2020 Past Exhibitions

January 10 - February 22: Gerard Pas: Broken Body

Broken Body
Gerard Pas

Curated by James Patten
January 10 - February 22, 2020
Opening reception: Friday January 10, 7:00–9:00 p.m.


Gerard Pas, Un Autre Faux Pas (detail), 1978. Performance documentation courtesy of Tobey Anderson.

London artist Gerard Pas has been a pioneer of disability arts in Canada since the 1970s. He is among the first generation of international artists who expressed their identities as disabled people in order to challenge prevailing attitudes and stereotypes.

Pas’ self-reflective performances, photographs, sculptures, and paintings are informed by the radical political activism of the 1960s and motivated by the frustration of being culturally and socially marginalized because of his atrophied leg, which was the result of having polio as a child. Pas fought back with profound, moving works informed by the conflicting traditions of Modernism and Realism particularly in his native Holland. At the same time, he realized that both aesthetic movements were dependent on idealization, rationalism, and depersonalization. Modernism’s seductive claim to “pure form”, as represented by Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld, whose Red and Blue Chair, 1918–1923, was the basis of Pas’ bathetic wheeled version, was in striking contrast to his own more complex and nuanced lived experience.

The angst and cynicism of contemporary punk aesthetics, combined with Pas’ experience with disability, was a potent entanglement that produced an entirely new way of enacting disability through raw, energetic performance. His art practice embodied the intersections of disability, migration, class and the negation of social systems that were at the core of punk aesthetics. Standing in front of the Kingston Penitentiary, his left leg behind his head, he lit a cigarette in defiance and contempt of the penal system’s rule-based authority and emphasis on eroding individualism by controlling and standardizing the body and everyday life.

Pas enacts a Brechtian critique of oppression and the strictures of modernist purity and formalism. His dialectical approach reveals the contradictions inherent in conventional representations of idealized bodies in a harmonious, utopian world. Even within the seemingly defiant world of performance art, most artists still perpetuated the idealized beauty standards of the day. Both funny and confrontational, Pas’ performances deftly dismantled pre-conceived ideas about how he was supposed to interact with the world and how the world was going to react to him. This in turn informed his work in other media in which he carefully breaks social and aesthetic conventions to uncover hidden realities and awkward truths.


Related exhibition programming:

Artist-led exhibition tour with Gerard Pas
Thursday, February 13 at 2:00 p.m.
McIntosh Gallery

Curator-led exhibition tour with James Patten
Thursday, February 20 at 12:30 p.m.
McIntosh Gallery

For more information about McIntosh Gallery and this exhibition, contact Abby Vincent, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, avince5@uwo.ca, 519.661.2111 ext. 87576.

March 6 - April 9: Kelly Greene: Accountability

Accountability
Kelly Greene

Curated by Helen Gregory 
March 6 - April 9, 2020
Opening reception: Friday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m.


Kelly Greene, Attempting to Correct Disorder 2014, acrylic on panel. Courtesy of the Woodland Cultural Centre.

McIntosh Gallery is pleased to present Accountability, an exhibition of work by London, Ontario-based artist, Kelly Greene. Greene is a multi-media artist who works in painting, sculpture, installation, and photography. A Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ohsweken, Ontario, Greene focuses on topics that include environmental concerns as well as the impact that colonization has had on Canada's First People. Although she wasn’t raised within her Indigenous heritage, Greene has spent much of her adult life learning about her Haudenosaunee identity.

As she works towards a deeper understanding of her own culture, Greene investigates the multiple ways in which the notion of accountability occurs across key issues affecting Indigenous people. As a nation with its roots in colonization by European settlers, Canada must remain accountable to the history of injustices by honouring past treaties and recognizing the importance of restitution in the healing process. Indigenous people must remain accountable to themselves by taking on the responsibility for keeping their languages and traditions alive and, by passing them on to younger generations, mitigating further loss of vital knowledge and culture. And we must all take on the responsibility of caring for our Earth that sustains us. In her work, Greene makes specific references to the Haldimand Treaty granted to the people of Six Nations, as well as the Mohawk Institute Residential School, or “Mush Hole”, which her Grandmother attended in the 1920s. Greene’s ongoing concern towards increasingly pressing environmental issues has inspired work that represents Earth as Mother, honouring Haudenosaunee belief.

