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Thank you!

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For 10 years, 1273 Dundas West was our home — unfortunately, that time is coming to an end with the close of our current shows on June 23. After that, we’ll be living a nomadic existence, at least for the time being. Be on the lookout for more news, however, as we’ve got some exciting things on the horizon.

If you’re in town this week, we hope you’ll be able to make it out to the gallery one last time. We’re honored to have work by Thelma Rosner and Kimystreeloves on display — two shows that truly illustrate the range and diversity of talent in our membership. We’ll be open our regular hours, Wednesday/Thursday 12-5, Friday/Saturday 12-6 and Sunday from 1-4.

On behalf of all our members, thank you for making what we do worthwhile. We truly appreciate your support and patronage over the years.

  • the Loop crew

The Problem of Having Pets: A Response to the Artwork of KimystreeLoves

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Zach Pearl | May 2019

“Just don’t pet the freaks!”

This was the sole advice my mother gave me on the first day of school. While the other moms were clutching their budding ingenues to their breasts and showering them with kisses, mine was lecturing me from the driver seat about pets. What was she talking about? At six years-old, “pet” was something furry and cute. It peed on the freshly-laid carpet and slobbered on Grandma’s good shoes. Nothing so exciting would be found in the beige hallways of Lakewood Elementary.

Regardless, like so many have learned the hard way: Always take Mom’s advice, even when it doesn’t make sense. Ten brisk minutes later, I found myself surrounded by a motley crew of milk-and-cookie imps—one of whom had just set fire to his house while trying to “cook cereal,” and another in snow pants (in September). Like moths to a flame, the strangest souls in Mrs. Spunkmeyer’s grade 1 class emerged from the padded playsets and slid into my orbit.

They were determined to make me: mother/father/sister/brother/caregiver/guardian/lover/their God. Who were these creatures that seemed suddenly stitched to me like new appendages? Were they friends? Were they my pets? Just how was I supposed to care for them, and for how long? What if they died?! What would happen to me then??

By the time my own mother pulled into the parking lot, I was pinioned to the lot of them. My form was completely obscured by a plurality of pint-sized bodies. All of them flailed about in miscreant adulations as I tried to raise an apologetic hand. Shaking her head steadily like a metronome—what | have | I | made—Mother flung open the passenger-side door and began cleaning out the backseat until the collective body could fit.

Fast forward to middle-age, and my orbit is much larger. Comparable in size to thirty-five years of psychological baggage, this charismatic magnetism I’ve been ‘gifted’ with trails behind me like an industrial fishing net—combing and collecting all kinds of unsuspecting pets in its wake: Big pets, teeny pets, heavy pets, hollow pets, pets with claws, pets with privilege, pet actors, pets with addictions, eco-conscious and politically woke pets, white nationalist and neoliberal pets, occasionally uncanny and symbolically violent pets.

It doesn’t matter the time of day, or the weather. Without fail they follow me home in a silent but vibrant parade of matter. Then they scurry inside when I’m not looking. One might think that I would get mad, or, at the least, defensive about this ongoing influx of unrequited obligations. But then one of them will whimper, or cry, or bat its lashes in a coy display of helplessness, and then I’m helpless to its ethos of co-dependence. So, I let them all stay, accepting more and more pets to the party until no one is really in charge anymore, until hierarchy exists only in the abstract, and we exist inter-dependently—an ecology of pets-becoming.

By now, I know what you must be thinking: How can a person go on like this, swimming in a sea of exponential affinities? Different bodies and biologies all layered like living sediment in a two-bedroom brownstone—it doesn’t sound very comfortable. But then you’d be missing the point.

The virtue of having pets is the problem of having them at all—the unwavering commitment to subtle discomforts, to consistently caring for and communing with your Others. I don’t mind so much that they’re eating me out of house and home, or that the flying ones lay their eggs in the chandelier. It’s the communication factor—that Sisyphean task of achieving some kind of meaningful exchange—that continues to evade me.

Yes, I talk to my pets. We all do. I yammer on and on while I circle the living room in a holding pattern of damage control, addressing them directly with names I’ve imposed on them. I look them square in the eye (or where I assume their eye would be) and I point in a way that is reaching more than locating something, like the desperation of that child actor at the end of E.T.

