In celebration of its 20th year, Lonsdale Gallery has opened a new exhibition featuring the expansive range of its rostered artists. Nestled in the heart of Foresthill, the gallery captivates from the street as Elisabeth Picard’s vibrant zip ties float dreamily ahead. Staring through the glass window it takes a moment to register the clear fishing line holding her kaleidoscopic landscape off the floor. Equally mesmerizing was the sight of Lonsdale director, Chad Wolfond, playfully running his hand through the interwoven zip ties sending the work into a wonderful frenzy of movement and colour. Wolfond, the founder of Lonsdale Gallery, became my tour guide through the exhibition.
His enthusiasm and passion for his artists was infectious and soon became the highlight of the night. I was whisked into his back office, where a cabinet of curiosities lay in wait. The director’s excitement was palpable as he drew my attention first to a striking pair of minute rubber figurines by Keith Bentley, where the artist had dramatically concealed the face of each Arcadian figure with fishing floats.
Re-entering the exhibition space, Wolfond revealed the theme at the heart of both this show and his gallery, “the contrast and dialogue between intimacy and grandeur”. This idea was poignantly captured by the contrast from Bentley’s statuettes to Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s installation, a floor to ceiling cut paper entanglement in the corner of the room – a work that demanded the viewer’s attention as your eye traces the mass of black sashaying lines.
Guests of the event standing before (left to right): Maurice Ducret, Untitled (Grey & Black), 2000; Ilan Wolff, Trees no. 2, 3, and 9, 1998; Annie Taylor, Matter 01, 03 and 09, 2014; Robert Davidowitz, Wave 7 (left) & Cosmic Circle (right), 2015 & 2013; Julia Martin, Seduction is a Means of Survival (left), What I miss most is the stimulation (right), 2015, photograph, 32 x 34”; Peggy Taylor Reid, Untited, 2011; Laura Demers, What is Beyond the Stars?, 2015. Photo: Meghan O’Callaghan
Ascending to the second floor, the diversity of the show is even more exaggerated as your eye is directed first to the monumental, built up impasto painting by Jim Reid, slowly you then take in the other more modest works in the room. Specifically, I was drawn to the embroidered illustration by Amanda McCavour, the medium is thread, exuding an air of delicacy as if the two hands could unravel at any moment.
Diversity seems to be the unifying factor between Wolfond’s artists, as they all maintain a unique expression and identity. When I asked the director how he chooses his artists his answer was unequivocal, “I only work with artists that have their own perspective and their own language – and remains very true to it”. As coincidence would have it, I was then directed to the sculptural series by Jim Hake, who forms and casts gloved hands into sign language. The particular work on view fittingly spelled out “Say it Loud”. A title that reflects the integrity and artistic voice that is celebrated and expected from the artists represented at Lonsdale gallery.
*Exhibition information: March 24 – May 1, 2016, Lonsdale Gallery, 410 Spadina Road, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sun, 11 – 5 pm.