Board Picks: Michele Pearson Clarke

There are years when you never leave home, and then there are years when it seems you are hardly at home at all. In a year when I feel like I have been almost constantly on the move, these four Photorama works resonate with where I’ve been and what I’ve seen.


Talia ShipmanNot the Holiday Inn, 2016, $650 (Framed)

There is no desert in Trinidad where I grew up, yet I am endlessly captivated by these landscapes; particularly in the American southwest, where you can expect to see the most dramatically beautiful topography, but you’re also never quite sure what you may come across, out in the middle of nowhere. Talia Shipman’s Not the Holiday Inn captures this tension perfectly. Part of her 2016 installation, Meet Me in the Middle—which recently sold to a New York collection at Art Toronto—Shipman’s print inserts turquoise cactus sculptures into a desert scene, inviting us to consider their (and our) uninvited presence.


Katherine KnightFerry Study, 2016, $1000 (Framed)

From the desert, I went north, experiencing the stark and rugged aesthetics of the subarctic Canadian north and Alaska. The slightly askew ship models in Katherine Knight’s Ferry Study remind me of how I felt being there. In reconnecting these models to their home landscapes, Knight’s images point to the ways in which ongoing colonial legacies continue to distort life in the north.


Jessica ThalmannPleats of Matter (Ross Building), 2016, $1000 (Framed), $800

My ideal trip involves time spent in cities combined with time spent in nearby nature, and in Pleats of Matter (Ross Building), Jessica Thalmann’s geometric topology connects the current development and gentrification of Toronto to similar processes underway in every city I have visited this year. In looking back at the failures inherent in the concrete of Brutalist architecture, Thalmann reflects on what awaits all of our glass and steel in the future.


Frances PatellaWest Ravine, High Park, 2016, $350 (Framed), $250

And no matter how far you roam, you can’t escape what’s waiting for you at home. Though a place of respite for many Torontonians, Frances Patella shows us High Park in a new light, as a site of destruction charred by flame and smoke. But as documentation of a controlled burn, West Ravine, High Park illustrates the possibility for regrowth and regeneration following devastation. Given the current global mood, maybe burning it all down is the way to go.


About tpwphotorama

Photorama is Gallery TPW's major annual fundraising event featuring the best in boundary-pushing contemporary art at accessible prices year after year. Gallery TPW is an artist-run centre in Toronto, Ontario, founded to provide a venue for presentation and critical investigation of contemporary Canadian photography. Gallery TPW has played a significant role for almost forty years in supporting professional artists and developing audiences through its gallery exhibitions, online programming, publications, public events, and promotional activities. Gallery TPW has expanded its media-specific mandate to address the vital role that images play in contemporary culture and to explore the exchange between photography, new technologies and time-based media. Gallery TPW facilitates critical discussions about contemporary art through its exhibitions, presentations and disseminations.
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