Posts Tagged ‘Harbourfront’

Monday’s walk was a meandering route downtown, once again going where my feet and eyes take me.  No particular plan in mind and no set destination…   just trying to explore where I haven’t been recently.   No theme jumped out and tapped me on the shoulder but a few “stories” emerged.

below: There is now a 3D sign between the CN Tower and the Aquarium that says Canada 150.

a young boy is leaping from the D of the 3D Canada 150 sign in front of the CN Tower, and is leaping onto the top of the A. His hands are on the top of the A, one foot is one the side of the A and the other foot is near the top of the D

below:  …and another 3D sign by the CN Tower (you can see part of the back of the Canada 150 sign through the tree). I wonder how many there are in this city now?   Another bit of information (trivia?) – this area is called Bobbie Rosenfeld Park and has been since 1991. Fanny (“Bobbie”) Rosenfeld was a Canadian athlete who won two track medals  in the 1928 Olympics.   She also played softball and hockey in the 1920s and 30s.  When arthritis force her to stop playing she turned to sports journalism, working for the ‘Globe and Mail’ until her retirement in 1955.

3D sign for the CN tower with tourists taking pictures in front of it. Canada 150 3D sign in the background as well as some people sitting around on benches

One of the routes from the CN Tower into the downtown core of the city is via the Skywalk, a glass enclosed elevated walkway over the railway tracks.  The next few photos were taken as I walked that route.

below: A Toronto species of woodpecker in its native habitat – a forest of glass and steel. This artwork was completed in 1997 and is the creation of Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi who together are known as Fastwurms.

large sculpture of a woodpecker on a pole in the foreground, many glass skyscrapers condos in the background

below: The above photo was taken from a quiet little terrace that I accessed from the Skywalk. Now you can see just how big the woodpecker is!  The ‘tree trunk’ pole is 30m high.  What you can’t see is the second woodpecker who is on the other side of the pole and slightly farther down it.

a concrete terrace, with benches and planters with purple flowers, lots of condos in the background, one person standing there

below:  The glass of the Skywalk creates some interesting reflections and shadows.  The glass was fairly clean the other day when I walked through it.  I have seen it when it’s been quite dirty and it’s not a pretty sight.

reflections of a woman walking on the Skywalk between Union Station and the convention center, with views of the street below and buildings beyond also in the frame
reflected in the red glass of the entrance to the CN tower are two women walking

below: Union Station, looking east from the Skywalk.   The new roof over the station platforms is taking shape.  Someday soon I’m going to have to take a look at the insides of the station; I can’t wait for all the renovations to be completed.

union station as seen from the west, from the skywalk, with open air tracks as well as the covered platforms. New roof over the platforms, tall buildings in the background

below: Part of the south “wall” along the railway tracks.

buildings reflected in another glass building right beside the trains tracks south of Union Station

below: Looking east from lower Simcoe along the south edge of the Gardiner Expressway.   The podium of the new condo under construction at 10 York Street is quite the wedge!

construction of a tall condo beside the gardiner expressway. The bottom of the condo is a wedge shape to maximize the space available

below: I played a bit on google maps street view and this is what I found for the above scene (taken Nov 2016).  If you compare the photos (above & below), it’s obvious that one of the ramps for the Gardiner Expressway has been demolished.   The eastbound exit to Yonge/York/Bay was removed a couple of months ago.  If you are a regular user of the Gardiner, I’m sure you have already experienced the consequences of this!

screenshot of google maps street view of Lower Simoce stret just south of the Lakeshore, one of the offramps for the Gardiner, a new condo under construction

below: Standing on the same spot, but turning around 180 degrees – looking west from Lower Simcoe.  An old ramp in the foreground…. and what looks like new construction in the background.  Those are new bents (the structures that hold up the road).

under one of the Gardiner Expressway ramps, with new bents being built for a new ramp in the background.

below: To get a closer look at what was happening here, I ventured around to the other side .  This is the view from closer to Rees Street. There is car on the old ramp so it must still be open (onramps still functional, just the offramp was removed).

