Current Exhibition

Message in a Bottle

Erika DeFreitas, Qendrim Hoti, Ginette Legaré, Laura Moore, Jennifer Murphy & Jacob Robert Whibley
July 21 - August 18, 2018
Curated by Kristiina Lahde
In Message in a Bottle, artists create hybrid arrangements out of materials that have been thoughtfully scavenged, collected and culled. These materials carry information and transmit messages as they traverse space, criss-cross time and shift context. Industrial, natural and domestic ephemera take on new forms, which reveal each artist’s considered regeneration of the material world.

Erika Defreitas turns to the "Deaths, Memorials and Obituaries" section of the Toronto Star newspaper for her source material. While reading the stories of the recently deceased, the artist searches for words that stand out to her and preserves them on the page. The remainder of the text is meticulously trimmed away, leaving only a skeletal layout behind. The work reflects on memory and loss, while giving presence to absence and perhaps even a momentary pause to things left unsaid.

For Qendrim Hoti, working with objects is a way to connect with places or people from his past. The artist hacks and re-designs handheld objects that bear certain emotional or cultural significance to him, such as tools passed down from his father or small objects carried across the ocean during his immigration from Kosovo to Canada in 1992. Once fused with consumer products found in Canada, his adopted home, the work asserts a hybrid identity that, in the words of the artist, “relive the psychological tension caused by my dualistic identity”.

Ginette Legaré has an uncanny ability for finding significance in curbside cast-offs. She takes apart and redeploys found objects into sculptural configurations that suggest a kind of visual language. In A Rhetoric Without Words, delicate metal components are linked together to create elegant structures that are evocative of signs and symbols. Once removed from their original context, these objects become curiously unfamiliar, which introduces the possibility of new and unexpected meaning. Hung from the gallery ceiling, the forms are suspended both literally and figuratively in a state of flux.

Jennifer Murphy immerses herself in nature; studying and gathering from the incredible abundance of the natural world around her. Feathers, insects, petrified wood, wolf bones, nests and dried flowers are selected from among the worldy offerings and delicately assembled to appear like faces on the wall. Here, allusions to life and death are made in equal measure and it is quite remarkable how this menagerie of natural elements, once arranged on the wall by Murphy’s deft hand, seem to speak to us. So much, afterall, is communicated by a glance, a look, or a wink.

Laura Moore’s Plywood Circuit Boards are sourced from discarded plywood sheets the artist scavenged from neighbourhood alleyways. Stacked one against another they lean seamingly haphazordly along the gallery wall, much like the way they were first found. Carved into each surface is the image of a different circuit board the artist sourced from computer monitors also found on the streets of Toronto. These vestiges of modern yet dated technologies, with their intricate lines and networks, read like hieroglyphic etchings of an ancient language.

Jacob Robert Whibley’s collages are culled from an extensive archive of books and paper ephemera stretching back several decades. Thoughtfully excavated from their original source, these fragments are trimmed and then composed on the remains of gutted book covers and aged maps. In these new configurations, strange topographies emerge as the layering and re-sequincing of material from different eras offers a playful contradiction on a linear understanding of time.

- Kristiina Lahde


Biographies

Erika DeFreitas is a Scarborough-based multidisciplinary conceptual artist. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture and documentation, her work explores the influence of language, loss and culture on the formation of identity with the use of textile-based words and performative actions which are photographed. DeFreitas has shown nationally and internationally, including Project Row Houses and the Museum of African American Culture, Houston, the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, and Platform Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts, Winnipeg. She was a recipient of the Toronto Friends of Visual Artist’s 2016 Finalist Artist Prize, the 2016 John Hartman Award, and longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.

Qendrim Hoti is an Albanian artist, born in Kosovo and currently living in Toronto. Hoti spent much of his young life moving between Canada and the US and uses these early life experiences to explore influences of immigration, assimilation and memory on one’s sense of identity. His work is based on the notion that objects are mnemonic devices for hybridized identities, and routinely fuses design and engineering with photography, sculpture and installation as part of his expanding research and practice. Recent exhibitions include Liminal Forms at OCADU Graduate Gallery, Toronto (2018), Sites of reconstruction at Ignite Gallery, Toronto (2018) and Super Toys Last All Summer Long at ESP, Toronto (2017). He also collaborated with Esmaa Mohamoud to produce her project for the seminal group exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2017. Qendrim Hoti received his BFA from York University in 2014 and his MFA from OCADU in 2017.

Ginette Legaré is a visual artist, born in Québec City and based in Toronto. Over the years, her mixed media constructs and installations have explored the instrumentalist and documentary possibilities of recovered objects and their ability to embody and suggest new meanings. Her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada-- and in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.S., and Japan. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, and a former member of Cold City Gallery and of Mercer Union's board of directors, she has served as an advisor/juror for several arts organizations. Her works are included in various private, public, and corporate collections. Legaré is a professor at OCAD University, teaching mostly in the Sculpture/Installation program and in the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media & Design graduate program. She is represented by Birch Contemporary who, in 2017, issued an illustrated publication of her works, titled For the time being...

Laura Moore is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in sculpture. The artist works primarily in stone, although her practice extends into wood relief, drawing and photography. Moore received an MFA from York University and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Recent exhibitions include one man's junk at the MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie (2016), Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark (2015) and Possible Futures: What is to be done? The Windsor-Essex Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Windsor (2014). Moore's sculptures have been installed in numerous public settings, most notably at Google in Kitchener as part of CAFKA in 2014. The artist recently attended the International Artist in Residence at Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder, Trondheim (Norway) in 2017. Her work has been acquired by the Bank of Montreal, Fanshawe College, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and is included in numerous private collections. Laura Moore is represented by Zalucky Contemporary in Toronto.

Jennifer Murphy is a Toronto based artist working in collage and mixed media. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), The Power Plant (Toronto), White Columns (New York), MOCA (Los Angeles) and recently has had a solo exhibition at Gallery 44 and was including in a group exhibition at 8eleven, both in Toronto. Murphy has been longlisted for the Sobey Art Award three times and has received numerous grants and awards. In 2012 she participated in the residency A Paper, A Drawing, A Mountain at the Banff Centre. Murphy's work has been included in publications such as Canadian Art, Flash Art, Juxtapose, N+1, Bad Day, C Magazine, Hunter and Cook, Millions, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail among others. Her work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. Jennifer Murphy is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto.

Jacob Robert Whibley is a Toronto-based artist who works predominantly in collage, sculpture and 3D printing technologies. His practice roots through modernist art, architecture and design concepts to address issues of temporality, labour and technology. Whibley is a graduate of OCAD University and a former member of the Toronto art collective Team Macho. Recent exhibitions include dot-dot-dot at 8-11, Toronto (2017), imperfect aspect at Open Studio, Toronto (2016), all we ever wanted was everything at Narwhal Contemporary, Toronto (2015), Point and Duration at Bourouina Gallery, Berlin (2014), More than Two (Let it Make Itself) at The Power Plant, Toronto (2013) and Freedom of Assembly at Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2012). His work has been acquired by the RBC Collection, BMO Collection, TD Collection and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Jacob Robert Whibley is represented by Zalucky Contemporary in Toronto.

Kristiina Lahde is an artist whose conceptual practice focuses on material investigation and process. Lahde’s continuing research of found objects has extended to her first curatorial project titled Message in a Bottle at Zalucky Contemporary. Earlier in 2018 Lahde's solo exhibition, In and Out of Order, was presented at OBORO in Montreal, curated by Claudine Hubert. This was followed by her recent exhibition Out of Line at MKG127 in Toronto. Lahde has exhibited at The Koffler Gallery, The Power Plant and at La Biennale de Montréal. Lahde was a longlist nominee for the Sobey Art Award in 2013. She is the recipient of numerous grants from the Toronto, Ontario and Canada arts councils. Lahde received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in 1999. Kristiina Lahde is represented by MKG127 in Toronto.