I'm back in North Carolina now after ending my wonderful residency at Sparkbox on the 15th. I am So happy with my two editions of relief prints, and my experience working in this studio has shown me how much I truly enjoy the relief process. I took this vine of my studio walls covered in prints the day before I left in attempts to show how much work I had done, but really those pieces are about one third of the total outcome.
The very last portion of my trip included a surprise visit to Toronto that was so enjoyable I felt it deserved its own post. Amanda (a resident during my second week in Picton) was kind enough to offer her time as my tour guide over the weekend, and took me to visit two big art galleries in the area. We visited The Power Plant (where I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside) and saw the current "Beat Nation" exhibition, which focused on Aboriginal art blending cultural traditions with contemporary culture. It was a really big Artist-run space that seemed to showcase a lot of young Canadian artists.
I got to see the exterior of Ontario College of Art & Design, and particularly enjoyed this bit of the campus (designed by Will Alsop):
And finally, one of the most memorable experiences from my entire stay in Canada - the Art Gallery of Ontario! (which I unfortunately forgot to take images of from outside). I have to begin with the incredible sound/kinetic sculpture installations of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. (the previous link goes to a page on their website listing all of their installations, and clicking on one will take you to a new page where videos can be viewed) One of my favorite pieces was "The Killing Machine" (a full video can be found on their website). It was simultaneously haunting and beautiful. The entire time we stood in front of it my heart was racing and I felt so confused watching these scary machines behave so violently while also appearing to put on a graceful dance performance set to string instruments. Also I couldn't stop thinking "I can't believe this entire scene has been wired to operate completely on its own!" What these artists do with robotics and sound is amazing. The most beautiful piece for certain was "The Forty Part Motet" which includes a room with forty speakers set up in a circle. Each speaker plays clearly one singer's voice from the choir, and they all play simultaneously to create a massive sound. You can stand in the middle, close your eyes, and feel completely immersed as if you are actually standing in the middle of this choir, or walk around to each speaker hearing each unique voice. However, it is so hard to do this installation justice with just words, it is very much one that needs to be experienced in person.
Finally, at the AGO I was also introduced to The Group of Seven. This group of Canadian painters has collectively created some of the most beautiful landscape paintings I have ever seen. The color palettes are perfect in my opinion, and again this is certainly an instance where images and words are not enough to convey their actual presence.