Monday, September 25, 2006

From Russia With Love

From Russia with Love
By Tara Bursey

October 1-31, 2006.
Fly Gallery

1172 Queen St. West


From Russia with Love bookwork/multiple can be purchased at Babel Books and Music (123 Ossington Avenue, Toronto) for length of exhibition only.

From Russia with Love is an installation featuring 72 portraits of Russian “mail order brides” drawn from photographs on internet sites. The installation is an extension of the artist’s previous work exploring serial portraiture- yearbook photos, WWII military portraits- and the idea of portraits of this nature serving as “human catalogues.” Using the laborious act of drawing each woman’s likeness by hand, the piece attempts to subvert the idea of these women being catalogued, while alluding to their commodification through their presentation within a storefront installation and bookwork “catalogue” multiple.

Tara Bursey is a recent graduate of the Toronto School of Art’s diploma program, and a former student at Ontario College of Art and Design. An artist whose practice encompasses sculpture and installation as well as drawing, printmaking and craft, Tara’s work is characterized by its ethereal quality, and an often obsessive use of repetition, pattern and delicate sculptural materials such as eggshells, garlic skin, found garments and paper. During her studies at the Toronto School of Art, Tara was the recipient of TSA’s Barbara Barrett Scholarship (2004) and Matthew David Stein Scholarship (2005). In the past two years, she has exhibited extensively throughout the city in such diverse venues as Open Studio, MOCCA, Eastern Front Gallery, Fly Gallery, and Propeller Centre for the Arts. Tara’s most recent projects include an artist’s talk entitled “Zines: A Short History of the Underground Publication” and a solo exhibition, White Wash, which employed both found, fabricated and altered institutional garments as a means of addressing the constructive/destructive nature of systems. In addition to her work as a fine artist, Tara also operates actively within Toronto’s independent music and small-press communities as a
DJ, illustrator, designer and writer. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Punk 'Til You Puke at Art Metropole

Last weekend I attended the opening party for Punk 'Til You Puke, an exhibition of 70s punk ephemera at Art Metropole. A point of interest is that the show is curated by Will Munro, an artist whose work often boasts a specific interest- and expansive knowledge- of punk culture and history. As someone also very interested in punk art/design/history, this show was a virtual playground of relics, rare pictures, music publications, bookworks and bric-a-brac from the late 70s-early 80s punk scenes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Toronto. Particularily amazing inclusions were several of Black Flag artist and current contemporary fine artist Raymond Pettibons early bookworks, rare photos of classic Toronto punk bands the Viletones, the B-Girls and the Curse, numerous original posters and handbills, and entire volumes of American/British punk publications Sniffin' Glue, Search and Destroy and Slash.

Here is some more official information on the exhibition:

Conceived and curated by music and art world artist/activist Will Munro, Art Metropole is pleased to present PUNK 'TIL YOU PUKE!, an exhibition of '70's punk ephemera selected from recently uncovered production/research material collected by General Idea to produce their "Punk 'Til You Puke!" issue of FILE Megazine (vol. 3, no. 4, fall 1977).*

In the early '70's artists were struggling to have their voices reach larger audiences. Andy Warhol had demonstrated how rock and roll was a viable context, but it was the destructive, chaotic, anti-social theatre of the ridiculous that punk was that gave the new generation - those with plenty of attitude and ideas, who might not have known how to play an instrument - the license to create. The artistic avant-garde's strategic interest in mail-art, zines, correspondence, and postal networking became a viral strategy that punks co-opted to disseminate their message, a process that has infected the cultural landscape eternally.

The "Punk 'Til You Puke!" issue of FILE, explored the art scene/music scene merger. General Idea's editorial states:

In Toronto and New York they fiddled with performance and fled to punk. Art/Rock 'n' Rroll crossover was the original theme of this issue: Throbbing Gristle at the ICA; the Poles at the McLaughlin Gallery; the Dishes and the Talking Heads at A Space; the New York Dolls at the Mercer Arts Center; Talking Heads at the Kitchen; CEAC and the Crash & Burn.
Now every concert is an event. Alan Suicide is a musician, or is he? Michaele Berman is an artist, or is she? Robin Lee Crutchfield is an ----------, or is he? Patti Smith is a poet, or is she?
The sentimentalism of late sixties early seventies essentially surrealistic aesthetic has been replaced by a certain pragmatic anarchy which is now the theme of this issue:

It's cheap it's easy go do it!

PUNK 'TIL YOU PUKE! captures a moment in history when artists were disentangling themselves from the dominant music industry. Produced in this process was a plethora of independent publications, record labels, promotional materials, and live performance venues. This exhibition contains incredible evidence of this counter cultural explosion including the notorious zines Sniffing Glue, Bondage, Slash, Crash and Burn Newsletter, Punk, Search and Destroy. Also included are gig posters from San Francisco, Toronto, London and New York as well as hand written press packages from bands like The Curse, Crime, The Screamers, The Viletones, Throbbing Gristle, The B Girls, The Brats, and Talking Heads, to name a few.

