- Art Reviews
- Mirabilia – A Miracle on Gladstone Avenue at St. Anne’s Church
- Louise Bourgeois at the Freud Museum
- Cynthia Hammond on Suffragettes in Bath
- AHGSA at Gendai Gallery
- Hennessy Youngman at the Drake
- Gallery 44 :: POSTCARD for Nuit Blanche
- Nuit Blanche 2011 :: Bill Burns :: Choir of Dogs, Boats and Airplanes
- Art Reviews
Mirabilia – A Miracle on Gladstone Avenue at St. Anne’s Church
An unlikely sprawling field of wheat confronts visitors upon entering St. Anne’s Church on Gladstone Avenue, Toronto. Best known for its lively Group of Seven paintings and Byzantine-inspired style, the church recently hosted the exhibition Mirabilia by collective NetherMind. Comprised of eleven site-specific installations by eight artists, Mirabilia marks a celebration of St. Anne’s 150th anniversary.
Quite progressively, the artworks both directly and subtly interact with the space as well as broader concepts of religion. A nuanced work, Osiris’ Advance (10 000 Soldiers), the aforementioned wheat field installed within the pews of the church, by Mary Catherine Newcomb evokes awe and wonder- expected experiences within a scared space. What remains unexpected however, is the instigator of such wonder: the work of art. This speaks to interesting phenomenological understandings of art as a religious experience.
Venturing down a narrow staircase to the dirt-floored basement, viewers happen upon Max Streicher’s installation Quadriga. Four horses, alight in the gloomy basement, rear their heads and collapse in a never-ending cycle of inflation and deflation.
Other works, such as The Ten Commandments, by Tom Dean, are more didactic in their presence within the exhibition. Dean’s work consists of ten layers of etched glass, eponymously each engraved with one of the Ten Commandments. In a similar vein, Dean’s Mercy Benches, situated in front of the alter, are quite literally a set of benches with the word “mercy” carved upon each. Is the obviousness of these works perhaps a mechanism of subversion?
More blatantly subversive and most obviously commenting on its presence within a church is The Story, by Greg Hefford. The work consists of a digital print of Jesus, scrawled with the comment, “Greg, Your story touched my heart! Jesus”.
Although the works are all in dialogue with the church as their site, they remain largely conceptually isolated from one another: an inherent flaw often risked within group exhibitions. Combined however, they do act to undermine traditional expectations of both art and the church. Perhaps it is at this nexus that each respectively can enjoy a new capacity to evoke awe, pensiveness and wonder.
Blog entry by Natasha Chaykowski in Toronto; Monday, November 19, 2012