After three months of construction, we are thrilled to reveal our new exterior space! This morning we celebrated with our tenants, the Artscape Youngplace condo board and community members at the official reveal event for this functional, fresh and environmentally friendly exterior.
Coffee & Conversation is pleased to share this interview with visual artist Matthew Schofield. Matthew has an impressive resume; he has exhibited in Paris, Brussels, Florence, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Miami, Provincetown and Toronto. It was sincerely a treat to interview Matthew in his private studio space and talk about his artistic roots, current projects and continuous growth as an artist.
Grab your favourite caffeinated beverage and read our latest Coffee & Conversation interview with Institute for Creative Exchange (ICE) founders Salvador Alanis and Ximena Berecochea. This power couple facilitates workshops designed to promote artistic collaboration with a focus on creative processes. I got to chat with the lovely duo about the workshops, the importance of collaboration, and I even learned a few fun facts about the pair! Continue reading
Beat the summertime heat and stay cool indoors with SummerWorks!
Join us for the SummerWorks 2017 Festival at Artscape Youngplace and see two shows happening in Flex Studios 107 & 109. TwoPenny café will also be open for a much-needed caffeine infusion and snacks!
Coffee & Conversation is a NEW interview series with tenants at Artscape Youngplace. Our first interview is with Midi Onodera. Midi is an award-winning filmmaker who has been directing, producing, and writing films for over thirty years. Her work spans from short to feature-length films and videos, and is exhibited internationally. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Midi in her studio, and get the inside scoop on her latest projects.
“For me, I feel like I have a lot of connections here, in the neighbourhood. I love seeing [the people at Artscape Youngplace] sitting out on my patio, and I love seeing them now here in their workplace. It feels good to be part of this.”
You might have noticed on our mezzanine The TwoPenny, a pop-up café led by Debbie Rix from the Lucky Penny, a one-stop grocery across the street. The pop-up is open for the month of May. So far, it has been a booming hit.
Debbie and employee Kenzie working at The TwoPenny
We’re delighted that Debbie is involved in Artscape Youngplace, as she is a bit of a Shaw Street legend. She has lived in the area for almost 15 years, and in 2014 transformed a former run-down building into the first commercial space on Shaw Street. The Lucky Penny has evolved according to the neighbourhood’s needs. “I didn’t start out with very many groceries,” Debbie says. “What people were asking for is almost exactly what ended up on the shelves.” The design for the Lucky Penny was inspired by an island cottage Debbie visited as a child. “In this marina you could get anything from marshmallows to worms to Wonderbread to comic books to milk, and all the candy. That was my favourite thing in the summer, and that’s kind of how those areas of the Lucky Penny developed.” We at Artscape Youngplace love taking a break in the Muskoka chairs just outside the Lucky Penny, which Debbie says are reminiscent of that cottage life.
About Artscape Youngplace, she says, “I used to come to this building with my kids when it was still a school and it closed shortly after. I have a very fond history with this building because at the time that we were putting on the fun fairs, I set up a haunted house in the old classrooms. We had a lot of fun in here. For me, I feel like I have a lot of connections here, in the neighbourhood. I love seeing [the people at Artscape Youngplace] sitting out on my patio, and I love seeing them now here in their workplace. It feels good to be part of this.”
Debbie has also played a role in local Givins/Shaw Junior Public School, running the Parent Council for five years and starting the school’s annual Fun Fair. “A cohort of us got together and said we were going to make this school great, and we did. I got handed the parent council money, it was $200 at the start of the year, and at the end of the year we had $10,000.”
So, what first to try off the Lucky Penny menu? “Definitely the chicken panini. It was the first sandwich we had and it stayed, it is definitely the best seller.” Be sure to stop by The TwoPenny and say hi to Debbie before the end of May!
Yes it’s that time of year again! The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival has graced the city of Toronto with contemporary photography through a series of exhibits, public installations, and events during the month of May.
Artscape Youngplace is thrilled to host participating exhibitions from The Koffler Gallery, Critical Distance and Workman Arts. If you haven’t already seen these amazing works, we suggest you come on down and take a wander through our enlivened galleries and hallways. Please read on to find out more information about our exciting exhibitors!