In addition to the archive material, there are relevant books and multiples available for sale, as well as limited re-issues of some of the photo-copied zines displayed in the exhibition.

Art Metropole
788 King Street West 2nd Floor, Toronto, Canada M5V 1N6

T 416.703.4400 F 416.703.4404

Shop Hours Mon-Fri 11am - 6pm, Sat 12-5pm

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hot off the press...

Here's a sneak preview of the VERY limited-edition From Russia with Love bookwork multiple that will not only be a part of my window installation at Fly Gallery, but will be sold seperately in conjunction with the show. The bookwork will be on sale through me for the entire month of October while the show is up, as well as at Babel Books and Music, (123 Ossington Ave, north of Queen, Toronto. (416)531-9128) a shop only a few short blocks from the gallery. After October, if supplies last, the bookworks can be purchased through yours truely via this blog, or by email...

The Russia book features reproductions of 28 of the 72 portraits made for the window installation. They are each hand-numbered- printed as a small edition of just 50 books. They will be sold for $6 each. For more information about the exhibition or the bookwork, feel free to email me at

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fibreworks 2006 at Cambridge Galleries

fibreworks 06
Biennial Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Fibre Art
Selected by Jurors Aggie Beynon, Heidi Overhill and Vessna Perunovich
September 2 - October 15, 2006
Opening Reception and Awards: Saturday, September 9 at 2:30 pm
Featuring artwork by Karina Bergmans, Susan Bidinosti, J. Lynn Campbell, Suzanne Carlsen, Lyn Carter, Trudie Cheng, Charles Gagnon, Lyne Girard, Sonia Haberstich, Philip Hare, Emily Hermant, Kirtley Jarvis, Susan Warner Keene, Jane Kenyon, Arounna Khounnoraj, Tania Love, Conan Masterson, Shelia McMath, Robin E. Muller, Tracy Murray, Emilie O'Brien, Gordana Olujic-Dosic, Anita Payne, Danielle Reddick, Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai, Lois Schklar, Laurie Siblock, Angela Silver, Karen Thiessen, Barbara Todd, Karen Trask, Arlene Turkington, Angelika Werth, Tessa Windt, Lily Yung

Cambridge Galleries are pleased to present the 20th anniversary of Fibreworks. Since 1986, Cambridge Galleries has organized 11 Fibreworks exhibitions in response to the role that textile manufacture played in Cambridge and as a means of developing the Cambridge Galleries' permanent collection of contemporary Canadian fibre art. This year the jury selected 35 artworks from over 400 submissions by artists from across the country. The exhibition acts as a barometer of exciting new developments in the medium and provides a unique opportunity for fibre artists to share their work with a wider community.
Admission is free of charge.
Cambridge Galleries, Queen's Square, 1 North Square, Cambridge, Ontario
Gallery Hours: Mon-Thurs 9:30 am-8:30 pm; Fri & Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm; Sun 1 - 5 pm
Info: 519.621.0460 or
Image: Arounna Khounnoraj, Paper Wall Rice Forms, 2005

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book review- Blackstock's Collections

Blackstock's Collections features excerpts from the life's work of artist Gregory L. Blackstock, an autistic who's art involves the creation of meticulously detailed "visual lists" of everyday things. I bought this book a few weeks ago, and found it to be not only a treat visually, but interesting in that it gives us a rare look at the unique gifts and abilities often associated with autism.

The following is an excerpt from the book's inside cover:

MODERN LIFE IS AN EVER-ACCELERATING barrage of people, buildings, vehicles, creatures and things. How much can a curious mind take in? And what can it do with all the data? Gregory L. Blackstock, a retired Seattle pot washer, draws order out of the chaos with a pencil, a black marker and some crayons.
Blackstock is an autistic and an artistic savant. He creates visual lists of everything from wasps to hats to emergency vehicles to noisemakers. In the spirit of the Outsider Art of Henry Darger and Howard Finster, Blackstock makes art that is stirring in its profusion and detail and inspiring in its simple beauty. He has never recieved formal training, yet his renderings clearly and beguilingly show subtle differences and similarities- enabling the viewer to see, for example, the distinctive features of a dolly varden, a Pacific Coast steelhead cutthroat, and fourteen other types of trout.
Each collection is lovingly captured in Blackstock's unique hand with text that reflects facts from his research as well as his passions and preferences. Blackstock's Collection's contains over a hundred examples of his splendidly original taxonomy, offering a unique look inside the mind of a man making sense of his life through art.