What is it that you want from me? What are you trying to say? Are you happy living here? Am I your mother??  Are you hungry? Are you in pain? How can I know what you’re feeling? Are you capable of feeling what I feel?

It’s very difficult, you know, mapping the knowledge of one body—one modality of -ness—onto another and hoping for overlap, as if consciousness itself were a territory with its own topographies, its own ports of entry, flanked on all sides by mythical foreboding sirens…

“Uuuuuuuaaaahhhhgggrrwuaaaawuaaaawuaaaaahhhh! OOooorrrrraahhhhhhmmmmmnnnnnnniiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

I howl from the top of the stairs down at my pets like an ancient Greek orator addressing the polis. I’ve given up now on words and even distinct syllables. I make black noise[1]. Maybe, if I try to think about creating an alien sound then some prelinguistic heuristics will emerge? But try as I might, there’s still no response. My pets only stare back at me in silence, offering what I can only interpret as criticism-by-omission of my attempt at a breakthrough.

Lately, I’ve taken to gesturing at them—speaking psycho-choreographically. Pets seem to understand this world better, the one based upon and in the body. It’s a language of materials before anything else. The gesture that they seem to respond to best is the offering. Food was a given in this matter, but soon I found that offerings don’t even have to involve pleasurable outcomes. Sometimes, it’s simply that something is being given, that a legible act of exchange is taking place. Beer boxes, coffee cups, hot water bladders, fingernail clippings and unwanted phonebooks were all met with zeal and avarice as each pet stored away its newfound booty. This meant accepting that my house was now a landfill more than a pet sanctuary, but the polis seemed to like it. In the offering, I found a vehicle in which to travel back and forth between material and symbolic worlds[2]—to ‘walk between’ worlds.[3]

Unfortunately, this vehicular bliss was short-lived, as I soon noticed how capitalistic my little landfill had become. Offerings were no longer neutral affairs. They were perverted into sites of struggle, conflict, disproportion and privation. Pets were forming gangs and extorting other pet-gangs for a considerable share of their bounty. We had to designate the laundry room as a penitentiary. The situation was also quickly leading to environmental collapse. Our ecology of pets-becoming was growing unsustainable as we began asphyxiating from the off-gassing of our materialistic rituals. I needed to find something else, some other gesture that would level the fields of status and goods and property. If I was to continue communicating with my pets, I needed a flatter ontology[4].

While on guard-duty in the laundry room, I rummaged through the linens and found a massive outdoor blanket. Without much of a plan, I threw it into my knapsack and headed out the door, proceeding tediously slow so that the agency of my assemblage[5] could keep up as we crept towards Trinity Bellwoods Park. Mid-ambulation, it began to dawn on me: a carnival, a picnic. Coming down the centre hill, we spotted a massive maple tree and spread out the blanket underneath, meticulously pressing the edges down until the ground was a unified field. One by one, pets climbed on and staked out their individual piece of real estate. Eventually, all and everyone was sitting, imbricated and entangled, grounded and connected by the same material thing. This was the gesture that I was looking for! And then the polyphony of the narrative plane[6] erupted; all my pets lit up in a frenzy of different utterances, as if they each had been busy cultivating a private language all this time. Now, gathered together yet finally decentralized in a carnivalesque moment[7], they spoke for the ecstasy of speaking—for the jouissance of granularity[8]. And I closed my eyes, and I listened to them for hours—for days it seemed—until the next thing I remember was waking up. My eyes shot open just in time for the morning sunrise and the stranger about to pickpocket me. “No pets!” I sat up and shouted. (The stranger quickly receded.) They were gone! All of them gone! But, the longer I sat there the less anxiety I felt. I wasn’t panicked or grief-stricken. In fact, I felt…liberated. I was liberated from them, and they were liberated from me. There was something about the way in which it happened—a letting go that was entirely about coming together—that seemed so consensual, so…right.