two "cherry pickers" parked in front of new bents being constructed for a new ramp for the Gardiner Expressway

below: The trees are growing at Canada Square (Harbourfront), but so are the condos.  Yes, this new building is the same one with the wedge shaped lower floors.

view from Canada Place (Queens Quay West) with a clump of birch trees in the foreground and 3 highrise buildings in the background - two older ones and one in the middle that is under construction.
below: Also at Canada Square, there are three large photographs by Johan Hallberg-Campbell, a series called “Coastal”.   This one of them:

a large photograph of a run down building, northern, on the side of a concrete structure that is an entrance to the underground parking

below: More of Hallberg-Campbell’s work can be seen inside in the Artport Gallery (Harbourfront building) – here, many photographs with simple wood frames are mounted on a wall that is covered with large images.  “Coastal” is the product of the artist’s travels to coastal areas of Canada, from Newfoundland to northern Manitoba to British Columbia and many places in between.   Life on the edge, so to speak.  (Note: gallery show ends 18th June)

three colour photos in simple light wood frames mounted on a wall that is covered with large images

below: It’s not art but sometimes the line between public art and advertising campaigns is fuzzy.

a man walks on the sidewalk below a largef ad for Apple watches.  The photo is cropped so that the only part of the ad that shows is a hand on the handle bar of a bike.  A bright turquoise watch is on the person's wrist

Not all is shiny and new.   And that’s the way it should be.

metal grille, part of a barricade along the side of a parking structure, rusted,

parking structure on the top, old door and wall on the bottom. A wood picnic table in disrepair is in front of the door

Yesterday afternoon I wandered into The Power Plant Art Gallery.  It was late enough in the day that the sun was already low in the sky.  It shone through the large windows in the main gallery and cast a warm glow on the current exhibit, works by Yto Barrada titled ‘Faux Guide’ .

The first thing you see when you enter the rooms is a collection of carpets.  This is ‘Geological Time Scale’ and it consists of bright and bold red, blue, and green carpets – Beni Mguild, Marmoucha and Ait Sgougou pile rugs from Western Central, Middle Atlas, Morocco.   It’s definitely eye catching and it definitely draws the viewer into the exhibit.

main exhibit room of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, large room with two large windows in which the low afternoon sun is shining. Exhibit by Yto Barrada consisting of red, green and blue carpets on the floor. some framed pictures on the far wall, walls have been painted yellow up to about 4 feet from the floor.

A series of  small exhibits are arranged around the room and most of them are the result of the artist’s research on Moroccan dinosaurs, fossils, and the industry that has built up around them including the trade in fake fossils sold to tourists and museums.   I have not shown most of these exhibits – I will leave it up to you to discover them.

below: “I am not exotic I am exhausted”.  I suspect that this comes as Barrada’s response to living in a place (Tangiers Morroco) where tourists come to see “exotic things”.  But it is also the lament of anyone trying to live and work in a place that is also a “tourist attraction”.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. 6 shown in this photo. Including one that only has a few word on it, I am not exotic I am exhausted.

below: The whole of ‘A Modest Proposal’ and ‘Faux Guide’, 2015.  A set of 48 posters loosely tacked to the wall.  A mix of humorous and poignant.  One is an alphabetical listing of all the types of dinosaurs found in Morocco.  One says “Miss Colorado and Miss Finland are Moroccan” – which did happen in 2012.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. They are arranged in a grid of 12 x 8 pictures. A woman is standing in front of them, reading the words on one. Blue and red carpets are on the floor in the foreground.

below: ‘Plumber Assemblage’ by the window, with skaters outside in the fading light.

plumber assemblage, an artwork by Yto Barrada consisting of a few sculpture like pieces made from pipes, faucets, taps, shower heads and other plumbing things.

There are many, many things that you can take from this exhibit.  Many things to think about.

