Contemporary Art Circling the Mandala
Aya Ben Ron (Israel), Mircea Cantor (France / Romania), Vandana Jain (USA), Gary James Joynes/Clinker (Canada), Melissa Shiff (Canada), Jennifer Zackin (USA)
September 22 to December 4, 2011
Koffler Gallery Off-Site at 80 Spadina Ave, Suite 501 | FREE
Curator: Evelyn Tauben
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 22, 7 – 9 PM
EXHIBITION HOURS: Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 6 PM
(Please note: Koffler Gallery is closed on Jewish and statutory holidays as follows: September 29 and 30, October 8, 13, 14, 20, and 21.)
"MUST-SEE SHOW" – NOW Magazine (September 22, 2011)
"You Spin Me Right Round" – National Post (September 23, 2011)
Download the exhibition brochure here (PDF)
A centuries-old motif in Buddhist and Hindu religious practices, mandalas are representations of the cosmos, which help direct focus in meditation. Many contemporary artists have been entranced by the formal simplicity of the mandala (meaning circle in Sanskrit) paired with its function and elaborate symbolism. Spin Off brings together work by a group of international artists, elucidating the challenge and potential for accessing spirituality in a modern world. This multimedia exhibition presents art that melds mysticism and popular culture, offering alternative portals to escape the world of the everyday while simultaneously drawing upon its sights and sounds.
Koffler Gallery is generously supported by:
Gary James Joynes/Clinker, Ouroboros, is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.
On the Other Side...
Sunday, September 25, 2011, 7:30 PM
$12 | FREE for Koffler Envision Members
Toronto Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Ave.
Sound artist, composer and visual artist from Edmonton, Gary James Joynes/Clinker latest visual-sonic fusion work Ouroboros is debuted in Spin Off. In this multimedia performance, Joynes/Clinker mixes sound and visuals live on stage to create a multi-sensory environment. Originally commissioned by the International Leonard Cohen Festival, On the Other Side... explores Cohen’s continued romance with the light and dark inside our human experience by appropriating Cohen’s words and bass voice as a departure point into a deep listening audio-visual experience. Clinker will also animate his evolving installation in Spin Off by layering live vocals over the frequency tones that shape his captivating Frequency Paintings where sand is sculpted by the pure power of sound.
Free Contemporary Art Bus tour
Sunday, October 16, Noon – 5 PM
Tour starts at the Koffler Gallery Off-Site at 80 Spadina, Suite 501, and heads to the AGYU, Blackwood Gallery, and Doris McCarthy Gallery, returning to Spadina Avenue at 5 PM. Seating is limited. RSVP to Erin Peck, 416.208.2766, firstname.lastname@example.org
Theatre as a Living Mandala
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 7 PM
$5 | FREE for Koffler Envision Members
80 Spadina Ave., Suite 501
In addition to being an internationally acclaimed poet and novelist, Michal Govrin is among Israel’s most innovative theatre artists. Both her writing and theatre productions relate to Spin Off presenting contemporary artists reflection on spirituality in a modern world via the mandala. Govrin’s theatre can be experienced like a living mandala and a prayer forms the structure of her prize-winning novel HaShem (The Name). Discussing the sacred in art, she will show clips from her experimental performance, That Night's Seder and her stage adaptation, Gog and Magog, based on Martin Buber's Hassidic novel, considered one of the groundbreaking works of contemporary Israeli theatre.
Presented together with the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto.
ONE WORLD, DOUBLE TAKE
Sunday, November 27, 2011, 4 PM
$5 | FREE for Koffler Envision Members
Toronto School of Art, 410 Adelaide St. W., 3rd floor
One World, Double Take is an annual series where media insiders, curious creatives, and big thinkers share their perspectives on hot topics through a global lens. Responding to themes in Spin Off, this roundtable discussion features artists who draw on ancient traditions in creating new work. Is the result sacred or profane? Spiritual or secular? Can it be both at once? Curator Evelyn Tauben moderates with Spin Off artists Vandana Jain and Melissa Shiff together with Dora and Gemini award-winning actor and writer Rick Miller speaking about his unique theatrical production, Bigger Than Jesus – a poignant multi-media ‘mass’.