As I walked home, I looked around with imaginal eyes. There was no “between worlds”. I had shed some old skin of the mind, and I looked at any kind of difference or border with a renewed skepticism. Rather than seeing separate leaves or stones, I saw only different strata, different articulations of a singular flow. As I neared my neighbourhood, I came across a little boy no more than six pulling a wagon, and in the back was a puppy with a hastily fastened leash around its neck. As the child approached me, he slowed down and grinned ear-to-ear. He was obviously proud of his brand-new pet. We stood there for a while, not saying anything, and then again without much thought, I casually leaned over, picked up the boy, and placed him beside the dog in the wagon.

“Now, talk it out,” I said, patting them both on the head, and I disappeared down the laneway.

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Ian Bogost. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be A Thing. University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 33.

[2] Here, I’m referencing Pierre Bordieu’s concepton of the gift as a “paradigm” of exchange, though he

explicitly frames this transcendental process in economic terms. See his Esquisse d’une théorie de la pratique, précédé de trois études d’ethnologie kabyle. Switzerland: Librairie Droz. (Rep. 2000., Paris: Seuil), 1977. English version: Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

[3] Kim Stanford. Interview with Zach Pearl. Studio Visit. Toronto, Ontario, 14 May 2019.

[4] Levi Bryant. The Democracy of Objects. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities, 2011.

[5] Jane Bennett. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Duke University Press, 2010. 20-38.

[6] This is a passing but respectful nod to Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of “polyphony” in which multiple voices are allowed to speak simultaneously and unevenly. He first elucidated this concept in regard to the novel and his analysis of Dostoevsky’s writing. See M.M. Bakhtin. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson. University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

[7] I am again referencing one of Mikhail Bakhtin’s enduring concepts. His theory of the “carnivalesque” describes how large-scale celebrations and events held in the proverbial public square engender the breakdown of societal conventions, hierarchies and boundaries. In particular, matters of status, class, authority and moral duty are forgone during carnivalesque moments in favour of egalitarianism and freedom of expression.

8 Roland Barthes. “The Grain of the Voice” in Image-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke

University Press, 2007.

Baudrillard, Jean. “The Ecstasy of Communication.” (1983) The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture.

Hal Foster, Ed. New York: The New Press, 1998.

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian

Massumi. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London, UK: Free Association

Books, 1991.

Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics.

University of Chicago Press, 1999.

________. My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects And Literary Texts. University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Jarratt, Susan C. and Nedra Reynolds. “The Splitting Image: Contemporary Feminisms and the Ethics

of êthos” in Ethos: New Essays in Rhetorical and Critical Theory. Eds. James S. Baumlin and Tita French Baumlin. Southern Methodist University Press, 1994. 37-63.

Morton, Timothy. Hyberobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. University of Minnesota

Press, 2013.

Shaviro, Steven. Discognition. London, UK: Repeater Books. 2015.

The Gift of Bread: A Response to Recipes From Auschwitz (2019) by Thelma Rosner

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Zach Pearl | May 2019

Every story has at least two sides—two faces to gaze upon. First, there is a face that looks elsewhere (avoiding the gaze) and, in the process, articulates a trajectory or line of flight[1] along which ideas travel and multiply. Second, there’s a face of reflection—a pointing backward and gazing within that seeks to identify its own vanishing points. We see this dialectic in motion every time we crack open the spine of a book. Stretching like taffy between the widening planes of the codex is a miniature world of multiplicity—flying lines and mirrored glances—neatly contained by the borders of pages. It is an entire space-time unto itself. The tête-à-tête of the double-spread then does not participate in the logic of nature[2] where borders are indistinct if not imaginary. Instead it offers us an opportunity to remain, to revel in the messy matrix of exchange as two faces gaze intensely upon each other and become transfixed, interlocked in a symbiotic stare. We will not be turning any pages here. We will remain in the messiness. Our trajectory is bread (specifically, the sticky sourdough variety) and staring us down is an imminent reflection on the gift, or rather the difficult nature of giving:

It must be twenty years ago now that I first made bread. Until then, I had a limited understanding of the stuff. Bread was, or so I thought, a simple thing; most of all a material thing. Before baking it myself, it was also a neutral thing like blank canvas onto which more flavourful comestibles were piled high. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. I know now that bread is a gift, and like all gifts it remakes the world as it circulates within it[3]. It shapes us inside and in-between our relations to other things, fortifying symbolic bonds of kitchens, communities, and cultures. Despite doing my fair share of ingesting the stuff, I was oblivious to the true viscosity[4] of bread; sticking to everyone and everything, encompassing us all in some kind of gluten-y apparatus[5]. It took the sudden arrival of someone else to hold a mirror up to my blindness. Then for that someone to angle the mirror, and, in the resulting glare, force me to look elsewhere.

