Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recommended: Ushioda Tokuko @ INDEXG, Wish You Were Here @ Gladstone Hotel

I headed over to INDEXG gallery on Saturday; was going to go anyway, but Glober Gary Dault's Saturday review on the Simon Glass show there upped the ante. When I got a chance to look around, I found I actually preferred a show in back--beautifully printed black and whites of books both holy and unholy--more so than Glass's efforts, digital prints which are obviously thoughtful but didn't grab me.

Those compelling photographs, I've since found out, are the work of Ushioda Tokuko, a sixtysomething Tokyo artist who hadn't shown in Canada prior to her summer '08 show @ INDEXG. The gallery provides this bio:

"Ushioda Tokuko (Japan) focuses her work on still-life photography. She concentrates on taking pictures of various objects to examine people's daily lives. Her "ICE BOX" series (1998) portrays refrigerators actually in use, open and close, at various households. The series "Biblioteca" (began in 2001) shows books not merely as repositories of knowledge, but equally as attractive in their own right as objects. This exquisite black and white series presents photographs of books as "scenery". Taken in Tokyo library, these images of rare and historic books are printed as beautiful gelatin silver prints.

Born in Tokyo, Ushioda Tokuko graduated from Kuwasawa Design School in 1963, where she studied photography. She taught photography there and the Tokyo University of Art and Design and became a freelance photographer in 1975. She married photographer Shimao Shinzo in 1978 with whom she has recorded their travels to China together. They published over 10 books on China."

This ain't work that's going to turn the world upside down, but it's really well-done and you have to appreciate that from time to time, dontcha? Oh, they also have some nice affordable digital prints of drawings by Jason McLean, who's opening original works at Jessica Bradley this Saturday.

In a totally different vein, the nearby Gladstone Hotel hosts another worth-seeing show: "Wish You Were Here: Postcards from Toronto." Organized by dealer Katharine Mulherin, the show includes work by 40-plus artists each putting a different spin on the postcard format and theme. Standouts were Lauren Bride's index cards detailing emotional formulae like "x/1 = childhood hopes/adult hopes -- find x", Germaine Koh's found photos, Lisa Deanne Smith's postcards-from-others-on-9/11 projectand Michael Klein's returned-to-sender envelopes--all of the latter sent from and addressed to himself at various non-Klein locations. Definitely worth a browse.

Image from Ushioda Tokuko's Biblioteca series from INDEXG

No comments: