Friday, June 28, 2013

The End (Seven Samurai)

My window installation at Gallery 1313 opened last night.  Thanks to director Phil Anderson for giving me access to the space (for my own work as well as for the windows I'll be programming for the next few months), and special thanks to Noa Bronstein for writing the following short essay to accompany the installation.


Tara Bursey
The End (Seven Samurai)
Rice, black and white sesame seeds, adhesive

A menacing term, the end is the semantic comrade of termination and expiration. The end, however, is also but a provocation to look to other beginnings. In her work The End (Seven Samurai), Tara Bursey uses the matter of beginning – seed, bean and grain – and stages it as an interloper into the rubric of finality. The End (Seven Samurai) is part of a larger series exhibited at the Gladstone Hotel in 2012 for the exhibition //THE ANNUAL//, in which Bursey has recreated the end credit from four black and white Hollywood films using various edible materials. The End performs Bursey’s concern with the insecurity of food production in the wake of mass environmental shifts and devastations. For this iteration, the end title of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), in which bandits pillage a rural, farming village, is faithfully realized.

The End points to a liminality of time and space. Re-purposing easily accessible food stocks, at least in the context in which the works are created, through meticulous processes, challenges our relationship to production and consumption. The labour of harvesting these staples, whether by hand or machine, is recast through the labour of the artist and consumed only metaphysically, rendering field and fork as partial actors. The End further points to a cultural lament for the passage of time and the need to compartmentalize the contemporary and the historic, the past and the present. Inspired by what Bursey has called the illusionary space of film, the titles evoke a lost age of and nostalgia for the belle epoque of cinema and great moments of chimera, echoing that this nostalgia might soon be turned towards our ecologies. Returning for a moment to Kurosawa’s bandits, these antagonists are not merely a metaphor for food insecurity. The bandits are perhaps a reminder of Roland Barthes’ pronouncement that “myth is always a language-robbery.” The appropriation of The End is a kind of language-robbery, through which we can mythologize cinema, nature and time.

The end credit can be seen as a signifier for the moment of fertilization, whereby the filmic narrative is transferred from auteur to the subconscious of the viewer. Seeds are a codex for living matter, as films are a codex for narrative, giving form to ideation. The matter of seed is both beginning and end, in the same way that the end credit of a film is only the beginning of our relationship to it.

Noa Bronstein
Director of Exhibitions & Cultural Promotions
Gladstone Hotel

1  Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 131. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fear of Punk / Fear of Art

I am in the middle of pretty intense work towards this exhibition that my main man and I are putting on together.  I really could go on and on about the motivations behind this show, but for now I will just leave this post as a declaration of the fact that it happening in just under a month.

This is kind of an exhibition of international punk art, though the number of artists we could include was greatly limited by the space we secured-- a teeny gallery across the street from Central Tech.  The show features a great group of artists that could be simply described as 'punk' artists making artwork within and around punk rock music (though in a lot of cases, this description is only a small piece of the puzzle).  Fear of Punk / Fear of Art includes several artists from NYC, a few from  the midwest and west coast, Canada, and as far away as Mexico City and France.

Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks!



Alex Ratcharge (France)
Alexander Heir (NYC)
Emma Maatman (LA)
Erick Lyle (NYC)
Heather Benjamin (NYC)
Jill Pucciarelli (NYC)
Leah Wishnia (NYC)
Matthew McGarry (Rochester)
Nathan Gattis (Chicago)
Paul D'Elia (LA)
Sam Ryser (NYC)
Shiva Addanki (NYC)
Spoiler (Montreal)
Tara Bursey (Toronto)
Weird Luke (NYC)
Yecatl Peña (Mexico)
and more.

Curated by Ben Needham and Tara Bursey

August 2-4, 2013
Communication Art Gallery
209 Harbord Street, Toronto
Opening Party:  Friday, August 2, 2013.  7-10 pm

Presented as part of Zine Dream 6, an annual small press art fair

Punk is everywhere.  From malls to museums, the influence and imagery of punk’s past has largely been absorbed into mass culture.  Despite this, contemporary DIY punk rock sits firmly outside of the mainstream, and at both regional and global levels is stronger than ever.  The visual culture that surrounds it is variably dark, threatening, chaotic, smart, funny, mysterious and questioning.

Fear of Punk / Fear of Art highlights the creative output of current punk artists, bringing their work out of its usual context while exploring intersections between punk rock, art and print culture.  The purpose of the exhibition is to celebrate contemporary punk art while sharing it with a broader audience.  The exhibition includes drawing, sculpture and printed matter that draws inspiration from horror, the occult, sex, despair, popular culture, art history and urban life.

For more information, contact or

Images, from left to right: Alexander Heir, solo exhibition poster design; Alex Ratcharge, Maximumrocknroll t-shirt design; Leah Wishnia, Garden of Earthly Delights screenprint; Heather Benjamin, Shut Up t-shirt design.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The End (Seven Samurai) at Gallery 1313

Lots going on these days.  This is one thing-- a window installation at Gallery 1313 that opens Thursday, June 27th, from 7-10 pm.  Come check it out!

Tara Bursey
Gallery 1313 Window Box
July 2013

The End uses film title imagery to address global warming and the effect that it will inevitably (continue to) have on food production.  It also explores our collective inclination to mark epochs and define the time we live in.  If the mid 20th century and its golden age of cinema could be considered an age of illusion and suspended belief, perhaps our current era can be characterized by a general loss of illusions.  

Simultaneously a celebration of mid-century design and a meditation on loss, The End points to our tendency to repeatedly mark historical periods as a series of ends while pondering the precariousness of our environment in the present.  The End (Seven Samurai), the latest incarnation of this series, references a classic film about bandits threatening a farm’s harvest.

Tara Bursey is an artist and emerging curator whose interests include sculpture, installation, performance, social practice, textile art and culture, food, contemporary craft practices, collaboration and publishing. 

This exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by Noa Bronstein, Director of Exhibitions, Gladstone Hotel.

Gallery 1313
1313 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON. M6K 1L8
Hours: Wed – Sun, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Phone: 416-536-6778