Archives

Opening Reception – Through Lines

THROUGH LINES

September 13 – November 25, 2018
Presented by Koffler Gallery & Critical Distance Centre for Curators

FALL OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 13, 2018 | 7–9 PM | FREE

Through lines is presented across several locations at Artscape Youngplace: Koffler Gallery (1st floor), Critical Distance (3rd floor) and the outdoor billboard (Shaw Street). 

Guest Curator: Noa Bronstein

Lise Beaudry, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Leila Fatemi, Maria Hupfield, Raafia Jessa, Nadia Myre

Koffler Gallery Hours: 

Tues to Fri 12 PM – 6 PM
Sat & Sun 11 AM – 5 PM
Closed Mondays
& Statutory Holidays

Critical Distance Hours:

Tues-Fri 12-6 pm and Sat-Sun 11-5 pm and by appointment

Through lines brings together the works of seven artists that challenge notions of redaction, tackling its typical devices of shredding, blacking out, editing and covering up. Each project featured in this exhibition engages a restorative gesture that speaks to the ways in which history and memory are conceptualized within a contemporary context. Rather than considering redaction simply as a bureaucratic tool or an outcome of state control, these specific approaches enable new forms of knowledge production and remembering, both politically and personally. Contemplating alternative legibilities that might emerge through redaction, the exhibition highlights the spaces of inquiry revealed through acts of obstruction.

Image: Leila Fatemi, Revealed/Reveiled, 2018.

Exhibition – Through Lines

THROUGH LINES

September 13 – November 25, 2018
Presented by Koffler Gallery & Critical Distance Centre for Curators

Through lines is presented across several locations at Artscape Youngplace: Koffler Gallery (1st floor), Critical Distance (3rd floor) and the outdoor billboard (Shaw Street). 

Guest Curator: Noa Bronstein

Lise Beaudry, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Leila Fatemi, Maria Hupfield, Raafia Jessa, Nadia Myre

FALL OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 13, 2018 | 7–9 PM | FREE

Koffler Gallery Hours: 

Tues to Fri 12 PM – 6 PM
Sat & Sun 11 AM – 5 PM
Closed Mondays
& Statutory Holidays

Critical Distance Hours:

Tues-Fri 12-6 pm and Sat-Sun 11-5 pm and by appointment

Through lines brings together the works of seven artists that challenge notions of redaction, tackling its typical devices of shredding, blacking out, editing and covering up. Each project featured in this exhibition engages a restorative gesture that speaks to the ways in which history and memory are conceptualized within a contemporary context. Rather than considering redaction simply as a bureaucratic tool or an outcome of state control, these specific approaches enable new forms of knowledge production and remembering, both politically and personally. Contemplating alternative legibilities that might emerge through redaction, the exhibition highlights the spaces of inquiry revealed through acts of obstruction.

Image: Leila Fatemi, Revealed/Reveiled, 2018.

Opening Reception – EXPOSING LIMINALITIES

EXPOSING LIMINALITIES

Opening Reception Saturday, August 11th from 2–4 pm

On View August 11-26, 2018

Gallery HoursThursday–Sunday from 12-5 pm through August 26th

Featuring Azaeb AdaneClayton BatsonEli CarmonaTahoy Jamesand Ebti Nabag
Curated by
 Emma German

 

In partnership with Gallery 44, EXPOSING LIMINALITIES brings together the work of five artists that expand, challenge, and question notions of the in-between. Employing elements of both analogue and digital photography practices, this exhibition considers the myriad intersections that can define oneself.

Liminality holds flexible meanings: it encompasses the transitional stage of a process, and the act of occupying a position at or on both sides of a boundary or threshold. Reflecting on liminality as a critical discourse, these artists probe places and contexts that are immediate yet deeply personal – embodying and responding to conditions that approximate liminal space through investigative means. Different states of being are examined through the eyes of these artists: between what was once home and what is now home; between disparate temporal and spatial coordinates; between boundaries, borders, or margins; between success and failure; between the visible and the unseen; and between liberation and restraint. By drawing on moments that are overlooked with deep criticality and inquisitive gaze, the artists featured in Exposing Liminalities aim to bridge the gaps between us. Together, the artists carve out a new space for inquiry, where the liminal becomes the limitless.

