Vlad Spicanovic: PARA-OPTICAL


V. Spicanovic, Mitte 5, 2019, Chromira print on aluminum composite panel, 52” x 20”

Vlad Spicanovic

September 26 to October 19, 2019

Henderson Lee Gallery
55 Sudbury Street, Toronto
Viewings by appointment only.

In a world saturated and shaped by images of both the bold and the bland – and by a growing global fascination with capturing and sharing the “unexpected moments”, Vlad Spicanovic’s PARA-OPTICAL reimagines how we see and relate to images through the artist-educator’s annotations of visual and material cultures.

Taken during his travels to Hangzhou, Berlin and Dubai, Spicanovic’s collection of limited-edition photographic prints transform seemingly ordinary cityscapes and structures into extraordinary passages between observation and imagination and the poetics of the seen and the unseen. His long-time interest in cities and architecture, and his research into aesthetics and visual perception drive the photo-based works in this exhibition.

Spicanovic’s artwork investigates the intersections of photography and painting and the notions of perception, temporality and critical visual literacy. In PARA-OPTICAL, Spicanovic explores the mechanics of vision by engaging the psychologies and para-psychologies of looking.


V. Spicanovic, Garments and Splendors, 2019, Chromira print on aluminum composite panel, 52” x 20”

These images are more than visual representations of the once-seen. They were made with a particular method developed by Spicanovic from his practice as a painter. He calls this method “para-optical inversion”, a stitched juxtaposition of two intersecting views of a single scene, one registering how we see the actual and the reflected moment, the other embodying the ways in which such scenes are understood and interpreted by the mind. According to Spicanovic, this mode of visual analysis opens up some intriguing shifts in perception that expose the transitions between the real and the imaginary, the observation and imagination.

A master of pictorial language, Toronto-based Spicanovic holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from Concordia University and an MA and PhD in Culture & Values in Education from McGill University. Since 1989 he has been exhibiting and curating art in tandem with his commitments to teaching, academic leadership, and arts advocacy. Spicanovic’s work can be found in the BMO Corporate Collection, the Donovan Collection at the University of St. Michael’s College, and numerous private collections. Spicanovic is a professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University.

PARA-OPTICAL is the inaugural exhibition of Henderson Lee Gallery. Gallery Director Tyler McDermott says of this premiere showing: “Spicanovic’s exhibition presents an opportunity for art lovers to experience the innovative way the artist sees the world through the city blocks, buildings, and parks of three of the world’s greatest urban landscapes, where he seeks and finds instances of breathtaking splendor.”


V. Spicanovic, Arabesque 1, 2019, Chromira print on aluminum composite panel, 52” x 20”

55 Sudbury Street, Toronto, Canada M6J 3S7

Tyler McDermott
Director, Henderson Lee Gallery