Moira Blumenthal was a moving target of a woman. She blazed into our sleepy Ontarian town on a mid-April morning, cutting the fog right in two. At seventy, Moira was starting over (again), after the recent loss of her husband. And, from the moment she arrived on our street, she made her presence known: She hosted dinner parties, joined the local chapter of the Civitans, and even led a Jane’s Walk down Main Street (!) At the same time, there was also something diffident about Moira. The colossal brim of her sun hat demanded a minimum distance. Even her illustrious vegetable gardens, with their towering vines of tomatoes, zucchinis and long beans seemed strategically planted to obscure the living room windows. As her next-door neighbour, it was palpably odd that we shared over a hundred feet of property line and never more than a few words. After several months, it began to irk me: How could I go on living my life in zero-point proximity to a person I barely understood?

One morning in June, I woke early; determined to beat the cavalry of squirrels that ravaged my cucumbers like clockwork at 6am. As I waded bleary-eyed into the patch, I couldn’t help but notice how the fruits of my labour paled in comparison to the size of Moira’s. It was like an impressionist painting sat beside a photograph, or the lushness of real lips versus lipstick traces. Deflated, I began collating my ‘cucumber sketches’ into a bin until a scent so warm and sharp flooded my nostrils, and it lapped against the edges of my medulla. Bread! The distinctive, primordial smell of freshly-baked bread. It was an odour so simple yet multitudinous; modest in its directness while alluding to an intricate (internal) world. I shot up like a mortar (scaring off the approaching squirrels) and looked around for the source. Across the lawn, a golden loaf of bread was cooling on the sill of Moira’s kitchen window, swaddled like a newborn in tea towels. Before I knew it, I was on the move—trespassing into Moira’s yard, trying not to trample the cabbages. As I got closer, the scent intensified and ignited my body memory. I was six again, tugging at the apron of my Nan as she artfully formed boules of rye. As I reached the sill, I momentarily became one with the flaxen bâtard, losing myself in its propitious texture. And as I raised my eyes above it to settle on the glass of the window, I no longer recognized my own reflection. All my angles were in flux. Who was this strange being staring back at me? Was it my reflection or an apparition?

“Are you just gonna stand there all morning or are you gonna come in an’ have some?” exclaimed Moira, throwing open the window.

Slack-jawed, I stuttered an awkward, “Ssssure. Llllove to…” as I processed mistaking Moira’s features for my own in the glare of her half-open window.

We had coffee in her kitchen, which was filled with jars of canned goods arranged meticulously by colour, like a visual archive of pickles. Notably there were no family photos or knick-knacks on the walls, only a series of still lives. Alongside the bread, she set out a pad of butter and some jam. “You probably won’t even need these. Go ahead, try some on its own.”

I popped a piece into my mouth and felt my eyes bulge as the complexity of flavour washed over my tongue.

“Good, right? You’ll have to take some home with you.”

“What is this?” I asked in rapture, like a new convert to Moira’s cult of baked goods.

“Sourdough,” she said coyly.

“Yes, but what kind???”

“This kind” Moira said as she waltzed to the cupboard, threw open the door and nearly climbed inside. She emerged with a single but sizeable mason jar half-filled with soupy brown liquid. “My family’s sourdough starter—our own recipe going back to 1944”.

I just stared at her, visibly bewildered—partly because I had no idea what she was talking about, but also because I had gone from being a total outsider to hearing about Moira’s sixty-year-old science experiment in a matter of minutes.

“1944? Is that safe?” I exclaimed.

Moira chuckled to herself, and her glasses jittered. “Well I haven’t dropped dead! Seriously though, it’s perfectly safe. The fermentation is a natural preservative. As long as you keep feeding it and make sure it’s getting enough air, it’ll treat ya good.”

