Fabulous Peculiarities: The Art of Tony Calzetta
by Tom Smart
Canadian artist Tony Calzetta works in a narrative style which allows audiences to ‘read’ his work as a sort of visual fiction. Curator Tom Smart traces the development of Calzetta’s current artistic style and examines his collaborative printmaking projects.
This short monograph explores the work of Canadian artist Tony Calzetta. The first part of Fabulous Peculiarities is largely biographical, chronicling Calzetta’s artistic development. As an art student at the University of Windsor and later at York University, Calzetta distinguished himself for his ability to understand and respect the theoretical trends of art while intuitively understanding their limitations. He cultivated a unique voice with a personal imagery, style and lexicon of sources. Calzetta gained a reputation as a formalist due to his process-based approach. He spent decades honing his craft and experimenting with means of better engaging his audience then gradually adopted a more narrative style. Out of this interest arose several collaborative printmaking projects—How God Talks in His Sleep and Other Fabulous Fictions (a livre d’artiste composed of Calzetta’s artwork alongside texts by Leon Rooke), and its complementary set of folios, Peculiar Practices. Smart includes a short synopsis of both works, detailing the content—art and poetry—of the various folios.
Author, art gallery director, curator, and columnist, Tom Smart is especially noted for his award-winning critical biographies, catalogues and monographs on Canadian artists. Smart has worked in art galleries and museums across Canada and the United States. His bi-weekly column ‘The Curator’ appears in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.
$16.95 • 80 pp • sewn, paperback • 8.75" x 5.56"
ART CRITICISM • 978-0-88984-379-0
Sam Mogelonsky @ Judith and Norman ALIX Art Gallery
Making Methods: Becky Ip, Samantha Mogelonsky, Mark Stebbins
Judith and Norman ALIX Art Gallery, Sarnia, ON
June 6 to August 10, 2014
Curated by Darryn Doull
Circulated by The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
The works in Making Methods focus on concepts of repetition, detail, and labour as a means of production. Stebbins, Mogelonsky, and Ip each produce rich, multi-faceted artworks steeped in themes of translation and absence, traditional craft practices, and a commitment to repetition and process.
While at first glance the artworks in this exhibition may not appear to have much in common, each artist’s deliberate engagement with material invites viewers to question the role of hand-rendered art in an increasingly digitized society where non-physical experiences are commonplace. Through the juxtaposition of these unique artistic processes, chance, memory, experimentation, and a wide range of references from popular cultural coalesce in inherently transformative and unpredictable ways.
Accompanying the exhibition is a 72- page catalogue, featuring colour photography and essays by curators Linda Jansma (Robert McLaughlin Gallery) and Darryn Doull (Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery). The catalogue is available for purchase from the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, the Robert McLaughlin gallery bookstore as well as through ABC Art Books Canada.
Making Methods installation view @ Judith and Norman ALIX Art Gallery, Sarnia, 2014
Camilla Singh: Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work
Fashion’s spring collection has arrived at the Art Gallery of York University! Guest designer Camilla Singh’s new line of work-wear inaugurates her fashion label Filthy by Nature and proves that it is more fashionable than ever to be out there. The artist-curator-organizer-performer now adds fashion designer to her impressive list of credits in this one-off collection of “uniforms” designed specifically for Canadian curators. Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work opens with a gala reception Wednesday, April 2, 2014, from 6 – 9 pm. Despite the niche market for these unique “uniforms,” AGYU keeps accessibility fashionable too. The spring collection’s debut runs until June 16, 2014, and admission to everything is free. Everyone is welcome.
Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work is comprised of six “uniforms” for six specific Canadian curators (to be revealed at the gala reception!). Each is situated within a series of mini installations embedded within the overall design of the exhibition in order to spatially manifest ideas related to each curator’s unique practice. Through the use of sculptural objects and “props” that are set in relation to the “uniforms,” or the creation of custom-designed support systems which literally hold them up, Singh furthermore stages the behind-the-scenes “management” (from interns to institutions, etc.) on which all curatorial work depends. Taken as a whole, Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work implicitly acknowledges the embedded role of curating in exhibition-making and of art making in curatorial practice. Oh, and, of course, the importance of fashion to both….
Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work is curated by AGYU Assistant Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur.
The AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto.
Gallery hours are: Monday to Friday, 10 am–4 pm; Wednesday, 10am–8 pm; Sunday from noon–5 pm; and closed Saturday.
Image credit: Camilla Singh, Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work, 2014, installation view @ AGYU, Toronto. Photo by Walter Willems
Tony Calzetta @ MacLaren ART Centre
Tony Calzetta: Shadow Blocking
March 6 to July 6, 2014
opening reception: Thursday April 3, 7 - 9 pm
MacLaren ART Centre, Barrie, Ontario
Shadow Blocking features five intaglio prints from 1982 by Tony Calzetta from the MacLarenArtCentre’s Permanent Collection. A contemporary of David Craven, Calzetta is similarly interested in geometrical abstraction and the use of humour to enliven his art. After abandoning pure abstraction in the 1980s, Calzetta’s work has increasingly embraced a comic-strip aesthetic that celebrates the narrative potential of the wandering line. These prints utilize the palette that drove much of Calzetta’s early work—strong pinks, blues, and oranges against dark, moody backgrounds—and also highlight the centrality of drawing throughout his career.
Image: Tony Calzetta, Lovely Charente (1982), intaglio on paper, 51.1 x 64.8 cm. Collection of the MacLarenArtCentre. Anonymous gift, 1998.
Bruno Billio @ Design Exchange
THIS IS NOT A TOY
February 7 to May 19, 2014
This Is Not A Toy, curated by John Wee Tom and DX Associate Curator Sara Nickelson with Guest Curator Pharrell Williams, is the world's first exhibition featuring a collection of contemporary sculptures, figurines and artworks created by artists including Bruno Billio, Coarse, FriendsWithYou, Huck Gee, KAWS, Frank Kozik and Takashi Murakami
The exhibition explores the conceptual toy – a form made solely as an expression of an aesthetic, concept or idea – as an art and design object as well as a contemporary cultural signifier. On display until May 19, visitors dive headfirst into the realm of designer toys as the Exhibition Hall is transformed into a vibrant and whimsical environment, filled with forms ranging from tiny trinkets to enormous free-standing pieces.
This Is Not A Toy is generously supported by Artworkers Retirement Society, Hal Jackman Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council.
Max Streicher @ The Spoke Club
Ascending Giants on the roof of The Spoke Club, Toronto until March 31, 2014
Robert Hedrick @ WAG
MATH + ART
December 7 to April 27, 2014
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Most of us are not naturally inclined to think about mathematics when looking at a work of art. And yet the disciplines of math and art have been inextricably linked throughout history as artists have continually used mathematical principals and concepts to guide their visual creativity. This exhibition, featuring over thirty prints, paintings, and sculptures from the WAG’s permanent collection, celebrates the fascinating and ongoing relationship between mathematics and visual art.
Offering a particular focus on 20th century art, Math + Art provides an opportunity to explore modern art through the lens of mathematics during a time when artists were experimenting geometric abstraction and considering mathematical theories in the creation of their two- and three-dimensional works of art. From the surreal juxtapositions of Salvador Dali to the grid-inspired conceptual art of Sol Le Witt; from the towering block structures of Kazuo Nakamura to Bertram Brooker’s drawing of a four-dimensional tesseract, this exhibition offers an inspiring variety of work that challenges the mind and delights the senses. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with specific works in the exhibition through a series of fun and challenging interactive Math + Art cards exploring three mathematical themes: Shape and Dimension, Number and Relation, and Symmetry and Pattern.
Image: Robert Hedrick, Red-White-Blue, 1978, acrylic on linen, 63 x 63"
Barb Hunt @ McMichael Canadian Art Collection
CHANGING TIDES: CONTEMPORARY ART OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
January 25 to June 1, 2014
Opening reception: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Guest curated by Patricia Grattan.
Newfoundland and Labrador, in recent years, has become a growing presence in the Canadian consciousness owing to factors such as its oil-fired economic boom, effective provincial tourism marketing, and the many local writers, musicians, actors, comedians, and filmmakers who have emerged on the national stage. Among these notable figures are Wayne Johnston, Lisa Moore, Allan Hawco, Jonny Harris, Shaun Majumder, Great Big Sea, and Hey Rosetta.
