January 14 – March 27, 2016

WINTER OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, January 14, 2016 | 6 – 9 PM

Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

Click here for the exhibition digital publication

Reflecting on the current state of the world, Toronto artist Howard Podeswa creates a new series of paintings that articulate an end-of-times cosmology inspired by artistic and scientific visions. The immersive compositions build upon intricate layers of reference and meaning to convey a complex meditation on the human condition.

Derived primarily from Dante’s allegories of the afterlife in the Divine Comedy and Stephen Hawking’s quantum theories, Podeswa’s poignant images also re-interpret iconic works by Pieter Breugel the Elder and Francisco Goya. Seamlessly moving between realism and abstraction, the paintings combine historic elements with personal memories as well as recent news images of natural disasters and social upheavals.

Existential questions and anxieties underlie Podeswa’s philosophical speculations about the end of times as well as the notion of time itself, triggering an emotional journey from sorrow and disquiet to hopefulness. Signalling a collapse of old global orders, the series turns to the concepts of astrophysics to explore what may lie beyond our known universe. Through painting, the limitations of time and space recede, revealing an essential simultaneity of past, present and future as well as possible parallel worlds that co-exist tantalizingly outside the reach of our perception.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with a commissioned essay by John Bentley Mays and a conversation between artists Howard Podeswa and Stephen Andrews.


Howard Podeswa is an artist who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Over the past 27 years he has exhibited his work in Canada, the U.S., Germany and South Africa. His paintings are held in numerous private and public collections including The Donovan Collection, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Ciba-Geigi AG, SEI Investments and The University of Toronto.  His work often begins with personal history as a catalyst for meditations on art historical legacy, physics, theories of perception and the state of the world.

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The artist acknowledges the support of the OAC in the development of this exhibition.


Image at top: Howard Podeswa, Hell (detail), 2013. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.