Faculty of Fine Arts at York showcases its talents this spring

York’s talented Fine Arts faculty members have been busy this spring with a full slate of performances and exhibitions on the way. The following is a roundup of what’s upcoming:

York’s music instructor and alumnus Colin McGuire (a.k.a. Ronin E-Ville) (BFA, ‘01, MA, ‘03) launched his fourth independent electronica album Big Dirty HiFi at a May 2 party at Toronto’s Chelsea Room. Big Dirty HiFi is a confluence of techno, acid jazz, funk and rock and has already been in the top 30 for CHRY 105.5 three times. The CD is available at select stores or online at the Ronin E-Ville Web site. MP3s are available at iTunes, Napster and more.

Graduating theatre student and outgoing CASA President Wendy Ryder has just been hired as assistant technical director at Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company.

Right: Sundar Viswanathan

York film Professor Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture, was the keynote speaker at the Women in Film and Television annual general meeting on May 13. She discussed the future of digital content and its implications for traditional technologies and storytelling at the meeting, held at the National Film Board of Canada’s facility in downtown Toronto.

If you missed music Professor Sundar Viswanathan‘s April 10 concert with the New York-based Ensemble Uniqua at Lula Lounge, you can catch the broadcast today on Canada Live, CBC Radio Two, 94.1FM. Vocalist and composer Viswanathan is joined by two other prominent Toronto players – bassist Rich Brown and guitarist Justin Abedin, and four New Yorkers – the Ensemble’s co-founder/artistic director Antonio Dangerfield on trumpet; violinist Michael Lawson; drummer Matt Baranello; and percussionist Shawn Kelly. Their brand of world jazz is influenced by India, Brazil, Latin America, Turkey and Africa. This broadcast comes hot on the heels of Viswanathan’s New York City performances with Jaffa Road earlier this month.

Left: A still from the documentary Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas

Theatre alumna Christine Horne (BFA, ‘04) makes her feature film debut as the young heroine in The Stone Angel, the new adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s classic novel. Selected from more 200 young women who auditioned, Horne was cast partially for her resemblance to Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, who plays the heroine Hagar in her later years. The Stone Angel, directed by Kari Skogland, is currently playing in Canadian cinemas and opens July 11 in the US.

Film Professor Ali Kazimi‘s Genie-nominated and critically-acclaimed documentary Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas will be shown in free screenings every Saturday at 3pm until June 7 at Camera Bar in Toronto. Shooting Indians presents Jeff Thomas’ struggle with the work of American photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis who, during the years 1898 to 1928, photographed First Peoples in North America. The film offers a dialogue between Thomas and Kazimi as they discuss Curtis’ work and his romanticized interpretation of "the vanishing race."

Right: Stephanie Martin

Music Professor Stephanie Martin‘s Gallery Choir of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene won first prize among the Church and Temple Choirs in CBC Radio’s nation-wide, live-to-air Chorale 2008 competition. They won $3,000 and the opportunity to perform at the National Gala concert on May 18 in Montreal, where they compete will for grand prizes, including more cash awards and prestigious performing opportunities. The repertoire for this competition includes two works composed by Martin as well as some early music and works by Canadian composer Healey Willan.

Left: A still from Peter Kingstone’s latest video installation – Charles L. Roberts: The War Years

Visual arts Professor Yam Lau is featured in Toronto’s Contact 2008, the world’s largest photography event. Lau’s computer-generated video and 3D animation, titled Room: An Extension, recreates his bedroom and living room and his daily routine within the spaces. The work is intended to affect a new quality of appearance that signals the potential of the virtual by enfolding a complication between movement, duration and gesture. It is on display at the Leo Kamen Gallery until May 31.

Music alumnus Ori Dagan (BFA, 07) will be swingin’ at Roncesvalles’ Gate 403 jazz club once a month in 2008. Vocalist Dagan is joined by Juno-winning bassist Brandi Disterheft and saxophonist La-Nai Gabriel. Their next two gigs are May 26 and June 23 – during the TD Canada Trust Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival. For the complete schedule, visit the Gate 403 Web site.

Right: Gwen Dobie

Visual Arts alumnus Peter Kingstone (MFA, ‘04) has a solo exhibit at Toronto’s Gallery TPW called 100 Stories About My Grandmother. This four channel video installation weaves together portraits of male sex trade workers telling stories about their grandmothers. Audiences are invited to watch and listen to the thoughts and memories of an often marginalized community. The exhibit runs to June 14.

Professor Janet Jones, chair of the Department of Visual Arts, is the curator of Re-Mediations, a multimedia exhibit by James Gillespie and Stephen Foster that examines how the media influences culture. Co-organized and circulated by Kelowna Art Gallery, the McMaster Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the exhibit is on view until June 14 at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon, Manitoba.

Theatre Professor Gwen Dobie is the creator and director of Sound in Silence, an interdisciplinary journey using music, dance and theatre to explore a silent world. This testimony to the ability of the human brain to adapt and the spirit to soar in a storm of loss runs June 19-22 at the Belfry Arts Centre, Victoria, BC.