"...so from there I decided to continue walking down Sexta Avenida under the splendid morning sunshine, not allowing the bad smells and the garbage in the street to soil my soul, content to think no passerby or street vendor could intuit my thoughts, walking in the direction of the restaurant of the Hotel de Centro, where the buffet of local cuisine would be my Sunday breakfast throughout my stay in that city, at a time of day when only the disturbance came from a marimba that at regular intervals attacked the clientele, but such disturbances were a plague common to all restaurants. Life is marvelous, I exclaimed to myself..."

Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya


Aerial view - Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Porteous and Smith (2001) coined the term 'domicide' for the intentional destruction of one’s home by another. Domicide, or even the possibility of it, causes significant psychological effects yet it remains an understudied phenomenon. We know little about the effects on children and families as a social system.

"Art that has emerged across Canada over the past ten years dealing with the struggles for and about home has been predominantly the work of indigenous artists and immigrants to Canada who are familiar with forced displacement," writes Quebec artist Devora Neumark. Invited to present a talk at OCAD recently, Neumark spoke about her work in the context of the "problematics of belonging" and the relationship of home beautification to one's sense of narrative continuity.

Devora Neumark on 'domicide'


"I felt that I could swim for miles, out into the ocean: a desire for freedom, an impulse to move, tugged at me as though it were a thread fastened to my chest. It was an impulse I knew well, and I had learned that it was not the summons from a larger world I used to believe it to be. It was simply a desire to escape from what I had. The thread led nowhere, except into ever expanding wastes of anonymity. I could swim out into the sea as far as I liked, if what I wanted was to drown. Yet this impulse, this desire to be free, was still compelling to me: I still, somehow, believed in it, despite having proved that everything about it was illusory."  

Outline by Rachel Cusk


Bridget Moser, Asking for a friend, 2013, 9:56.

If I eventually achieve some sort of balance, should I expect to feel better? Or more successful? Is successful the same thing as better?”

Bridget Moser's 'Asking for a Friend' at Vtape


This is a photo from a prior show, but at YYZ gallery Rude's gold aluminum mirror rhombohedrons are being shown in near-darkness and the effect is breathtaking. They look like debris from another, better planet, from utopia maybe, miraculously and mysteriously intact. Such beauty so coldly rendered.

From Sarah Robayo Sheridan's text on the exhibition:

"Gold mirror is a recurrent medium in Jade Rude’s installations. It is a material that evokes divergent affiliations: both the high-end optic technology of space missions but also a plastic world’s answer to consumer-grade luxury. Rude’s industrial sheeting offers a more glamorous update to the mirrored surfaces of earthworks of yore, while nevertheless following on the turnabout prompted by American minimalism that made industrial fabrication the new gold standard in art. Indeed, Rude’s favoring of conditions of installation in which “the physical body and surrounding architecture become enmeshed” aligns perfectly with the battle cry of minimalism in the 1960s. Yet in this particular foray, Rude also appropriates a specific image referent as her starting point - the mysterious solid that stars in Albrecht Dürer’s now five-centuries-old engraving Melencolia I (1514). Based on what most scholars agree to be a truncated rhombohedron rendered in the etching, Rude has extrapolated a three-dimensional structure that she deploys in modular repetition, stacking and distributing these units in clusters across the gallery space. The resulting rhombic building blocks are scaled to multiple sizes and are placed according to subjective decisions of arrangement that the artist has negotiated in relationship to the physical footprint of the gallery. The dispersal of the forms across the site is formally linked to phenomena of accrual and multiplication common in the natural landscape. The repeating units also offer refractions of the surrounding environment and its visitors framed in the mirrored facets of the solids, which act like prisms distributing light in a theatrical staging of the forms. The resulting installation balances between sculptural, pictorial and performative concerns - both carefully laid rock garden and hall of mirrors."

On til March 7

Jade Rude at YYZ Gallery


The standard Coupland criticism: too witty, too flippant, not political or aggressive or profound enough.  But his work satisfies me deeply - I'm so starved, as a Canadian, for contemporary art that speaks to me in the language of my own cultural identity that I'm overcome with delight by nearly everything he produces. Here you are, here we are, this is us, look at us, his work says to me, and no one else has said it so loudly, so specifically, so ingeniously. It's very gratifying. I'm also extremely charmed by the work as a physical manifestation of an endlessly restless, inventive, industrious mind, able to successfully realize its many creative impulses. His dual career provokes in me a powerful sort of pride-envy. The convenience store ice chest at MOCCA, perfectly reproduced with only the addition of a small, bloody leak, strikes me as a sinister visual narrative, though of course it can also be interpreted as a metaphor or a comment. I thought for a long time of the many gas stations I've visited in my life, where this chest often sits. How alike those places are, no matter where. They have what author Lisa Margonelli calls a "clannish ugliness," describing them as "a crime scene before the fact." 
"Is there a better-known, bigger, more zeitgeisty guy in contemporary Canadian art than Douglas Coupland, OC, OBC?" the Globe and Mail asked recently and the answer is a depressing nope. But there should be -- or at least there should be more Douglas Couplands. Why aren't there more multidisciplinarians like him?  And why aren't there other high profile artists his age in Canada? What's wrong with our art schools, our government arts funding, our societal valuation of artists, that Douglas Coupland is such an anomaly? We must be suffocating so many dreams here. That, or somehow Canadians are just largely and irrevocably unartistic as a people.
On til April 19.

Douglas Coupland at MOCCA


"On December 31st of 1958 Lila had her first episode of dissolving margins. The term isn't mine, she always used it. She said that on those occasions the outlines of people and things suddenly dissolved, disappeared. That night, on the terrace where we were celebrating the arrival of 1959, when she was abruptly struck by that sensation, she was frightened and kept it to herself, still unable to name it. It was only years later, one night in November 1980 - we were thirty-six, were married, had children - that she recounted in detail what had happened to her then, what still sometimes happened to her, and she used that term for the first time."

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante


"There is an erotics of dislike...the real meaning of our dislikes is that they define us by separating us from what is outside us; they separate the self from the world in a way that mere banal liking cannot do...To like something is to want to ingest it, and in that sense is to submit to the world. To like something is to succumb, in a small but contentful way, to death. But dislike hardens the perimeter between the self and the world, and brings a clarity to the object isolated in its light. Any dislike is in some measure a triumph of definition, distinction, and discrimination - a triumph of life."

The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester


The prettiest, most delightful pieces at Villa Toronto are Zeke Moores' golden dumpster and silver portable toilet (Diaz Contemporary) but what I found myself thinking about later were the aluminum-covered branches by Tony Romano, a nod to Stendhal’s theory of love: Austrian salt miners used to take a tree branch with them down into the mine. Over many months, salt crystals would accumulate on the branches, and the miners would give them to their wives and girlfriends, as objects of beauty. Love is about making something ordinary transcendent, Stendhal wrote: 'From the moment he falls in love, even the wisest man no longer sees anything as it really is.'

Villa Toronto & Stendhal's Theory of Love


"They suffer twice - first from grief and then from a tyranny of shoulds: 'I should have pulled myself out of this,' 'I shouldn't be so angry,' 'I should have moved on by now,' and so forth. There is little room here for emotional exploration or understanding. This way of being leads to self-loathing, despair, depression...My experience is that closure is an extraordinarily compelling fantasy of mourning. It is the fiction that we can love, lose, suffer and then do something to permanently end our sorrow. We want to believe we can reach closure because grief can surprise or disorder us - even years after our loss."

The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz