Viva Voce: 40th Anniversary of the Art & Art History Program Dorian FitzGerald, Alison S.M. Kobayashi, Richie Mehta & Stuart A. McIntyre, Johnson Ngo, Denyse Thomasos, Carolyn Tripp, Jessica Vallentin, Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky, Andrew Wright & Robert Zingone

September 14 - October 23, 2011

Guest curated by Shannon Anderson


Brochure design by Matthew Hoffman

In partnership with Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Photos by Toni Hafkenscheid.
Special Events

Opening reception:
Wednesday September 14, 5 - 9pm
A FREE shuttle bus departs from OCAD (100 McCaul St.) at 6:30pm, returns for 9pm.

Sunday September 25, 12noon to 5:30pm
Tour starts at 12noon at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House) and departs for the Blackwood Gallery and Oakville Galleries. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Cost: $10. To reserve a seat, call Oakville Gallery at 905.844.4402, ext. 27 or email by Friday September 23rd.

FREE Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Sunday October 16, 12noon to 5pm
Tour starts at 12noon at the Koffler Gallery Off-Site exhibition located at 80 Spadina (Unit #501), the bus then departs for the Blackwood Gallery, the Art Gallery of York University and the Doris McCarthy Gallery (UTSC) and returns to Spadina by 5pm. To reserve a seat, call the Doris McCarthy Gallery at 416.287.7007 or email by Friday October 14th.

Out of Joint: Voices on Mentoring
Friday October 21, 10am to 2pm
Presentation Room, Student Centre, UTM
Join us for a mini-conference featuring faculty and students discussing the meanderings of mentorship as it navigates the fields of artistic and curatorial practice, the writing and research skills requirements of art history, and the transition to graduate school. More details to follow in a separate announcement. Lunch will be provided. Please click here for event details.

Sheridan: Artist Talks
Sheridan College
1430 Trafalgar Road, Oakville
For directions click here and go to the Contact Us link.
ALL artist talks are FREE and open to the public, and will take place from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in the mezzanine of Annie Smith Hall at Sheridan.
Robert Zingone – Sept 6
Richie Mehta – Sept 8  
Rhonda Weppler – Sept 15
Andrew Wright – Sept 29
Carolyn Tripp – October 4
Dorian FitzGerald – October 11

Doors Open
Saturday October 1, 10 - 4pm
Presented in partnership with the Culture Division, City of Mississauga
Join us for a guided tour with curator Shannon Anderson at 11am & 1pm.
Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

For more information on Doors Open Mississauga 2011, click here.

Exhibition Statement

This exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of the Art and Art History Program. Given the occasion, the curatorial method focused on the complex relationships between students and professors, as the participating alumni were selected solely through recommendations from past and present faculty members.

The Latin phrase “viva voce,” meaning “with the living voice,” is playfully adopted here to highlight the celebratory nature of an anniversary, while making reference to the outspoken professors who responded to an invitation to participate in the process. It connects to the notion of sharing information by word of mouth, or through reputation. By relying on the experiences of the program’s professors (in keeping with the anniversary date, 40 were contacted to provide a recommendation), the selection process became a collective effort. Importantly, this exhibition brings the connection between student and teacher to the forefront, underscoring the ongoing support that occurs after graduation, in the transition from student to colleague.

Focusing on recent work by both new graduates and those from decades past, Viva Voce reflects the diverse mediums embraced by the Art and Art History Program, including photography, film/video, sculpture, design and painting. Given the hundreds of practitioners who have graduated from this program over the last 40 years, the task of gathering a small selection for an anniversary exhibition is compelling and, truth be told, somewhat daunting. While the artists in Viva Voce necessarily represent a small sampling of the stellar graduates from this program, this particular group can be distinguished by being among those handpicked by professors who have watched their careers flourish.

- Shannon Anderson, Guest Curator


Shannon Anderson (1997 graduate) is an independent writer, curator and editor. Recently, she has completed projects for Oakville Galleries, the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and has written for Canadian Art, C Magazine, and DesignLines.

Artists' Biographies & Project Descriptions
Dorian FitzGerald, 2001 graduate

Bohemian Grove, 2011
Acrylic and caulking on canvas mounted to board
198 x 147 cm
Collection of Geoffrey Wiebe

Dorian FitzGerald’s paintings are distinguished by a slow, methodical, and physically demanding process whereby acrylic paint is poured directly into shapes created with lines of clear caulking. Working from found imagery that depicts forms of material extravagance, he manipulates and reproduces the image at a grand scale, reflecting every bit the excess of his source material. Bohemian Grove is taken from a photograph of the campground belonging to the Bohemian Club, a private arts and letters club that first formed in 1872 and quickly became one of the most exclusive clubs in the US, with captains of industry, politicians and sitting presidents, etc. counted as members, along with artists. Two weeks each year, the members meet at the old growth redwood forest for a males-only retreat.

FitzGerald was recently profiled in Canadian Art magazine and his work has been exhibited at MOCCA, Toronto, and is in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, among other public and private collections. He lives and works in Toronto.

