January 11 to February 25, 2007
Curator: Carolyn Bell Farrell
Creation Performance: Wednesday, January 10 and Thursday, 11, 10 am to 4 pm
Reception: Thursday, January 11, 7 to 9 pm; Artist Talk: 7 pm
Guided Bus Tour: Sunday, February 11, 11:30 am to 5 pm
Destruction Performance: Sunday, February 25, 2 to 4 pm
Exterior Site-Work: Imprint, May 10 to August 31, 2007

In his practice, Hamilton artist Simon Frank engages the world of nature as an aesthetic frame of reference. Following in the traditions of environmental art, he makes temporal works in and of the earth. Embracing notions of change and duration, his subtle interventions also underscore the vulnerability of our natural resources, the displacement of nature by architecture and urban development, and the consequences of industrialization.

Frank’s presentation at the Koffler Gallery comprises an exterior site-work and an interior gallery performance-installation employing parallel imagery. Imprint, to be produced in the late spring of 2007, projects a full-sized image of a tree on the grounds of the centre. The work is created by overlaying material onto the grass to inhibit its growth beneath. When removed, the shadowy silhouette is revealed. Gesturing towards the past and the future, the residual traces elicit the physical memory of a tree in the landscape. In his gallery project, Sketch for New Forest, Frank similarly draws on the iconography of a solitary tree, a symbol of constant renewal and regeneration. As in Imprint, the processes the artist undertakes to produce the installation emulate the natural cycles of life. Frank sculpts with sawdust equivalent in volume to an oak tree when transformed into lumber. Over a period of several days, he uses a broom to sweep the loose sawdust into a full-scale bias relief of a felled tree on the gallery floor. By reconfiguring this detritus, he temporarily restores the image of the tree to its original form. At the close of the show, he sweeps the “tree” away, subsequently returning it to nature. Viewers are invited into the gallery to witness the rituals of creation and destruction of the artwork.

Simon Frank’s approach to art-making gestures towards redefining the relationship of human culture with nature. As the artist comments, “The work is a sketch—a preliminary drawing for a new forest, the seed of a new understanding of the land that sustains us.”

Simon Frank was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1968 and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. A self-taught artist and poet, he received an Honours BA in English from the University of Guelph in 1991. Frank has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Ontario over the past ten years. His recent sited artworks include The Gallery that Went for a Walk in the Woods (2000) at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Sculpting twenty-two “meta-burrs,” each nearly two feet in diameter, he arranged them in casual formations on the building façade. In 2004, Frank participated in LANDeSCAPES, a two-person exhibition with Reinhard Reitzenstein at McMaster University, Museum of Art, Hamilton, which featured documentation of his performance Brush (the land paints a picture of itself). Referencing 19th century practices of plein air painting, Frank produced a large-scale landscape painting in the midst of a field, wielding a twelve foot cedar tree as his brush.

General Information

Reception and Gallery Talk: Sketch for a New Forest will be on view in the Koffler Gallery from Thursday, January 11 through Sunday, February 25, 2007. A reception for the artist will be held January 11 from 7 to 9 pm, with an artist talk at 7 pm. Imprint will be on view on the grounds of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre from May 10 to August 31, 2007, with an opening reception on Thursday, May 10 from 7 to 9 pm in the gallery lobby.

Performances: The creation performance by Simon Frank of Sketch for New Forest will take place on Wednesday, January 10 and Thursday, 11, between 10 am to 4 pm in the gallery. The destruction performance is scheduled for Sunday, February 25, 2 to 4 pm. Viewers are welcome. Admission is free.

Publication: A publication produced by the Koffler Gallery documenting Simon Frank’s interior and exterior projects, and featuring an essay by Montreal visual arts critic John Grande, will be available in July 2007.

Group Tours and Workshops: Gallery talks and tours are free. Group tours and workshops are also available and are offered in both French and English. For information, please call Mona Filip, Education Coordinator at (416) 636-1880 x270.

Free Guided Bus Tour: On Sunday, February 11, there will be a free guided bus tour from the Textile Museum of Canada, to the Doris McCarthy Gallery, Koffler Gallery, Art Gallery of York University and Blackwood Gallery. The tour begins at the TMC at 11:30 am. The bus departs at noon from the TMC and returns there at 5:00 pm.