PUBLIC ART: Billboard on Shaw by Morgan Melenka and Megan Gnanasihamany

October 6, 2022 - November 26, 2022

Billboard on Shaw presented by Critical Distance, featuring Burtynsky Suite by Morgan Melenka and Megan Gnanasihamany, 2022.

Burtynsky Suite is composed of four reproductions of Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Calagrande #2 by the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. The reproductions range in degrees of abstraction, but each, unlike the seemingly cool distance of the original photograph, contain the rough edges of the process of translation and the clear marks of a subjective artistic rendering.

This image functions as a microcosm of the exhibition The Equivalence of Alloyed Gold which uses the children’s game of “Telephone” as a formal conceit to work through the distillation process by which major themes of national identity, art history, resource extraction and art celebrity may have staying power. The exhibition began with the photograph which is also the basis of this work, but artists were only supplied with a description of the artwork lacking the artist’s name, the title of the piece, or other identifying details. Burtynsky Suite, created by the exhibition’s curators Megan Gnanasihamany and Morgan Melenka, points to the curators’ role as guides in the game of telephone and their choice of this famous Canadian artist to base the exhibition upon.

The Equivalence of Alloyed Gold is made possible through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Critical Distance gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.


… Please join us for a public opening reception with the artist on Saturday, May 7th, from 6–9 pm Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. TYPOLOGY No. 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5 See Google map of location … About the Artist Susana Reisman was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1977. She received a BA in Economics from Wellesley College, Boston (1999) and an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (2005). After teaching photography for a number of years, Reisman now dedicates her time to making art and running Circuit Gallery. She lives and works in Toronto. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Productive Displacement, a series of billboards curated by Bonnie Rubenstein for the 2015 CONTACT Photography Festival; Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber (2014) at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto; Unsettled Primaries (2014), curated by Mariangeles Soto-Diaz for the Torrance Art Museum, California; Immoderation (2014), curated by Megan Press for the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga; Micah Lexier: More Than Two (2013), curated by Micah Lexier for The Power Plant, Toronto; Flash Forward Festival 2013, outdoor exhibition at Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston; Objects in Mirrors May Appear Closer (2013), UNO St. Claude Gallery, New Orleans; and Like-Minded (2012), curated by Micah Lexier for the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Manitoba. … The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council for this exhibition.

Burtynsky Suite is on view at 180 Shaw Street, outside Artscape Youngplace, through October to November, 2022.

Image:Morgan Melenka and Megan Gnanasihamany, Burtynsky Suite, 2022. 8 x 8 foot billboard at 180 Shaw Street in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood. 

About the Curator(s)

Morgan Melenka

Morgan Melenka is a visual artist from amiskwacîwâskahikan who has recently relocated to Mohkinstsis (Calgary). She engages with architecture to discuss how artifice functions in our built world, working between sculpture, installation, and printmaking through a constellation of materials that emphasize the veneer, including digitally printed fabric, vinyl, paper, ceramic tiles, mirror, and Formica.

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Megan Gnanasihamany

Megan Gnanasihamany is an artist, writer, and curator. Their work examines systems of power and structures of meaning within language and visual media.

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