Alison S.M. Kobayashi, 2009 graduate

Hungry Kitty, 2011
28 seconds
Dual-channel video
Courtesy of the artist

Alison S.M. Kobayashi works in video, performance, and installation. Her projects are often initiated by found objects and narratives, from which she imagines full personas for the individuals connected to these discovered materials and enacts them as performances, thereby inserting herself in their absence. Hungry Kitty is the first in a series of videos Kobayashi is currently developing that works with YouTube videos submitted by pet owners. In this video diptych, Kobayashi pairs the original source footage with a video that provides the cat’s eye view, in which Kobayashi adopts the role of the pet owner to humorous and disturbing effect.

Kobayashi’s videos have been shown in Canada, the US, Spain, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Among her awards are the TSV Artistic Vision Award for Best Local Short Film at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival (2006), and the Mississauga Arts Award for Best Emerging Artist (2007). She currently lives and works between Toronto and Brooklyn.

Richie Mehta, 2001 graduate

Richie Mehta and Stuart A. McIntyre
678910, 2009
Video projection, 52 minutes
Courtesy of the artists
(presented in the e|gallery)

Richie Mehta is a film writer and director whose projects focus on South Asian culture, of which 678910 is considered one of his more experimental pieces. The film follows the travels of three foot soldiers across an Indian desert. Delegated for a mission to save their queen, the characters wrestle with notions of fate, purpose and sacrifice as they nonetheless abide by the rules that govern their actions. Set within a structure that emulates both war and games of strategy, the film addresses the emotional complexities of life and death within this otherworldly environment. The film was co-directed by Mehta's frequent collaborator and film editor Stuart A. McIntyre.

Mehta’s first feature film, Amal (2008) was nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director at the 29th Genie Awards and received more than twenty international film awards. His other short films include All Roads Lead to Here (2005), and System of Units (2003/4). Mehta currently lives and works in Mississauga.

Johnson Ngo, 2010 graduate

Self-portrait in Rice Paper
Billboard commission, 2011
(exhibition dates: Sept. 14, 2011 to May 1, 2012; click here for more details)

Mining the materials, gestures and traditions of his Vietnamese culture, Johnson Ngo explores physical acceptance and gender identity in his performance-based practice. In Self-portrait in Rice Paper, Ngo adopts traditional poses and wet drapery techniques from Greek sculpture by using layers of rice paper to obscure gendered markings on his body. According to the artist, these masking gestures “create a veil to emphasize the contrast between my exposed ‘yellow’ skin, black hair and the whiteness of the rice paper.”

Ngo has exhibited at Blackwood Gallery, SPARK Contemporary Art Space, Hart House, Toronto Free Gallery/7a*11d, Mississauga Living Arts Centre, and the University of Toronto Art Centre. In autumn 2011, Ngo will be performing in LEITMOTIF for Nuit Blanche. He currently lives and works in Toronto.

Denyse Thomasos, 1987 graduate

Stealth, 2010
Acrylic on canvas
152 x 183 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto

Denyse Thomasos has developed an elaborate visual vocabulary of architectural forms emerging from her initial interest and research of slave boats, prisons and super jails that she has described as “structures that have been used throughout history to confine people of color.” Her recent work expands this visual language to include vernacular architectonic forms documented in her travels to Africa, China, Southeast Asia, South America and the Arctic. Full of a taut dynamism that is both compelling and disconcerting, her paintings depict densely woven spaces that seem impossible to navigate.

Thomasos is a Guggenheim Fellow (1997), and she has attended a number of important artist residency programs, including the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy, Yaddo in New York, and the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America, and in Switzerland, Austria and China, and she will have her first solo exhibition in Milan in 2012. Concurrent to Viva Voce, Oakville Galleries is exhibiting a large-scale wall installation by Thomasos (Denyse Thomasos: Kingdom Come, September 24 to November 13, 2011.) Thomasos currently lives and works in New York where she is also a Professor of Painting at Rutgers University.

Carolyn Tripp, 2005 graduate

8bit Domestic “House Fire”, 2011
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Carolyn Tripp’s installation reflects her ongoing interest in early video game aesthetics. Two seemingly disparate eras of children’s games, that of simple wooden toys and early video games, intersect in a nostalgic take on the history of play and entertainment. Comprised of two parts, a fireplace setting and a vinyl window installation replicating a digital “fire,” Tripp’s sculptures resurrect the aesthetics of the obsolete, only to send them up in flames made of a curious hybrid of digital pixilation and static electromagnetic interference.

Tripp’s work has been exhibited at the Gladstone Hotel, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Archive Gallery, among other spaces in Toronto, and at The Khyber Institute for Contemporary Art in Halifax. Her writing can also be found in such publications as Eye Weekly, Spacing, Broken Pencil and C Magazine. She currently lives and works in Toronto.