My face contorted into a look of horror. “Feed it? Air?! You mean it’s alive?”

She chuckled again. “Everything is alive, Dear. But, yes, it’s nearly as old as I am, and, with any luck, it’ll outlive me yet.”

As I continued to look a mixture of puzzled and petrified, something sparkled in her iris.

“Say, would you like to have some?”

Before I could answer, she began dividing the starter into smaller jars. Then she dipped quickly into the pantry and returned with a single notecard.

“Here,” she said warmly yet firmly. “Follow these instructions to the letter, and you’ll be able to have bread like this anytime you want. But, you have to promise me that you’ll take good care of it…try to think of it like a pet.” Then she placed the mason jar in my palm, whispering, “My gift to you.”

A few days later, I was back at Moira’s in an absolute panic. No sooner had she opened the back door than I shoved the flattest, saddest, rock-hardest loaf of bread in her face like a child presenting its broken toy.

“Uh oh,” she said calmly, showing me into the kitchen. “You forgot to feed it?”

“I remembered. I swear! Every night before I go to bed. I’ve followed your instructions to a “t”, and it’s still no use. This is the fifth one like this!”

“What all have you tried?” she asked, stroking her chin like a detective.

“Everything! Moving it away from the stove, closer to the window… I’ve tried distilled water, holy water…”

“Have you tried singing to it?”

“Singing to it? It’s not a houseplant.”

“No, it’s not,” she said patiently, “but it is alive. All living things like being sung to.”

She again thrust her body into the cupboard and retrieved the sacred starter. Leaning over it like an oracle, she began to sing:

Madárka, madárka ne zavard a vizet,
Hogy igyam belőle, hogy írjak levelet.

Apámnak s anyámnak, szívbeli mátkámnak,
Hogy tudják meg ők is kinek adtak férjhez.[6]

“How do you know it’ll work?”

“You don’t” she punctuated. “But anything meaningful requires a sacrifice of some kind. Though, exactly what that looks like varies. My starter likes Hungarian folk songs. Yours may like violin concertos. You just have to keep trying things until you get a response.”

“Okay…and what if I get a response, but I can’t understand that it’s a response in the first place? Where’s the meaning in that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe, there’s meaning in the struggle for meaning itself?”

I scowled. “No offense. But that seems awfully unproductive.”

“Well, sometimes the unproductive is necessary[7]. Living in the present moment is unproductive, if you never give any regard to the future. But if we always thought about the future, then what kind of life would exist for us here in the present? You see, between any two values there has to be some kind of incoherent middle-ground. Care for some tea?”

Still perplexed as she put the kettle on, my daze quickly dissipated when she reached into the breadbox and brought out another half-loaf for us to share.

“Where did you learn Hungarian?” I asked between mouthfuls.

“It’s my first language, actually. My family is from tiny farming village there. I came to Canada to escape the War.”

“Your family, too?”

Moira didn’t respond. She was suddenly frozen, staring into the abyss of the sourdough. Her eyes turned pink and watery.

“They were taken to the camps…I never saw them again. I managed to escape with my mother’s rucksack, and inside was a tiny jar of starter…Can you believe it? We were in the middle of a war—bombers flying overhead—and she still thought to bring the starter. Out of all things! I didn’t understand it then, other than feeling a sense of duty to protect it and to keep it safe. But now, I can look back and see that, for her, it was a way of preserving our culture—all her memories of home, her recipes, her love. They were in that jar. They still are. Which is why it’s so important that I keep it alive, and why I’ve passed it on to you.”

I sat stunned, unsure whether to cry or to run away. “Me? Why me??”

“Because you chose it. You gravitated toward that bread like a moth to a flame. I knew from the minute you stepped up to my window that you’d be the one to carry this forward.”

“Moira, I want to help you. Really, I do. But, as you can see, I’m not cut out for this. I can barely keep the thing alive, and now that I know how much it means to you… When you gave the starter to me you called it a ‘gift’, but frankly, it seems like more of a burden…”

Moira straightened up in her chair. “Indeed! Every gift is its own kind of curse—that is its double truth[8]. When you receive a gift, you’re not just accepting a thing; you’re entering into a contract with the person who gifted it to you to give something back, to create a symbolic good between you both, which is easier said than done. You have to work at keeping a gift, and, occasionally, give back to it. There’s nothing on this earth that doesn’t take as well as receive.”

