transformerThe Tom Thomson Art Gallery is pleased to announce that its latest Canadian Spirit Public Art Project will be installed on the West Island of Ontario Place as a part of in/FUTURE: a public art and music festival presented by Art Spin in association with Small World Music Festival. In/FUTURE will open on September 15 and run to September 25, 2016.

Artist Greg Staats, Kanien'kehá:ka (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) will re-animate one of the abandoned silo sites located on the West Island of Ontario Place. This site specific installation entitled transformer combines video and sound to create an immersive experience for visitors of in/FUTURE into the personal processes of reconnecting with traditional Haduenosaunee (Iroquois) restorative aesthetic. Pulsating movements of codified strings of a white wampum used in condolence ceremonies to selected Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) phrases, Staats uses language, mnemonics and the natural world to reconnect us with this cultural history.

The TOM believes that public art has the power to connect people to each other and to the importance of culture and heritage, and the Gallery's Curator of Temporary Exhibitions, Heather McLeese elaborates "Staats installation utilizes the full potential of the silo space to create a brilliantly hypnotic and disorienting experience for viewers." The TOM hopes that everyone attending in/FUTURE enjoys transformer - created for, and installed in Ontario Place.

Greg Staats, Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk), (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory). Staats' lens-based work, video installation/performance and sculpture, combines language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of visualizing a Haudenosaunee restorative aesthetic that defines relational multiplicities with trauma and renewal. Trauma that is felt from an existential displacement from the Kanien'kehá:ka language and subsequent relational worldview, has motivated recent sequencing within a mnemonic continuum. In place of this systemic linguistic deficit, Staats has assembled and created an archive of images and documents, both personal and familial. Installation works combine the performative burdens of condolence, renewal and his continuously re-imagined role as observer and participant, in an effort to elevate the mind and countervail complex trauma, dissociation and loss of self. This archive, an externalization of what is carried within the body, a repository, has enabled Staats to move toward renewal in dialogue with the psychic space where the overwhelming is held. Solo exhibitions include: articule, McMaster Museum of Art, KWAG, Walter Philips Gallery, Banff, Mercer Union, Gallery TPW, Trinity Square Video/Images festival. Group exhibitions include; AGYU, the National Gallery of Canada, MOCNA, Sante Fe, AGSM, Brandon. Staats has lived and worked in Toronto since 1985.

The Artist wishes to acknowledge the generous financial support of The Banff Centre during a thematic residency program, the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario and the Canada Council for the Arts/ Conseil des arts du Canada.

This project is presented by the TOM as part of its Canadian Spirit public art projects programme that was started in 2012 and will culminate in 2017, marking the Gallery's 50th anniversary, the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson's death and Canada's 150th birthday. In celebrating this year's theme, On the Edge of All the Wild Stuff, the TOM has worked with artists, individuals, organizations and businesses to explore historical events that took place in 1916 and celebrate these events through multi-disciplinary forms of visual, media, performing and literary arts.

source: media release, Tom Thomson Art Gallery


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