Greene began her visual art studies at the University of New Mexico and went on to earn a BFA from Western University. Her work has been exhibited at the Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, Ontario), Saw Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff, Alberta), Thunder Bay Art Gallery (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Iroquois Indian Museum (Howes Cave, New York), Gary Farmer Gallery (Santa Fe, New Mexico), and others. Greene has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

McIntosh Gallery acknowledges with gratitude the financial support of the McIntosh Gallery Art and Travel Committee that made this exhibition possible.

For more information about McIntosh Gallery and this exhibition, contact Abby Vincent, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, avince5@uwo.ca, 519.661.2111 ext. 87576.

March 6 - June 13: Johannes Zits: Listening to Trees

Listening to Trees
Johannes Zits

Curated by James Patten
March 6 - June 13, 2020
Opening reception: Friday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m.


Johannes Zits, Up and Over a Stone, Kiawe Tree 2018, performance, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, photography: Ed Pien. Courtesy of the artist.

Many of us, especially in Canada, would claim a special relationship with trees and forests. But if we were asked to define that relationship, or to describe our interactions with trees, we might come up short on answers. For the past ten years, Toronto performance artist Johannes Zits has been working with trees around the world. From Cambodia to Cuba, the trees he chooses tend to have unique historical or cultural value within communities. Some have borne witness to horrific human tragedies. Others mark the gradual development of communities as a gathering place or landmark.

Using nonverbal actions, he approaches nature as a body that is alive, vulnerable, and socially contextualized. Instead of making nature a passive backdrop in front of which human history unfolds, his encounters with trees are reflective and empathetic. Aligned with panpsychism, a philosophical world view in which all matter has consciousness, Zits' practice shares an affinity with cultures in which humanity is seen as continuous with nature. To this end, he often collaborates with local communities to enhance his performances and interactions with trees.

In London, Johannes Zits will be in residence at McIntosh Gallery from March until June. While here, he will be investigating the remnants of an avenue of 160-year-old black walnut trees that, at one time, lined the drive from Western Road to the old Kingsmill house that once stood near Middlesex College. He will also be researching and interacting with an ancient white oak, possibly 600 years old and called the meeting tree, that is said to have links to the Underground Railroad. His exhibition at the gallery will be completely transformed during the residency by the research he does in London.

A series of talks, workshops and walking tours with Johannes and other guests will be offered so that everyone can participate and learn more meaningful ways to experience nature and listen to trees.

About the artist:
Since graduating with a BFA from York University in 1984, Johannes Zits has presented work across Canada as well as internationally. In 2013, Zits performed at the 8th Encuentro, Sao Paulo, Brazil and showed videos at Le festival international du film sur l’art, Montreal. In 2014, he presented variations on the performance Island at M:ST Festival, Calgary, Yuz Museum, Shanghai and at Meta 2014, Chongqing, China.

Johannes Zits has achieved global recognition for his performances and videos about the body and how it interacts with social and natural environments. His approach to nature is collaborative. He treats it as another sentient body replete with vulnerabilities, movements, desires and dynamic affective relationships. His collaborative approach is evident in the videos Elemental Gestures, in which he empathizes with driftwood, and Embodying Nature (2010), which combines a two person performance in a Chinese bamboo forest with group actions in a gallery setting.

About the residency:
Johannes Zits will be in residence at McIntosh Gallery from March until June. While here, he will be investigating the remnants of an avenue of 160-year-old black walnut trees on campus. In 1916, the University of Western Ontario purchased the 150 acre Bellevue Farm, owned by the Kingsmill family, for its new campus. The Kingsmill house stood in the wooded area next to Middlesex College. Access was from Western Road along a serpentine lane flanked by black walnut trees. A double row of these trees in front of Middlesex College still marks the end of the driveway. A few trees also persist near McIntosh Gallery. In 2002, Netta Kingsmill Brandon (Arts, 1944) donated funds to plant a grove of seven black walnut trees near McIntosh Gallery to commemorate the gallery’s innovative artist in residence program.