“And so, you’ve cursed me with the gift of bread? Is that what you’re telling me?”

“If that’s how you prefer to see it…I prefer to see it as an exchange. I’m giving you my family’s recipe, our history, our memories. In return, you’re providing care, stewardship, and most of all, a way to remember, a way forward.”

Suddenly, something warm and wet hit my forearm. I was crying. Although part of me resented Moira in that moment for not saying all this before, her honesty and her faith in me touched me deeply, and chased out any urge to shrink away from this responsibility.

“You’re a wise woman, Moira,” I said, squeezing her hand once more. “Where did you learn to see so clearly?”

She pushed her glasses up from the ridge of her nose and said, “When you get to be my age, Dear, you see everything through a bifocal perspective[9].”

I went home that evening with a new batch of starter in one hand and a handwritten sheet of folk songs in the other. The next day, I baked a loaf of bread so delicious it could have ushered in world peace.

Only a few years later, Moira passed away. I’ve continued to make bread every day since in her memory. Not surprisingly, she also gifted me many other of her things, including a small handmade recipe book. Its pages were weathered and thin from age, and most of it was in Hungarian, but it felt so alive—its margins brimming with loving corrections, notes for the family and future cooks. Resting quietly in the middle, however, was a much newer note—a recipe card in familiar handwriting and addressed to me. On it, a short but powerful message that seemed to make all the burden worth it:

You and I are:

A simple codex opening wide in a complex gesture of exchange.

Love always,

Moira

 

ENDNOTES

[1] This is a central concept in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s critique of capitalism. Much like the analog of the rhizome, Deleuze and Guattari use the “line of flight” to describe a way of being that is outside or otherwise able to circumvent the logic of capital and, therefore, produce alternative “trajectories” of knowledge and power. This concept is akin and often mentioned in relation to deterritorialization. See A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

[2] Ibid. p. 5: “How could the law of the book reside in nature, when it is what presides over the very division between world and book, nature and art?”

[3] This is the first of many references to Pierre Bordieu’s lifelong project to enunciate a “paradigmatic” theory of the gift that would position it as central to social practice. See Ilana F. Silber. “Bordieu’s Gift to Gift Theory: An Unacknowledged Trajectory”, Sociological Theory, vol. 27, no. 2 (June 2009): 175-190.

[4] Timothy Morton. Hyberobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. University of Minnesota Press, 2013. 27-38.

[5] Here, I’m invoking a term used by physicist and theorist Karen Barad that she uses to describe the ‘discursive material’ that connects and constructs a particular set of dynamics between the agency of subjects and objects—the weather apparatus, the political apparatus, etc. In her conception, an apparatus is much like the invisible ‘dark matter’ in space, which seems central to constituting the universe as we know it yet is fundamentally hidden from view. See Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press, 2007.

[6] Little bird, little bird, don’t trouble the water / So I can drink, so I can write this letter. / To my mother and father, to my beloved, / So they know to whom I’ve been given. —Translation by Songbat Records. Retrieved from: http://songbat.com/archive/songs/hungarian/madarka-madarka

[7] See Nuccio Ordine’s discussion of George Bataille’s conception of “the gift” in The Usefulness of the Useless. Trans. Alastair McEwen. Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2017.

[8] Bordieu quoted in Silber, p. 175.

[9] Ibid.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barad, Karen. “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to

Matter” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 28, no. 3 (Spring 2003): 801-831.

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Duke University Press, 2010.

Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be A Thing. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Bordieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge University Press, 1977.

Bryant, Levi. The Democracy of Objects. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities, 2011.

Thelma Rosner Recipes from Auschwitz

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June 1 – 23, 2019

Opening Reception: June 1, 2 – 5  PM

Loop Gallery is pleased to present the work of Thelma Rosner.

The work in this exhibition is inspired by a tiny recipe book, smaller than a postcard. The book was written by a young Hungarian woman, Elisabeth Raab Yanowski, when she was a prisoner of the Nazis. She retrieved from garbage cans, scraps of bureaucratic paper discarded by the Nazis. And, in an almost incomprehensible act of will and defiance, she recalled and recorded the recipes that she and othersremembered from the ordinary pleasures of their previous lives.

