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Japan Foundation

Hot Art: Temple Mounts at the Japan Foundation

Photo by Haruo Nakano, courtesy of the Japan Foundation

MARCH 15 TO JUNE 30 For almost 2,000 years, Japan’s Grand Shrine of Ise has been a holy site for followers of the Shinto religion, who journey to worship the goddesses Amaterasu-omikami and Toyouke no omikami—as well as another 123 deities whose shrines are also located in Ise City. The Japan Foundation presents a visual pilgrimage courtesy of photographer and Ise native Haruo Nakano. Printed on handmade washi paper and framed with timber harvested from the shrine’s forest, the images showcase how people, nature and spiritual concerns exist in harmony at one of Japan’s most sacred places.

February Editor’s Picks: Art

Anna Kirzner's Free Space is at the Gardiner Museum.

OPENS FEBRUARY 4 The vibrant ceramic art scene of contemporary Israel draws inquiring eyes to the Gardiner Museum. Its latest exhibition, From the Melting Pot into the Fire, presents almost 40 pieces that examine the myriad issues faced by the Jewish state and its citizens, from the reconciliation of religious traditions indicated in Martha Rieger’s My Melting Pot vessels to the concept of borders—physical and psychological, territorial and personal—evident in Anna Kirzner’s Free Space. Taking cues from pottery’s historical (read: communal, functional) origins while seeking modern, artistic self-expression, each piece offers a unique perspective on matters that shape both individual and collective identity.

Origami in the style of Masahiro Chatani.

TO FEBRUARY 25 Even if you’re all thumbs—or, perhaps, because of this deficiency—it’s easy to appreciate the skill needed to conjure intricate cranes, frogs, flowers and boats out of single pieces of paper. This month the Japan Foundation offers an even more impressive showcase of three-dimensional objects in its Origamic Architecture exhibition, which renders historical and contemporary buildings from around the world in folded and cut paper. Combining a traditional art form with modern design, the survey pays tribute to late Japanese artist Masahiro Chatani—all featured models are originally of his design—but adds a Toronto twist, with many of the pop-up-style pieces freshly crafted by local folders.

A Fair Way to Celebrate Canada's Centennial by Sam Falk.

TO FEBRUARY 27 Toronto’s premier space for fine photography broadens its focus across time and space—more than 140 years and 9,984,670 square kilometres, to be precise—with O Canada, an exhibition of approximately 75 vintage prints depicting landmarks, personalities and events from this country’s past, such as Montreal’s Expo ’67, shown in Sam Falk’s A Fair Way to Celebrate Canada’s Centennial. Collected and presented by Stephen Bulger Gallery, these images reflect the history not only of a nation, but in their analogue formatting and evident wear, that of the photographic medium itself.

January Editor’s Picks: Art

Origami in the style of Masahiro ChataniON NOW Even if you’re all thumbs—or, perhaps, because of this deficiency—it’s easy to appreciate the skill needed to conjure intricate cranes, frogs, flowers and boats out of single pieces of paper. This month the Japan Foundation offers an even more impressive showcase of three-dimensional objects in its Origamic Architecture exhibition, which renders historical and contemporary buildings from around the world in folded and cut paper. Combining a traditional art form with modern design, the survey pays tribute to late Japanese artist Masahiro Chatani—all featured models are originally of his design—but adds a Toronto twist, with many of the pop-up-style pieces freshly crafted by local folders.

Slap-sole shoes<br>photo © 2009, Bata Shoe Museum

Slap-sole shoes

ON NOW If you gawk at the six-inch stilettos worn by today’s “well-heeled,” just wait until you see the extraordinary and extreme footwear comprising On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels, the latest exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum. Assembled from a diverse group of world-renowned institutions—including London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Bata itself—the unique display examines elaborate platform and heeled shoes as expressions of wealth and status in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Of particular interest: a flamboyantly embellished pair of slap-sole shoes, and Venetian chopines sporting platforms that are more than 50 centimetres high.

Michael Snow's SSHTOORRTY

Michael Snow's SSHTOORRTY

ON NOW Art lovers and cineastes find common ground in Recent Snow: Works by Michael Snow, a survey of the Toronto-born artist’s latest video and film installations at The Power Plant. Though successful in many disciplines, Snow’s most consistently innovative efforts have been in the arena of avant-garde cinema. Experimenting with both structural and narrative techniques, these works—2005’s SSHTOORRTY and two brand new films among them—investigate the interplay between artifice and reality, rewarding the keen viewer with a multilayered cognitive and sensory experience.