2018 Recipients

 

ALEC BUTLER

Alec (aka madlobster) is a long time artivist for the AFAB Trans, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Non-binary communities; they are also an award-winning playwright and filmmaker. The author and producer of Black Friday? a groundbreaking work for LGBT theatre in Canada that was nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 1991, they sparked a revolution of boundary pushing theatre work by Lesbian playwrights in the 1990’s. After coming out as trans/intersex/Two-Spirit 20 years ago, Alec created and produced the award-winning animated film trilogy about growing up Two-Spirit/Trans/Intersex called Misadventures of Pussy Boy, winner of the best short at TranScreen, the international Transgender Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2013. Other films include Audrey’s Beard, My Friend Brindley and Trans Cabaret; Alec is also the author of the radical queer sexy novella Rough Paradise. Alec is currently a student at the University of Toronto majoring in Indigenous Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies; they are researching and writing a new book about decolonizing queer Two-Spirit desire.


 
ALFRED ENGERER
Alfred is a revered glass artist who has taught at OCADU and has sat on many committees, including the Toronto Public Art Commission, the Craft Ontario and the Glass Art Association of Canada. His work often explores participatory and experience-driven aspects of glass blowing and installation art. ‘My work is essentially an exploration of ideas, my own and others, about architectural space, shape and form combined with my thoughts and feelings about histories and mythologies; the latter being of a national, religious, aesthetic or pop cultural origin. Though everything created by humanity springs forth from need, once materialized, all things become part of a larger legacy, legitimate or otherwise, to be later be used as elements in other ideas and developments. The examination of these possible dialectics is the focus of my sculptural endeavours.

 


 
ANDREW HARWOOD
Andrew is a Toronto-based artist who works in a variety of media. He is currently working on the haunting landscape painting of his hometown Wiarton, Ontario. He aspires to capture the sorrow of the loss of his family by revisiting the landscapes of his youth and the spirit of the land. Harwood hopes also to capture this natural beauty through a blend of historical and abstracted painting methods. Harwood’s works are not in the collections of the AGO, The National Gallery of Canada nor has he been offered a ‘heterospective’ of any kind nor has he ever received a Canada Council Grant. He has been the past Co-Director of Mercer Union, Director of Programming at A Space Gallery, General Manager at C Magazine and most importantly has run the independent galleries Zsa Zsa West, in Winnipeg, and Zsa Zsa, Toronto. Harwood has served on the Board of Directors of Gallery TPW, A Space Gallery and the Canadian Central Centre for Performance (CCCP), He is the co-founder of the West Queen West Gallery District and the Toronto Alternative Art Fair International  Collective.

 


 
ANTONIA LANCASTER
I got my BFA in Fine Art from Ottawa U and worked initially as a graphic designer. I have shown in alternative galleries and curated, but I found, for me, resumé building and money seeking a bureaucratic enterprise; resulting in the artist bureaucrat. So, I opened and ran Off the Map Gallery (OTMG) in Toronto at 80 Spadina Avenue. Initially, I showed my own work but then opened the gallery to other artists especially those that had not shown in Toronto before. The gallery moved to my large but rough unheated uninsulated garage. The gallery ran year-round; 24 hours seven days a week if the artist requested. This was not a white cube. In OTMG the space and artist came together as equal partners. I had wanted to create a Toronto Biennale based on the OTMG concept and so formed The Toronto Biennale Group. We almost got there.
 

 

 

CAMILLE TURNER
Camille is an explorer of race, space, home and belonging. Born in Jamaica and currently based in Toronto. She combines Afrofuturism and historical re-search to recover the stories of people of African descent who were enslaved in colonial Canada. Her interventions, installations and public engagements have been presented throughout Canada and internationally. Camille graduated from Ontario College of Art and Design and York University’s Masters from Environmental Studies Program where she is currently a PhD candidate.

 

 

 

CHRISTOPHER DEAN LORI
Born 1970 St. Catharines, Ontario of Irish/Italian descent. Christopher has developed a rigorous approach to drawing painting and animation since child-hood, followed by supplemental studies at both OCADU and Sheridan Institute of Applied Arts. He is currently active in Toronto. ‘My works labour accords me its autocratic, tactile and graphic necessity. It is impotent in placation, language and instruction unless thriving as a selfishly oblique, greedy habitual fetish of a semi-occult nature, and I like it that way’.