Jessica Vallentin, 2010 graduate

In search of Madeleine, 2011
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Jessica Vallentin’s practice involves a variety of media, including performance, installation, photography and video. In her recent works, she explores methods for engaging the entire body and creating haptic experiences. In search of Madeleine focuses on the connections between smell, intimacy, and identity, and consists of a series of perfume vials containing “scent portraits” of people close to the artist. Vallentin says that she is “interested in the parts of a person that become ingrained, often unwillingly, in our memory.”

Vallentin’s work has recently been included in group exhibitions at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, Galerie Sans Nom in New Brunswick, and Blackwood Gallery. She also participated in the 2009 edition of Nuit Blanche and has exhibited in numerous spaces in Toronto, including Red Bull 381 Projects and Butcher Gallery. She currently lives and works in Toronto.

Rhonda Weppler, 1996 graduate

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky
Stacks (blocks), 2010-2011
acetaminophen, bologna (stack), bouillon cube (beef), bouillon cube (beef, wrapped), brick, bubble gum, butter (pat), butter (stick), butter (small block), butter (medium block), caramel, chalk, charcoal, checker (black), checker (red), cheese (travel slice), cheese (small block), cheese (medium block), children’s block (red/yellow/blue), chocolate (small baking square), Conté crayon, cream cheese, ear plug, eraser (kneaded), eraser (white), floral foam, game tile (blank), graphite (stick), gum (small, green), gum (large, yellow), gum (wrapped), hockey puck, lard, magnet (small), magnet (medium), memo pad (small, yellow), memo pad (small, lime/magenta/orange), memo pad (medium, yellow), memo pad (medium, lime/magenta/orange), mint (English, pink), mint (English, white), mint (small), paper (ream, lime/magenta/orange), paper (ream, white), Plasticine, processed cheese (slice), sealing wax, sleeping pill, slug, tile (terracotta)
Wood and paint
122 x 245 x 137 cm
Courtesy of the artists and Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky persistently address the quotidian objects of their immediate environment, developing installations that draw attention to how we perceive, identify, and organize the objects that surround us. In Stacks (blocks), what at first appears as a vibrant cityscape is in fact a collection of simple forms derived from a miscellany of household items. As a sculptural still-life of sorts, these items have been replicated in wood and covered in commercial spray paint using pre-manufactured colours. The apparent minimalism of the work plays against the artists’ careful adherence to realistic depiction—as representations, these blocks are relatively complete and accurate, given that their subjects are themselves minimal. The fullness of the worlds of taste and touch return in Stacks (blocks) as a kind of echo.

Weppler has worked in collaboration with Mahovsky since 2004. They recently completed a residency at Artspace in Sydney, Australia and their work has been exhibited in major centres across Canada and in Spain, Japan, and Germany, among other countries. Recent group exhibitions include It is what it is at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Nothing to Declare: Recent Sculpture from Canada at The Power Plant, Toronto. Both artists currently live and work in Vancouver.

Andrew Wright, 1994 graduate

Coronae 5, 2011
Digital C-Print mounted on Dibond
152 x 152 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Peak Gallery, Toronto

Andrew Wright’s process-based photographic practice incorporates both traditional and digital techniques and plays with our notions of perception. He investigates the potential of camera-less photography in his large-scale series Coronae, in which the multi-stage process began by puncturing a hole through a 35mm film canister and exposing it to light. The final image contains both microscopic and macroscopic references, placing the viewer at the edge of a void that disrupts our ability to stabilize a figure/ground relationship.

Wight has exhibited across Canada and in the US, Germany, Spain and the UK, with recent solo exhibitions at Prefix Contemporary Institute, Toronto; the Art Gallery of Calgary; and Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver. Recently, his Coronae exhibition at Peak Gallery won the inaugural BMW prize for most outstanding exhibition in the 2011 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Wright is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa.

Robert Zingone, 1996 graduate

The Devil’s Bridge, 2008,
Mixed media (including monofilament strands, LED, motion sensor, inkjet print on watercolour paper, saliva-powered and rechargeable batteries)
91 x 91 x 15 cm
Courtesy of the artist

The Devil’s Bridge documents the artist’s visit to a historic site in Southern Italy where, according to legend, St. Francis of Paola defeated the devil. When visitors cross this medieval bridge, they ritualistically spit onto a particular spot on the wall. Over the years, the acid from this accumulated saliva has gradually formed an indentation in the stone. In his photograph, Zingone is documented in the role of the visitor, enacting this traditional gesture. Commenting on the rituals and marketing of religious tourism, this spot on Zingone’s photograph shimmers with light when people approach it, emulating the kitschy objects often sold in gift shops connected to such religious sites.

Zingone’s work has been shown across Canada and in the United States, including the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; and Burnished Chariot Gallery, New London, Connecticut. He currently lives and works in Halifax.

Matthew Hoffman, 2009 graduate

Brochure design

Matthew Hoffman is a designer for Cossette Communications Group in Toronto. His past clients include the Bank of Montreal, Blackberry, Esprit Orchestra and Ironkore, among others. His design for the Grain Farmers of Canada was recently selected for exhibition in RDG Design At Work, 2010.

Installation Views
Opening Reception

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Sheridan College and the Department of Visual Studies (UTM).