On May 1, Andrew Hunter will join the AGO as its new Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art.
He has collaborated with the AGO in the past, specifically on Tom Thomson (2003) and Emily Carr: New Perspectives (2007). He has more than 20 years’ experience and is an accomplished curator, artist, writer and educator.
Currently the co-founder and co-principal of DodoLab, an international program of community collaboration and interdisciplinary creative research, Andrew has held many curatorial positions at such institutions as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Kamloops Art Gallery, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre Art Gallery, to name a few. He has taught at OCAD University, the University of Waterloo (Faculty of Arts and School of Architecture) and lectured on curatorial practice across Canada, the United States, England, China and Croatia.
Andrew graciously answered some questions we had about his outlook on Canadian art and his decision to join our curatorial team. Read the rest of this entry »
To keep Art Matters readers up to speed with the faces behind the blog, I’d like to introduce myself, the writer of many posts to come (and the Gallery’s new Internet and Social Media Content Coordinator).
My name is Meg Campbell, and I’m coming to this role from work in communications — and before that in journalism, and before that an education in the visual arts — I’m supremely excited to share the AGO’s stories with you on Art Matters and through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, this blog and all of our other current and future digital avenues.
I and the entire team wish all the best to Holly Knowlman, our former in-house social media and blogging superstar, who has moved on to other adventures, and to Amanda Lynne Ballard, who temporarily took the helm after Holly’s departure.
As before, we want to hear what you think and I’m definitely ready to start some great conversations about art, so don’t be a stranger — keep sharing your thoughts!
Elizabeth Rivasplata; photo courtesy of Top Chef Canada
Elizabeth Rivasplata, sous chef at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s FRANK Restaurant, was selected to compete on the Food Network’s reality cooking show TOP CHEF CANADA, which premiered on March 12 and airs every Monday at 10 p.m.
My name is Elizabeth Rivasplata. I am 32, and I have been working at the AGO for three and a half years – first as production chef and now as sous chef at FRANK, the restaurant at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I was born in Lima, Peru and I’ve been living in Canada for almost eight years. Recently I had the great privilege of being chosen as a contestant in the Food Network show TOP CHEF CANADA.
You can watch for me on TOP CHEF CANADA, Season 2, which premiered last night, every Monday at 10 p.m. on the Food Network. Follow me @rivasplata1 on Twitter for more updates from the show and my experiences as the season progresses. The challenge is on!!
Photo from the premiere; courtesy of Top Chef Canada
Participating on TOP CHEF CANADA has been an amazing experience. I’m so excited to be part of this season and to meet and work in the company of so many great people.
I truly respect and admire all of the contestants and the members of the production team. It’s so complicated to put the show together and there are many people involved in making it happen. I would never have believed it and could not understand the stress and the hard work if I had not been through it. There were very long days and nights; I was exhausted and pushed to the limits again and again, but I would do it all over without hesitation.
As for the question that most people ask me: “Why?”… Why did I apply to compete on the show? Well I guess I am just a born competitor. Watching past seasons, I used to dream about being on the show. I was a little bit scared (to be honest not a little… a lot), but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and that I am good enough. So after much thinking and deliberating, and urging from my boss Anne Yarymowich – who provided awesome support – I decided to apply. And the rest is history.
The main elimination challenge for the first episode was to cook something that represents you. I had given this some thought as it had been a challenge on other seasons. I knew that I wanted to represent a little of my native cuisine and showcase Peruvian ingredients. There are so many incredible ingredients that are native to Peru, and this one really came from the heart.
Photo of Elizabeth’s Peruvian dish from the elimination challenge; courtesy of Top Chef Canada
I made pan-seared fish with red quinoa (an ancient grain native to Peru) and roasted vegetable salad, a coulis of aji amarillo (hot yellow Peruvian peppers) and foam of purple corn (also native to Peru). That put me into the top four for the first episode. Way to go! I was soooo happy. One step closer to the TOP.
We will be featuring this dish that I created for the challenge at FRANK Restaurant for the rest of the week. Please come by and see me. I’ll be the one at the stoves, where I am happiest.
Elizabeth’s Peruvian dish from the premiere of TOP CHEF CANADA will be featured this week at the AGO’s FRANK Restaurant during lunch and dinner. Elizabeth will also be on hand to personally meet and greet diners. Join us for this special TOP CHEF CANADA inspired dish, for lunch Wednesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., or for dinnerTuesday to Saturday, 5:30 – 10 p.m.