 

 

 

CORPUSSE
It was sometime during the mid-seventies when I watched this guy on television singing to a skull with a snake wrapped around him. I was intrigued and fascinated. The next day I went out and bought a rubber snake and acted out what I had seen. Over the next decade and a half, piano lessons, an interest in theatre, pop culture of the eighties, art all played a part in influencing and driving what is known as CORPUSSE. The name came up in grade school as I was searching for a band name. This has been a life-long work-in-progress. Sound as magic, noise as power. The lyrics, words have always been foremost. The show is a representation of visual poetics come to life in an alternative rock arena. With band, guests or solo, CORPUSSE is the focus. I have done just as many shows with members, as a solo. There are more performances, albums, grounds to break. There is no stopping. In many ways, I feel like my keyboard and drum machine are just beginning to warm up.

 

 

 

CYNTHIA GRANT
Cynthia became a force in Toronto in the late seventies after an internship with Mabou Mines in New York City. In 1979, she formed a new theatre company, Nightwood Theatre named in honour of Djuna Barnes, to produce an adaptation of the novel The True Story of Ida Johnson which she co-edited with Toronto’s Women’s Press fiction group. Many projects followed that she produced and directed in the early Nightwood years which were innovative and developed with a strong group of collaborators, establishing a strong feminist presence. Together with Sky Gilbert, Richard Rose, Richard Shoichet and Thom Sokoloski, she was the lone female director forming the original Board of (B.A.A.N.N.) The Theatre Centre. She then founded the Company of Sirens with another group of feminist activists with a focus on and their work toured nationally and internationally addressing labour rights, violence against women, daycare, equal pay and reproductive rights. Her Masters in Adult Education examines the artist as politician and educator with a focus on praxis. Her PhD in Cultural Studies examines the process of identity construction through transformative arts practice, drawing on cultural identity theories of hybridity involving youth.

 

 

 

DAVID ANDERSON
David is the founder and Artistic Director of Clay & Paper Theatre, which has become a pioneer in public space performance in Canada. He has 49 years of performance and production experience and has performed and directed across Canada, in the United States, Russia, Europe, Mexico and the Georgian Caucasus. David’s work has been informed by his desire to bring theatre to as wide a cross-section of the population as possible. To accomplish this, he developed a style of narrative theatre using large-scale puppetry, musical soundscapes and exaggerated gesture particularly suited to the challenges of performing in the unique venues of public parks, plazas and streets. He has written or co-written over fifteen plays and directed more than 35 productions, bringing together seasoned professionals, emerging artists, and entire neighbourhoods and communities through his work.

 

 


DONNA LYPCHUK
A prolific master of propaganda of all kinds from Tisdale, Saskatchewan (The Land of Rape and Honey); best known for The Necrofiles, a viral, often-imitated humor column (1991 – 2000) that resulted in hundreds of stalkers (7 put in jail), her near murder by a
 fan and a gig writing jokes for famous insult comics. Her play No More Snowball was featured in the 1981 Toronto International Theatre Festival and her four-act musical Tragedy of Manners (often casually referred to as “The Death of Queen Street) opened at the 1989 Theatre Passe Muraille season with a cast of 43. She is a Canadian Film Centre graduate with 12 screenplays to her credit and curated several exhibitions including Neo-Romantics (Mercer Union, 1988) and The Erotic Neurotic (A.G.H. 1991). An SX70 survivor, photo exhibits include Art for Lounges, Lobbies and Living Rooms (2016), Mystic Toronto (2017), and Cell Phone Jujubes (2018). Storm over Humber Bay August 3, 2015 was Instagram Photo of The Day (Take that Kim Kardashian!). Other claims to Kathy Ackerish pithiness are starring in Sam Shephard’s Cowboy Mouth (1990) with Scott Thompson, performing with Mrs. Fuck and The Glamour of Evil (1996) and the installation of a 6-foot cake at Garnet Press called My Fucking Apartment (1988).
 

 

 

ELDON GARNET
Eldon Garnet is a photo-based artist, public sculptor, and writer based in Toronto. He has exhibited his photographic and sculptural work extensively in North America and Europe. A participant at the Venice Biennale in 1985. Garnet’s work, NO, 1997 was included in the exhibition Hitchcock and Art: Fatal Coincidences at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (2000) and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2001). In 1997, the National Gallery of Canada hosted his mid-career survey entitled: The Fallen Body. Garnet has had major surveys of his photographs, at the Amsterdam’s Centrum voor Fotografie (2002) and Dust at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto (2002). His novels Reading Brooke Shields: The Garden of Failure and Lost Between the Edges are published by Semiotext(e), Los Angles. For fifteen years he was the editor of IMPULSE, an international magazine of art, fashion and ideas. He is the editor of Impulse Archaeology published by University of Toronto Press 2007, and Impulse Interviews 1978-1990 published by Impulseb 2018. He is the artist of eleven public sculptures including The Memorial to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada and most recently Artifacts of Memory 2016. He is the publisher and an editor of the micropress Impulseb.

