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Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art

image
VSVSVS, digital image, 2015.


VSVSVS Not together, but alongside

Karen Kraven Flip Flop, Punch Front

30 May– 25 July 2015
Artists’ talk: Friday 29 May, 7pm followed by opening reception



VSVSVS Not together, but alongside
30 May – 25 July 2015

Mercer Union is delighted to present an exhibition by VSVSVS entitled Not together, but alongside opening on Friday 29th May 2015.

Not together, but alongside explores the potentiality of relationships between the viewer and the artist, the collective and the individual, and the gallery and the studio. In their large scale installation sprawling through the front gallery of Mercer Union, platforms become seats, objects perform and the potentiality of action plays out. Their material exploration and unfixed nature in the work conflates the formal and the comedic. The disparate elements that comprise the installation further emphasize its makers as a group of individuals with different ideas and art practices working together. That spirit and the process of discovering alternate viewpoints extends to the gallery visitor, because the experience is a negotiation of both physical bodies in space and what it means to assess or determine: to do or undo, the separation between the studio or gallery, and experiment or art object.

VSVSVS (pronounced versus versus versus), is a seven-person collective and artist-run centre based out of a warehouse in the Portlands in Toronto. Formed in 2010, the groups activities encompass collective art making including drawings, video works, sculpture, installation and performance, a residency program and exhibition space, as well as individual studio practices. The group met and began to take shape while studying at the University of Guelph in the studio arts program (one member studied Psychology) between 2003 and 2010. Members include Wallis Cheung, Ryan Clayton, Anthony Cooper, James Gardner, Stephen McLeod, Laura Simon and Miles Stemp. In February 2015 the collective participated in a month long residency at Centre Bang in Chicoutimi Quebec, resulting in an exhibition at the centre. Recent exhibitions include Katzman Contemporary, Toronto; Niagara Artist’s Centre, St. Catherine’s (both 2015), Taking a part, Mercer Union, More Than Two (Let It Make Itself), Power Plant (both Toronto, 2014); and space mods, Cambridge Galleries, Preston (2013). Recent projects include; Coat Check, Platforms Project, Art Athina (2014); Nap Station, Art Toronto; Dunk Tank, ArtSpin; Temporary Monument, Art of the Danforth (all Toronto 2014) and 1-855 IS IT ART, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2013. VSVSVS would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and DMS Lab.



image
Karen Kraven, image from the studio, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.

Karen Kraven Flip Flop, Punch Front
30 May – 25 July 2015

Mercer Union is delighted to present a solo exhibition by Montreal-based artist Karen Kraven entitled Flip Flop, Punch Front opening on Friday 29th May 2015.

Karen Kraven’s works set up unexpected encounters between sculptures and images, uncanny resemblances and misleading juxtapositions. Flip Flop, Punch Front continues Kraven’s interest in sport with an exploration of adornment, performance and conceptions of gender, class, race and nation state. The title of the exhibition refers to specific moves within gymnastics where action, stasis and the ability to push oneself manifests through composed performance. Focusing on excerpted elements of gesture, costume, decorated nails and leotards, and unbridled conviction, Kraven gathers bodily forms and images to question what is absent from the sidelines.

Kraven received her MFA from Concordia University in 2012, where she was the recipient of the Dale & Nick Tedeschi Fellowship, and her BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include the Institute for Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, Portland (2015), Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah, Darling Foundry, Montreal (2014), A Mucker and a Grinder, Parisian Laundry (2013) and As Above, So Below, Centre Clark, Montreal (2014). Her work has also been shown at Centre Dare-Dare, Montreal (2010), Leonard & Ellen Bina Gallery, Montreal (2011) and Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga (2011). She has participated in artist’s residencies at The Banff Centre and with Reverse Pedagogy, Venice. From 2013-2016, she will have a Montreal Artist’s Creation Studio at the Darling Foundry, Montreal. Kraven currently lives and works in Montreal.



Current and Upcoming:

SPACE: Walter Scott
8 April – 28 July 2015

Mercer Union has commissioned artist Walter Scott for the third billboard project at the corner of St Clarens Avenue and Bloor Street West.

Kahnawake-born, Montreal/Toronto based artist Walter Scott studied at Concordia University in Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Habitual Present, 8-11, Toronto, Pre-Existing Work, Macaulay and Co. Fine Art, Vancouver (both 2015) and Joan Dark at Western Front, Vancouver (2014). In 2014, he was Artist-in-Residence at the Koganecho Bazaar in Yokohama, Japan.



fORUM: Cait McKinney
How Lesbians Invented the Internet
Wednesday 10 June 2015, 7pm (Free, All welcome)

fORUM: Kate Zambreno
Switzerland: a work-in-progress
Tuesday 14 July 2015, 7pm (Free, All welcome)


For further information about this and additional upcoming programming please visit our website.

fORUM is a monthly series of talks, lectures, screenings and performances. Admission is always free. The series is generously supported by the Hal Jackman Foundation.



Coming this Fall…

Solo exhibitions by Abbas Akhavan and Liz Magic Laser

Supported by Partners in Art



Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art
1286 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6H 1N9
www.mercerunion.org
office@mercerunion.org

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am–6pm
Admission is FREE and all are welcome

Exhibition tours every Saturday at 2pm (Free admission)

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Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, acknowledges the support of its members and volunteers, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.