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Contact Curated: Downtown

This year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival features exhibitions at more than 200 venues across the city. Make the most of your festival experience by concentrating your gallery-hopping within specific Toronto neighbourhoods, such as the Downtown core.

At the Design Exchange: Guy Tillim's Apartment building, Avenue Bagamoyo, Beira, Mozambique (courtesy of Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg)

Design Exchange
Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba (April 20 to June 14)

Another of Contact’s highly anticipated primary exhibitions, Tillim’s Avenue Patrice Lumumba series examines the effects of colonialism on modern history and architecture in African nations like Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

University of Toronto Art Centre
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics (May 3 to June 25)

Over the past 40 years, artist Suzy Lake has captured and expressed the female identity within the political, social and media context. She was also one of the forerunners of body-based photography. Lake’s exhibit at the University of Toronto Art Centre touches themes like beauty, femininity and identity.

Art Gallery of Ontario
Abel Boulineau: “Where I was born…”: A Photograph, A Clue, and the Discovery of Abel Boulineau (March 5 to August 21)

This series of gelatin silver photo prints in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection was only recently discovered to be part of Boulineau’s portfolio. A painter by trade, the French artist’s photographs reveal the stillness of everyday rural from 1897 to 1916.

At the ROM: Edward Burtynsky's SOCAR Oil Fields #9, Baku, Azerbaijan (courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery)

Royal Ontario Museum
Edward Burtynsky: Oil (April 9 to July 3)

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture presents internationally renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s collection of 53 large-format photographs, which explore the ugly reality of the oil industry and oil dependence in contemporary society.

First Canadian Place
Dr. Roberta Bondar: Within the Landscape—Art Respecting Life (April 4 to May 20)

Using artistic elements like line, texture and colour, this exhibition offers a look at diversity of patterns in nature viewed at a distance—for example, a herd of buffalo moving across a plain, shot from above by the first Canadian woman ever to travel to outer space.

Nicholas Metivier Gallery
Edward Burtynsky: Monegros (May 5 to 28)

Depicting the complex and diverse landscape of Monegros, Spain, this collection of large-format Burtynsky photographs explores the effects of industrial farming in the region.

Toronto Imageworks Gallery
Dianne Davis: Impervious (May 5 to June 4)

Davis’s works utilize tableaus and subjects that tell the story of a specific place and time to examine notions of fragility, transience and the brevity of life.

At Bau-Xi Photo: Brett Gundlock's yntitled image from his Home series

Bau-Xi Photo
Rafal Gerszak, Brett Gundlock, Jonathan Taggart, Aaron Vincent Elkaim and Ian Willms: Boreal Collective (April 30 to May 13)

The Boreal Collective features the work of young photojournalists who document social, psychological and physical inequities through Canadian-based narratives.

Leo Kamen Gallery
Roberto Pellegrinuzzi: Constellations (April 30 to May 28)

What you see isn’t what you get with Pellegrinuzzi. In this exhibition, each layered, translucent photo offers an atypical way of viewing a landscape.

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Creative & Technical Team, Pearl Chen, Meagan Durlak, Matthew Fabb, Priam Givord, Brandon Hocura and Ana Serrano: Becoming What We Behold: A CFC Media Lab Project (May 7 to 29)

This interactive installation features a geometric web of tablet computers showcasing user-generated content. Viewers become artists as they upload images and share photos in the literal web of interconnectivity that’s meant to mimic social media.

Gallery 44
Surendra Lawoti: Don River (April 30 to June 4)

Chris Boyne: Stillwater (April 30 to June 4)
Susan Kordalewski: Space vs. Place (April 30 to June 4)

The three exhibitions at Gallery 44 study landscape and place in various contexts. The first, by Lawoti, focuses on locals and displaced residents living in and around the Don River Valley in the midst of urban Toronto. On the other hand, Boyne’s works depict unseemingly colourful landscapes with dark histories told through audio narratives. Lastly, Kordalewski’s photos play with one’s sense of perception by placing 2D representations within 3D spaces.

At Birch Libralato: Lee Goreas's The Happy Hooker (courtesy of Birch Libralato)

Birch Libralato
Lee Goreas: New Works 2011 (April 30 to June 4)
James Nizam: Memorandoms (April 30 to June 4)

Lee Goreas uses golf balls to create a series of large portraits that demonstrate the “character” of ordinary objects—form, colour, surface and age reveal each ball’s unique history. In Memorandoms, photographer James Nizam takes viewers inside the oldest public housing development in Vancouver, just before it was demolished. Using leftover objects like doors, drawers and shelves, he re-creates a sense of place with a fleeting identity.

KWT Contemporary
Caitlin Cronenberg, David Frankovich: RED / Plus de Deux (May 5 to 28)

Using images selected from the New York Times’ Canadian Photography Archive, Cronenberg’s series at KWT Contemporary reimagines and reinvents the photos as a commentary on how Americans have viewed Canadian culture in the past.

Textile Museum of Canada
Peter Wilkins: Loop (April 29 to June 12)

Concerned with “pattern languages” in urban settings, Wilkins’ exhibition transforms man-made objects and structures into abstract geometric patterns through repetition and reflection.


View Contact Photography Festival 2011: Downtown in a larger map

*All images courtesy of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival unless otherwise noted.

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