 

 

 

FIONA SMYTH

Fiona Smyth is a feminist painter, illustrator, cartoonist, and educator. Her work explores themes of trauma, resiliency, and empowerment. She illustrated the kids’ books “What Makes A Baby” and the award-winning follow up “Sex Is A Funny Word”, both written by sex educator Cory Silverberg. A third book in the series is currently in the works. Most recently her comics can be found in Resist #1 and #2, edited by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman, and the thirty-year collection of her comics “Somnambulance” published by Koyama Press. Fiona is now working on an animated short film funded by the Canada Council and a post-apocalyptic graphic novel for adults titled “Spinnbarkeit”.
 

 

 

ISTVÁN ATTILA RÉSZ
István Attila Rész was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1954. It was during his student years that he became involved in the nascent Punk/New Wave under-ground cultural scene, mostly designing posters. He also became interested in the work of the Italian Transavantgardia ,the Italian version of Neo-Expressionism. He decided to leave the country in 1979. After spending a couple of years in London, UK, he settled in Toronto in 1982. He produced a monumental painting on wood (Noontide, 1984-86) and made a series of works on paper and on canvas. He had solo exhibitions at The Foundation in 1983 and at the White Light Studio in 1985. In the early 90’s he began to concern himself with religious, mostly Roman Catholic iconography even though he did not consider himself religious. For Roundup ’93 (an annual artist’ open studio festival), he projected images from his Queen Street studio of his “Emmanuel and the Fishers of Men” series onto the façade of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. That year he had a solo show at the Gallery 403. In 1998 Toronto art historian Rochelle Holt curated two exhibitions of his work, “M. Sanguine o. Sanguine” (Annex Art Centre) and “Lupus Dei” (The Volcano Room). While his production continued into the new millennium, his exhibition opportunities diminished. He received almost no critical attention in Canada. Rész suffered from MS his entire life, and by about 2000 he transitioned from crutches to a motorized wheelchair, continuing his artistic production with the help of studio assistants. Immobilized by his disease, he was placed in a long-term care facility in 2016.

 

 


LILY ENG
Lily is recognized as Canada’s first performance artist of Chinese heritage. She fearlessly pioneered a timeless innovation of improvisational movement in performance, second to none, in a time when it was truly remarkable to do so. While mining her Chinese background with its plethora of deep cultural wisdom found in Asian shamanic qigong health and spiritual healing, Kung Fu, and calligraphy, the treasure trove of cultural influences fired her language of action. Impressively, Lily was her Kung Fu association’s first long-standing woman practitioner in an all-male dominated martial arts environment. In her forty- plus years in the arts community, Lily formed and performed with Missing Associates, the artistic partnership with filmmaker Peter Dudar in presenting innovative choreographic performances and film. Her awe-inspiring renditions are ensconced in Canadian performance art history seen at Documenta 6, through Joseph Beuys Free International University, the Musée des beaux arts contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Tributes and Tributaries, and honoured as Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival’s Canadian Spotlight. Concurrently, Lily performs hands-on energy medicine healings and teaches people to reach their life-affirming potential in empowering transformative workshops
and ceremonies.

 

 

 

LINDA FEESEY
I was influenced by Andy Warhol’s movies and the Industrial Music scene. The simplicity of Warhol’s long durational shots on a field fixed of lurid performances from his dissipated coterie of demimondaine was a model for my mise-en-scène. My mind was also immersed in Industrial Culture; a post-punk movement that combined dissonant music, primitive urges and consumer-capitalist resistance. It is sad to think that its anti-social influence has waned, and that the mega- corporation driven internet has lured almost everyone back into the capitalist fold. When curating programs for Pleasure Dome or a few other entities, I looked for work that up-ended the status quo and its tacit limits on creativity and veracity. The underlying contradictions of human behaviour and its emotional twists and turns is what I find exciting, even inspiring.

