Suzy Lake, Alex Kisilevich and Geoffrey Pugen reviewed in esse
Two new reviews from Toronto appear in the Fall 2011 issue of Montreal’s esse magazine, both dealing with photographic practices. The first is my take on a retrospective of the work of landmark performance artist Suzy Lake, which appeared at the University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC) as part of this year’s CONTACT Photography Festival. I particularly liked seeing her new “Extended Breathing” series of lightbox photographs, which are quite beautiful as an extremely reduced from of performance. As I tried to suggest in my text, however, I think there are some places where the UTAC show tried to sum up Lake’s practice a bit too simplistically through the theme of “Political Poetics.” Lake’s career has been a rich and varied one that I think deserves more, sustained curatorial attention in the future.
Also in this issue of esse is my review of a two-person exhibition at Angell Gallery featuring recent York MFA grad Alex Kisilevich and video and performance artist Geoffrey Pugen, both of whom exhibited photographs (Pugen’s show included some great video works as well). It was refreshing to see what felt like genuinely new work from two local artists that also managed to investigate some of the unique qualities of photo-based practices. They’re two names to keep an eye on in Toronto, including Pugen’s upcoming performance at this year’s Nuit Blanche.