The visual arts—which is the art form least rooted in the province’s traditional culture—has commanded comparatively less national attention, excluding the work of David Blackwood, Christopher Pratt, and Mary Pratt who emerged in the 1960s when the province’s first professional visual arts community was taking shape. This group exhibition, entitled Changing Tides, calls attention to the rich and diverse work that is now emerging—quietly but with increasing confidence—from the country’s eastern edge.
Diversity is the hallmark of Newfoundland and Labrador art. There has never been a shared aesthetic or approach to art making beyond a widely shared use of realism, or at least figuration, employed in a variety of different ways. Newfoundlanders, however, are famous for their deep and enduring attachment to home—an attachment that has been embraced by most incoming artists; therefore it is not surprising that the landscape and references to traditional cultural practices serve as central sources of imagery in their work. The exhibition also explores the concepts of narrative, memory, loss, and the human relationship to the natural environment.
Viewers will notice these elements woven throughout works in a variety of media: from David Blackwood’s narratives of outport communities and the seal fishery, to Labrador sculptor Mike Massie’s gently humorous “teapots”; from Mi’Kmaq artist Jordan Bennett’s interactive sculptural sound and video installation, to Scott Walden’s photo-documentation of clubs along Conception Bay; and from Gerald Squires’ romantic painting of the Barrens, to the more subtle poetry of Ned Pratt’s increasingly abstract large-scale photographs.
The artists featured in the exhibition include: Anne Meredith Barry, Jordan Bennett, David Blackwood, Grant Boland, Ron Bolt, Marlene Creates, Barb Daniell, Marlene Creates, Michael Flaherty, Billy Gauthier, Will Gill, Scott Goudie, Michael Gough, Kym Greeley, Pam Hall, John Hartman, Barb Hunt, Christine Koch, Michael Massie, Michael Pittman, Barbara Pratt, Christopher Pratt, Ned Pratt, Mary Pratt, William B. Ritchie, Bill Rose, Gerald Squires, Scott Walden, Don Wright.
The sixty-eight works, by twenty-nine artists, have been provided by public, corporate, and private lenders in Newfoundland and the Toronto area. The artists represented are either based in Newfoundland and Labrador or possess significant bodies of work depicting the province.
Image: Barb Hunt, Heart's Ease, 1996, plasma-arc cut steel, 80 x 120"
Camilla Singh at AGYU
In case you haven't heard, Camilla is having a major solo exhibition at AGYU in Spring 2014 entitled Uniforms for Non-Uniform Work (April 2 – June 15, 2014). But like most things AGYU and most things Camilla Singh, the exhibition is anything but straightforward, anything but uniform. And it has been a lot of work! (The nature of which, of course, is one of the artist's main thematic investigations.) So, it goes without saying that the process and lead-up to this show is as complex as the work that will comprise it.
In 2013, the AGYU and the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University teamed up to bring Camilla Singh to York University as the Visiting Artist In Sculpture under the guidance of AGYU's Assistant Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur and Faculty of Fine Arts Professor Brandon Vickerd.
During the ongoing 14-month residency, Camilla has given talks, attended advanced technical demonstrations, and had the opportunity to experiment with new materials and ways of working as she develops this brand new body of work. Camilla has engaged with students in discussions about putting a practice into form: exploring the curatorial considerations of art making and the artistic processes undertaken by curators, especially as they pertain to the application of sculpture to exhibition design, which is intrinsically linked to the show's thematic. And then she's gone and done just that: put the idea of curating into form, uniforms to be exact.
Camilla's studio, located in the sculpture area, has been the hub of production and the site of inspiration for everyone else working around her, including us at AGYU. Her project marks the first large-scale production collaboration between AGYU and the Sculpture Area.
As part of the conceptual premise of this exhibition, Camilla is developing groundbreaking ways of working with patrons and sponsors. To learn more click here , or send an email.
Camilla's multi-faceted project is curated by AGYU Assistant Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur.
Image: Untitled Staged Photo (Visiting Artist in Sculpture), 2013. Photo by Walter Willems & Camilla Singh