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OP ART Re-Imaged: Imaginable Spaces

May 24 - June 21, 2014


The OP ART Re-Imaged: Imaginable Spaces showcased six installations across two gallery spaces, WARC and Trinity Square Video both located in the 401 Richmond Street building. The show was inspired by The Optical or Op Art movement, which was grandfathered by Victor Vasarely in the 1930s. His imagery has fuelled co-curator and installation manager Madi Piller, president of The Toronto Animated Image Society throughout her life. She wanted to create a show that “lives beyond the walls of the gallery - like a Vasarely painting.”


Kate Wilson, Visual Artist, was the other half of the curating team. She wrote the grant, as well as fulfilling countless other organizational details. Together they commissioned the six participating artists. Piller’s mandate was to work with visual artists, rather than media artists. Most of those in the show had not worked with this medium previously.





The animations presented at WARC were by Simone Jones, Jenn E Norton and Sarah Kernohan. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is transported into an altered state of space. First greeting was the ticking of the 16mm film projection, Local Appearance, by Jones. Next, Kernohan’s Study For A Dry Current mesmerized with its undulating projected lines. Finally, Norton’s projection, In The Doldrums, An Eddy Stirs, disoriented with a trick of the eye. The use of headphones and 3D glasses for two of the animations further immerse the viewer into the space/work.



Trinity Square Video


Christy Langer, Rebecca Baird and Sherri Hay shared the space at Trinity Square Video. Langer’s animation, Biophony, presents an allegorical approach using a stop animation like style, a macro and micro view accompanied by natural sound recordings. Baird’s animation, Star Blanket, was consistently rotating and rebuilding its geometrical form. Hay’s glowing, cell like animation, Liminal RGB Monoploid, contained an ever-present white nucleus along with a slow pulse from three projectors meditatively moving through red, green and blue.



About Co-Curator Madi Piller


This is the third exhibition that Piller has curated in Toronto. The first, Eleven in Motion: Abstract Expressions in Animation, was based on Eleven paintings, one from each of the 1950s Toronto-based group, The Painters Eleven. The second, Hello Amiga, was a group exhibition where the animations were evolved from the digital medium using obsolete AMIGA equipment. The old technology introduced to new video manipulations created cutting edge experimental animations.


Ultimately, Piller’s exhibitions are based on the question, “How does an artwork live in a gallery space?” Working with animation, the artwork is removed from the wall and re-imagined into the space, more as a sculptural element. The gallery space is transformed as the works take over. They are all installations and may change according to location. Piller believes that the works deteriorate as the equipment changes and/or the space. “The idea is to reproduce the best conditions for the presentation over and over in the same way.”


by LHG


edited by EC


*Jenn E Norton’s work will be on view at The Art Gallery of Hamilton.


*all quotes by Madi Piller via email correspondence



in conversation with Madi Piller: Filmmaker / Curator / Programmer, at her studio PIX FILM Productions

Simone Jones "Local Appearance" 

Rebecca Baird “Star Blanket”

Jenn E Norton “In The Doldrums, An Eddy Stirs”

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