In an excerpt from her memoir, And Peace Never Came, she writes: It might have started on a specially hungry day, this recalling of recipes….. Around us everything was grey. The factory, the machines, the sky, the women, their faces, their tattered rags, all was grey, hopelessly grey, and we were starving…… for the holidays, I used to make it, this chocolate cream filled torte. I decorated it with candied nuts…. I was ashamed to let myself be drawn in, as if unaware of the present reality. As if unaware of the question “What’s the use?”  But a strong distant picture demanded voice: the loving labour of preparing it, and the devotion, art and beauty in its creation, the pride, the respect on those faces around the festive table, who knew a TORTE’S deeper meaning.

I jotted down all that I could.

KimystreeLoves Imaginal

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June 1 -23, 2019

Opening Reception: June 1, 2 – 5 PM

 

KimystreeLoves (Kim Stanford) is a point of light where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. She uses domestic and other materials to explore meaning making within the constitution of subjectivities. She is interested in cocreating the field of loving awareness for the peace and freedom of all beings. May all beings everywhere be happy.

May all beings everywhere know loving awareness. May all beings everywhere awaken to their true essence.

Lanny Sherek Artists and Beekeepers

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May 4 – 26, 2019

Opening Reception May 5,  2-5 PM

 

 

My newest exhibition at Loop is called Artists and Beekeepers.

Artists is an ongoing series of large and small oil paintings, representing artists at work in their studios.

My goal is to invite viewers to be part of my studio visits, to observe artists moving and creating within their workspaces.

This is an authentic depiction of artists within their unique studios, capturing a moment of creative time, and what at first appears to be the exhilarating, mess of artistic engagement — a mess that belies the order and structure underlining the individualized arrangement and architecture of each artist’s studio space.

The Beekeepers series presents a documentary-style description of two beekeepers working at a farm in Wellington County. I have been painting them for a couple of years, throughout the different seasons. They are, unlike my Artists series, in exterior settings, with changing light and foliage color. They connect to the studio paintings in that they are depictions of people engaged in physical and emotional work in a designated space. The juxtaposition of the box hives and the suited beekeepers create a strange and evocative setting.

 

Lanny Sherek

Rochelle Rubinstein UNNATURAL DISASTERS CONT’D

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May 4 – 26, 2019

Opening Reception Sunday May 5, 2-5  PM

 

 

In 2005, a body of my textile work, depicting WW2 extermination camps, September 11, and tsunami devastated Sri Lanka, was exhibited at the McMaster Museum of Art, alongside works from its collection, by Goya, Kollwitz, and Dix, that explored historical moments of tragedy and upheaval.

The exhibition’s title was unNATURAL DISASTERS.Fifteen years later… UNNATURAL DISASTERS CONT’D is an exhibition of large-scale block- printed, painted and embroidered work, on silk and nylon, that includes the addition of recent unnatural environmental disasters. The work on silk has been worked and re-worked through layering, piercing, de-contextualizing and obscuring images of soldiers, keening women, horses, knives, my Hungarian relatives in a refugee camp. The newer work on nylon flag fabric includes some of this same imagery but focuses on environmental disasters such as extreme water extraction, aggressive land excavation, bee loss, replacement of natural grass with toxic turf, etc. These works have the graphic, crisp look of banners; they are also more richly coloured than my usual work – in honour of the glorious natural world that we humans are destroying. The durability and versatility of the flag material allows these works to easily be taken off gallery walls and used in parades, rallies and environmental and social protests. Aesthetics and activism collude.

More about Rochelle Rubinstein

Ava Roth Beeswax and Birch Bark

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April 6 – 28, 2019

Opening Reception:  April 6, 2 – 5 PM

This collection of work, inspired by the landscape of Northern Ontario, is a celebration of beeswax and

birchbark. The juxtapositions of bark and resin, honeycomb and beadwork, beeswax and oil paint, imply

a collision between human beings and the natural world, and reflect our impact. Tensions between

permanent and temporary materials, natural and human-made objects, the past and the present

are evoked.

