The exhibition addresses CONTACT festival's theme of 'Figure & Ground,' also taking into consideration the Onestop TTC screens as a unique site for public intervention. As over a million commuters traverse through these spaces, they are confronted by disquieting scenes devoid of human presence, and humorous tableaux with ominous overtones. Tomorrow is Yesterday explores landscape in relation to fiction, fantasy and human perception, revealing how the imaginary can disrupt reality.
Alex McLeod's dense, otherworldly landscapes bring to mind horror vacui - the fear of empty space. There is also a foreboding stillness to McLeod's computer generated landscapes, despite being populated by enticing candy-colored objects. Every bubble-cloud, marshmallow tree, and plastic river was created by the artist using CGI software and then combined into a myriad of landscapes, all devoid of humans, if not humanity. The overpowering detail in the work brings to mind the 'hyper-real', but here there is only fantasy.
As with Mcleod's work, David Trautrimas' baleful objects replace the figure in his landscapes. which are painstakingly created by the artist with digital building blocks derived from domestic tools and appliances. In each image, a different hybrid machine-structure dominates a bleak terrain. There is a cold-war feel to these images that links technological advancement to a militaristic history. And the sense of nostalgia they elicit is countered by the thought that these ominous structures could well exist somewhere on earth.
Where many photographs make a claim to the represent truth, Bill Finger's images are elaborate fictions. Subtle hints point to the constructed nature of the photographs, which turn dioramas built by the artist into mysterious scenes, the content of which entwines the Finger's memories from childhood with Hollywood movie sets that he's worked on. This collapsing of personal memory with collective history creates enigmatic and slightly haunting images. In addition, the lack of actors within these miniature sets creates a sense of tension and foreboding.
Canadian identity is intimately connected to our geography, and Diana Thorneycroft's darkly humorous Group of Seven Awkward Moments series calls into question the nostalgic relationship we as Canadians have to our iconic self-representations. The artist uses classic Group of Seven paintings as backdrops for dioramas that the artist states are "intended to subvert the upstanding idealism that the Group of Seven has come to represent." The figures that act out awkward scenes of haplessness and disaster in these images are mass produced toys which also bring their own symbolic value to the scenes.
Dedicated 'Art Zone' Screens, featuring only Contacting Toronto, uninterrupted by the usual news and advertisements, are active from May 1 -8, and are located at Bloor, Dundas and St. Andrew stations.
Bill Finger is a Seattle-based artist who constructs miniature dioramas that he then photographs, calling into question the veracity of the photograph. Finger received his MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005. His work has been exhibited across the United States and is included in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House Museum of Photography. Bill's images have been published in the books Light & Lens and Exploring Color as well as the European magazine Fotograf.
Creating images that explore both television crime drama and the photographer as "unreliable narrator," each of my photographs is a play on both fiction and reality. Each photograph begins with a handcrafted miniature diorama that is painstakingly constructed for the point of view of the camera. With the edges exposed, an emphasis is added to the constructed nature of photography. Within these miniature sets there is the creation of tension and foreboding that could be an approaching storm, the loss of something valuable or perhaps something much more sinister.
May 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26
Born in Scarborough, Ontario, Alex McLeod attended George Brown College and is a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design Painting and Drawing program. After graduation McLeod began to explore 3D rendering software and has been exhibiting virtual installations since the fall of 2008. In 2009 he successfully invaded the blog world and caught the attention of hip hop artist Kanye West. McLeod is now exhibiting worldwide in cities including Toronto, Barcelona, San Jose, and Sao Paulo. Alex McLeod is represented in Canada by Angell Gallery, Toronto.
Recalling the wide-open vistas of Romantic landscape painting while at the same time staging otherworldly dystopias, these CGI images act as hybrid spaces that imply an almost infinite recombination of the past and present, the real and virtual. Beneath their seductively polished surfaces, of glimmering fortresses and floating geometric abstractions, lies a haunting stillness that comes forth in the aftermath of cataclysmic events. And yet, from the twilight of devastation lies possibilities for hope and rebirth in our own digital milieu.
May 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 31
Diana Thorneycroft is a Winnipeg artist who has exhibited various bodies of work across Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as in Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. She is the recipient of numerous awards including an Assistance to Visual Arts Long-term Grant from the Canada Council, and several Senior Arts Grants from the Manitoba Arts Council. Canadian Art Magazine selected Thorneycroft's "Group of Seven Awkward Moments" as one of "The Top 10 Exhibitions of 2008". That work is currently touring Canada and will be shown at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris in May 2011. Thorneycroft lives in Winnipeg with her artist husband Michael Boss and their cat Larry.
In the series Group of Seven Awkward Moments, reproductions of paintings by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven are used as backdrops. In the foreground a fabricated set is constructed that contrasts with the iconic landscapes. The content in each piece (such as a burning igloo, or an over turned canoe) reflects tragedies caused by bad weather and foolish decisions, intentionally subverting the upstanding idealism the Group of Seven paintings have come to embody.
May 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29
David Trautrimas graduated with honours in 2003 from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Trautrimas is already a pioneer in the digital printmaking field and, since the end of 2008, he has attracted growing worldwide attention with multiple shows and art fairs in the US, a solo show in the Netherlands and participation in a group show in Australia. His works are distinguished by technically superb micro-photography, mainly of mechanical and electornic objects he has disassembled down to the last bolt, and digital construction of the components into fabulist architectural structures that are striking both in their combined-retro-and-futurist forms and in their sheer creative wit.
The Spyfrost Project hypothesizes the origins of iconic modern appliances by reassembling them into top secret, Cold War era military outposts. These skunkwork structures, hybrids of both machinery and architecture, stand as colossal weaponized ancestors to common objects such as refrigerators, lawnmowers and washing machines. Fashioned with aspiring futurism, yet an ominous sense of militaristic purpose, these installations link the parallel development of capitalism's postwar consumer culture and the Military Industrial Complex.
May 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, 30