An article in the  Toronto Star claims that Barrada  “explores the cultural heritage of her homeland through a colonial lens” and how that heritage has been used to make money from tourists.   But….   Is this the making of money by exploiting one’s culture and history?  Or the exploiting of Moroccan culture and history by the tourists?

Tourists go searching for the foreign and the exotic.  Many of them are souvenir hunters – Sometimes it’s a selfie in front of every “famous” place (or interesting building or whatever) and sometimes it’s a “find”.  But we live in a world that is full of  ‘made in China’ souvenirs and we are a people that don’t care to distinguish between the real and the fake.  We just want a story to tell the folks back home.

There were once dinosaurs living in a tropical land in what is now Morocco….  how the world has changed, and is changing.   Insert your opinions on climate change here.

Because it is a collection of exhibits under one umbrella, it has been compared to a museum.  Very trendy.   One description of the exhibit claims that it is “Meant to make us question the ways in which museums confer value on things”.  Can I take that one step further by asking, how do art galleries confer status on art and artists?  Museums make curatorial choices and so do art galleries.  Barrada too has surely made choices as have I.

You are probably wondering what carpets on the floor have to do with all those words that I just wrote.  Good question.  I think that Yto Barrada is on to something – an exhibit that has visual appeal, offends no one, and is flexible in its interpretation (i.e. it says something different to everyone and fits nicely into most people’s narratives).   You can agree with me, or disagree.  Best to go and see it for yourself and form your own opinions…. mine just might be fake.

below: People skating on the frozen Natrel Pond beside The Power Plant.

late afternoon with the sun low in the sky casting yellowish glow on the world, Toronto skyline in the background with its condos and construction cranes, also The Power Plant Center and art gallery. In the foreground is the frozen Natrel Pond of Harbourfront and on it people are skating.

Yto Barrada’s exhibit will be on at The Power Plant until the 2nd of January.

 Food is an important part of our lives and there is a lot that we take for granted about the food we eat. Food, and all that accompanies it, is the theme of a collection of art exhibits at Harbourfront’s Artport.   On display is work by a number of artists who have been examining different food related issues.   How we see food, it’s role in our lives, how healthy is it,  it’s production, and how we obtain it, are just a few of the questions that are explored.   We eat food but what about the parts we usually waste?

Below is a sample of what is on offer.

below: ‘Wearable Food – Hat’, 2014, by Sooyeong Lee, part of a series of photographs that displays food in atypical and unexpected ways.   An acorn squash fascinator is precariously perched on her head.

A picture of a photo of an Asian woman with her hair in a braid, a stern expression on her face, and the top of an acorn squash on her head in place of a hat

below: ‘Frugivore Project’, 2011-ongoing, by Amanda White, an attempt to communicate biologically with tomato plants.  White bought tomatoes from the grocery store and ate them.   She harvested the seeds after they had passed through her digestive system and then planted them.  After the plants bear fruit, it is eaten and the cycle continues.

Two pictures of one art installation. On a small door is a picture of a woman eating a tomato and with a pile of tomatos in front of her. Open the door and it reveals a small space with a tomato plant growing there.

 

below: ‘Foraged Palette’, 2015, Thea Haines, made with wool, silk, linen, hemp and cotton with natural dyes.   The dyes are made from food waste such as carrot peels, onion skins, pomegranate skins and avocado pits.

A pattern of hand dyed, hand cut leaves in varying shades of yellows oranges and browns is displayed on a wall

close up of A pattern of hand dyed, hand cut leaves in varying shades of yellows oranges and browns is displayed on a wall

below:‘Strain to Absorb, 2015, by Lisa Myers, three digital files running simultaneously. Blueberries contain the pigment anthocyanin which the artist produces from strained fruit.

Three video screens displayed horizontally on a wall.

below:‘Accidental Hunter’, 2014, by Erin Riley, hunting with a rifle received as a gift from her father and taking pictures of the event.

