PUBLIC ART: Billboard on Shaw by Jake Kimble

March 16, 2023 - April 16, 2023

Critical Distance is pleased to present artist Jake Kimble‘s billboard Grow Up #4, presented by Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in partnership with Capture Photography Festival.

Artist Jake Kimble, a Chipewyan (Dëne Sųłıné) from Treaty 8 Territory in the Northwest Territories, combines humour and pathos in reflective images often featuring the artist engaged in acts of self-repair. Presented as a billboard on Shaw Street, Kimble’s elusive, abstract combination of image and text explores concepts of birth and being born, and hints at questions of what comes next, without offering any definitive answers.

Playing on the trope of the inspirational poster, Kimble’s series Grow Up posits alternative, sometimes ambiguous or comical, sometimes foreboding statements reflecting the challenges of contemporary life and the many future unknowns looming over young people today. Encompassing a queer aesthetics, the works embrace the imperfect and the vulnerable, functioning as an antidote to mass-marketed homogenizing messages of flawlessness, exclusionary beauty and the attainment of perfection.

Addressing them directly, Grow Up #4 confronts the viewer with their preconceived notions of who deserves happiness, forcing them to consider their own position in relation to the statement, and to decipher what the sensuous image—a glistening hand hovering over a golden, vertical puddle visually evoking both a cracked egg and sticky, spilt honey—might imply, with its nebulous promise of fortune-telling.

Grow Up #4  is on view at 180 Shaw Street, outside Artscape Youngplace, through March to April, 2023.

This presentation at 180 Shaw Street precedes the artist’s Core Outdoor Installation of Grow #1, another work in this series, presented as a large photographic banner at 460 King Street West, as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in May 2023.

About the artist

Jake Kimble is a multidisciplinary Chipewyan (Dënesųłıné) artist from Treaty 8 territory in the Northwest Territories whose practice mainly revolves around acts of self-care, self-repair, and gender-based ideological refusal. Kimble belongs to the Deninu K’ue First Nation and currently works on the stolen territory of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Most recently he attained a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design while also holding a Degree in Acting from Vancouver Film School. Using a funny bone as a tool, Kimble excavates themes of existentialism, narcissism, and the strange, offering an invitation to the audience to examine the absurdities that exist within the everyday so that they may exhale, unclench, and even chuckle in the spaces where laughter is often lost.



Image: Jake Kimble, Grow Up #4. 8 x 8 foot billboard at 180 Shaw Street in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood. Courtesy of the artist and CONTACT. Photo: Toni Hakfenscheid.