Each piece celebrates the beauty of natural beeswax and birch bark while simultaneously celebrating

human creation. The works purposefully leave traces of the time undertaken to create them. We see the

work of nature— the growth of trees, the labour of bees — along with the painstaking practice of human-

made art, such as the harvesting, peeling and laminating of hundreds of pieces of natural birch bark

onto wood panels, or the delicate efforts of embroidering through honeycomb.

About the Artist:

Ava Roth is a Toronto-based painter, embroiderer and mixed-media artist.

At the heart of her work is an exploration of the relationship between human beings and the natural

world. Her series of birch bark and resin panels, her encaustic paintings, her collection of encaustic

embroideries and her work with live beehives all push viewers into reflecting on our collision and

impact.

Roth uses natural and local materials whenever possible. Canadian beeswax, reclaimed Ontario barn

wood, birch bark, linen, landscape photography and paper are hallmarks of her work.

Ava Roth is represented by Loop Gallery in Toronto and Wallspace Gallery in Ottawa. In addition to

exhibiting in solo and group shows, Roth’s work has been featured in many online and print magazines,

and she has been the recipient of several awards for her paintings. Her pieces have been acquired by

private collectors throughout Canada and internationally.

Elizabeth Babyn Her Industry, Reclaimed

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April 6 -28, 2019

Opening Reception: April 6, 2 – 5  PM

up-cycled textile processes exploration: April 7, 1 – 4 PM

Her Industry, Reclaimed explores a variety of textile processes that women have historically advanced,

such as embroidery, mending, sewing, crocheting and, more recently, needle felting, through the

creation of tapestries made of up-cycled textiles. This project is an homage to my late mother Rollande,

as well as to generations of mothers and other women who have toiled and continue to work within the

textile industry in domestic, industrial and creative spaces.

Growing up in the sixties with six siblings on a farm in rural Quebec, my earliest memories are of my

mother sitting at the sewing machine making clothes and household items for us all. Her own mother

was a seamstress who died far too young, forcing Rollande at the age of ten to enter a Catholic

orphanage where she learned a wide variety of textile techniques (some of which were used to produce

work that would later be sold to help subsidize the orphanage). Unlike our current consumption-based

“fast fashion” textile economy, a lot of Rollande’s handiwork revolved around mending and

reconstituting both new and used materials.

Rollande derived creative satisfaction from the process of designing, altering and making textile goods,

as she worked to make ends meet in helping to support our large family.

As with so many other women of her time, domestic work within our home was taken for granted, since

it did not ever result in a physical paycheque; this is something that has long been observed, for instance

by Silvia Federici in her essay “Wages Against Housework.” Similarly, within the art world, textile work

was considered unimaginative and banal, since it was associated with work done by women within the

domestic sphere. As curator Janelle Porter explains, “Lurking behind such characterizations were beliefs

that fiber art wasn’t as good as painting or sculpture because it was traditionally the work of women, of

the working class, of non-white folks”. Thanks to the persistent drive of the feminist art movement over

the past few decades, textile processes have begun to earn the recognition that they so richly deserve,

countering the emphasis on male-centrist art practices within institutions, and demonstrating the

artistic value that textile processes hold.

Like my mother before me, in Her Industry, Reclaimed I am immersing myself in the process of making,

and in so doing also subverting the throw-away culture that our current capitalist culture promotes. But

unlike my mother, within the context of art making, I am taking a feminist approach: I rip apart,

manipulate and reinterpret up-cycled garments, literally remaking the meaning that these items held in

a patriarchal culture, and in the process reclaiming traditional practices and the labour of women that

has for too long gone unnoticed.

About the Artist

Babyn received her BFA in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design University in

2005. She completed her MFA in 2016 at the University of Saskatchewan in Sculpture and Installation.

Babyn has been a Loop Gallery member in Toronto since 2003 and has exhibited nationally and

internationally. Her works can be found in public and private collections in both Canada and Europe.

After years of teaching art to children and adults, Babyn currently conducts textile workshops with the

USASK Continuing Art Program and with the Saskatoon Mother’s Centre.

Join Babyn and explore a variety of up-cycled textile processes: April 7th,1 to 4pm.