According to Johannes Zits:

I would explore what happens when the pace of the walk is changed or the level at which we are observing what is around us. What is noticed on these walks will be applied to a recreation of the path of the old walnut trees that led to the site of the Kingsmill’s farm house. The goal here is to reconcile what is seen and to connect with what once was. The act of walking outside is about receiving or taking; the question is how that can be transferred into another realm or space. This leads to the question that maybe the active walking outside is a performative act in of itself and could be the performance.

Zits will also be researching and interacting with an ancient white oak, possibly 600 years old and called the meeting tree, that is said to have links to the Underground Railroad.

His exhibition at the gallery, which includes photographs of his previous interactions with trees in many countries and wooden performance props, will be completely transformed during the residency based on the research he does in London. A series of talks, workshops and walking tours with Johannes and other guests will be offered so that everyone can participate and learn more meaningful ways to experience nature and listen to trees.

Using trees and wooden objects, Zits and program participants will develop performances that consider the historical and cultural significance of trees and wooden objects found in natural and in constructed environments. The workshops focus on receiving information and translating it through body movements. Participants will be acquainted with the concepts of dynamic listening, deep hanging out, and forest bathing. They will develop strategies for using their bodies to interpret and reconnect to nature based on non-western knowledge systems.

Related Programming:

Artist Talk
Thursday March 12, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Performative Action Workshop
Saturday March 21, from noon to 3:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely
Maximum eight participants, please contact Abby Vincent to reserve your place at mcintoshgallery@uwo.ca.

Walking Tour with Michael Lunau, Manager of Landscape Services, Western University
Thursday April 2, from noon to 1:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely 

Walking Tour of the Sherwood Fox Arboretum
Thursday May 21, from noon until 1:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely 

Excursion to the Meeting Tree at Westminster Ponds
Saturday May 23, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely 
Space is limited, please contact Abby Vincent to reserve your place at mcintoshgallery@uwo.ca.

Anishinaabe Cosmology: Restoring spirit and land
Presentation by Mkomosé (Dr. Andrew Judge) 
Postponed indefinitely 

A meditation on remembering what it means to be a human–Indigenous knowledge for a changing climate
Presentation by Mkomosé (Dr. Andrew Judge) 
Postponed indefinitely 

Walking and Listening Workshop
Saturday May 30, from noon to 3:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely 
Maximum eight participants, please contact Abby Vincent to reserve your place at mcintoshgallery@uwo.ca.

Outdoor Performance by Johannes Zits
Tuesday June 2, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Postponed indefinitely 

The Opening of a Leaf
Ongoing through June 13
Participate in Zits' ongoing residency by photographing unfurling tree buds in your backyard, in a park or an alley nearby, or anywhere trees grow in your community.

July 10 - 24: Yas Nik Khoshgrudi: The Prototype for the Soul

The Prototype for the Soul

Yas Nik Khoshgrudi
July 10 – 24, 2020

Yas.jpg
Yas Nik Khoshgrudi, For the Damaged Coda 2019, installation. Courtesy of the artist.

The Prototype for the Soul traces the relationship between traditional literary narrative texts and digital media. The concept of virtual reality as an interactive digital narrative alters conventional understanding of interactivity in reading. According to the artist, “reading integrates the reader's interaction as a vital part of the sign-production process by which we would be able to define them as a concept, and in the same sense as a piece of literature".

Khoshgrudi asserts that the scripts for the roles that we play are found within fantasies of the unconscious mind. According to Brian Massumi, “the dimension of proprioception lies midway between stimulus and response, in a region where unfolded tactile encounter meets externalizing response to the qualities gathered by all five senses. It performs a synthesis of those intersecting pathways in the medium of the flesh, thus opening to its own quasi corporeality”. The works in this exhibition alternate between physical objects and code, exploring the processes of translation and the manifestations of fantasy inherent in digital media interpretation.

The artist explores the relationship between digital and physically lived experiences as inseparable, examining the ways in which one affects the other in a parallel fashion. Her work focuses on self-awareness through digital experiences. She imagines a state in which lived experience comes from both a virtual space and real life. The primary concept is that the core of our psychic life takes place in a “virtual reality”, where each of us is a subject of imagination.

Yas Nik Khoshgrudi is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. She completed her BFA (painting) at Tehran University of Art and is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Visual Arts, Western University.



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