A picture of a large photograph of people in orange vests and hats as they set out with their rifles on a hunting trip. To the right is part of a picture of dead geese but only part of it is visible

below: ‘Delicate merchandise!”, 2014, by Lynn Price, oil on paper.  The title comes from a poem called ‘Ode to a Lemon’ by Pablo Neruda (see bottom of post)

A grid of 16 black and white paintings of three lemons in a bowl , on an art gallery wall

below:Functional Ceramic Tableware, 2005-2015, by Bruce Cochrane

Two intricately designed ceramic containers on a table in front of a series of pictures of lemons in a bowl

Two artistic ceramic pieces by Bruce Cochrane on a small shalef

below: Trading Places, Victoria Piersig.  A series of photographs from a journey spent onboard a ship transporting wheat from Thunder Bay to Montreal.

close up of part of a very large black and white photograph of a man standing on the deck of a lake freighter at night in the winter

Two photographs of parts of a ship mounted on a wall that is covered with a large black and white photo

below: cookie cutter rings and brooches, by Andree Wejsmann

six little rings and broaches made to look like cookie cutters, a shovel, a squirrel, a rabbit, a heart, a duck and a snail.

below: Teerex and Triceratops Corn Cob holders, 2012, by Lana Filippone

sculptures of cobs of corn, three, each with dinosaur corn cob holders.

***

‘Ode to a Lemon’ by Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium
Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it –
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.

‘In-Between Worlds’ is a series of photographs by Canadian photographer Meryl McMaster.   This series centres around the role of McMaster’s dual heritage in her search for self;  The images represent her being part of, and also being between, two different cultures as she is part Cree and part ‘European’.

Three of the images are on display at Ontario Square by Queens Quay West and Lower Simcoe St.

below: Horse Dance.  The bright red and blue of the shaggy hobby horses against a winter landscape makes for an eye catching picture.  On closer look, you realize that there is a person’s head inside one of those horses’s head.  Heads that have no eyes to see or mouths to speak.

A large photograph of three red hobby horses with long blue mane, taken outside in the winter in the snow, with bare trees in the background. A mix of the real (outdoors) and the unreal (hobby horses instead of real horses). Photo is Mounted on a concrete wall outside.

below: Wingeds Calling.  Around the corner there is another picture of a person in costume, playing the role of a real, yet not real, animal.  A large black bird-like figure walks on the frozen ground, perhaps too big and awkward to fly.

A photograph Mounted on a concrete wall outside of a person draped in a large black cape and wearing a head piece that looks like a large black bird. Photo taken outside in winter so the background is all white and grey like a foggy winter day.,

below: Wind Play Variation.  The third picture baffles me a bit.  Although this is another picture of a person assuming a role,  this time the creature is totally of the artist’s imagination.  A blue hairy thing that is slightly blurry as it walks amongst the pine trees.   Is it coming or going?

Photo of a blue furry creature taken in winter with snow covered evergreens in the background. Mounted on a concrete wall outside.

Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday where and friends come together to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.  It occurs at the end of October (31 Oct to 2 Nov).  Here in Toronto there was a Day of the Dead festival at Harbourfront this past weekend.

fabric hanging on a wall. There is a picture on the fabric of a woman's face painted white to look like a skull but with pink around the eys. Many orange roses surround her face

One of the traditions of Dia de Muertos is the making of ofrendas which are altars dedicated to the deceased person.  Jose Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter (1883-1949).  He specialized in painting murals in frescoes and his work can be seen in Mexico and in the USA.

elaborate and colourful ofrenda with purple, blue and pink paper cut outs on the wall behind.
Another altar that was on display was one made by artist Alberto Cruz in honour of Pablo Picasso.

An ofrenda, or altar, in the memory of Pablo Picasso at a day of the dead festival. There is a photo of him surrounded by different objects and symbols representing his life and things that he did

The Casa Cultura Mexicana made an ofrenda to honour the Prehispanic indigenous people and warriors of Mexico.
The bottom part consisted of pictures made with coloured rice.

pictures made of coloured rice on an ofrenda dedicated to the indigenous people of Mexico

Food items such as rice, beans, and corns were an important part of the ofrenda.

a face shape made of dried beans and corn. red beans make a circle around the face, black beans make 6 rays coming out from the circle. The face is corn with bean features.

