically a room-sized banjo that anyone can play with their bodyweight?
Garnet, we can’t wait! Check out Fly By Night, the Gladstone’s signature Nuit Blanche one-night only exhibition and party, featuring a giant banjo and a ton of other interactive art upstairs, and a party downstairs to chill out or dance all night.
Read and hear of Garnet’s instruments at his website, here!
See you there!
We are jazzed to be showcasing Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier by photojournalist Nick Kozak for Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016!
Nick will exhibit a series of photographs that document two migrant groups living in the outskirts of Paris, Baras: a collective of more than 100 West African male migrants who fled the Libyan civil war in 2011; and Les Roses d’Acier: a group of seven Chinese women who gave their life savings to pursue a new life in France but were forced to turn to prostitution in order to pay debts. They now work to defend the rights of all Chinese sex workers in the Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville.
His photos capture the hope these newcomers have as they arrive searching for better lives, and the consequential barriers they face when trying to secure legal employment and housing. Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier will occupy the 3rd and 4th floor gallery spaces of the Gladstone Hotel from April 30- May 30, 2016.
Nick was nice enough to take a short break from preparing for his show to chat with us about storytelling, social justice and his upcoming exhibition!
As a trained photographer, there are many avenues you could have taken–why photojournalism?
Well actually the most formal training I received as a photographer was during my Photography MA in Dalian, China. The course had a focus on photojournalism, documentary and travel photography. At that point I knew that I wanted to take photographs that tell important stories about the people and places I visit, whether that be in my own backyard or abroad. Like many I was inspired by the photographs in National Geographic and dreamed of taking photographs like that.
You’ve shot a wide array of stories for the Toronto Star from 2011-15 – what made you go international?
I grew up going international. I’ve been lucky to travel my whole life, I was born along the way, so to speak. It is my intention to continue to leave my place of comfort to explore places and communities that are less known to me. I’m happy I got to spend six months in Paris as it really shook things up and got me living in and really looking at a new place.
Your series for CONTACT, Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier, take on social justice issues surrounding immigration and race. Did you search out stories related to these issues?
I think that as an outsider trying to make things work in Paris, I naturally saw myself thinking a lot about the experiences of newcomers, migrants, immigrants and refugees in the French capital. I think that living in Paris, especially outside of the really touristy and rich areas, you can’t help but be faced by issues of race and what role it plays in today’s French society.
Did your coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks for Maclean’s inspire Paris: Baras/Les Roses d’Acier?
The events surrounding Charlie Hebdo, terrible as they were, were monumental and happened to take place at about the midpoint of my time in Paris. To answer the question; yes and no; I had been working on connecting with the story of les Roses d’Acier for some time. I’ll say that the solidarity around Charlie Hebdo and what was happening in Place de la République definitely got me interested in demonstrations, or as the French say; manifestations. That’s how I found Baras, I started looking at a website dedicated to public demonstrations and community events in and around Paris.
What brought you to the Parisian suburb of Bagnolet and the neighbourhood of Belleville?
Well my girlfriend found us a place not too far from Belleville at Télégraphe métro station and I walked through the neighbourhood in the first few days after arriving. I found myself wondering about the groups of young and old Chinese women standing along the main boulevard. As for Bagnolet, it is a neighbouring suburb to the 19th arrondissement where we lived. Our apartment was just a couple of métro stations from the Périphérique and Les Lilas, south of which is Bagnolet. I noted the date and time of a demonstration listed online and walked over that day.
What are your favourite shots of each of these groups?
I would say that my favourite two shots for the 3rd floor of Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier are Tairu Di Sam on a tram to a Ghana vs. Mali football match and Bamba Kone prepares Janzanbour to share. Apart from these being what I would deem good pictures, there is the personal experience that led to those moments. That is priceless. When I look at the story of les Roses d’Acier, I’m most taken by the portrait of Aying, there is something in her gaze into the camera that stays with me.
Why do you think photography is an important medium to tell such stories?
Firstly, to me good storytelling images come about from the desire to share in experiences, learn and document people. Photography has always captured my imagination as the most direct and efficient way of telling a story. A photograph provides time for reflection on one specific moment and event. If powerful enough an image can stay with the viewer for a long time.
What are your hopes for this show?
First and foremost I hope that the show does its job of telling the stories of two very different groups of newcomers in Paris. Storytelling should always be the basis for our work as photojournalists or documentary photographers. Exposure of my work allows for more attention to the stories.
Are you stoked to be showing at the Gladstone?
In one word YES! In a few words, I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to show my images in a place as frequented as the Gladstone Hotel. More eyes means more attention to the stories.
What and where will you be shooting next?
I hope to return to the remote community of Fort Albany First Nation in Northern Ontario this summer. I am also hopeful that I will make my third trip to Nairobi, Kenya to continue my project No Idling in the informal settlements of Kibera.
Check out the opening reception of Paris: Baras / Les Roses d’Acier on May 5 at 7pm at the Gladstone Hotel, Toronto’s den for art, culture and participation.
Installation day for new exhibitions at the Gladstone is always exciting. For the install of ‘The Youth Are Revolting’, it was particularly so. On Tuesday, a class of high school students piled into the second floor gallery space and got to work proudly hanging the skateboard decks they designed and created alongside established Toronto artists. The energy was palpable.
The students come from Oasis Skateboard Factory, an innovative TDSB alternative school program where they learn how to run a skateboard business in exchange for high school credit. On top of designing skateboards, students learn everything from branding, business strategy and principles of design to how to professionally communicate in the workplace. The program attracts at-risk youth who are often disengaged from their classes. What we saw, were a group of accomplished teens, enthusiastically and professionally working together to orchestrate a groundbreaking art show.
See it for yourself from March 2-11, and then stop by for the closing party & Silent Auction on Friday, March 11 from 7-10pm to meet all the artists and bid on one-of-a-kind skateboards. Funds raised will go back into enriching OSF’s continued programming.
Craig Morrison and Lauren Hortie
We sat down with the Oasis School Factory’s founder and instructor Craig Morrison to learn more.
How did the Oasis Skateboard Factory begin?
I started the project seven years ago as an extension of the arts and social change program I was running at the time. It was influenced by street art, so we started using skateboards as a natural platform for teaching street art graphics. We quickly discovered it could be a vehicle for so much more, that you can teach an entire curriculum through skateboards.
At OSF, at-risk students come to the program and start succeeding. What contributes to their success?
I really think it’s important for school not to be make-believe. If we do stuff at OSF, it’s because we believe it should be a real project, in the real world. We bring in mentors and professionals to teach the tools and give the necessary support to make professional quality products. This exhibition is a great example of that because we’ve matched every student with an established artist to co-design the skateboard decks.
You can tell the students are proud of their work and they should be. These decks are incredible.
Especially with students who are disengaged with school and haven’t experienced a ton of success before, they’ve had a lot of unfinished projects. What’s really important at our school is that we not only finish projects, they then exist somewhere. The Gladstone is a creative hub in Toronto and this collaboration is a great place for the students to introduce what they’ve worked on.
Is it your goal to connect with the community at large through exhibitions like ‘The Youth Are Revolting?’
Our program is all about building relationships. Being a small alternative school, we don’t have all the resources in the world, but that never holds us back. We ask “who can we partner with?” and then we connect to the broader community. That’s the best thing for these youth to actually have relationships with people and businesses. Especially for students who may have oppositional relationships with authority or adults because now they’re collaborating. I always get the feedback “your students are so professional”. We mark them on professionalism every day, from being on time, being on task, and meeting their daily goal to teamwork and leadership. They learn by doing and are developing creative and entrepreneurial skills. It’s not like every one of these students are going to go out and start a skateboard company but they can take the skills they’ve learned and apply it to anything.
What does it take as an educator to really make an impact?
I run this program with Lauren Hortie, who joined our team in the third year as a part-time teacher, then became a full time teacher as we expanded. We’ve always talked about what it takes to be a good educator. It’s more than being dedicated to your students. You have to be an active citizen who’s engaged in your community. A lot of what Lauren and I do is hustle up community connections and opportunities for these youth. It was Lauren who looped the Gladstone into our fold. These kinds of projects help create the structure that let students reach really great heights.
We also talk about the power of energizing a space when you bring people together to make things. It’s amazing the amount of productivity that can happen when you bring people together with a mission to achieve meaningful results. It’s our responsibility as teachers to harness that energy in the room. In the Youth Are Revolting, we have more artists than student’s collaborating because people really want to be apart of this. This show is a representation of over 70 peoples energy and it demonstrates that we accomplish more together than alone.
The Youth Are Revolting is sponsored by Roarockit Skateboard Company in support of Oasis Skateboard Factory school programming. Learn more about the school on their website and Facebook and be sure to visit the Gladstone Hotel from March 2 to 11 and come to the Closing Party & Silent Auction Friday March 11, 7-10PM.
Interview and installation day photography by Jenny Morris
The Rise and Fall of Cordycepts presents a biotech company whose manipulations of the foundations of life irrevocably alter our future world between 2040-2065. Presented from the perspective of those dealing with the aftermath of the company’s collapse, the pieces that make up the exhibit speak in two voices, one coming from the Cordycepts era, the other from those organizing the exhibit in 2074. The narrative presented by this future exhibit allows viewers to become participants and fall for a moment into a parallel universe with similar societal, scientific, and environmental concerns to ours, and a matching reliance on capitalist ideals. Drawing on our existing world for inspiration, the Cordycepts and post-Cordycepts universes act as a mirror that reflects our own issues back to us and asks us to suspend our disbelief for long enough to begin questioning the structures that many assume to be unquestionable.
Jessica Bromley Bartram is a graphic designer, illustrator, writer, and artist. She has studied at the University of Guelph and recently finished a degree in Graphic Design at OCAD. Currently working as a freelance designer, she splits her time between design, illustration, and three-dimensional work in a variety of mediums.
Come Up to My Room (CUTMR) was conceived in 2004 by Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu as a vehicle for experimentation and interaction within the fields of art and design. In it’s 13th year, new curators Jana Macalik and Nuria Montblanch have reengaged with the heritage of CUTMR, focusing on the spatial sensory experiences and design as the medium. #CUTMR2016 will be exhibiting on all four floors of the historical Gladstone Hotel from January 21st to 24th. More details about this year’s show and events Here!
Jillian MacLachlan is a Toronto-based painter and textile artist. A graduate of both Biology and Fine Art, Jillian’s work focuses on representations of the human form as an object of medical and scientific study.
While working at the Gladstone, Jillian is creating a series of india ink paintings that are part of her larger body of work titled Slide Series. The paintings’ abstract forms reference organic material, creating fluidity within the otherwise rigid lens of medical study.
For more information on Slide Series and Jillian’s textile-based work, visit www.jillianmaclachlan.com
(Image courtesy of www.jillianmaclachlan.com from multimedia installation, Knitted Anatomy)