Ross Bonfanti takes NYC

In writing this blog, I’m always on the look out for artists to admire. One of my new favorites is Ross Bonafanti – whose work was brought to my attention by his gallery.

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ABOVE: Ross Bonfanti, Power Struggle, 2016, concrete, toy parts,extension cord, 10 x 9 x 12 inches

Shortly after arriving in Washington D.C., I was contacted by the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in New York City, and asked if I would be interested in writing a brief post about Toronto based sculptor Ross Bonfanti – whose work is currently on display in their gallery. Although, at the time, I was unfamiliar with him, I did a quick web search, and was intrigued.

A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University), Ross Bonfanti has been exhibiting regularly since the mid-nineties, and since the early 2000’s, he’s been exhibiting more and more outside of Canada. Looking at his CV, you’re left with the impression that his career is on the rise. His success is well deserved.

To better describe his work, here is a quote from the Rebecca Hossack website:

“Bonfanti’s concreatures are created from cement, hardware materials and found soft toys, all collected in the artist’s native Toronto. But even as he redefines their sumptuous bodies and studs them with nails and screws, Bonfanti deliberately retains the toys’ fluffy seams, their felt noses and their glass eyes. The sculptures stand in a striking state of in-between: Fortified for modernity and urbanity, the charm of a bygone age still lingers.”

Although I will not be able to catch his current show, I’ll be sure to check him out when he arrives back in Toronto. For those in the NYC area, you should check him out now.

Ross Bonfanti: No Hard Feelings will be at the Rebbeca Hossack Gallery until May 15, 2016. You can find more information here.

Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s to 1980s

I recently visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to see its new photography exhibition. If you’re interested in counter-cultures, and street photography,  this show is for you.

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Last Saturday, I saw Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s to 1980s at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

From Kenneth Anger to Nan Goldin, this show is full of thought provoking shots, and lasting impressions. What’s more, it manages to flow seamlessly from artist to artist – despite the many differences in their narratives.

Being a fan of Diana Arbus, it was great to see some of her best known photos, but of all that I saw, I was most impressed with Carl Winogrand. The date and range of his work is impressive, and the curators did an excellent job in contrasting his shots of poverty and protest with those of the ruling elite. There’s a certain timelessness to it all, and given the current political climate in the U.S., it’s as relevant as ever.

As the above paragraph suggests, this is a distinctly American show, and it covers a time of great change and turmoil in U.S. history. That said, it is also a deeply humanistic show that highlights the coming of age of people previously pushed to the fringes. The room dedicated to Gordon Parks and his documentation of a struggling black family is especially powerful, as are the many unaccredited shots of cross-dressers on retreat.

All told, this exhibition forces the viewer to confront realities both past and present. We’ve come a long way since the 1980s, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s to 1980s is at the AGO until May 29, 2016.