When business meets art

Toledo-Sons of the CelibateThe opening reception for art@suite 500, a collaborative project of York University’s Graduate Program in Visual Arts and the Schulich School of Business, took place on Feb. 5 at York’s downtown campus, the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre in the TD Centre.

Right: Sons of the Celibate Father by Tamara Toledo, from the 2004 exhibition

Now in its ninth year, art@suite 500 is an annual juried exhibition featuring recent works by students and alumni of the MFA program in Visual Arts at York.

Tamara ToledoThe 2005 show, which remains on view for a year, comprises 11 pieces of art in a variety of media. It spotlights works by alumnus Francis Henne as well as emerging artists Lise Beaudry, Niall Donaghy, Alison Judd, Sholem Krishtalka, Day Milman, Laura Moore, Craig Rodmore, Tamara Toledo (right), Sara Vipond and Zev Farber.

This year’s submissions were adjudicated by York visual arts Professor Yvonne Singer, director of the Graduate Program in Visual Arts; Professor James McKellar, director of Schulich’s Real Property Development Program; art consultant Judy Schulich; and Mary Sue Rankin, director of Toronto’s Edward Day Gallery.

At the close of each annual exhibition, one or more works are selected for Schulich’s annual Purchase Prize and inclusion in its permanent art collection. The prizewinners for the 2004 exhibit, which were announced at this year’s reception, are alumna Laura Calvi (MFA ’04) and graduate student Tamara Toledo, also showing this year.

Right and below: Images from two panels featured in Untitled (Good Relations) by Laura Calvi

Calvi  is a graduate of York’s MFA Program in Visual Arts. Her installation, Untitled (Good Relations) of 2003, consists of two companion lines of text in English, mounted directly on two separate walls and created from vinyl lettering in a Helvetica font face. Dimensions are respectively 7″ x 10′ 10″ and 2.5 ” x 6′.”

Calvi’s artistic statement expands upon her work and reveals the contemplative nature of her winning piece: “Humour, often as mysterious and spontaneous as the laughter it provokes, dissolves with any attempt at grasping its core, revealing only the mind’s obsessive, circling tendencies.”

Calvi, who currently resides in Halifax, is a mixed-media artist whose work includes installation, performance, audio and writing. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design as well as York, her work has been presented in Canada and internationally in solo and group exhibitions and projects, including the group shows The Other/Oteki Habitat II United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul, Turkey (1996); Calaf Art Public in Barcelona, Spain (1999); the 4th Biennial VANS Far & Wide Millenium Show: Cultural Memory: The House that Mom Built in Sydney, NS (2000); Portraits: Unsettled Subjects at MSVU Art Gallery, Halifax (2001); and a Slo Mo residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (2001).

Toledo is currently in her second year of graduate studies in visual arts at York. Her monumental (39″x 72″) oil and collage on canvas, titled Sons of the Celibate Father (1998), depicts institutionalized students during childhood.

“The uniformed boys are expected to become powerful men who ultimately gain control over the economic, political, social and religious strata of society,” said Toledo. “The disturbing psychological pressures along with the heavy emotional expectations placed on these boys’ leads to a reversal of what society nominates victim.”

Toledo, who was born in Santiago, Chile, studied drawing and painting at the Ontario College of Art & Design before coming to York. She has shown her work in both group and solo exhibitions in Toronto, Santiago, Chicago and Florence, Italy. As one of the co-founders of Toronto’s Salvador Allende Arts Festival for Peace, Toledo coordinates multi-disciplinary art exhibitions and lecture series for the visual arts component of the festival.

The art@suite 500 exhibition and purchase award both support and accredit the work of outstanding emerging artists. They also acknowledge the achievement of those artists, such as Calvi and Toledo, who are already making a name for themselves on the international art scene.

Celebrating the talent of a new generation of artists, art@suite 500 also reflects an important cultural convergence – a place where corporate culture embraces art. The Schulich corporate collection represents a significant investment in and contribution to the Canadian art scene. While enhancing the workplace, it pays tribute to the artistic talent nurtured at York University and provides a link to the larger arts and business community.

art@suite 500 – 2005 will be on display in public areas within the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre until January, 2006. The centre is located on the 5th floor of the Ernst and Young Tower at 222 Bay Street in Toronto. The public may view the exhibition by appointment by calling 416-360-8850.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, publicist, Faculty of Fine Arts