Sunday, September 25, 2011, 10 AM – 4 PM | $130 + materials
Sunday, November 27, 2011, 10 AM – 4 PM | $130 + materials
Toronto School of Art, 410 Adelaide St. W., 3rd floor
Registration required: http://tsa-art.ca/
After a special guided tour of Spin Off, participate in a day-long workshop including art-making as well as conversations with local spiritual leaders. Using different media, the workshops will centre around the creation of new mandalas in an urban environment.
Presented together with the Toronto School of Art.
AYA BEN RON
In her multifaceted artistic practice, which ranges from sculpture, video, drawing, and installation, Aya Ben Ron explores the perception of death and morality, the morbid body, as well as the unconscious collective memory of pain in its socio-historical dimension. Over the years she has established a rich body of works that has been widely recognized and included in numerous art exhibitions.
Born in 1967 in Haifa, Israel, Aya Ben Ron received an MA in Fine Arts at the Goldsmiths College, University of London. Throughout the years she established a rich body of works that has been widely recognized and included in numerous international art exhibitions such as Moma Warsaw; Moca Shanghai; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin; Herzlia Museum of Art, Israel; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; 2006 Bienal Sao Paolo, Brazil; Art Lab Holon, Israel; The Wellcome Trust, London; among many others.
The works of Romanian artist Mircea Cantor (born 1977, Romania) tell of social utopias and individual dreams in our globalized world, where promises are not always kept and realities are often contradictory. Frequently, Cantor employs astonishingly simple gestures and means to create forceful, poetic images which concern the existential questions of life such as happiness, freedom, security or independence.
Cantor employs a wide spectrum of different media, ranging from simple materials and old craft techniques to drawings made in candle soot, lipstick or fingerprints on the wall.
Cantor's work has been exhibited in public institutions including the Pompidou Center in Paris, Kunsthaus Zurich in Germany, the Camden Arts Centre in London, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, as well as in private galleries such as Yvon Lambert in Paris and New York, Magazzino di Arte Moderna in Rome, and Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv.
Cantor has been nominated for the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize (2011), Paris.
Vandana Jain is a conceptual artist whose work recontextualizes corporate logos to create new interpretations of these well-known signs. Her awards include the Bronx Museum’s AIM program in 2003, the Emerging Artist’s Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park in 2007 the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency in 2008-9, and most recently, the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2010. She has shown at a variety of venues locally and internationally, including P.S.1 International (NY); ABC No Rio(NY); Momenta (NY); the Soap Factory (MN); Grey Noise Gallery (Lahore, Pakistan), and With Space (798, Beijing, China).
GARY JAMES JOYNES/CLINKER
Gary James Joynes is a sound artist, composer and visual artist from Edmonton, Canada. He is fascinated by the sources of electronic composition and the ever-evolving language of technology; objects and mechanisms stimulate his process. As Clinker, his work explores meditative spaces and the kinesthetic and synaesthetic effects of sound and visuals.
Recent work includes Wave Drifting No.1 an experimental audio-visual piece that which had its world premiere at London’s Galerie8 Sound Waves in August 2011. His sound and visual installation Frequency Painting: 12 Tones premiered at the Latitude 53 Art Gallery in January 2011. Clinker's most recent Live Cinema work On the Other Side... was commissioned by the 2008 International Leonard Cohen Festival and has toured internationally. A film score for the National Film Board of Canada’s award winning feature documentary Dirt was composed by Clinker and premiered at the Vancouver DOXA Festival in May 2008. He was selected to open the Montreal MUTEK Festival 8th. Edition with his 2007 Live Cinema performance work Provody.
Clinker's latest full-length audio work entitled On the Other Side... (for L. Cohen) was released to critical acclaim on the Los Angeles Sound Art Label Dragon's Eye Recordings in January of 2009. Through the Fall/Winter of 2009, Clinker was an artist in residence at the Banff Centre of the Arts, advancing new ideas in visual music for future audio-visual sculptural installations. Recent performances include Electric Fields (Ottawa), Mountain Computer Music Festival (Montana), Roulette Mixology Festival (New York), High Performance Rodeo (Calgary), (((Soundwave))) (Vancouver Island), Mutek_10 (Montreal), Mutek_10 Tour (Edmonton), Emmedia Sonic Boom 2009 (Calgary), Banff Centre - BNMI Interactive Screen (2008 & 2007 editions) and the 2008 Leonard Cohen International Festival.