The artists featured in this exhibition are alumni from Gallery 44’s OUTREACH program, and winners and honourable mentions of the David Barker Maltby Award. All of the work was shot on 35 mm film and developed in Gallery 44’s darkroom and digital printing facilities.

 

Image: Eli Carmona, I can see the light, from the series “.~This is home now” (2018). Image courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition – EXPOSING LIMINALITIES

EXPOSING LIMINALITIES

On View August 11-26, 2018

Gallery hours
Thursday–Sunday from 12-5 pm through August 26th

Admission is always free; building and gallery are fully accessible.

Featuring Azaeb AdaneClayton BatsonEli CarmonaTahoy Jamesand Ebti Nabag
Curated by
 Emma German

Opening Reception Saturday, August 11th from 2–4 pm

In partnership with Gallery 44, EXPOSING LIMINALITIES brings together the work of five artists that expand, challenge, and question notions of the in-between. Employing elements of both analogue and digital photography practices, this exhibition considers the myriad intersections that can define oneself.

Liminality holds flexible meanings: it encompasses the transitional stage of a process, and the act of occupying a position at or on both sides of a boundary or threshold. Reflecting on liminality as a critical discourse, these artists probe places and contexts that are immediate yet deeply personal – embodying and responding to conditions that approximate liminal space through investigative means. Different states of being are examined through the eyes of these artists: between what was once home and what is now home; between disparate temporal and spatial coordinates; between boundaries, borders, or margins; between success and failure; between the visible and the unseen; and between liberation and restraint. By drawing on moments that are overlooked with deep criticality and inquisitive gaze, the artists featured in Exposing Liminalities aim to bridge the gaps between us. Together, the artists carve out a new space for inquiry, where the liminal becomes the limitless.

The artists featured in this exhibition are alumni from Gallery 44’s OUTREACH program, and winners and honourable mentions of the David Barker Maltby Award. All of the work was shot on 35 mm film and developed in Gallery 44’s darkroom and digital printing facilities.

About the Artists

Azaeb Adane is an emerging artist specializing in film photography. A 2017 recipient of the David Barker Maltby Award, Adane has had no other formal training in the arts previous to her enrolment in the OUTREACH program. Now with this achievement under her belt, Adane is focused on honing her voice as a first generation Canadian-Ethiopian. Raised in Toronto, her work documents others hailing from the diaspora, and examines juxtapositions around finding a balance between modernity and traditional living, which both have their consequences to the modern native.

Clayton Batson is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist of West Indian descent. He is a recent Graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance program (2018). Migrating between performance, photography, and poetry, Clayton’s practice is centered on intimacy and truth. His work seeks to challenge perspective, explore aspects of the self, mental health, sexuality, spirituality and inspire change and acceptance, which he examines with an outside eye looking from within.

Eli Carmona is a Salvadorean-born artist based in Toronto. Their work includes casual/street photography, motion graphics, and graphic design. Their work means to create a relationship between identity and the spaces they navigate as a queer-latine-nonbinary person. They are currently working at The 519 as a Communications Specialist.

Tahoy James is an emerging artist who works with photography, video, and installation. She is motivated by the day to day emotions and moments humans tend to ignore or overlook. Her hope is that her work will cause the viewer to feel happy, emotional and/or slightly uncomfortable.

Ebti Nabag is a visual artist who works with photography, video, and installation. A graduate of the Documentary Media MFA program at Ryerson University, her work is motivated by stories from the average human. Recent exhibitions include Movement in Tradition: Tobe (2016), Vitiligo at the AGO (2015), Intersections (2014) featured at the CONTACT Photography Festival, and I AmNot My Hair (2012). She hopes her documentations serve as bridges between people and communities. A digital and analogue photography instructor, Nabag teams up with galleries and community centers to develop art programs that provide opportunities for creative self-expression and aid in the development of identity. Nabag has served as both a facilitator and instructor for the OUTREACH program in recent years.

About the Curator

Emma German is an emerging curator and writer working between St. Catharines and Toronto. She holds an M.A. in Art History and a Graduate Diploma in Curatorial Studies from York University (2017). Her research explores exhibition spaces as sites of embodied experimentation. Engaging a wide scope of subjects, contexts, and temporalities, she is interested in promoting decelerated modes of perception to stimulate close looking and speculative inquiry around contemporary art. She has held curatorial and administrative positions at Rodman Hall Art Centre, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her research was recently published in the Journal of Curatorial Studies.

