Bunga, Koop and boundary-pushing show combat February blues

February 24, 2020Member Education

PIA Members tour 'A Sudden Beginning' by Carlos Bunga at MOCA.

On February 3 PIA members enjoyed a tour of Carlos Bunga’s expansive installations at MOCA Toronto on the first floor atrium, as well as the second floor gallery. With this exhibition Bunga noted he still feels like a painter, but instead of using canvas and brush, he utilizes a more democratic-material of recycled cardboard and house paint. A Sudden Beginning reflects ubiquitous architecture (weathered columns, pillars, and entrance ways) which encourages audiences to reflect on their own memories in similar spaces. Presented as a maze-like cardboard labyrinth, Bunga also prods audiences to consider urban planning, city layouts, and how we move around the spaces we inhabit — he does so by literally inviting visitors to physically step into the maze, traversing different heights of cardboard sculptures. Curator Rui Mateus Amaral also added that Bunga’s exhibition “recalls human-scale architectural models, temporary street shelters and modern ruins.”

Wanda Koop and PIA members at Division Gallery Toronto.

PIA members visited Division Gallery on Feb. 7 to view the newly-opened exhibition Breaking News by one of Canada’s most prominent artists, Wanda Koop. Koop toured members through the gallery giving insights to her painting processes, past projects, and recent inspirations behind the exhibition. Building off of past series such as Sightlines, Unseen-Seen and Standing-Withstanding, the artist described her process as one which is indebted to, and inspired by, current news cycles, as well as her own political experiences while travelling internationally, but living consistently in her hometown of Winnipeg.  Depicting images from burning pipelines, deforestation, and vast desolate prairie land, the artist described her painting process as both planned, as well as largely intuitive. Compositions and imagery are meticulously mapped, while colour and viscosity happen instinctually and spontaneously — essentially an additional sense that Koop has honed over her long career using colour theory. Koop made particular note of how impactful the burning of Notre Dame was to her — as a young woman she spent copious amounts of time sketching the cathedral while studying in Paris. Imagery of the burning monument is repeated frequently in Breaking News.

Holding Space statement by Gloria C. Swain at Tangled Art + Disability.

In mid-February Art Activates organized a tour at Tangled Art + Disability located at 401 Richmond. The group exhibition Hidden featured works by four artists: Tamyka Bullen, Peter Owusu-Ansah, Kyisha Williams, and Gloria C. Swain, who also curated the show. Works in Hidden explore intergenerational trauma (also known as hauntology), isolation, and lived experiences of black artists with hidden disabilities. The exhibitions aims to bring people together, to facilitate “finding each other in spite of invisibility, concealment, and what is hidden”. Artistic director Sean Lee led PIA members through the exhibition, while also sharing the organizational goals of the gallery which is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for artists with disabilities, while educating existing organizations on how they can be better allies to the disabled community.