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Opening Reception

Opening Reception: FRIDAY 09 SEPTEMBER, 2011, from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

ANNIE DUNNING | FOOLPROOF FOUR: SUPERHEROES OF THE FOREST FLOOR

 

Canadians have an understandable fixation with surviving in the natural world. This is evident in cultural production ranging from Roughing it in the Bush, Susanna Moodie’s 1852 account of survival in Duro, Ontario, to Mimio’s own Survivorman. Foraging for edible and medicinal gems has, for most of Canadians, become quite removed from our actual means of survival, yet it persists as a pursuit for some, and part of a dream of self-sufficiency for others

Dubbed the Foolproof Four in 1943 by Professor Clyde Christensen, Morel, Shaggy Mane, Puffball and Sulfur Shelf mushrooms are the most common and easily identified edibles hunted by amateur mycologists. The term Foolproof Four led Dunning to consider mushrooms as actual superheroes of the natural world. Like all fungi, these mushrooms contribute to planetary survival by providing the imperative function of decay. Culturally, they are weighted with similar dark, mysterious and supernatural characteristics as bats, spiders and cats, on which popular comic book superheroes have been based.

Foolproof Four: Superheroes of the Forest Floor is an installation of four large ceramic sculptures of mushrooms, each sitting on its own plinth. On the walls are four different posters of blank, speech bubble templates: downloadable, freeware graphic tools for comic book designers. Around the base of each mushroom and on the floor are over 8000 custom-made buttons. There are three sets of buttons. One illustrates superhero logos for each of the mushrooms and another features empty speech bubbles in four different styles taken from comic book templates. The third set suggests possible superpowers of the Four with terms taken from scientific descriptions of the life-cycle of mushrooms: Autodeliquescence, Telemorph, Spore Liberation and Cytoplasmic Fusion. Perhaps Shaggy Mane with its curious character of autodeliquescence (self-digestion) is a force to be reckoned with. And surely they have the united power of spore liberation. The buttons themselves look like mushrooms multiplying and popping up from the floor, spreading and intermingling with the buttons of the other mushrooms. Viewers are invited to take a button, allowing the project to travel spore-like outside of the gallery to other locations.

ANNIE DUNNING takes a playful approach to nature and mystery. A curiosity for the overlooked and unconsidered leads her to deal with mostly common items as subject matter. With an aesthetic that is influenced by craft and DIY style, Dunning explores what greater possibilities common subjects might hold if released from their expected roles. She is interested in examining intersecting elements of culture and the natural world and in conflating various aspects of nature and culture to create new hybrids. Dunning often focus on rediscovering the potential of ordinary or common things, or viewing them from an off-center perspective to confuse conventional hierarchy.

Annie Dunning received an undergraduate degree in fine arts from Mount Allison University and a MFA degree from the University of Guelph. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and abroad in Japan, Germany and the US. Dunning’s practice includes collaborative projects, teaching, artist residencies and lectures, and has been funded by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

DIL HILDEBRAND | BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

 

For this, his first solo exhibition in Toronto, Dil Hildebrand presents a new body of work. Back to the Drawing Board represents a focal shift away from the photographic and toward a diagrammatic approach to the image; an incarnation that abandons the image altogether.

DIL HILDEBRAND was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and obtained his MFA at Concordia University, Montreal in 2008. In 2006 he won the RBC Canadian Painting Competition and has since participated in many exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States and abroad. Upcoming exhibitions include group shows at OBORO, Montreal (curated by David Elliott) and Espace Virtuel, Chicoutimi. In 2010, Hildebrand participated in the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale 2010 in Beijing, China, and produced Long Drop: The Paintings of Dil Hildebrand, a monograph by Anteism Press. With critical texts by Louise Dry, Richard Rhodes and Christine Redfern, Long Drop surveys a selection of Hildebrand’s paintings on canvas and paper from 2006 to 2009. His work has been collected by major museums throughout Canada, including the Muse d’art contemporain de Montral, the Muse national des beaux-arts du Qubec, and the National Gallery of Canada.

Dil Hildebrand is represented by Pierre-Franois Ouellette art contemporain. He lives and works in Montral.

DAVID COURT+JOSH THORPE | AROUND YYZ

YYZUNLIMITED invites artists to imagine and reinvent YYZ as a site of opportunity through a series of interventions . These interventions engage potential sites outside of YYZ’s regular programming. YYZ is pleased to introduce an audio intervention by David Court and Josh Thorpe.

David Court and Josh Thorpe present the last in a series of four audio tours of the area surrounding YYZ. This tour features a conversation with Scott Srli and Flavio Trevisan about YYZ itself.

This audio tour is part of the year-long project, Around YYZ, for the YYZUNLIMITED programme. These audio walks are informal, meandering conversations, offering a casual but analytic inquiry, beginning at YYZ and moving out from there. Each lasts approximately an hour and can be encountered in three ways: 1) on an MP3 player borrowed from YYZ (allows the listener to walk the tour while listening), 2) over a set of speakers at the threshold to YYZ, and 3) on the YYZ website. Taking YYZ as the point of departure, the walks extend the mode of attention of the gallery into its surrounding contexts, seeking to draw attention and add complexity to the experience of public space.

DAVID COURT is an artist and writer living in New York. He has exhibited solo and collaborative projects across Canada and in New York, with current and upcoming projects for Printed Matter (with Josh Thorpe) and the 2011 CAFKA Biennial. David was involved as a contributor for the publication Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975 2008, co-published by the Center for Contemporary Canadian Art and Plug In Editions. He has written reviews and catalogue texts for publication in Canada, China and the US, including C Magazine, Fillip, and Art Papers. In 2008 he participated in the residency Making Artistic Inquiry Visible at the Banff Center. David holds a Masters in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto (2009) and a BFA from NSCAD University (2006).

JOSH THORPE is an artist and writer living in Toronto. He has a Master’s in Visual Studies from University of Toronto and he teaches at Ontario College of Art and Design and U of T. His work has been shown in Canada, the US, and Europe. His involvement in publishing has produced interviews, articles, and books, including Dan Graham Pavilions: A Guide (Art Metropole) and a monograph on the unrealized proposals of Gordon Lebredt (CCCA and Plug In ICA).

SHANNON GERARD | UNSPENT LOVE, OR, THINGS I WISH I TOLD YOU

Originally drawn and written as a series of online vignettes for the comics publisher Top Shelf Productions,Unspent Love addresses themes such as hope, fear, and human frailty. The project was later produced as a multi-media bookwork with the support of Open Studio’s Nick Novak Scholarship (2010).

This third iteration at YYZ will evolve the project in a series of narrative images, unfolding between November 2010 and October 2011 as part of its YYZUNLIMITED program. The experimental space of the wall allows imaginative storytelling possibilities to develop through layering, time-lapse animation and wheat pasting. Gerard will modify the wallwork on a weekly basis for the duration of the project.

SHANNON GERARD received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education Degrees from York University in 1996, where she completed her Masters Degree in 2007. In 2008 she received the Visual Arts (Emerging) Grant from the Toronto Arts Council. Gerard has exhibited her work in Canada and the United States including Green Lantern Gallery in Chicago (2009), Open Studio in Toronto (2008), and also took part in the MoCCA Festival in New York City in 2007. Gerard currently teaches courses in print media and nano-publishing at OCAD University.

For more information and to track the project, check out Shannon Gerard’s blog at unspentlove.tumblr.com.