About Gallery 44

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a charitable, non-profit, artist-run centre committed to supporting multi-faceted approaches to photography and lens-based media. Founded in 1979 to establish a supportive environment for the development of artistic practice, Gallery 44’s mandate is to provide a context for meaningful reflection and dialogue on contemporary photography.

Image: Eli Carmona, I can see the light, from the series “.~This is home now” (2018). Image courtesy of the artist

… move or be moved by some ‘thing’ rather than oneself.

Critical Distance is pleased to present … move or be moved by some thing rather than oneself., an exhibition that considers curating and choreography as materials and subjects. Bringing together the work of Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Adam Basanta, Adrienne Crossman, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget, the exhibition is curated by Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau and Maude Johnson. The title, taken from a quote by choreographer Yvonne Rainer, echoes the curators’ desire to question the potentialities of artworks as well as presentation contexts from the position of transdisciplinary instability.

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 23, from 2-4 pm
Exhibition dates: June 23-August 5, 2018
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Sunday, from 12-5 pm

Opening Reception & Curator’s Talk: “…move or be moved by some ‘thing’ rather than oneself.”

Opening Reception & Curator’s Talk at Critical Distance Centre for Curators

… move or be moved by some ‘thing’ rather than oneself.

Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Adam Basanta, Adrienne Crossman, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget

Curated by Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau and Maude Johnson

June 23, 2018 2–4 pm | FREE

Critical Distance is pleased to present … move or be moved by some thing rather than oneself., an exhibition that considers curating and choreography as materials and subjects. Bringing together the work of Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Adam Basanta, Adrienne Crossman, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget, the exhibition is curated by Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau and Maude Johnson. The title, taken from a quote by choreographer Yvonne Rainer, echoes the curators’ desire to question the potentialities of artworks as well as presentation contexts from the position of transdisciplinary instability.

About the artists

Guillaume Adjutor Provost is a Montréal-based artist. His practice is situated at the borders of visual arts, curating, and literature through hybrid works. He holds a Ph.D. in Arts Studies and Practices from UQAM and is the 2016-18 recipient of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art. His solo exhibition have been presented in various venues, such as Centre CLARK (Montréal, 2016), Diagonale (Montréal, 2017), and Bikini (Lyon, 2018).

Adam Basanta is a Montréal-based artist, composer, and performer of experimental music. His sculptures and installations reveal the conceptual and sensory dimensions of sound in the exhibition space by modifying the usual relationship of the visitors to it. His recent projects have been presented in Europe, United States, and Canada. He is long-listed for the 2018 Sobey Art Award.

Adrienne Crossman is based in Windsor. Their approach as an artist and curator questions the normativity of representation and the boundaries of the physical or virtual exhibition environment. They examine the potentialities of a queer sensibility through digital media and popular culture. Their recent projects have been shown in Toronto, Windsor, Carlisle (UK), and Montréal, as well as in The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget is a Montréal-based artist. She employs choreographic and curatorial strategies to complicate access to her performing body in live, video, or installation works. Recent exhibitions and performances have been presented in various venues, such as VU PHOTO (Québec, 2016), She Works Flexible—Flex Space (Houston, 2016), and OPTICA (Montréal, 2017).

About the curators

Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau is a Montréal-based writer and curator. MA candidate in Art History at UQAM, her research questions the effects of exhibition reenactment in contemporary art. She was the Assistant Curator for the Canadian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), co-editor of the book Questionner l’avenir. Réflexions sur la réactualisation de la Biennale de Montréal (2015), and curator of the exhibition do it Montréal at Galerie de l’UQAM (2016).

Maude Johnson is a Montréal-based writer and curator. She holds a MA in Art History from Concordia University. She is interested in the relationship between bodies, times, and spaces. Her research explores performative and curatorial practices, while probing methodologies, mechanisms, and languages within interdisciplinary practices. Her recent projects have been presented in the SIGHTINGS space of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Montréal, 2016) and at Artexte (Montréal, 2018).

 

image: Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Rendering on View (Betty Rowland meets Angela Aames)2017. Performed on May 27, 2017, as part of the installation Walls of Wind: The mirroring and rendering which was created in the context of the group exhibition I’ve Only Known My Own curated by Nicole Burisch and presented from April 21 to June 10, 2017, at OPTICA, Montréal. Photo by Paul Litherland.

Opening Reception for FERMENTING FEMINISM 

FERMENTING FEMINISM Opening Reception

SHARLENE BAMBOAT, HAZEL MEYER, LEILA NADIR and CARY PEPPERMINT, SARAH NASBY, KAYLA POLAN, WALTER SCOTT, AGUSTINE ZEGERS 

Curated by LAUREN FOURNIER

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14th from 6–9 pm

ON VIEW SEPTEMBER 14–NOVEMBER 26, 2017, 12–5 PM | Critical Distance | Suite 302

Fermenting Feminism is a multidisciplinary project that takes different forms: beginning as a publication in collaboration with Lauren Fournier and the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, it has evolved into site-specific exhibitions, installations, and screenings in Toronto, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Kansas City. This exhibition at Critical Distance marks the Canadian launch of this project. The site-specific evolution of Fermenting Feminism instantiates the context-specificity of microbes and fungi, of fermenting bodies, and of feminisms.

Please join us for an opening reception with the curator on Thursday, September 14th from 6–9 pm. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Our reception is the same night as Koffler Gallery’s fall exhibition opening downstairs — two for one at Artscape Youngplace this evening!

 

CRITICAL DISTANCE (CDCC)

Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw Street | Toronto | Ontario | M6J 2W5

click for map
GALLERY / OFFICE HOURS
Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment through November 26th. Office hours by appointment only.
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

 

Critical Distance is a not-for-profit initiative and space devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice in Toronto, Canada, and beyond. Part gallery and publisher, part professional association and community, CDCC is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a forum for ideas on curating and exhibition-making as ways to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life. For more info, visit our website or social media pages, linked above.

image: Sarah Nasby, Living Things (Dorothy Hafner vessel, kombucha, lines pattern), 2017

Exhibition: FERMENTING FEMINISM at Critical Distance

SHARLENE BAMBOAT, HAZEL MEYER, LEILA NADIR and CARY PEPPERMINT, SARAH NASBY, KAYLA POLAN, WALTER SCOTT, AGUSTINE ZEGERS 

Curated by LAUREN FOURNIER

ON VIEW SEPTEMBER 14–NOVEMBER 26, 2017, 12–5 PM | Critical Distance | Suite 302

Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment through November 26th.

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14th from 6–9 pm

Critical Distance is pleased to open our landmark 5th year of programming with Fermenting Feminism, curated by Lauren Fournier and featuring Sharlene Bamboat, Hazel Meyer, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Sarah Nasby, Kayla Polan, Walter Scott, and Agustine Zegers.

Kombucha, guts, bacteria, vessels, vitalism, effervescence, degradation, and decay. Fermenting Feminism brings together artists whose work fleshes out the intersections between fermentation and intersectional feminisms. As the process of microbial transformation, fermentation becomes both a metaphor and material practice through which to approach feminist practices in the contemporary. Is feminism a relic of the past, something that has soured? Or is feminism still a vital imperative? This exhibition positions fermentation as a vital and viable space to re-conceive feminisms’s pasts, presents, and futures. Working across art, science, performance, and design, the works in Fermenting Feminism make space for multidisciplinary experimentation and conceptual play. Fermentation symbolizes bioavailability and accessibility, preservation and transformation, interspecies symbiosis, sustainability and futurity, harm reduction and care. Spanning the speculative and the literal, the embodied and the ephemeral, the works in this exhibition revisit questions of importance to feminists—consumption, colonialism, hygiene, wellness, agency, ritual, sexuality, transformation, and tradition—through the theory and practice of fermentation.

Fermenting Feminism is a multidisciplinary project that takes different forms: beginning as a publication in collaboration with Lauren Fournier and the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, it has evolved into site-specific exhibitions, installations, and screenings in Toronto, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Kansas City. This exhibition at Critical Distance marks the Canadian launch of this project. The site-specific evolution of Fermenting Feminism instantiates the context-specificity of microbes and fungi, of fermenting bodies, and of feminisms.

Please join us for an opening reception with the curator on Thursday, September 14th from 6–9 pm. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Our reception is the same night as Koffler Gallery’s fall exhibition opening downstairs — two for one at Artscape Youngplace this evening!

ABOUT THE ARTISTS and CURATOR

Sharlene Bamboat works predominantly in film, video and installation.  Based in Toronto and Pittsburgh, she has exhibited at galleries and festivals internationally, including Les Complices* (Zurich), the Images Festival (Toronto), The Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), and Vasakh Film Festival (Lahore).

