Artist-led Community Arts Project
May 13 to July 15, 2007
The Koffler Gallery
Opening Reception: Sunday, May 13, 1 to 3 pm

Employing various materials, Toronto artists Tanya Read, Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai, Jon Sasaki and Seth Scriver will initiate a running frieze on the Koffler Gallery walls during this community arts project, launching an invitation to the public to participate. This collaborative drawing installation will evolve over a nine-week period, as contributors’ gradually complete the 200 twelve-by-twelve inch squares outlined on the walls. The diverse narratives initiated by the artists in My Square Foot will develop, guided by the audience’s successive contributions. Materials will be made available to the public free of charge.

Tanya Read’s drawings will feature her now famous character, Mr. Nobody, a black and white cartoon animal of questionable pedigree. Inspired by the Depression era cartoons of Max Fleischer and George Harriman, Mr. Nobody is a contemporary Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin, an average ‘Joe’ of our times, somewhat perplexed by the state of affairs in the world today. In Mr. Nobody: The Illusion of Autonomy, we find this anthropomorphic character depicted in four randomly placed panels. Each panel contains a situation, a struggle, which Mr. Nobody is engaged in. Whether he struggles with himself or larger forces, it becomes clear that his autonomy is endangered. As the exhibition continues, contributors will gradually fill in the squares between Read’s images, revealing what has happened to Mr. Nobody in the intervals between point A and point B.

Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai’s project invites audiences to join in a visual conversation, sharing stories about their break-ups, love affairs and relationships—both good and especially bad. Her sequence of squares in My Square Foot will begin with four illustrations from her series I still hate you; a break-up on the multi-person slide ride. Using both human and animal hybrid characters in this semi-autobiographical story, Ruppert-Dazai depicts two figures engaged in a brawl over a lover, sliding all the while down a carnival ride. Consumed by both love and hate, the two collide, morphing from human into animal to continue this clash to the death.

In Alternative Constellations, Jon Sasaki encourages visitors to create personal astronomies. Sasaki will fill a series of squares on the gallery walls with blackboard paint plotted with constellation points. Audience members will be invited to use chalk to subjectively connect the “stars” in any way they imagine, generating new stellar formations with a host of alternative characters. For example, the stars that form Aquarius might, instead, resemble a pair of figure skates when connected slightly differently. Using a chalk eraser, participants will also be able to revise or obliterate other constellations throughout the duration of the show, changing the context, narratives and subsequent meanings by the ways in which they “connect the dots.”

Seth Scriver’s drawings hold to a cartoonist style, evoking a humorous yet incongruous view of the world. His visual aesthetic indicates a fantasy realm, populated by uncanny creatures living in a frenzied world. The drawings present a believable view of chaotic circumstances in which unknown entities play out small dramas. For his contribution to My Square Foot, Scriver proposes to show an exclusive exposé of the artist Krumplestiltskyn and his “mysterical” process of picture making. He hopes that by exposing this artist, he will give the viewer the tools to finish this piece of art.

CONTRIBUTORS’ BIOGRAPHIES

Tanya Read graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1995. She was a co-founder and exhibiting artist in the Impure collective between 1994 and 1998 and, in 1999, together with Scott Carruthers, opened Fly Gallery on Queen West. Read created Mr. Nobody in 1998. Her work has since received extensive critical acclaim, including articles in The Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Art Magazine, Calgary Herald and Korea Times. She has exhibited work in Toronto, Calgary, Hamilton, Seoul, Korea and Japan. More information can be found at— www.mrnobody.org

Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai graduated from the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1997. She draws on her integrated education, and combines painting techniques, composition and colour theory, as well as the story-telling components of traditional craft, to animate large-scale personal narratives in fibre and yarn. Ruppert-Dazai has exhibited with galleries in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Ottawa, Tokyo, San Diego and Montreal, with subsequent reviews in Border Crossings and Flash Art International.

Jon Sasaki completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1996 from Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, and he is member of the Instant Coffee art collective (currently on leave). His solo exhibitions in 2007 include those at The Centre for Culture and Leisure #1 (April), Gallery TPW (June/July) and The New Gallery, Calgary (October). Other recent projects include Digifest (The Design Exchange, Toronto) and an evening event series entitled Playlist Thursdays (Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto). Sasaki’s videos have also been presented at the 50th Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Eyebeam Gallery (NYC), and the Rooftop Films (Brooklyn) screening series. More information can be found at—www.jonsasaki.com

Seth Scriver attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and received an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002. Inspired by cartoons, comic books and graffiti, Scriver concentrates on drawing, as well as animation and video. In a recent project, Imploder, Scriver illustrated and animated stories of northern Canada as a sequel to his earlier work, Weird Woods. Recent exhibitions include Asphalt Watches Two (with Erin Zimerman, Jeff Halladay and Shayne Ehman) at Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects and World’s Longest Sock Doll at Mercer Union Peephole. More information can be found at—www.peanutbreath.com