GENERATORS | Presented by CDCC in partnership with Toronto Art Book Fair

Critical Distance and the Toronto Art Book Fair are pleased to present GENERATORS, curated by Anthony Stepter and featuring Erika DeFreitasEdie FakeMarc Fischer/Public CollectorsDina KelbermanNellie KluzSanaz MazinaniEric Oglander, and Leah Wellbaum.

How do we see art in the age of image and information overload? Is a gallery the best place to look, or is the internet’s efficiency and long reach a better tool for engaging with the ideas artists are interested in? What about the reliable old standby, printed books?

The artworks on view in this exhibition highlight the fluidity of media in contemporary culture. Each project in Generators is guided by a single idea, approach, or rule. These frameworks generate troves of material for the artists to assemble and present in a manner that invites viewers to make connections that might otherwise go unnoticed. Many of the artworks draw from, or exist as, both printed media and digital spaces. These transmutations afford artists and viewers illuminating points of entry for exploring the unique properties of both printed and digital narratives without being constrained by traditional definitions of the archive and the artist’s book.

Selected from a joint call for submissions issued by CDCC and TOABF, Generators celebrates the astonishing diversity of outcomes that can arise from intentionally constrained modes of collecting and creating. The exhibited works circulate through a variety of platforms, from humble Tumblrs to museum exhibitions. By focusing on projects that start with simple ideas but evolve to open up wide ranging possibilities for engagement and display, Generators pushes against notions of presentation that privilege one form of media over another.

Dates, Hours, and Events

Exhibition Dates/Hours: GENERATORS is on view at Critical Distance in Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace during the Toronto Art Book Fair, June 16–18, 2017. Fair hours are Fri–Sat from 12–8 pm and Sun from 12–6 pm.

Opening Preview Party: Thursday, June 15 from 6–10 pm. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Evening with the Curator: Exhibition curator Anthony Stepter will be in attendance at the gallery on Friday, June 16 from 4–8 pm

Panel Discussion: Toronto-based artist Erika DeFreitas, exhibition curator Anthony Stepter, and CDCC Director Shani K Parsons, will discuss the exhibition on Sunday, June 18 at 2 pm in Suite 102 (Small World Music theatre).

For more information on all the great exhibitors, other exhibitions, and variety of events during the Fair and Toronto’s first annual Art Book Week, check out TOABF’s website at!

Location and Map

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
Click for Google map

About the Artists and Curator

Erika DeFreitas is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary conceptual artist. DeFreitas explores the influence of language, loss and culture on the formation of identity with textile-based works, and performative actions that are photographed; placing an emphasis on process, gesture and documentation. DeFreitas has exhibited internationally and is a recipient of the 2016 Finalist Artist Prize from the Toronto Friends of Visual Arts and the 2016 John Hartman Award.

Edie Fake was born in Chicagoland and now lives and works in Southern California. Fake’s practice spans comics, zines, prints, drawings, and installations. Often extensively detailed and brightly colored, Fake imagines and reimagines the world based on his unique point of view.

Marc Fischer founded Public Collectors in 2007 “upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible.” Public Collectors asks individuals that have amassed, organized, and inventoried these kinds of materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

Dina Kelberman is an artist living and working in Baltimore, MD.  Kelberman’s work spans a wide range of media including web-based projects, comics, photography, installation, and writing among other forms. Kelberman has exhibited and published internationally and was a founding member of the Wham City artist collective.

Nellie Kluz is a Chicago-based filmmaker who uses curiosity, observation and analysis to create films often focusing on social interactions, belief systems and material realities. Kluz is the recipient of a 2016  Princess Grace Film Scholarship, her films have been presented at numerous international film festivals.

Sanaz Mazinani is a contemporary artist who works primarily in photography, video, and large-scale installations. Mazinani’s work ranges from works on paper to digital collages to large-scale installations. Her work is regularly exhibited in galleries, museums, and public spaces throughout the world.

Eric Oglander is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. His project, Craigslist Mirrors, has gained international attention for the sometimes humorous, sometimes poetic, always fascinating collection of found images taken from craigslist posts attempting to photograph and sell or give away mirrors.

Leah Wellbaum is an artist and musician based in Los Angeles. Wellbaum has published four books of photography: Bruises, This Will Help, The Fucking Ocean, and The Fucking Ocean Part 2.

Exhibition curator Anthony Stepter is the Graduate Program Coordinator for Museum and Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds an MA in Visual and Cultural Studies from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Full profiles will be posted to the CDCC website soon.

