Artists’ Exhibition Probe Questions of Place & Identity

Between Spheres is a group exhibition currently on view at Daniels Spectrum Artscape in Toronto’s Regent Park. Curated by Magdalyn Asimakis and Pamela Edmonds, the show features artwork by ten local and international artists and opened in conjunction with the Pan American and Parapan American Games being hosted in Toronto. For a period of time, these Games bring together diverse people in conversation, spectatorship, sport, as well as in protest. The work in the exhibition – which includes, video, photography, painting, drawing, mixed media sculpture, and a wall mural commissioned specifically for this project – raises a number of questions that the artists address through the use of spheres and the exploration of cycles.

This concept of the exhibition is rooted in the early use of the rubber ball, an object that was engaged with various aspects of life from the time of its invention in 1600 BC. An early contribution to sport in the Americas, this was an object that also represented life cycles, the earth and was engaged with astrology, warfare, and human sacrifice rituals. Similarly, today the object has numerous functions and symbolisms. Both in sport and visual culture, it is a catalyst to particular kinds of social relationships. The artists in Between Spheres activate circular forms in order to probe into questions of place and identity, and initiate conversations through imagery that use balls, globes, spheres, and circular movement, referencing the ancient and ongoing narrative of the shape.

The photographs presented by Michael Chambers are taken from a prolific series of portraits titled The Box which he produced using a wooden crate as the setting. Activated by the relationships between the figure, a ball and a wooden crate, the images question issues of identity, marginalization and urge the reinterpretation of institutionalized categorizations.

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Whereas the print work by Jérôme Havre for Anthropologie de l’image is rooted in questioning the tradition of representation in European landscape painting and exploring how the genre continues to overshadow perceptions away from other non-Western artforms. This concept is articulated through an image of a found photograph depicting European travelers afloat in a small boat and whose faces are obscured by the artist with a range of coloured circles.

Dionne Simpson’s mixed media works explore the materiality of cotton canvas as a metaphor for the underlying fabric of Canadian society. Inspired the West African art of thread pulling, individual strands are removed from the fabric to create patterns and forms. With her work Black Balled, a deconstructed unprimed canvas is unraveled and remade as a ball of thread while its wooden frame has been reconfigured as a “box” for the thread. Dyed black, the object references the ball used in organized sports such as basketball and baseball, activities that are primarily centered in entertainment and which, as observed by the artist, can be perceived as a sort of trap luring youth, particularly those in African diasporic communities into athletic career aspirations and away from other intellectual pursuits. The accompanying Untitled work is part of a series named Black on Black which interrogates this politically loaded term and its realities and misconceptions in relation to race, class, violence and urban life.

Elicser Elliot, recognized for his street artistry across the city, created a unique aerosal art mural titled Kinetic. Spray painted directly on the gallery walls, it presents a series of active figures in motion, each practicing different type of organized sports in unison including soccer, tennis and basketball. Adrian Blackwell’s film Night Equals Day documents the architectural changes at the intersection of Sackville and Oak Streets in Regent Park, where Daniels Spectrum is located. Shot at one frame per second and depicting one full rotatation each hour, the film captures twelve daylight panoramas from 7:00am until 7:00pm, and raises questions about the architectural history of that space and its socio-economic implications.

Gianfranco Foschino’s video work, La Pelota (The Ball), depicts a game developed by children in southern Chile, while life cycles and the persisting commodification of nature are recurring themes in the vivid paintings of Marcelo Suaznabar. Together these artists highlight issues of identity, human relationships, place and movement, while considering the ongoing relevance, complexity, and functionality of compelling revolving structures. Between Spheres is on view at Daniels Spectrum Artscape, 2nd floor until August 31, 2015.


Exhibiting artists: Adrian Blackwell , Michael Chambers, Elicser Elliott, Agnieszka Foltyn
Gianfranco Foschino, Jérôme Havre, Daniel Griffin Hunt. Mark Prendergast, Dionne Simpson
Marcelo Suaznabar

Image Credits: Jérôme Havre, Anthropologie de l’image, 2012, laser print, Dr. Kenneth Montague, The Wedge Collection, Toronto. Michael Chambers, Untitled (The Box Series) 2005, archival digital print, courtesy of the artist. Dionne Simpson, Untitled (Black on Black Seres) 2014, mixed media on canvas, courtesy of the artist.


Daniels Spectrum Artscape, 2nd floor
585 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7

Admission to the exhibition is free.
The Gallery is open to the public daily (Mon–Fri 8 am – 9pm, Sat–Sun 10am – 6pm)
Website: www.danielsspectrum.ca
Phone: (416) 238-2453,
Facebook: www.facebook.com/danielsspectrum
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