Friday, August 28, 2009

Out Now: Harbourfront Gallery Hop

My gallery hop for this weekend's National Post took me to Harbourfront Centre, where amidst debate in Toronto about the need/quality of aboriginal art shows, the galleries offer a great selection of First Nations exhibitions--ones largely overlooked amidst all the hubbub. Here's an excerpt:

Alternation, Main Gallery
York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay W.
Organized by prolific Mohawk curator Ryan Rice, Alternation gathers work by six artists who address First Nations experience in unexpected, and often open-ended, ways. Inuit and Canadian artist Mark Igloliorte, for example, constructed a sculpture that is part snowboard-park half-pipe and part cultural-heritage mural. Then, he videotaped himself snowboarding on the structure, trying to master its metal rail again and again. The main idea—that cultural identity is more a process than a proclamation—is playfully delivered here. Also adept is Calgary artist Terrance Houle’s contemporary redo of Many Snake Woman, a painting by turn-of-the-century German artist Winhold Reiss. In his video, Houle directs his mother, grandmother, sister and daughter in holding the same pose and gaze as the woman in Reiss’s painting, eerily suggesting the ways that individual identities can get transformed by art into blank, one-dimensional icons. Elsewhere, Tom Jones offers a different investigation of cultural-heritage question marks in compelling photographs of non-native weekend warriors dressed up to “play Indian.” To Sept. 20.

At Alternation, I also quite enjoyed minimalist prints by Jewel Shaw and prints by George Littlechild, one of which is seen above.

Also, if you're heading down to Harbourfront for these, be advised that Universal Code at the Power Plant closes on Sunday.


photo editing service said...

Interesting photo. I am not sure if it needs the Union Jack especially if it is about aboriginals!

Leah Sandals said...

Hi there,

Thanks for your comment.

George Littlechild's series, which this print is from, is about his mixed cultural heritage, both European and aboriginal. So the Union Jack does make sense in that context! Like a lot of work in this show, it is open-ended or somewhat ambiguous/complex in its approach to identity, which is something I really enjoyed.