Sarah Nasby works primarily in sculpture and drawing. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University and a BA from the University of Guelph. Selected exhibition venues include Mercer Union, DNA Artspace (London), and Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina). Sarah acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council for her work in this exhibition.

Hazel Meyer works with installation, performance, and textiles to investigate relationships between sport, sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Drawing on archival research, she bring various troublemakers—lesbians-feminists, gender outlaws, leather-dykes—into the performative space of athletics.

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint investigate food, ecology, media, and memory, creating social sculptures that facilitate recovery from a cultural memory disorder they call “industrial amnesia.” Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and lecturer in Sustainability and Environmental Humanities; Peppermint is an Associate Professor in the department of Art and Art History—both at University of Rochester.

Kayla Polan is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice melds feminism and popular culture to explore sexuality, fetishism, domesticity, queer identity, autobiography, and consumer culture. She holds a BFA in Drawing & Painting from OCADU and her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions in Canada and Europe.

Walter Scott is a Kahnawake-born artist currently based in Montreal and Toronto. His practice includes writing, video, performance and sculpture, through which he explores questions of representation, cultural production, popular culture and narrative construction. His work has been exhibited in Japan, North America, and Europe.

Agustine Zegers is a Chilean visual artist and bacterial community, currently finishing a BA at NYU Abu Dhabi. They have exhibited work in Santiago, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and New York

Exhibition curator Lauren Fournier (Regina, Saskatchewan) is a writer, curator, artist, and PhD candidate currently based in Toronto. In addition to her art and curatorial practices, she has worked as a frontline mental health and harm reduction worker. She has exhibited her work in galleries, artist-run centres, and screenings across Canada and in Berlin, Athens, and Houston. Her writing has been published in Canadian ArtMagentaKapsulaThe Journal of Comparative Media ArtsMilkweedCanadian Journal of Woman Studies, and West Coast Line. Recent curatorial projects include The Sustenance Rite at the Blackwood Gallery and Out of Repetition, Difference at Zalucky Contemporary.


​​​​

CRITICAL DISTANCE (CDCC)

Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw Street | Toronto | Ontario | M6J 2W5

click for map
GALLERY / OFFICE HOURS
Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday 12–5 pm and by appointment through November 26th. Office hours by appointment only.
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

 

Critical Distance is a not-for-profit initiative and space devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice in Toronto, Canada, and beyond. Part gallery and publisher, part professional association and community, CDCC is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a forum for ideas on curating and exhibition-making as ways to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life. For more info, visit our website or social media pages, linked above.

image: Sarah Nasby, Living Things (Dorothy Hafner vessel, kombucha, lines pattern), 2017

Exhibition – MOVING HOME (presented by Critical Distance)

MOVING HOME (presented by Critical Distance)

The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare System

August 18 – 26, 2017 | Critical Distance | Suite 302

Hours: On view from 1-6 pm

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 17, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE

ZULA, XAVIER BINETTE, WOLFIE, STARCHILD DREAMING

LOUD, SOPHIA NAHZ, SINGING THUNDER, RACHEL MACINTOSH, ODDANE TAYLOR, NICHOLAS RIDICULOUS, M.T. NESS, MICHELLE CHARLIE, JESSIE STONE, GEN GAGNON, ELIJAH M, BETHANY PAPADOPOLOUS, ANONYMOUS, AMELIA MERHAR

Critical Distance is pleased to announce our 2017 Summer Sessions exhibition, Moving Home: The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare System. Presented by York University Human Geography master’s candidate Amelia Merhar, this project is the second to be hosted as part of our Summer Sessions initiative, a program through which we support emerging curators and artists by providing free space, mentorship, and installation support for their thesis exhibitions.

How is transience embodied, carried, and performed? How do repeated moves of homes, schools, and communities linger in the body, from the past to the present? What sort of people is the child welfare system inadvertently creating through so many foster and group home placements? Beyond pathologizing transience, what can we learn from the young and hyper-mobile?