Congratulations to the AGO’s Elizabeth Rivasplata has been chosen to participate in this season’s Top Chef Canada, which premieres March 12 at 10 pm on Food Network.
Top Chef Canada will challenge 16 competitors’ culinary skills to see who can cut it as Canada’s Top Chef, taking home the grand prize of $100,000.
Guest judges this season include: Chef Marcus Samuelsson (Top Chef Masters winner), Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes, Canada’s Handyman Challenge); Toronto Maple Leaf forward Colby Armstrong; actor Alan Thicke; Spencer “Spenny” Rice (Kenny vs. Spenny); and country music star Johnny Reid.
Hosted by celebrated actress and self-confessed foodie Lisa Ray, the competition is judged by Head Judge, Chef and restaurateur, Mark McEwan, as well as Resident Judge and LA restaurateur, Shereen Arazm.
Struggling to get your lino plate prints ‘just-so’? Then read on to discover how to make perfect prints every time with AGO instructor Lauren Renzetti. Lauren is an artist, designer, educator and maker who has has shown her work throughout Ontario. Not only a visual artist she has also spent a great deal of time working in the film, television and theatre industry.
Tip 1: Set up your ink bed to the hand you roll your ink with. So if you’re left handed, set up all your inks to the left hand side of the table.
Tip 2: When rolling ink onto your lino cut, keep rolling until the ink develops a sheen. That means you’re ready to print.
Tip 3: With a reduction print (where you print multiple layers of the same print) there is a risk of making poor colour choices that don’t give enough contrast. Use a clear sheet of acetate, mylar or duralar and put test ink on it – lay the clear sheet on different prints to observe results before printing it. This removes guesswork and the possible loss of a limited edition print.
Tip 4: When layering your print, always use the same corner for matching the new layer.
Tip 5: Once the plate is in contact with the paper, press firmly on the plate with your hands. Then flip the paper AND the print and use a rolling pin or press to rub the ink onto the paper. Always check the corners to ensure even pressure across the whole print.
Want to learn more? Why not sign up to take a course with Lauren at the Art Gallery of Ontario this winter:
Experimenting with Mixed Media and Printmaking
Tuesdays, January 10 – February 28, 7 – 10 pm (8 weeks) OR Wednesdays, January 11 – February 29, 7 – 10 pm (8 weeks) Instructor: Lauren Renzetti Members $344 | Public $407
Combining elements of traditional drawing techniques, collage, and printmaking, students will push the boundaries of their own image-making by exploring new methods of production. While working in a variety of media, and using the AGO prints and drawing collections as inspiration, expect to play with image transfers, screen printing, and block printing.
Most materials are included in the course price but additional fees may apply.
Call 416 979 6608
Monday to Tuesday 9 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 9 am – 8 pm
Thursday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday 10 am – 3 pm
Send a signed written request with the name of the student, address, phone number, credit card information (card name, card number, your name, expiry date) and course and date selection(s) to 416 204 2717.
Please note: Registration is not confirmed until you have received written notification from the AGO Program Registration office. Members must provide their membership number in order to process requests.
Visit the Program Registration Office at 317 Dundas Street:
Monday to Tuesday 9 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 9 am – 8 pm
Thursday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday 10 am – 3 pm
Matthew Teitelbaum is the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, but what else do you know about one of Toronto’s most influential arts figures?
Matthew Teitelbaum joined the AGO in 1993 as chief curator before becoming director in 1998.
His official title is the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director and CEO. The practice of ‘named titles’ is more common in the USA than in Canada – it means that the Koerner’s made a donation to the Gallery to cover the cost of the director’s salary.
Since he joined the AGO the Gallery has added almost 60,000 new works to its permanent collection.
Before joining the AGO, Matthew held curatorial positions with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon and the London Regional Art Gallery. He has taught at Harvard, York University and the University of Western Ontario, and has lectured across North America.
He received the honour of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his ongoing commitment and contributions to the arts.
He’s from an arty family. His father, Mashel, was a painter and prominent figure in the Toronto art scene.
“(Chagall)’s surrounded by people who started painting and creating abstractly — they were trying to simplify, simplify, simplify and make something pure and beautiful. Chagall never gives up the image. He’s always telling a story.” – Matthew Teitelbaum on Chagall
Matthew Teitelbaum, Christopher Hume and the ROM’s Janet Harding ask, ‘what are museums for?’
It’s a lively, loud world where the Group Sales & Program Registration folks sit. That’s where you’ll find Jennifer McGregor, Group Sales manager, in the office opposite the coat racks and the streams of school children coming and going on tours.