Ofrendas are decorated with sugar skulls and marigolds (or yellow and orange paper flowers) as well as candles, photos, momentos from the person’s life, and things that symbolize something about that person.  Sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical.

an ofrenda with a picture of a woman in a frame sitting on a table. One each side of her is an elaborately decorated skull. One of the skulls is wearing sunglasses and a wreath of yellow and orange flowers around the top of its head.

What would your friends and family put on an ofrenda in your memory?

objects on an ofrenda at a day of the dead celebration, decorated skulls, a small skeleton, some old photos of people, flowers, fruit,

There was also clay available if you wanted to make a small skull or other symbol for the occasion.

close up picture of a man putting details on a small clay skull with a toothpick

Two girls with day of the dead face paint on are making clay skulls. A young boy is also at the table making a skull, his mother is helping him.

A young man carefully adds tiny clay roses to a clay skull that he has made.

A small figurine made of a clay of a skeleton wearing a sombraro and playing a guitar is in the foreground, kids making clay skulls at a table are in the background.

skull painted white and then decorated with black, green, red and white

Rest in Peace.

ofrenda, altar, day of the dead celebration, woman's picture along with Virgin Mary candles and other pink cnadles, lots of orange flowers too

The exhibit is called ‘Black Cloud’ and it consists of thirty thousand black moths, each one individually attached to the walls and ceiling of the clerestory of the The Power Plant Gallery.   Artist Carlos Amorales has reproduced the shapes and sizes of thirty six different species of moth with black paper.  They swarm towards the lights and they congregate in the corners.  It’s a fascinating display both in the overall composition and in the attention to small details.   This installation first appeared at an art gallery in Paris in 2007.

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - looking up at all the moths on the ceiling

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - looking at the corner of the hall, where the wall meets the ceiling

A wall covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway - this picture is a close up of some of the moths

As much as I liked the display, I was glad they weren’t real moths!

A hallway covered with black paper moths, part of an art installation called Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales where 30,000 black paper moths are stuck to the walls and ceilings of a hallway

#PPBlackCloud

 Planet IndigenUS is a ten day festival co-produced by the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford. It features 300 artists with dance and music performances as well as visual art exhibits at a number of venues.  One of the venues is the gallery at Harbourfront Centre where a number of artists of Anishnabe heritage are showing their work.  Two of the artists are Christian Chapman and Scott Benesiinaabandan, and a sample of their work is presented here.

 

 Screenprints by Christian Chapman

print of an evergreen forest, a text in Ashishnabe language on top of the trees, hanging on a gallery wall gaawiin wiikaa ji gwerina-ka-nawich
miskwadessi opixwanak misa oi kitimagia
miskwadessi wag dash awessiwag
ji manaadji-a-ka-ni-watch

 never turn a turtle on its back so that it is helpless
turtles and all other animals are to be accorded respect

 

print of asky with clouds in red and orange tones, a text in Ashishnabe language on top of the trees, hanging on a gallery wall gaawiin wiikaa zaagi-dandaweken
wassetchiganatikong wayti-endaian
ai anike dibadjimowin eta ga nibodwach
sa gitinacasowug

never climb out a window in your house,
traditionally, only dead people are brought out like that

***

below: ‘God Save the Queen’ by Scott Benesiinaabandan
a series of photos in which the queen is partially covered by the artist’s Solidarity Flag

In an art gallery, a series of three large photographs of a statue of Queen Victoria.  THe first picture is just the statue, the middle picture is a man starting to put a  flag over the bottom part of the statue and the third picture is the flag on the statue.  Flag is solidarity flag created by Scott Benesiinaabandan, black and blue background, red circle in the middle, yellow sun in the red circle