May 4 – May 8, 2016
49, 52, 60, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
Opening Night Celebration: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 / 6:30 – 11 p.m.
Hours: Thur – Fri, 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sat – Sun, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
More than 900 promising young artists and designers are exhibiting at the biggest GradEx ever — OCAD University’s 101st! This year, GradEx is a five-day exhibition spread across four buildings. Students from undergraduate and graduate programs show their final thesis work to the about 30,000 expected guests.
The first show I visited was located at 52 McCaul St., a rather small one, where I almost fell over the balls on the floor in the back room. There were many, all white, and they seemed real, deflated balls. I didn’t believe that they were not real balls, just painted white, so I touched them – and indeed they were all made of concrete. No point kicking them unless you want to get hurt.
After crossing the street to 49 McCaul I looked at some digital technology pieces. I fully agree with their statement about how technology became scary in our century. They also reassure us that their new generation would change that.
I’ve seen another shows at 60 McCaul before and I truly love that space since it is a great environment for installations and basically any kind of art work. It should permanently belong to OCAD U. The mixture of art works were interesting and intriguing. Kevin Holliday was seductively smiling at us from a children’s plastic pond in his performance based installation: Is this how Marilyn Monroe felt. Cat Bluemke addressed “hot net aesthetics” with painted advertisements on plastic sheets that look like shower curtains showing how internet images intrude our everyday life (Parked Domains). Sheldon Storey, Dani Minuskin and Dana Priato reached back to their past to commemorate their ancestors’ history and communal places while Carson Teal video installation shows the “ideal” suburban house in and out. I loved the fun of Camille Rauton’s toy-series, titled, Let it be, all made of beeswax. Connor Smith’s poolside captured the excitement of a summer day. Meghan Fitzgerald’s landscapes were surprisingly mature and well painted for a graduating student.
Stepping into OCAD U’s main building on that sunny Thursday afternoon, I was immediately surrounded by a happy buzzing of young people. They were all over the place, many of them graduating this year and proudly showing their work to friends and relatives. Kristina Guison tried to explain to a visitor how her metal sculpture can “sing” moving a violin bow over its parts. It was interesting but not very convincing.
I love paintings and was happy to see that this medium is well, much alive and very promising for this future generation of artists. Surprisingly portraiture was heavily represented with excellent works. Ryan Quian’s depiction of a young woman is very encapsulating with its one of a kind blue haze and a scarf that is three dimensional. Brendan Yhip’s large portraits are truly grandiose. Grace Brooks’ paintings are remarkable with their irony.
It is always too much to see and one never can cover the entire exhibition. This year’s is a very strong show with numerous exciting work. Congratulations Grads of 2016.
Text: Emese Krunák-Hajagos
Photo: Imre Hajagos