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The Koffler Gallery welcomes back Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist 2Fik for his first solo show in Toronto. A Primary Exhibition of the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, 2Fik: His and Other Stories streamlines three recent bodies of work that explore cultural legacies as well as individual and national identity constructs. His photo-based work brings to life fictional individuals, embodied by himself, in a satirical manner. The exhibition showcases his latest compositions that dismantle and reconfigure allegorical representations of nationhood portrayed in several historic paintings.
The exhibition takes place at the Koffler Gallery and runs until June 4th.
Gallery Artist: 2Fik
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Critical Distance is delighted to present a Featured Exhibition of the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Festival, Signals & Sentiments. This two-part exhibition examines how gesture functions as a mechanism for the production of identify. Exhibition curator, Katelyn Gallucci, has placed a unique selection of sculpture and photo-based objects in context with each other, exploring how seemingly opposite artistic expressions might fundamentally derive from inadequacies of language, disposition, desire, and whim.
Artscape’s stairwell spaces are also a feature of the exhibition, temporarily home to three site-specific installations, which address the more exterior and transitory dynamics of gesture; exploring themes of self-discovery, the relationship between perception and memory, and the search for emotional connection through time.
The exhibition takes place in the Critical Distance gallery (Suite 302) & Artscape Youngplace Stairwells and runs until June 4th.
Gallery Artists: Sebastián Benítez, Petar Boskovic, Shelby Fenlon, Maxwell Hyett, and Mickey Mackenna.
Stairwell Artists: Maggie Groat & Jimmy Limit, Karen Henderson, and Josee Pedneault
Curated by: Karen Gallucci
Exhibitor info: https://criticaldistance.ca/program/signals-and-sentiments/
In conjunction with Signals & Sentiments, Mountainburger is a glorious 8-foot image by Kitchener-based artist Aislinn Thomas, which can be viewed on our Billboard on Shaw Street until August. Thomas’ artwork was selected for the Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw, a partnership with Artscape Youngplace.
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Workman Arts presents Mindset 2017, an annual juried exhibition presenting works by participant artists and artists who are members of the Workman Arts. The selected works featured in this exhibition explore how individual and collective experiences of trauma, illness, isolation and recovery are processed, supported by personal and interpersonal beliefs and behaviours.
Workman Arts is the longest running multidisciplinary arts and mental health organization in Canada and in the world. For over twenty-five years, Workman Arts has empowered aspiring, emerging, and established artists with mental illness and addiction issues to develop and refine their art practice through multifaceted arts training programs and public performance/exhibition opportunities.
The exhibition takes place on the Second Floor Hallway Gallery and runs until May 27th.
Gallery Artists: Teresa Ascenção, Stephanie Avery, Marco Buonocore, Cara Cole, Heather Fulton, Sheldon Laporte, Esmond Lee, Barbara Mann, Jaye Martin, Anita McKernan, Brad Necyk, Julie Riemersma, Annette Seip, and Tanya Louise Workman
Curator: Claudette Abrams
Jury Advisors: Jeff Bierk, Yuula Benivolski, and Tanya Louise Workman
Exhibitor info: http://www.workmanarts.com/mindset-2017/
Coffee & Conversation is excited to share this interview with the talented Lyla Rye. Lyla is well renowned artist who has exhibited across Canada and internationally. Her work explores the use of digital photography and architectural space. It was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to interview her.
- Tell me about yourself and your background and how you became an artist?
I started out studying architecture and then moved into fine arts. The work developed over the years from object based sculpture to room scale installations. About 20 years ago I added video into the mix and these pieces are shown predominately in room scaled installations. Since I’ve been here at Artscape I’ve been exclusively making art and running my own business called ‘Mentor Lyla Rye’ where I mentor visual artists through workshops and individual consultations.
- What motivates you at Artscape?
What’s great about this space is the community of other artists in the building. Having someplace communal like the café where you can randomly meet people is really nice. I also find the view from my studio to be really inspiring.
I have a personal connection to this building as well. My first apartment after I finished University was on Argyle Street and my studio was one of the front rooms. I looked at this building everyday – and this was back in 1989!
And then, just before the building got transferred to Artscape, Heather Nicol, who also in the building, curated a show called “Art School Dismissed”, which was made up of mid-career artists who teach – taking over the classrooms, and I was in that show. I showed in the studio directly beneath my studio now. Then I was invited to be the inaugural exhibition at Typology gallery which has since been renamed Critical Distance and is just down the hall.