Critical Distance and Toronto Art Book Fair would like to thank the many wonderful artists and curators who submitted proposals in response to our spring call for submissions. The array of approaches and ideas was incredibly broad and made the task of selecting just one both a pleasure and a challenge. For those whose proposals were not selected for this year’s fair, there is always the possibility that we will be in touch to discuss other opportunities; either way we encourage everyone to stay connected for future calls and program updates. Subscribe to this (roughly quarterly) newsletter at CDCC News, or follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter. Thanks again!

image: Grace Ambrose, Marc Fischer and Public Collectors, Hardcore Architecture (cover), 2016; right: Eric Oglander, image from Craigslist Mirrors, ongoing

Opening Thursday: SIGNALS & SENTIMENTS, A Featured Exhibition of the 2017 CONTACT Photography Festival

Critical Distance is pleased to present Signals & Sentiments, a two-part exhibition that examines how gesture functions as a mechanism for the production of identity. In CDCC’s third floor gallery, Signals & Sentiments takes the form of an intimate group show for which five Toronto-based artists, Sebastián BenítezPetar BoskovicShelby FenlonMaxwell Hyett, and Mickey Mackenna, consider the inner workings of the gestural urge. Placing a varied selection of sculpture and photo-based objects in context with each other, exhibition curator Katelyn Gallucci investigates how seemingly divergent artistic gestures might fundamentally derive from inadequacies of language, disposition, desire, and whim.

In Artscape Youngplace’s expansive stairwell spaces, three site-specific installations address the more exterior and transitory dynamics of gesture. Extending themes of self-discovery, the relationship between perception and memory, and the search for emotional connection through time, these encompassing spatial interventions by Maggie Groat and Jimmy Limit (working in collaboration), Karen Henderson, and Josée Pedneault condition the viewer’s bodily response as much as they embody gestural acts and intentions themselves.

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Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw: Mountainburger by Aislinn Thomas

Critical Distance is pleased to announce the selected artwork for the Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw, a partnership with Artscape Youngplace through which we are providing opportunities for curators and artists to present large format printed artworks for the freestanding mural/billboard outside our building on Shaw Street.

Mountainburger is an 8-foot image by Kitchener-based artist Aislinn Thomas to be unveiled this week in conjunction with our opening for Signals & Sentiments. (Note above image is placeholder. We will update this post with the actual image and a description after April 27th).

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You’re invited: Workshop with Ella Dawn McGeough, and Precious Commodity closing reception

Tools for Touching | Ella Dawn McGeough and Daniella Sanader
Sunday, March 26, 2017 | 2–4 pm

Join us for this free experiential workshop considering touch and the tools that extend it: the brush we paint, the hammer we wield, the spoon we stir. The things we handle, particularly when used in repetition, are things we forget. Artist Ella Dawn McGeough and writer Daniella Sanader will facilitate a conversation, a reading, a series of experimental gestures between subjects and objects, methods of (potential) care.

Comfortable clothing recommended; no advanced reading necessary. As space is limited, please email info (at) criticaldistance (dot) ca with RSVP in the subject line and include your name and number attending in the message to reserve your spot(s). Thank you!

Event Location

Studio 305 — Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location

Tools for Touching will take place in just a few doors down from Critical Distance on the third floor of Artscape Youngplace. Precious Commodity, the exhibition featuring work by Ella Dawn McGeough as well as Biliana Velkova, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and Eunice Luk, will be on view in Suite 302  from 12–5 pm for those who would like to see it before or after the workshop.

About the Artists

Working across disciplines, Ella Dawn McGeough‘s practice attempts to make things leak from research that often centres on a process of historicisation, myth-making and speculative feminism. This research responds to the relay between apprehension and representation. This is an aesthetic process. A metamorphic process. A process in which art and its exhibition play the important function of suspending events within a sphere of speculation – possibly a beautiful one where objects and images are stilled and their meaning gains weight or transforms completely through time. Caught mid-pose/static/frozen-in-time, their physicality acts as a manifestation of their poiesis. With artists Colin Miner and Liza Eurich, McGeough founded in 2012, which produces online contemporary arts publications among other project-based activities. She is also the co-founder of Garden Avenue, a summer-time exhibition space; Ray~Ray, a project that produces limited edition jewelry and jewelry-like work by contemporary artists; and Friends of Ogden Park.