The last few years have seen Clinker's work performed and exhibited in Canada and abroad in festivals and events including Soundfjord re/flux Sublimated Landscape / Sonic Topology @ ICA London (London, UK), Tanzstartklar Festival 2008 (Graz, Austria), New Forms Festival 2007 & 2003 (Vancouver), Sprawl - Interplay_4 Festival 2007 (Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Bristol), Sea Of Sound Festival 2005 (The Works - Edmonton), Mutek Le Placard Festival 2005 (Montreal), Standart 2003 (Madrid, Spain).
Melissa Shiff is a video, performance and installation artist who specializes in utilizing Jewish myths, symbols and rituals in the service of social justice and activism as well as engaging with issues of cultural memory. Shiff is an Adjunct Professor in The Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She received her artistic training at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and holds a degree from Tufts University. She has given public lectures about her artwork at such institutions as The Jewish Museum and Brandeis University among others.
Her highly acclaimed work ARK was the keynote project for the Jewish Museum in Prague's centennial year celebration in 2006. ARK is an outdoor video sculpture that that measures 4.5-meter high. For the group show, Off the Wall: Artists at Work, at The Jewish Museum NY (Spring 2008) she was commissioned to create JAMS, the Jewish Animated Mandala Series, animating the Museum’s Judaica collection.
Her real life performance art Postmodern Jewish Wedding has been exhibited around the world, including the Spanish Synagogue at the Jewish Museum in Prague, (Spring 2006), Off the Wall: Artists at Work at The Jewish Museum NY (Spring 2008) and The Center for Jewish History as part of the colloquium Objects of Affection: The Jewish Wedding in Media and Material (Spring 2008). An earlier version of the film screened at many international Jewish film festivals including, Buenos Aires, Toronto and Seattle.
In the fall of 2007 Shiff created Iconoclash, an interactive multi-media rave with a 40 foot screen that was hung in one of Toronto’s main downtown parks. This project was commissioned by the City of Toronto for the all night art event Nuit Blanche.
Other works that rethink, reinvent and reinvigorate Jewish ritual include Gender Cuts/The Jew Under the Knife (2000), a feminist inquiry into the ritual of circumcision; Times Square Seder: Featuring the Matzoh Ball Soup Kitchen (2002), a multi-media art activist event for the homeless featuring Elijah Chair and Passover Projections, and her art activist Passover endeavor The Medium is the Matzo (2005) which initiated the launch of her online store JAP: Jewish Art Projects, Politics, Products where her Crush Oppression Matzo Pillows are on sale to help fight hunger.
Her video sculpture Elijah Chair is in the permanent collection of The Jewish Museum in New York where it was featured in a special exhibition at the Goodkind Media Gallery, (Spring 2004). She also collaborated with Louis Kaplan on Looking for Ararat (2003), an imaginary Jewish homelands video project.
“Jennifer Zackin has worked with Rose Petals, Little Plastic Cowboys, pre-Columbian symbols, bright handmade pom-poms, cheap mass-produced posters, coca leaves, and her grandfather’s old Super-8 home movies. How she weaves them into rhythmic, often meditative forms depends in great part on the underlying pattern that she is able to detect and orchestrate among her diverse materials. Fervently pluralistic, hers is a strategy that echoes the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s, when artists like Miriam Shapiro, Joyce Kozloff, and Robert Kushner created rich new vocabulary of line, motif and undervalued materials. Zackin, too, has fashioned idiosyncratic, appropriative artworks in a multi-ethnic practice that incorporates influences from the arts and crafts of Western and non-Western cultures alike.” -- Lori Waxman
Zackins’ sculptures, videos and site-specific installations has been widely exhibited in major national and international museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Connecticut, Spertus Museum in Chicago, Rose Museum in Massachusetts, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio, Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, The Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden in Norway, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Zacheta National Art Gallery in Warsaw, Poland. Site-Specific Commissions have included a project on Governors Island in NYC with LMCC, Katonah Village with the Katonah Art Museum in New York, Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens NYC and the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge, MA. She has received numerous awards and residencies, including Factory Direct at Pinchbeck Rose Farm, Art Omi, Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture.