All That Glitters


Alex McLeod, Canyon, 2017, Digital animation still

All That Glitters – First Canadian Place Lobby

Kelly McCray

Bruno Billio,
Simon Bilodeau, Art Mur, Montreal
David Krovblit,
Rebecca Last,
Sanaz Mazinani, Stephen Bulger Gallery
Alex McLeod, Division Gallery, Toronto
Sam Mogelonsky,

First Canadian Place Lobby
100 King St West, Toronto
September 16 – September 27, 2019
Lobby venue is accessible at 100 King St West entrances

Opening Reception:
Tuesday, September 17, 5:00 – 7:00

The All that Glitters exhibition investigates “simulated” worth and the dazzling appeal of glistening, shiny surfaces that excavate their weight through captivating allure.

The exhibition title is based on the proverb “All that glisters is not gold”, which was coined by Shakespeare in his original 1596 Merchant of Venice. The well-known adage has assumed a meaning suggesting that precious objects or a person’s genuine value cannot be based solely on the shiny exterior presented. In the play, numerous suitors are pursuing the beautiful, wealthy protagonist, Portia. She, however, is not free to choose whom she will marry as her late father has stipulated in his will that she must wed the man who correctly picks the one of three caskets that contains her picture.

It is Portia’s character that inscribes the proverb into history by her written statement found in the caskets instead of her photograph:

All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told. Many a man his life hath sold But my outside to behold. Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

The artists in the exhibition find inspiration in the outer night sky, the digital realm, the realm of knowledge and the simulated value of material consumption to push themes that glitter beyond their façade.


Sanaz Mazinani, Primeval Fusion, 2015, Lacquered pigment print on archival paper flush mounted to Dibond with subframe, 36” x 24”

Bruno Billio has been using books as a sculptural medium for the past 25 years. The gold gilded book sculptures contain the “world’s history and knowledge, documented, shared and treasured by humanity across language, imagery and cultures”. His gold plated Tower of Babel sculptures are at once reminiscent of stacked gold bars, but through the disguised pages, symbolize the contents of human kind. Through Billio’s sculptural context, we are once again reminded of Shakespeare’s proverb delivered by Portia, to refrain from “judging a book by its cover”.

Montreal-based Simon Bilodeau will be presenting a variation of his The World is a Zombie series, reflecting the need of “post-industrial societies to continue to believe in false or obsolete ideologies, preferring the unreal to the truth…” In his original zombie pieces, massive shipping containers glisten with otherworldly diamond shapes pouring out of the post- industrial shipping structures, accentuating our allure to shining objects “worth their weight in gold”. Bilodeau’s site-specific work for the FCP lobby will integrate gleaming containers within a constructed metropolis environment that pushes the boundaries between economy, art and consumerism within Toronto’s financial hub.

Not unlike Bilodeau’s sentiments, David Krovblit’s phantasmagorical collage, Pink Tiger II, mashes elements of our North American excessive consumption including our dietary staple of junk food, fast food mascots, exotic circus animals and a prominent central figure that combines the superhero figure, Wonder Woman, embellished with a facsimile of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe screen print portrait. Through the collage, Krovblit accentuates the all-consuming celebrity culture that had devoured both Marilyn Monroe and Portia, the Monroe of Shakespeare’s era.

Our glistening final frontier, “our” Space, teases human kind from above through all the ages with an irresistible ethereal dazzle. Our contemporary society shares the “same’ night sky with Shakespeare’s Portia. Painter, Rebecca Last, celebrates the vastness of the cosmos through her interpretations of daily interactions with stardust and imbues the energy they have breathed into our age-old existence through her Star Dust series and diptych painting, Studies in Light and Energy no 24. Mixed media artist Sanaz Mazinani employs scientific imagery of star clusters and supernovas from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in her Imminent Infinity series to convey the awe-inspiring, allure of the ethereal frontier and the beauty of a limitless, ever – enticing unknown.

By using obsessive repetition of decorative elements and process – driven labour in her work, Sam Mogelonsky investigates glittering forms and surfaces where interiors and exteriors collide in a divergent love affair. In two of her telescopic Nail Spiral pieces, washers and nails adorn the Sonotube exteriors like the glistening skin of a reptile while the resulting nail shank interiors evoke an impaled cosmic supernova implosion.

As our all-encompassing outer space glistens, the interior digital platforms shimmer with more possibilities than we can ever hope to imagine. Digital artist Alex McLeod fabricates utopic environments that oscillate between reality and the imagined worlds of digital certainty. Lumbering creatures and objects transform through rigorous mutations of convincing magic. In three pieces from his Cycles series, landforms of gold unfold and tantalize our inner senses, beckoning our very touch.

Through Portia’s proverb and the artists in All That Glitters, we are invited to reassess the value of physical beauty, celebrity status, capitalist consumption and all things shimmering with glitter and gold.

imageSam Mogelonsky, Nail Spiral, (detail) 2013,  Sono-tube (cardboard), nails, steel, mirrored paper, paint, epoxy sculpt, silver leaf, aqua resin, silver enamel, construction glue, metal washers

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Jamie Harkins/Brookfield Properties:

Kelly McCray
647 895 3374