It just seemed like for so many reasons I was meant to be in this building.
- So how long have you had interactions with this building?
I’ve been looking at this building from the outside since 1989, and the first show I was in was in 2010. I’ve had interactions with this building as Artscape since 2013 when it first opened, and been a tenant for 2 years.
- Aside from your mentoring workshops, what are you working on right now for yourself?
I’m working on a series of animations using cellphone videos with digital effects to create 3D illusions. Using graphic shapes and different methods of special depictions, I create illusions of space, but then they don’t quite work. I’m interested in when the illusions betray the fact that they’re only illusions of three-dimensional space.
Image: Are Closer Than, 2017 – Lyla Rye
5. How would you describe your creative process in coming up with ideas for your artwork?
I would describe it as walking through a house you don’t know, in the dark with your arms extended. There’s an inkling of where it’s going, but it’s a lot of asking “Why am I doing this?”, and “What does this mean?” It is about the ideas that niggle in the back of your brain but don’t go away, those are the ones that you have to pursue.
I’ve heard that for a lot of authors, they will have a story that they have to tell – that they have to get on paper. I feel like this is very similar to what you are describing.
Yeah, but for me those ideas are not fully formed until I finish. At the beginning they are just a grain of sand and it’s the making that creates the pearl. The idea is just a grain of sand, that’s all it is. It’s not anything special, it’s not divine intervention, it is just the tiniest niggle of thought – but in the making you try to figure it out, flesh it out, and try to understand it.
- What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
I would say that you’ve got to make what you love and realize that you could be making good work and it might not be acknowledged and you might not be successful. If you are truly driven – make what you love and don’t bend to the market because it really won’t work. All you can do is make what you make, cross your fingers, and work hard.
I’m sure you’ve met a lot of aspiring artists, you must have tons of experience.
What I am doing now is a little bit different in that I’m acting more as a mentor or consultant. What I love about that is that the people who come to me are driven in their making already. I don’t have to inspire those urges – it’s already there. It’s just about talking to them about their practice and asking questions that maybe they’ve never asked themselves. Questions about why they do things a certain way or why they’re going down a certain path, and through these questions, making them aware of other artists and other possible approaches; hopefully without ever dictating something that I think is right. I will often say, “I’ll give you this example, but you should come up with your own idea, and it will be better because it is integrated in your way of thinking.”
I also get to help people with the professional side of the practice – like with grant writing, statement editing, and all that nitty-gritty stuff that nobody likes doing but is completely necessary. A lot of it is just giving some of my knowledge, some confidence, and some challenges.
- 20 years ago, would have seen yourself doing what you are doing now?
No, I could not have ever fathomed this. I mean, I feel very, very lucky to be able to work on my art and work with other artists’ full time, in my own studio.
It’s cool how life takes you on a path, and sometimes you just don’t know where it’s going to go.
I think that’s the definition of life! You don’t know where it goes no matter your best intentions and all of your planning. It’s the same with being an artist, you don’t know what you’ll be making in 5 years, and you don’t know what opportunities might just fall in your lap. For all the stuff you put out there, the very best things are the things that just felt like random gifts from the universe.
- What is a hidden talent, or just a random fact about you?
I’m a bit of a jock. I did competitive gymnastics, down-hill skiing and spring-board diving when I was a teenager. I still ski, I like my rowing machine [points to the rowing machine behind her], and I do Pilates every day.
That’s an interesting dichotomy.
I feel like being in your body and understanding how it works, and having it work well and the joy of having it work well, is its own art. To me there is a similarity to understanding how your body works and art; it’s the process of learning how to do something. I think with artwork you’re always learning something new, even if it’s just as simple as “what will happen if I put this particular purple beside this particular lime green – will that be hideous, or will that be glorious?” and how do you decide what is hideous and what’s glorious?
- What is your fondest memory at Artscape Youngplace?
Probably one of my fondest memories is my friend Eve Egoyan – who has a studio on this floor- doing a concert in her studio. It’s pretty special to be that close to a grand piano, with a small group of people and also just seeing her total focus and virtuosity. I think she’s amazing, and she’s the sweetest person in the universe.