Many a GTA student has been to the Gallery with school. But how many of us, as adults, have visited in a group? It’s a popular and economical way to visit these days. Jennifer and her team of six people arrange visits from groups of all kinds, such as book clubs, churches, craft circles, retirement homes and once, a trout fishing club.
Corporate group tours are becoming increasing popular, especially with law firms and University Hospital Network groups. The number of conference companion tours, which are specially arranged tours for convention attendees, is also growing. There were few, if any, formally arranged group tours before the transformation. Since January 2009, 315 groups of adults have visited.
“People are always amazed at what we can offer them,” says Jennifer. “For example, we have seven specially designed group tours and these can be further customized. We also have special menus, meals at FRANK or wine and cheese offerings. ”
Jennifer began as the AGO’s Group Sales manager in January 2008 and in addition to managing group sales, she oversees the Program Registration department. Educational programming at the AGO is vast: from lectures to studio classes to summer camps to customized tours.
Jennifer’s team is certainly customer oriented; I saw proof as I waited to interview Jennifer. A mother was on the phone trying to find summer camp spaces in the same session for siblings. The team pulled together to help by sharing information about a computer glitch and camp spaces that had just become available but were not on the system yet.
Jennifer is no stranger to groups, tours or travel. She grew up in the tourism industry, working for her father’s tour companies and guiding tours at the young age of 15. Later she stepped off the tour bus and into the Peace Bridge Duty Free shop where she oversaw marketing efforts. After that she sold Niagara Falls – as a travel destination – to the world.
“Galleries are a great choice for tours. You don’t have to be art-oriented to enjoy it. There is always something to intrigue people; if it’s not the art, then it will be the gift shop, every time. The way art is interpreted here is perfect every visitor.”
The art doesn’t have to stop when the tour ends. Group sales also coordinate art-making workshops. One corporate group liked the art they made so much that it now hangs in their office’s reception foyer.
If you have ever wondered how to make use of all 24 hours in a day, Amynah Jiwa could certainly offer some suggestions. Tucked away on the second floor, she takes a much-needed coffee break to discuss one of her most secretive subjects – herself.
Amynah started at the AGO in September 2007 as executive assistant to the Chief Financial Officer. She also occupies the role of executive assistant to both the AGO Foundation Board and the Finance Committee.
Although she holds a B.A. in Economics from York University, Amynah decided to try something new, so she moved on to a diploma in Marketing Administration at Seneca College.
"Learning is a life long process," she says. "It’s important to keep yourself busy and interested; to always be learning something all the time." With that in mind, she is currently on the path to higher education, working towards a degree in her Bachelor of Commerce part-time at Ryerson University.
Along with the commitment of work and family, Amynah has more than enough responsibility to keep her busy. A proud member of the Ismaili Muslim community, she acts as a liaison on the executive committee of the core volunteer group at her mosque. She oversees many of the community’s youth group initiatives, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program, which commends youth for their hard work in skills and fitness training and dedication to voluntary service. She was also a key player in this year‘s Aga Khan Golden Jubilee celebrations, a succession of events leading to a grand event that catered to more than 60,000 people in Toronto at the Rogers Centre where Amynah was overseeing all of the refreshments for all five days.
"It gives me a sense of purpose," says Amynah about her commitment to her faith and community. "The more you do, the more you can accomplish. I feel rewarded when I see things come to fruition. She has served as a voluntary with the executive committee for three years but has been an active volunteer since she was 13. She is a role model to many members of the community.
When asked about her plans for the future, Amynah’s enthusiastic response is, "2009 is my year!" She will continue her volunteer commitments, as well as her passion for education. As far as her time at the AGO is concerned, her job is a welcome priority for her.
"I feel at home here," she says about her love for the Gallery and her job. "It’s like the TV show Cheers! It’s nice to go where everybody knows your name; where you walk down the halls and people say hello."
That said, the remaining question for this modest busybody would be, "When do you have time to sleep?" Somehow she fits it in, but whether or not Amynah gets her recommended eight hours of shut-eye or not, she is always a pleasure to meet in the halls.
Amanda Pajak has been a member of the AGO team since July 2008 and works closely with Kristen Ferguson, executive director of Corporate Services and Operations, as her executive assistant. Upon seeing her current position posted on ago.net last summer, Pajak saw the opportunity as a stilettoed foot in the door of the AGO. Although the posting was expired, she applied fashionably late and the rest is history. She had always aspired to work in the arts and loves her role as a go-to-girl at the AGO.
