Exhibitions

Rochelle Rubinstein MY ONLY DRINK

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March 25  –  April 16,  2017

Reception: March 26,  2 – 5 PM

The first words got polluted 

Like river water in the morning 

Flowing with the dirt 

Of blurbs and the front pages. 

My only drink is meaning from the deep brain, 

What the birds and the grass and the stones drink. 

Let everything flow 

Up to the four elements, 

Up to water and earth and fire and air. 

—Seamus Heaney, “The First Words,” from the Romanian of Marin Sorescu

 

Rochelle Rubinstein’s exhibition, My Only Drink, consists of four works: Blood, Grass, Water, Wood.

The first two were originally part of a 24-panel installation, called Book of Job, which included hand-painted text and images of soldiers, birds, madonnas and horses. She printed, painted and carved red stripes over ten of the Job panels, and they became Blood. This piece is a celebration of womanhood in the context of present-day misogyny. It also connects to Rubinstein’s involvement in Blood, Milk and Tears, a collective of Muslim and Jewish women working with the subjects of menstruation, breastfeeding and mourning practices.

She transformed the remaining 14 panels into Grass, an aerial view of lush, green land. This piece emerges out of her advocacy work to protect natural grass fields and playgrounds from being replaced with toxic artificial turf.

Water consists of three layers. The first was a miscellaneous collection of block prints including bees, keening Irish women, and Rubinstein’s family in a refugee camp in Italy. Then she covered everything with the Hebrew text of the Orphan’s Kaddish, a mourning prayer. The final layer is an explosion of drops, representing tears, milk, and blood, as well as our precious Ontario aquifers that are being depleted by greedy corporations.

Last is Wood. As is her method, Rubinstein had every intention of adding layers and textures to the striped grid, but something kept stopping her. Finally, she realized there was already a completeness and an expression of solidarity in its simple lines.

—Alisha Kaplan

Yael Brotman Time. Story. Tree

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February 25th  – March 19th, 2017

Reception: March 4th,  3 – 6 PM

Yael Brotman presents a new installation of work that contemplates raw material, process and universal stories that infuse our constructions and artifacts with poetry and truth.

In this exhibition, Brotman brings together various stages of creating, from the textural rubbings of bark of ancient trees on Haida Gwaii, to notation, documentation, translation from drawing to silkscreen, and transformation into three-dimensional structures.

In summer 2016, Brotman participated in a residency on Haida Gwaii, sponsored by Parks Canada and the Haida Gwaii Museum. She was struck by the legends she heard and read about Foamwoman and about eagles, ravens and turtles. There were marked parallels to the use of animals and birds in Western European tales; and the iconography of Foamwoman was remarkably similar to the multi-breasted Diana of Ephesus.

Brotman’s process is simplicity magnified into complexity. Basically she uses scissors and tape. Her drawings also embody the simplest of approaches—direct rubbings. But there is a point of departure into contemporary technology, like the GPS used to find the culturally modified trees deep in the Haida forest, the use of the silkscreen printmaking process, and the use of Mylar as the substrate. In this way Brotman’smaterial and process meld time and tales.

Yael Brotman lives and works in Toronto. She has exhibited nationally at public galleries and artist-run centres, and internationally at museums, private galleries and university galleries. She has been awarded grants and attended artist residencies in numerous countries including China, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and Haida Gwaii. Brotman has recently been chosen as an RCA elect, to be inducted in May 2017. She is a Lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is president of the board of CARFAC Ontario.

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