Monday, March 29, 2010

"so you could almost tell how many people are in the room"

Cage: Well the most important piece is my silent piece, 4'33".
Montague: That's very interesting. Why?
Cage: Because you don't need it in order to hear it.
Montague: Just a minute, let me think about that a moment.
Cage: You have it all the time. And it can change your mind, making it open to things outside it. It is continually changing. It's never the same twice. In fact, and Thoreau knew this, and it's been known traditionally in India, it is the statement that music is continuous. In India they say: "Music is continuous, it is we who turn away." So whenever you feel in need of a little music, all you have to do is to pay close attention to the sounds around you. I always think of my silent piece before I write the next piece.
John Cage at Seventy: An Interview, by Stephen Montague

'According to Cage, it was seeing Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings that finally convinced him he had to move forward with 4′33″. These paintings consist of a uniform layer of white paint on canvases. In the words of Cage, these paintings “were airports for shadows and for dust, but you could also say that they were mirrors of the air.”'
Ben Judson, Image and Sound: Rauschenberg and Cage

Reflecting the flux of that which surrounds, the blank or empty form is dynamic in its simplicity.
Pushing Paper, we will provide the tools, you make your mark.

Monday, March 22, 2010

undoing the days

'Gregor' designed by Patrick Frey

Dear Art,

One month until In Turn. Making things to become undone. Folding, filing, marking, stamping, here it all comes.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Jordan McKenzie

Simply marvelous.
photo courtesy of


A wonderful word from Luanne Martineau to describe her three-dimensional felt assemblages.

"Hanger and Dangler" by Luanne Martineau (courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery and

"Portrait" 2006, left. "Parasite Buttress" 2005, right by Luanne Martineau (Courtesy Trépanier Baer Gallery and

From visiting her current show at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal the other week, this word has stuck with me, re-enforcing that a drawing can take almost any form - not just a 2D pencil on paper. Although not a literal interpretation of the human form, Martineau's drulptures have a bodily shape and fleshy resemblance that's disturbing yet feminine, tactile, and heavily constructed.

Even Martineau's graphite and thread work on Japanese paper takes on a sculptural form. The drawings are unframed and simply tacked to the wall, allowing the paper to curve away from the wall as a draft sweeps by. This also gives you the desire to touch the work, to physically connect with it in that touchy-feely-textile way.

While mulling this over, I was reminded of the work of Annette Messager who shares this very feminine and soft thread to her work, exploring materials in a child-like inquisitive way. In particular, the installation "Inflated-deflated" uses weightless fabric in flesh tones to create these abstract bodily shapes that expand and contract in a mesmerizing and rhythmic breath motion.

Annette Messager with "Inflated-deflated" April 2009, The Hayward, London, UK (Courtesy of


Only 39 days until our first exhibit at 47! Watch out world - the countdown begins!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cognitive Landscape 1

Interior landscapes on my mind, David Bruce's silent video is strangely peaceful in tandem with the sound of the rain today.

Of Many

Just as the ground has begun its spring thaw, Jackie covered 47 with an ice-like layer of white. Cracking gracefully at first, the delicacy of the handmade surface has gone the way of winter itself, slowly retreating. The rather sudden deterioration reveals a map-like surface, continents and islands coming to fruition. Something satisfies me as I crunch over the floor to and from the door to the office.

Of Many runs from March 12th to April 2nd 2010 at 47.

Friday, March 5, 2010

International Intern

Yesterday I played hookey.
I also played the press card. Free sandwiches and hanging out with Robert Gober, a pretty alright Thursday.

A border hop away, and I arrived at the Burchfield Penney in Buffalo NY for the retrospective Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield. Quick lunch with the curator Gober, and then he drew us in from room to room. I fell in line, pen scribbling away, the academic in me collecting his facts. Pleased by the story, but barely even looking. And then, re-thinking what does it mean to be a part of a press preview tour.

So I looked.
Burchfield seemed interested in painting shifting moments of time. Transitons between seasons, hours of the day, weather conditions - the titles of his works reveal these instants. In these transitory times the paintings become kind of moments of decay, inherent for nature, in the normal day by day. The pieces contain a human quality of longing to understand time, without answer. Gober also described Burchfield's interest in displaying multiple moments in a single painting (The Four Seasons 1949-60), and his practise of revisting past paintings. The watercolours become layered, combining panels of paper into single images. He contexualizes himself. Vatrines, journal quotes, doodles, they all work to build a history, but the works themselves propel his life along.

Shuffling through the show, we are reminded that entire architectural features were inspired by Burchfield's life. The circular rooms a particular desire, as marked by his writings, for a round gallery space to display his paintings. Embedded into one of the ceilings is an orion constellation (Burchfield's favourite) created by gallery lights. Displaying the stars during the day, shifting between night and day, this was my favourite, and not even part of the exhibition.

And then back to Toronto we go. On the bus and wondering, critic or viewer, academia or asthetics. Journalist I ain't, but 47 Representative is something. It is interesting, the private side of the press world, to be guided and explained to. A free art trip is a free art trip, and to see behind the curating curtain was good enough for me.

Dear Art,
Thanks for the swag bag.