Works by unlikely friends. Following the creative, and collaborative journey of four unique artists navigating through uncertain times.
Gallery 1313: 1313 Queen Street West
Dates: July 20 – 31, 2022
Hours: Wed–Sat from 1PM–5PM | Sun 1PM–4PM
Reception: Thu, July 21 from 6:30PM–9:30PM
In October 2020, these artists took a virtual course with Iris Haeussler at the Toronto School of Art. They joined for many reasons—some to work with Iris, some to fight pandemic isolation, and some to hone their practice. While the online format was new and unfamiliar, with Iris’ guidance, they found inspiration and kinship in this virtual space—one of reassurance and permission to discuss and make discoveries about their work, each other, and themselves.
When the course came to an end, they weren’t ready to let go. They wanted to keep nurturing what developed from this chance connection. Since January 2021, these artists have kept meeting online every two weeks. They continued to inspire and challenge each other, and bring about new and exciting developments in their individual practices. The exchanges between them were rich and full of kindness, and this evolved into a bond of trust and true friendship.
“Rencontre” is a celebration. It is also a major milestone—a chance for these friends to finally meet face-to-face! The exhibition is a showcase of each artist’s journey over the course of the pandemic, but it also reveals parallels and common elements between their work formally and thematically. The show is a testament to their fortuitous friendship and an expression of a special bond that strangers can forge despite unpredictable times.
“Rencontre” is made up of artists Jason Bomers, Julia Pal, Geoffrey Cheung, and Sandrine Dickel. The impact of pandemic lockdowns and the accompanying feelings of uncertainty and isolation influenced the work of all four artists in a variety of ways. By reflecting on, and responding to, the changes and constraints we were all faced with, they journeyed within to take stock of values and beliefs they wanted to challenge, explore, question, or celebrate. The figures, shapes, and forms seen in their oeuvre speak of growth, resilience, hope, dignified defiance, and boundless potentiation.
Jason is a multi-media artist whose theatrical approach to photography works to confront his own masculinity through humour, shock, and vulnerability. Julia is interested in how we are transformed and shaped by our experiences, just as nature is shaped and transformed by wind, weather, light, and the passage of time. The stories, emotions, and relationships she sees symbolized in the natural world are captured in her photographs, sculptures, and poems. Geoffrey is a mixed media artist whose paintings invite viewers to meditate on the constraints we impose upon ourselves through ritual and habitual living. Sandrine is a painter whose frescoes, styled after renaissance masterworks, reframe the female figure as modern aspirations of femininity, motherhood, and sorority.