"I am proud to be part of the AGO team," says Pajak. "Enjoying where you work motivates you to strive for the best in yourself."
Born in Toronto, 23-year-old Pajak showed an early interest and commitment to the arts. She studied fine art at the Etobicoke School of the Arts and graduated from Queen’s University in 2007 with her BA (Hons.) in Art History.
Pajak is no stranger to the AGO, visiting the Gallery as a child and volunteering for Teens Behind the Scenes for two years as a high school student. TBTS is designed to enable youth to create art and give them a behind-the-scenes understanding of the art world. Youth in the program actively participate in training and mentorship designed to aid creative development and promote leadership skills. As a volunteer Pajak was able to participate in activities throughout the Gallery and the Grange that promoted interaction between children and adults with art.
Although Pajak looks back fondly on her volunteer days, she loves the responsibility of her current position and flourishes in the fast-paced environment of the Director’s Office. The foundation of her determination was built while in university as a member of the Queen’s rowing team. Participating in early practices and competitive meets while juggling a full course load taught Pajak the value of hard work and responsibility.
Since falling in love with the AGO’s collection while volunteering, Pajak still enjoys spending time in the galleries. "The large spaces allow you to feel alone with the art," says Amanda. "It is an intimate experience and it’s great to be able to visit old friends – Monet, Rodin and Harris."
Pajak wants to evolve with the AGO and intends to pursue her Masters in art history sometime in the near future. She attributes her devotion to the arts to her parents who she describes as free thinkers.
"My parents encouraged me and my siblings to find what we loved and do it for a living," says Pajak. "In my case, my passion was art."
In her spare time Pajak enjoys biking, softball and creating works of art. She wants to get back into rowing and hopes to someday travel the globe visiting the various art institutions that the world has to offer. Beyond these aspirations of worldly travel, and after her participation with the opening of the newly transformed AGO, Pajak would be quite content to spend some quiet time in Paris, "shopping at the various boutiques, or nibbling on a petite brie baguette (for now…)."
(Photo courtesy AGO photographyer Carlo Catenazzi)
With the captivating view of Walker Court off to the left, and a curious glimpse of the spiral staircase straight ahead, it’s easy to see where the graphic design team gets their inspiration. As you approach the Greenhouse on the third floor of the Chalmers Wing, you can feel the creative juices flowing. Graphic designer Aleks Grzywaczewska (Gji-va-chev-ska) sits among them as a true artist of the arts.
Aleks started at the AGO as an intern in 2000. One week after completing her internship, she was asked back to fill the summer student position in the design department. Aleks’s great work as a student resulted in a full-time position in the AGO’s in-house design studio.
"I have a relationship with each design project," she said, somewhat nostalgic of her artistic achievements. Some of the projects found in her AGO portfolio include Modigliani, Woman as Goddess andProvisional Worlds, which won her a silver Art Directors and Design Association of Canada Award, and a silver in the Applied Arts Annual.
Asking an artist to discuss her influences is like asking a seasoned traveller their favourite place to visit – there is never one answer. In terms of musical influence, Aleks does not discriminate. "I like everything from Gershwin to The Spice Girls to Metallica and Kanye West." She was unable to comment on any particular visual or fine arts artists, simply stating, "I love them all; there are too many to choose from."
Aleks was born in Poland in 1974. Along with her mother and father, she illegally escaped Poland’s Soviet communist rule at the age of seven and headed to Italy. The family lived in central Italy for five months in the city of Latina, where Aleks fell in love with everything that Italy had to offer. "I just ate it all up," she said. Aleks and her parents arrived in Canada in 1982. Not knowing anyone and unable to speak the language, she embarked on a non-stop learning experience, that led to the design artist we know today.
Outside of her role as graphic designer, Aleks advocates for many causes. She supports animal rights through organizations like PeTA and Greenpeace. Her dedication to helping the fight against animal cruelty has also influenced some of her life decisions, including being a long time vegetarian.
Aleks also sits on the board of directors for (WO)MEN SPEAK OUT™, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The organization and its founders are close to her heart, and she is grateful to be able to assist not only with their visual representation but also with decisions that affect the organizations operation.
"The people in my department here at the AGO are fabulous to work with, and that’s what keeps me here," she said in appreciation for the environment the gallery provides. With no intention to move her career elsewhere, it is fair to say that Aleks’s work will remain part of the AGO’s permanent collection.