Ironically speaking…


Above: Artists involved with The Ironic Turn, including York’s Yvonne Singer, far left, standing, and Janet Jones, fourth from the left, standing

Recent works by York visual arts Professors Janet Jones and Yvonne Singer, of the Faculty of Fine Arts, are showcased in The Ironic Turn, an exhibition which opened Sept. 26 in the contemporary art centre, Faux Mouvement, in Metz, France.

Singer and Jones are among nine Canadian artists featured in The Ironic Turn, a major touring exhibition of contemporary Canadian art that first opened July 6 at Kunsthalle Erfurt, the municipal art gallery in Erfurt, Germany, and ran to Aug. 24. It has now moved to Metz, where it will run until Dec. 6 before returning to Canada for a national tour. For more information about the exhibition, visit

Advance publicity about The Ironic Turn described it as a “diverse range of media” whose common characteristic is “their art historical and art theoretical self-referentiality. By referring to European traditions of art history and visual culture, these artists offer surprising ‘outside’ perspectives on European culture.

“This approach, and the lively imagistic and intertextual interplay apparent in the work, becomes embedded with multiple ironies of both North American and European artistic strategies and culture.”

Singer and Jones made history earlier this year when they exhibited their works in the first major survey exhibition of contemporary Canadian art to take place in Germany in more than 20 years and the very first one to be held in the former East Germany.

Jones’ teaching and research interests combine creative work and academic study, focusing on studio art and cultural theory, and how these two areas interrelate. The influence of critics on artists has been a topic of particular interest in her writings. She has exhibited her paintings in numerous solo and group shows across Canada, in England and in New York. Her most recent paintings focus on the theme of the body and technology.

Singer is a practising artist with an active national and international exhibition record. Her installation works employ multimedia techniques, often with cryptic texts to articulate cultural issues of disjuncture and perception. She is particularly interested in the intersection of public and private histories. Singer has received several public art commissions and her work is found in many private collections.