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Urban Fabric: Portraits of a City

Date Sep 17, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Artists Sheila Ayearst, Jessica Craig, Department of Unusual Certainties, Scott Eunson, Shlomi Greenspan and Scott Norsworthy
Curated by Deborah Wang

Exhibition Overview

The concept of ‘urban fabric’ describes the defining qualities of the urban environment: the interplay of built form, streetscapes and open spaces; networks of communication both visible and invisible; and the daily rhythms and patterns of city dwellers. ‘Urban fabric’ points to what is formal and tangible, as well as what is temporal or experiential – characteristics that cannot be seen. In this sense, fabric is a metaphor, a lyrical reference to something quite unlike itself. It captures and conjures the evolving ‘stuff’ that makes up a city – the built environment, webs of individuals, and the social, technological, and economic processes that produce a particular urban framework.

Additional Information

A single 19th-century blanket from the Textile Museum of Canada’s collection sheds light on ‘urban fabric’ as an everyday object of daily life, and a powerful vehicle for communication. Through the matrix of this familiar artifact, the exhibition explores what it means to live in, know, and imagine a place.

The artists in Urban Fabric: Portraits of a City engage with the interwoven hard and soft dimensions of the city from multiple perspectives; their photographs, paintings, sculpture, film, and pattern-making create a portrait of a city, often taking Toronto as their subject. Both Scott Eunson and Jessica Craig examine the co-existence of the city grid and the natural landscape, acknowledging geographic oddities, holes within the urban fabric, and what has been built-up over time. Scott Norsworthy looks at the urban realm as a literal textile, seeking out and photographing the city’s anomalies and holes. Sheila Ayearst dwells on the material, the tangible, and the everyday, with her laborious paintings of concrete surfaces, each very specific, yet ubiquitous. Filmmaker Shlomi Greenspan engages the pulse and pace of contemporary urban life, but introduces a glitch in its anticipated flow. Working with patterns that appear through mapping the city, the Department of Unusual Certainties reveals the physical infrastructure that makes it possible, while exploring new social relationships that emerge.

Based in Toronto, Deborah Wang is an independent curator and designer. She completed her undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Fine Arts degree at OCAD University. Through her diverse practice, Deborah has curated and co-curated exhibitions for the Gladstone Hotel, XPACE Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Women’s College Hospital, and Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects; taught design studio at Ryerson University; and co-founded FEAST Toronto (a series of community dinners and micro-funding events supporting local art projects). Currently, she splits her time as Creative Director of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, a designer for superkul inc |architect, and as a scholar/maker.

Related Programs and Events

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Opening Reception
Wednesday September 17 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Please join us for the opening reception of Urban Fabric at the Textile Museum of Canada. Curator and artists will be in attendance and light refreshments will be served.

Free with admission.

A Walking Tour of Toronto's Urban Fabric
Wednesday October 22 at 6 pm
The artists in the exhibition Urban Fabric reveal personal connections to the built environment. This 1.5 hour excursion begins with a gallery walkthrough prior to venturing out into Toronto's downtown core to explore the social, physical and cultural infrastructures that support and shape Canada’s largest city.

TMC Members $8, General $12, Full-time students Pay-what-you-can. Advanced registration required, to purchase call 416-599-5321 x 2228.

Jessica Craig, <i>Don Valley #190</i>, 2012, digital print. 27.5 x 38 cm
Scott Eunson, <i>Historical Flow Map - Toronto</i> (working title), detail, 2014, mixed media (wood, roots, wire, high-pressure laminate). 183 x 356 x 20 cm
Department of Unusual Certainties, <i>Image Virus</i> (working title), 2014, processing-generated drawing, screen capture 4 of 10
Scott Norsworthy, <i>Queen</i>, 2014, inkjet print. 27.5 x 38 cm
Sheila Ayearst, <i>Beaconsfield Concrete</i>, 2011, acrylic on canvas. 46 x 61 cm