 

 


SANDY BARON

Originally from Calgary, Sandy has called Toronto home since 1994. She started her career as a professional violinist freelancing in music theatre, eventually landing a position with the Canadian Opera Company where she has been a member for 22 years. Sandy also works on a regular basis with the Toronto Symphony, the Esprit Orchestra and the Hamilton Philharmonic and recently collaborated with Array Music on the Dirt Road project, incorporating violin and photography. Sandy can also be found on numerous recordings with various artists including Feist, Jane Siberry, Owen Pallett and the Cowboy Junkies. Travel has long been a passion for Sandy which was realized by her first solo backpack trip to East Africa in 1995 followed by subsequent trips to Southeast Asia, South America, India, Central America and West Africa. Inspired to capture these exotic destinations with her camera, photography and travel became an inextricable, insatiable passion. The seminal moment in Sandy’s career occurred in 2001 when she began her tenure with the Santa Fe Opera. Inspired by the beauty, landscape and light of the American Southwest, she has developed a unique photographic style. Sandy has had exhibitions at Fountain Gallery, Camera, Oz Studios and Black Cat Artspace.
 

 

 

ROBERT W. STEVENSON
Robert has been an active force in the music community as a player, conductor, composer and educator since the early 70’s. His background is wide ranging and diverse, encompassing many forms including jazz, classical, new music, klezmer and free improvisation. He has performed regularly with a wide variety of ensembles including Arraymusic, New Music Concerts, Tapestry New Opera Works and the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band among many others. He also leads four groups. The Bob Standard, with guitarist Justin Haynes and bassist Victor Bateman; Big Idea, an eleven-piece ensemble performing Mr. Stevenson’s original compositions; The Bob Stevenson Quartet with Jonnie Bakan, alto saxophone, Mike Milligan, bass and Jeff Halischuk, drums performing contemporary jazz with sounds from other genres; and Safety In Numbers, with guitarist Chris Bezant and bassist Chris Kettlewell exploring jazz music from the 20s to the present. He is also a member of Red Rhythm and has appeared on the recordings of many artists including Holly Cole, Lily Frost, Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Arraymusic, New Music Concerts, Red Rhythm and Anthony Genge. As a composer Robert has been commissioned by choreographers Bill James, Maxine Heppner and Holly Small; ensembles Arraymusic, New Music Concerts, The Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, Innovations En Concert, Stephen Clarke, Toca Loca, the Modern Quartet and the Madawaska Quartet; and documentary film producers Laurent Productions. He served as Artistic Director of Arraymusic from 2005 – 2010 and the improvising new music big band Hemispheres from 1995-1998. He was the guest lecturer on clarinet and composition at York University in Toronto and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

 

 


ULYSSES CASTELLANOS
In a world dominated by digital images, Ulysses believes “that there must be some truth and value within the forgotten pictures that now populate the cultural dustbin of history.” Castellanos uses the base media of such photographs, literature, and film stills as the raw canvas for a practice that both transcends and heralds its citations. The central aim of his art practice is to involve the viewer in a playful juxtaposition of “high culture” and pop culture, and science and philosophy, by manipulating images, concepts, and paradigms. He culls from various media to transpose these elements within a performance art setting or distils them into installations, drawings, and films. Castellanos’s practice also takes its start from the seat of trauma. Born into a civil war and bearing witness to manifold desecrations, he has, in the past year especially, taken refuge in image-making. The resulting pictures are wrought from the dulling blade of repetition, evincing an automated, unrestricted chroma, and the visual noise of a working-through and a bearing-out. Ulysses Castellanos is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects. He is a multidisciplinary artist and independent curator living and working in Toronto.

 

 


WILLIAM A. DAVISON
William is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist born in Nova Scotia in 1962 and based in Toronto since 1989. He has been producing art for over 35 years, working in visual art, film and video, performance art, music/sound, writing/poetry, networking, artistic collaboration, organizing/curating, and publishing. As a reaction to the cultural isolation and conservatism he experienced growing up in Nova Scotia, Davison sought out anything strange, nonconforming and subversive. His art and ideas developed under the influence of science fiction, the occult, underground and avant-garde comics, Dada and Surrealism, punk, post-punk, and industrial music culture. In 1984 he founded Recordism, his own idiosyncratic take on Surrealism. His prolific and eclectic artistic output derives from an uncompromising experimental approach and a commitment to the punk D.I.Y. ethos. Davison’s dedication to enlivening his local scene has gone together with an international reach via appearances at major festivals, exhibitions, and events, as well as through numerous publications and audio releases. He likes long walks on the beach and romantic evenings wrestling moray eels.

 © 2018 thom sokoloski + istvan kantor

Acker Awards
Toronto
 
Deviation is the norm!
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