Sculptor’s photographic career focus of York’s Artist Speakers Series


Robin Collyer, one of Toronto’s most noted artists and “culture jammers”, will headline the Department of Visual Arts’ Artist Speakers Series on Feb. 5. The midday lecture series gives students and the York University community access to leading visual artists and their work through illustrated talks, providing both personal and “big picture” insight into the contemporary visual arts scene in Canada. The series is coordinated by Michel Daigneault, York professor of visual arts.

Collyer’s stature as a sculptor reached international level in 1993 when he represented Canada at the prestigious Venice Biennale art festival. However, Collyer has also been actively engaged in photography for more than 30 years, and he will draw upon this rich photographic experience during his talk.

Since 1982, the focus of Collyer’s work has been the urban landscape, from strip malls to grocery-store aisles to street corners, exposing a fascination with the relation between image and text. Through digital retouching, he erases texts and logos from the photos, thereby disclosing how form, shape and colour are used to convey corporate messages.

Collyer has exhibited extensively in Canada and Europe. Robin Collyer: Photographs (2000), a major survey exhibition of his work, was featured at Toronto’s Contact 99 festival of photography, Art Gallery of York University (1999) and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (2000) in Ottawa. He serves as adjunct professor in York’s Visual Arts Department.

Left: A sculpted landscape photographed by Robin Collyer

Collyer’s talk will take place from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Room 214 in the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts. The event includes a post-lecture reception where the public is invited to meet and chat with the artist in an informal atmosphere. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.