Posts Tagged 'art'


Faces of Change sweep THS election.

“A lot of people worked very hard to bring about change at the Toronto Humane Society and it’s just so exciting to know that the change that we have all been fighting for is very soon going to be the reality,” Laking said Sunday.

In a clear repudiation of past leadership, humane society members elected a new board of directors Sunday made up entirely of the organization’s most outspoken critics.

Righteous anger

A review of Natural History at Toronto’s Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

. . . Equally revealing is Volker Seding’s photograph of a rhinoceros trapped in a tiny “jungle room” in a Chicago zoo. Surrounded by cheesy representations (fake rocks, a ghastly mural) of a generalized, Lion King Africa, the once powerful animal is dwarfed by misperceptions, figurative and literal. There is so much righteous anger in this photograph, so much wrongness on display, that it is difficult to view without increasing one’s blood pressure.

Bear art

Dean Drever at the Toronto Sculpture Garden.

From deer grazing at Bay and Dundas to coyotes roaming the Beach, it’s been a bumper year for urban wildlife sightings. And in his outdoor art installation Bear Hunt, Toronto artist Dean Drever brings another species into the mix: neon-orange grizzlies.

Viewed from the streetcar during our grey, sans-snow December, Drever’s renderings of this regal animal initially seemed a bit shabby. 

In particular, his plywood platform showed wear and tear – not ideal for an ultra-pop colour scheme or a long-term install.

Fortunately, coming face-to-face with Drever’s sculptures increases their impressiveness level. Up close, I marvelled at the size of these creatures in relation to my puny human bod. Yes, Drever seems to have scaled them up a bit, but the incredible fearsome power of the animals is still well evoked.

Dog art

Every Dog Has Its Day by Chris Cooper opens at Harcourt House in Edmonton.

Cooper writes that she sees dogs as existing in an overlap of the human and animal spheres: augmented by centuries of breeding and training as well as their awkward loads, these bronze dogs are doubly so. The suggestion here, that helpfully intended technologies become oppressive out in the wild, or that maybe they weren’t helpfully intended at all, is intriguingly complex. The dogs’ cybernetics cannot simply expand their abilities, but they change them for better and for worse.

Ass appreciation

A look at donkeys, literary, historical, and real.

Even the way they chew, and this is a near constant activity, produces a sound that’s oddly soothing.

“I find them to be a constant reminder that what is important is right now, this minute,” says Pady, whose farm is home to 59 otherwise unwanted donkeys. “They live in the moment.”

Donkeys are, in a sense, the yoga teachers of the equine world, all serene calmness. They’re also the barnyard egalitarians, not much given to the hierarchical ways of horses and mules. Nor are they quick to flight when startled, the way horses can be. Donkeys will just stop dead in their tracks, try to figure out what’s going on before (eventually) settling on a course of action. Or not.

“Humans call it stubborn,” says Pady. “I call it common sense.”

Bear art

Suzanne McCrae paints bears at dumps.

“As young persons we would go to the town dump to watch the bears for entertainment,” she said.

When she returned to the town for its 50th anniversary in 2004, people advised her they still to go to the dump to see the bears, she explained.

“It made me wonder whether they were imposing on us in our territory or whether we were imposing on them in their territory. That prompted me to do some research on bears,” she added.

Milking it

Kitchener English professor/artist puts cows online and downtown.

Using radio frequency tags already used by the milking system, the cows’ “Teat Tweets” — which will include how frequently they were milked, how much milk they produced and when they go offline to give birth — will be sent to a live Twitter feed.

“We have this huge high-tech enterprise all over in the countryside surrounding us, but people still have this understanding of the farmer with a piece of straw in his mouth who gets up when the rooster crows and goes out to milk the cows by hand,” said Marcel O’Gorman, director of the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab.

 The Twitter feed is one part of a multimedia exploration of human relationships to livestock and food sources in a brave, new automated world. The Dairy Diary is a collaborative project between researcher Ron Broglio of the Georgia Gwinnett College in Atlanta and the Critical Media Lab.



Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil


Trevor Herriot


Erika Ritter


Toronto's cat problem


Don LePan


Don LePan's Animals


Justine Pimlott's Cat City


Erika Ritter's The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath