Photo Credit: Sajal Mohsi, Photo Editor
Places and spaces to find student art on campus
Agata Mociani, Associate Arts Editor
I love the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), but there are only so many times one can visit the same overcrowded galleries without hungering for a more intimate exposure to art. Luckily, the University of Toronto is home to one of the biggest gallery spaces in the city. Even though I discovered the Art Museum at UofT years ago, I’m still in awe at the fact that some of the most talented artists in Toronto display their work in the same buildings that we attend class in. Now that St. George has fully re-opened, I was delighted to engage with art on campus again, and I suggest you take the opportunity to as well. The Art Museum is a perfect spot for solo visits between classes, dates, and friend outings.
The Art Museum at the University of Toronto contains two separate exhibition spaces, both of which are open between noon and 5 pm every day except for Sunday and Monday (On Wednesdays, they’re open until 8 pm!). The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is located within Hart House, while the University of Toronto Art Centre is nestled in the depths of University College. I perused both galleries in one afternoon, and during my two-minute walk between them, I was pleasantly reminded of their convenient proximity to one another, and to student spaces in general. As soon as I entered, I recognized some pieces that I’d admired on previous visits (presumably parts of the permanent collection) but was also really excited by the presence of brand-new temporary installations. The organic, beautiful composition of the photos from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic really stood out to me. It is a touring photography exhibition that can be viewed from September 7th-November 19th at the Art Museum. As We Rise revolves around the works of several photographers who capture Black histories, diasporas, and experiences through their depiction of Black subjects. The pieces in this collection differ greatly; after all, they span many cultures, countries, and years. The series celebrates the diversity and multifaceted nature of Black identities.
If you don’t spend a lot of time downtown (whether you’re a commuter or take classes on multiple campuses), UTM and UofT Scarborough are also home to student-run galleries. For Scarborough students, the Doris McCarthy Gallery is an innovative, beautiful space that encourages visitors to engage with contemporary art. At the university’s Mississauga campus, The Blackwood Gallery displays the cultural work of numerous professional artists, both local and international. Graduating Art and Art History students have the opportunity to submit their work to be featured in these spaces. Though I haven’t had the chance to visit them yet, I am interested in Movement One: Interior exhibit at the Blackwood (September 24th – December 18th) and Nostalgia Interrupted (September 15th – December 10) at Doris McCarthy.Movement One: Interior sheds light on the space that trauma inhabits within medical institutions by approaching photographs as open wounds and deconstructing/reconstructing them with a surgical precision. Nostalgia Interrupted consists of a series of works by BIPOC artists that “offers space for marginalized communities to share the memories, heritage, and experiences which shape their reality. This is vital not for explanation or debate — for the marginalized need not justify their presence — but for reclamation and resistance” (quote taken from the Nostalgial Interrupted online gallery description). Make sure to check these out if you’re in the area!