Aya Ben Ron (Israel), Mircea Cantor (France / Romania), Vandana Jain (USA), Gary James Joynes/Clinker (Canada), Melissa Shiff (Canada), Jennifer Zackin (USA)

September 22 to December 4, 2011
Koffler Gallery Off-Site
80 Spadina Ave, Suite 501
Guest Curator: Evelyn Tauben

Click here for the digital exhibition publication featuring an essay by Evelyn Tauben

A centuries-old motif in Buddhist and Hindu religious practices, the mandala is a representation of the cosmos, which helps direct focus in meditation. Many contemporary artists have been entranced by the formal simplicity and symmetry of the mandala – meaning circle in Sanskrit – paired with its function and elaborate symbolism.

Spin Off highlights the work of six international artists who present a new spin on this centuries-old motif while exploring the interplay of its essential elements in unexpected ways: the circle, the square, symmetry, pattern, and colour. Artists include Aya Ben Ron (Israel), Mircea Cantor (France/Romania), Vandana Jain (USA), Gary James Joynes/Clinker (Canada), Melissa Shiff (Canada) and Jennifer Zackin (USA).

Adapting illustrations from 16th century medical journals, Tel Aviv-based Aya Ben Ron creates bold and graphic pieces where depictions of ailments and physical deformities shift from the grotesque to the beautiful in richly coloured collages. Romanian-born Mircea Cantor lives and works in France where he also edits the artist-run magazine Version. Cantor draws upon photographic images of artillery to create the Holy Flower series.

Re-contextualizing corporate logos by exploring patterns and motifs familiar from her Jain background, Vandana Jain generates new interpretations of these well-known signs, simultaneously demonstrating the mutability of tradition and how it is impacted by the corporate environment surrounding us. Edmonton-based composer, visual and sound artist, Gary James Joynes/Clinker explores meditative spaces and the effects of working with sound and visuals. For Spin Off he has created a new multimedia installation based on his Frequency Paintings where sand is sculpted through the pure power of sound.

Toronto-based video, performance, and installation artist Melissa Shiff utilizes Jewish myths, symbols and rituals in the service of social justice and activism while also engaging with issues of cultural memory. Shiff’s Jewish Animated Mandala Series is exhibited in Spin Off alongside a video piece of Hindu-inspired mandalas. For more than a decade, New York-based Jennifer Zackin has been creating mandalas, evolving their unique pattern through the use of various materials, from plastic cowboys to cheap mass-produced posters, from coca leaves to smiley face stickers. For Spin Off, Zackin exhibits Hanaqpacha Intiq Sombran, the result of a collaboration with Q’ero Amerindians from Cusco, Peru, together with the sculpture, Wonder Woman Cosmos.

Spin Off: Contemporary Art Circling the Mandala presents art exploring a convergence of the sacred and the profane, of East and West, of contemporary and ancient.