Exhibition organized and circulated by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and made possible in part by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s National and International Touring Program, and the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Why Can’t Minimal mines minimalism for its humorous side by pointing to a latent absurdity hiding beneath its cool demeanour. The exhibition rejects the assumption that minimal art requires solely serious, solemn contemplation, and embraces the more intuitive, jovial, and personal pleasures that occur when one has fun with the comically utopian ambitions of unitary forms. Playing with the forms, traditions and incongruities of multiple levels of minimalism, the presented works elude rational comprehension, repositioning conceptual value to make room for the types of recognition made possible through levity, play, humour and sentiment.
John Boyle-Singfield, Untitled (Coke Zero), Plexiglas, Coke Zero, white steel base,2012
John Marriott, Hidden in Plain Sight, Digital collage on paper, 2013
A young boy improvises martial arts gestures against the stark backdrop of an empty modern building and barren landscape. This new short film from internationally-celebrated media artist Myriam Yates, was made following her time on Fogo Island, NL. “Lyle” is the child’s name – pronounced, in French, like “l’isle” – the word for “island”. For the artist, the contrast between the control and discipline of the child’s combat movements against the stillness of the landscape evoke the struggle of the creative process.
Myriam Yates’ work combines photography, video installation and 16mm film. She is particularly interested in recreational or gathering areas, especially those which are obsolete or in the process of disappearing, where new ties are being forged between individuals, modernity and architecture.
Myriam Yates, Island, Lyle, (still) HD video, sound, 2016
In 1977, a flamingo landed on the coast of Newfoundland and was immediately shot. Now preserved in the collection of The Rooms, the strange story of how this tropical bird came to be in its final resting place far from home is the starting point for this contemporary art exhibition that explores the inherent absurdity and poignancy of collecting behaviour. What motivates us to collect? How do we choose what to include and exclude from our collections and exhibitions? Artworks by local, national, and international artists are bought together with a selection of works from The Rooms Permanent Collections that have never before been exhibited. Throughout, works that incorporate song and voice elude to absence and elegy, but also to the limitless power of sound to exclaim presence, even when there is no “room” for physical inclusion. The end result is a sumptuous, poetic experience for the eyes, and ears.
David R. Harper, Learning to Love You (detail), Wood, steel, cast polymer with virgin paper pulp, photo paper, enamel, paint.2015. photo credit: Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid
Sara Cwynar, Soft Film, 16mm film transferred to digital video, 2016
Catherine Bolduc’s new work creates a fantastical space that blends the figure of Christopher Columbus with the strange, rocky, moon-like terrain found on parts of the west coast of Newfoundland. This immersive contemporary art installation constructs a new reality through video, collage, and large-scale drawings in ink and watercolour. Bolduc uses the language of fiction, maps, archival documents, and travel journals to re-imagine an extraordinary place. This work draws on a six-week 2015 artist residency at Gros Morne National Park, offered in partnership by The Rooms and Parks Canada.
Catherine Bolduc, La Femme dans la lune / Her head in the clouds (detail), Mixed media, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.
During their 2016 artist residency at The Rooms, Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley became fascinated by the many stories of people losing track of time and place while berry-picking and the associated folkloric narratives that attempt to explain this phenomena. Using archival images, sound, and berry-dyed fabrics, they reflect upon how perception can shift to disorientation even in the most familiar landscapes.
Leisure, Narrative no. 9, Digital photograph, 2016
Organized and circulated by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal With the support of the Government of Canada through its Department of Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program
The exhibition consists of an installation version of the hour-long creative documentary Hotel Machine that was filmed by Emanuel Licha in five cities—Beirut, Sarajevo, Gaza, Kyiv and Belgrade—in five hotels that house war correspondents covering conflicts. The film is presented in one central projection space surrounded by five adjacent archive stations, which through texts, images and documents define aspects of the concept of the “war hotel.”
Emanuel Licha, Hotel Machine (film still), 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Les Contes Modernes
Jennie Williams was born and raised in Labrador in the most southern Inuit region in the circumpolar Arctic. She photographs people in their everyday environments and circumstances, working to document practices and traditions in the manner that they are celebrated today in Labrador. Recent bodies of work reveal her deep interest and love for Inuit cultural traditions, especially the photographic series Nalujuk Night, shot in Nain where she lives. At a summer residency at The Rooms, Williams will develop a new portrait series of urban Inuit living in St. John’s.
The exhibition is part of the Elbow Room Residency Series
Jennie Williams, Nalujuk, photograph,2015. Courtesy of the artist
SakKijâjuk – a Labrador Inuit term meaning, “to be visible” – highlights the little known craft and artworks produced in Nunatsiavut (the Inuit region of Labrador) over half a century of exciting, diverse production. The exhibition features the work of dozens of artists in photography, sculpture, painting, clothing, drawing, printmaking, basketry, film, video, and the textile arts. The exhibition opens at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery before touring across Canada.
Michelle Baikie, The Hunter, 1998, 35.56 x 25.4cm, digital photograph, Collection of the artist
The next installation of Truth or Myth? draws on the permanent collection to explore the changing relationship between cultural identity and food in Newfoundland and Labrador, as portrayed by artists such as Grant Boland, Martin Lyons, Derrick Pottle, Mary Pratt, and Helen Parsons Shepherd.
Grant Boland, High Class Candies, oil on canvas, 2002. Photo credit: The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Collection