Moving Home explores the embodiment of transience as experienced by young people who grew up in the Canadian child welfare system. It is part of Human Geography Master’s thesis research at York University coordinated by Amelia Merhar, inspired by her lived experience in care. Using arts-based, participatory, and Indigenous research methods, Merhar worked with 15 co-researcher artists in their chosen mediums to explore and compare urban/suburban and Northern/rural experiences at the partner youth art organizations SKETCH Working Arts in Toronto and Splintered Craft in Whitehorse. Artistic explorations of the theme of embodied transience include works of photography, textiles, silk-screening, collage, mixed media, dance, performance, music, spoken word, painting, text, jewelry, dream catchers, and installation.

The first Call to Action the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to reduce the number of Indigenous youth in care in Canada. There are more Indigenous youth in care today than were in Residential Schools. In Toronto, research has shown that Black youth are disproportionately apprehended and stay longer in the system than their non-Black peers (although through recent efforts these numbers are declining). Art alone can’t solve ongoing violence and colonialism; however it is a way to transgress and re-imagine present social boundaries. The goal of arts-based research is to provoke conversations instead of static research conclusions, and we invite you to enter the conversation here with former youth in care and their art.

The show opening is preceded by a research presentation at the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Office from 1-3 pm and the launch of the project zine, TL;DR, a thesis in a zine. All are welcome. 


This project was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada–Master’s Scholarship –Award to Honour Nelson Mandela in 2016, recognizing its commitment to youth participation. Funding for co-researcher artist honoraria and art supplies provided by Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate. Northern travel and living expenses supported by Northern Scientific Training Fund–Government of Canada.

Opening Reception – MOVING HOME (presented by Critical Distance)

MOVING HOME (presented by Critical Distance)

The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare System

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 17, 2017 | 6–9 PM | FREE

August 18 – 26, 2017 | Critical Distance | Suite 302

Hours: On view from 1-6 pm

ZULA, XAVIER BINETTE, WOLFIE, STARCHILD DREAMING

LOUD, SOPHIA NAHZ, SINGING THUNDER, RACHEL MACINTOSH, ODDANE TAYLOR, NICHOLAS RIDICULOUS, M.T. NESS, MICHELLE CHARLIE, JESSIE STONE, GEN GAGNON, ELIJAH M, BETHANY PAPADOPOLOUS, ANONYMOUS, AMELIA MERHAR

Critical Distance is pleased to announce our 2017 Summer Sessions exhibition, Moving Home: The Art and Embodiment of Transience Emerging from Canada’s Child Welfare System. Presented by York University Human Geography master’s candidate Amelia Merhar, this project is the second to be hosted as part of our Summer Sessions initiative, a program through which we support emerging curators and artists by providing free space, mentorship, and installation support for their thesis exhibitions.

How is transience embodied, carried, and performed? How do repeated moves of homes, schools, and communities linger in the body, from the past to the present? What sort of people is the child welfare system inadvertently creating through so many foster and group home placements? Beyond pathologizing transience, what can we learn from the young and hyper-mobile?

Moving Home explores the embodiment of transience as experienced by young people who grew up in the Canadian child welfare system. It is part of Human Geography Master’s thesis research at York University coordinated by Amelia Merhar, inspired by her lived experience in care. Using arts-based, participatory, and Indigenous research methods, Merhar worked with 15 co-researcher artists in their chosen mediums to explore and compare urban/suburban and Northern/rural experiences at the partner youth art organizations SKETCH Working Arts in Toronto and Splintered Craft in Whitehorse. Artistic explorations of the theme of embodied transience include works of photography, textiles, silk-screening, collage, mixed media, dance, performance, music, spoken word, painting, text, jewelry, dream catchers, and installation.

The first Call to Action the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to reduce the number of Indigenous youth in care in Canada. There are more Indigenous youth in care today than were in Residential Schools. In Toronto, research has shown that Black youth are disproportionately apprehended and stay longer in the system than their non-Black peers (although through recent efforts these numbers are declining). Art alone can’t solve ongoing violence and colonialism; however it is a way to transgress and re-imagine present social boundaries. The goal of arts-based research is to provoke conversations instead of static research conclusions, and we invite you to enter the conversation here with former youth in care and their art.

The show opening is preceded by a research presentation at the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Office from 1-3 pm and the launch of the project zine, TL;DR, a thesis in a zine. All are welcome. 


This project was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada–Master’s Scholarship –Award to Honour Nelson Mandela in 2016, recognizing its commitment to youth participation. Funding for co-researcher artist honoraria and art supplies provided by Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate. Northern travel and living expenses supported by Northern Scientific Training Fund–Government of Canada.