Friday, March 30, 2007

Penelope Umbrico

New York-based artist Penelope Umbrico is contributing two series to this show, that will surround the grand staircase of the Drake. Seeming to float like bubbles up the wall, as one climbs the stairs, will be her Mirrors. For this series, images were sampled from decorating magazines, enlarged to the actual size of the mirror and reverse-mounted onto plexiglas. The objects themselves are flawless and jewel-like, while the images have a pixilated quality, reminiscent of pointillism.

Penelope Umbrico, selected works from the series Mirror (From Catalog), 2001-2007, archival digital print and plaxiglas, various sizes

Collapsing like a deck of cards, as one walks down the stairs, will be Umbrico's series Honeymoon Suite (Grounded). A collection of images of sunsets extracted from honeymoon vacation brochures and printed in a variety of sizes, that in effect, create an abstract staccato rhythm, lined up along a ledge on the wall. The piece will be positioned so that patrons will pass beneath the installation as they walk down the stairs.

Penelope Umbrico, Honeymoon Suite (Grounded), 2005, archival digital prints (installation shot, curtesy of p|m gallery

Penelope Umbrico is the chairperson of the MFA Photography program at Bard College. She has exhibited extensively throughout North America, as well as Europe and Asia; and her photo-based works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, NYC and the International Centre for Photography, NYC, among others. Also this spring, Umbrico will have a solo show at Boston's Bernard Toale Gallery . For more information on the work of Penelope Umbrico, please contact me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thomas Bangsted

This is the first in a series of posts I'll be doing on the individual artists in Looking The Other Way. To receive a pricelist or for more information on Thomas Bangsted's work, please contact me.

Thomas Bangsted's photographs are easily recognizable for being so carefully composed, so precisely balanced, so perfectly imperfect - one may suspect they are digitally composed. However, Bangsted is a purist, in a field of digital hybrids.

He has a wonderful way of setting up the shot, so that found locations are infused with a sly humour. Like the image below, where, in a remote field, he found a car and helicopter abandoned, nose-to-nose. It's as if an action movie from the 1970's suddenly came to a screeching halt.

Thomas Bangsted, Untitled (Car and Helicopter), 2004, C print, 30 x 40in

Thomas Bangsted, Norland, 2006, C print, 31 x 55in

This is a photographer in the truest sense, one who travels extensively with his camera. After selecting a scene, he studies the site to get just the right angle and then, at times, waits for hours for the light to be perfect. In Norland, seen above, one can imagine how long he had to wait for the sea and sky to melt seamlessly into each other.

Thomas Bangsted, Watering Place, 2005, C print, 40 x 47in

I must admit, this is one of my favourite images. It's so serious, so banal, save for the algae in the pond that makes it look like the cows are wading in a great dollop of mint frosting.

Thomas Bangsted's photographs have been exhibited at Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen and ecArt Space, London, among many others. This spring, the artist will graduate from Yale University with an MFA in photography. For more information on Thomas Bangsted's work, please contact me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Media Release

Looking The Other Way, curated by Mia Nielsen
May 3 to June 28, 2007 at the Drake Hotel,
Opening reception May 3rd, 7-9pm

Isabelle Hayeur . Thomas Bangsted . Søren Lose . Penelope Umbrico . Sergei Sviatchenko . Andreas Koch . Jesper Just

Looking The Other Way will bring acclaimed photo-based artists from across Northern Europe, The USA and Canada to Toronto for the Contact Festival, occupying The Drake Hotel from May 3 to June 28, 2007. In preparation for the opening, curator Mia Nielsen comments, “bringing together some of the best photo-based artists this generation has to offer, Looking The Other Way will examine how photographs incite or perhaps squelch desire – through photo-based installation and video works”.

Exhibition highlights include Untitled Legacy, a site-specific digital montage by Montreal’s Isabelle Hayeur, which will stretch over 40 ft across the façade of the building, included in Contact’s program of public installations. Internationally renowned Danish video artist Jesper Just presents a series of potent fairly tales. Berlin-based Søren Lose contributes beguiling photographs, made from found negatives and New York’s Penelope Umbrico will surround the grand staircase in two different installations, one seeming to float up the stairs, the other collapsing to the ground.

Curator, Mia Nielsen explains the background for the exhibition: “From travel snapshots to glossy magazines, photographs subtly influence our desires, shaping our expectations of places and how we remember experiences. However, photos often deliver skewed realities and subjective truths. Through digital technology, the darkroom and the viewfinder, the medium is malleable”.

For more information, images and to arrange interviews,
Please contact Mia Nielsen at or +416 342 0131

All images pictured above are details of the original and come courtesy of the artist.
Top row: Bangsted, Untitled; Umbrico, Mirror 004, Lose, The Rhodes Lead (Tourist)
Bottom: Sviatchenko, Wallpaper; Just, Something To Love; Hayeur Untitled Legacy