Daniella Sanader is a writer and arts worker who lives in Toronto. In her work, she regularly explores associative and speculative modes for thinking and writing about contemporary art, ones that emphasize queer/feminist frameworks, messy feelings, and embodied experience. She holds an MA from McGill University, and has written essays and reviews for arts publications and galleries across Canada. She has curated projects for Vtape and Oakville Galleries, and currently works at Gallery TPW in Toronto.

image: Ella Dawn McGeough, Ogden’s Tools, 2015. Found objects and wax. Dimensions variable.

Biliana Velkova, Untitled Spruce Tree, fluorescent light tubes, 2014.

Precious Commodity Closing Reception
Sunday, April 9, 2017 | 3–5 pm

Can’t make the workshop? Join us for the closing reception of Precious Commodity, curated by Alison Cooley. The curator will be in attendance and refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

Event Location

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location

We hope you can join us for this Canadian Art Must-See show!

Call for Submissions: Spring 2017 Billboard on Shaw

In partnership with Artscape Youngplace, Critical Distance is pleased to issue this call for submissions for the 3rd in our series of Billboards on Shaw, an initiative through which we are providing opportunities for curators and artists to propose site-responsive, large-format, print-ready public artworks for the freestanding mural/billboard on our building’s front lawn.

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Opening Sunday: Precious Commodity | Eunice Luk, Ella Dawn McGeough, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and Biliana Velkova, curated by Alison Cooley

Critical Distance is pleased to present Precious Commodity, a group exhibition of recent 
works by Eunice LukElla Dawn McGeoughJuan Ortiz-Apuy, and Biliana Velkova, curated by 
Alison Cooley.

Articulating a tension between objects and their ways of being—their forms, their significance, 
their social and economic circulation—Precious Commodity brings together artworks that 
examine the complicated sweetness of things. Unanchoring objects from their exchange 
within capitalism, the artists in the exhibition resignify them as vessels for fantasy, desire, 
and alternate possibility. Reflecting on the nature of a world populated by things with 
definitive practical uses and monetary values, each artist playfully contends with form, 
usurping existing representations in the service of building new meanings.  Continue reading

In House 2017: Art Show + Silent Auction to Benefit Paperhouse Studio

Paperhouse Studio presents

A Benefit Art Show for Paperhouse Studio | February 24–28, 2017.
Yael Brotman, Melanie Chikofsky, Doug Guildford, Tessar Lo, Tim Manalo, Roula Partheniou, Meghan Price, and Natalie Wood, curated by Sonya Filman

Critical Distance is pleased to host the second annual In House Benefit Art Show for Paperhouse Studio. For 2017, Paperhouse has collaborated with eight emerging and established artists to create new work exploring contemporary approaches to working with handmade paper. These artists, whose practices feature an emphasis on materiality and process, took to working with handmade paper in a myriad of different ways. The resulting works highlight strong interconnections between notions of labour and temporality, contextualized in relation to personal histories, geologic time, and commonplace objects.

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Opening Thursday: The Path, The Divide | Brynn Higgins-Stirrup


CDCC is pleased to present The Path, The Divide, a solo exhibition of recent works by Canadian artist Brynn Higgins-Stirrup, curated by Oana Tanase.

Fascinated by the ways in which we confront and reconcile intuitive inquiry with organized thought and form, Higgins-Stirrup has developed a distinctive visual language and practice that revolves around learning systems, geometry, mapping, and writing. Seducing the viewer through technical exactitude and material subtlety, her artworks speak of the space that lies between knowledge and truth, information and meaning.

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New Billboard on Shaw: Lost in Shape by Ruth Adler

Critical Distance is pleased to present the second artist’s project in our newest initiative, the Billboard on Shaw, through which we are providing opportunities, in partnership with Artscape Youngplace, for curators and artists to propose large format printed artworks for the freestanding mural/billboard outside our building on Shaw Street.

Lost in Shape is an 8-foot image by Toronto and Tel Aviv-based artist Ruth Adler to be unveiled the week of January 18 (note above image is placeholder — see the exhibition page for the actual image). As she poignantly states,

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Call for Proposals: CDCC Exhibition at Toronto Art Book Fair


Artists’ Books x Archives x Alternative Narratives
Critical Distance Centre for Curators at Toronto Art Book Fair
Fair dates: June 15–18, 2017
Submission deadline: March 15, 2017

In partnership with the Toronto Art Book Fair, Critical Distance is pleased to announce this call for proposals for an exhibition or curatorial project to take place in our third floor gallery during TOABF 2017, happening building-wide at Artscape Youngplace from June 15–18 this year.

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