Busy season for talented Fine Arts faculty and alumni

Professors and alumni of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts have begun a busy summer. Here are some of the things they’re up to, and what’s upcoming.

York’s Theatre Department is well-represented in the list of nominees for the 2007-08 season Dora Mavor Moore Awards, recognizing outstanding talent in Toronto’s performing arts community. Phillip Silver (left), outgoing dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, was nominated for his lighting design for Rose. Instructor Julia Tribe received a nod for costume design for A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Alumna Anusree Roy (BA ’06) was nominated twice, once for her new play Pyaasa and again for her performance in it, while graduating student Jenna McCutchin was nominated for costume design in The Fort at York, a play which featured actor and alumnus Cole Alvis (BFA ‘06). The Dora winners will be announced on June 30.

In addition to her Dora nominations, Roy’s play, Letters to my Grandma, a project she began working on in 2006 for playGround (the Theatre Department’s annual festival of new student plays and works-in-progress), is published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 3, which features fiction, poetry and drama generated through the Diaspora Dialogues annual commissioning/mentoring program, which matches emerging writers with established ones. The anthology was launched June 11 at a Luminato festival event at Toronto’s Drake Hotel.

Also showcased at Luminato were dance alumnus Sashar Zarif (MA ‘07) and a group of York world dance students. They presented Baran, a dance ritual from Central Asia, accompanied by Qawwali Dancers and performed to live music by Pirouz Yousefian on June 13 at Harbourfront Centre. Their show was followed by Sashar Zarif and the Qawwali Dancers performing Dancing to the End of Love.

York visual arts Professor and Walter L. Gordon Fellow, Shelley Hornstein, was featured in Luminato’s Milles Femmes exhibition, a mosaic of 1,000 photo portraits of creative women from Toronto. Each woman was asked to select a protegé and Hornstein chose York environmental studies Professor Ute Lehrer. The show – which also included York dance Professor Holly Small – was on view at Toronto’s Allan Lambert Galleria, Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) in June.

Hornstein will also be featured in an online documentary, titled The Heritage of Art Nouveau in the Rhine Valley produced by French Television FR3 and the Faites un Voeu production company. Drawing on her doctorate research, Hornstein will be speaking at the site of 20 different buildings in Strasbourg, France, for the film.

FACS Professor Leslie Korrick is teaching Studies Abroad, the Arts in Culture I/II in Rome, Italy, throughout the month of June. The course studies the city – including its urban history, structure, and multi-faceted culture – through the fine, performing, and popular arts and architecture.

Theatre Professor David Rotenberg‘s latest novel, Shanghai, has just been published by Viking Canada. A departure from his popular murder mystery series featuring a Shanghai police inspector, this new book entwines a mythical history of the city and a modern day power struggle between two wealthy families.

Visual arts alumnus Scott Waters‘ (MFA ’04) solo exhibit, Domestic Violence, will fill St. Catherine’s The CRAMplex gallery with wallpaper and painted military hardware. With warplanes appearing from behind floral patterns, the installation could be seen as inferior camouflage or as play between painted illusion and material ground, but it is also a personal fantasy world made public. The show runs until July 13.

Drummer and Chair of York’s Music Department Barry Elmes (right) performed at the Orangeville Jazz & Blues Festival on June 8 with the Ryan Grist Quartet. His faculty colleague, saxophonist Mike Murley, embarked on a national tour of jazz festivals June 20-29 with a quintet he co-leads with David Braid and Tara Davidson. The band’s repertoire consists entirely of original compositions by the three leaders. The tour includes stops in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. Click here for the full schedule.

York dance students Niomi Cherney and Alexandria A. Skura are part of a team who founded MERGE, a new quarterly publication for emerging dance artists. MERGE is currently distributed on campus in the Department of Dance and in Toronto at the 509 Dance Collective, Pia Bouman School and The Winchester Street Theatre, with plans to expand distribution in the fall to more post-secondary dance programs and dance venues.

Left: Christina Petrowska Quilico. Photo by André Leduc

Visual arts alumni Duncan MacDonald (BFA ‘96) and Paulette Phillips (MFA ‘08) are part of a group exhibition called Mnemonic Devices, on view at the Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens until August 31. Curated by Matthew Hyland and assembled from Oakville Galleries’ permanent collection, the exhibit examines how information saturation begets memory failures of all stripes. It brings together the work of 10 contemporary artists who are grappling with this imperfect shape of remembrance.

Paul Lampert, director of the MFA program in theatre, and theatre alumna Niki Landau’s (MFA ‘03) Toronto-based independent production company Error! is presenting the controversial play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, based on the true story of a young American activist who was killed by a bulldozer while protesting in Gaza in 2003. Called a "jewel of a performance" by the Toronto Sun, the play was mounted at the Tarragon Extra Space in June.

Music Professor Emeritus David Lidov is featured on piano in Musik für die kuerzte Nacht des Jahres (Music for the Shortest Night of the Year), a concert that took place in Berlin on June 22 that has multiple connections to York’s Music Department. The program features compositions by Lidov as well as music Professor William Westcott (left) and former professor, the late Jim Tenney.

Visual arts Professor Nina Levitt‘s video Headlines (2008) will be featured in Pride Toronto’s Video Art is Queer showcase curated by Sharon Switzer. Ten Canadian video artists were asked to make a new work that addresses Pride’s ‘Unified!’ theme. Levitt’s contribution is this short video that recontextualizes tabloid headlines about lesbians. The free launch party will be held today, June 25, from 7 to 9pm at the Melody Bar in the Gladstone Hotel. The videos will be shown on large screens on Church Street June 29 and in the lobby of the Drake Hotel throughout the summer. A condensed version will play on the OneStop screens in Toronto’s subway network until June 29.

Theatre Department Chair Shawn Kerwin (right) is designing the set and costumes for the Blyth Festival production of Harvest, a comedy of crops and cops, running June 25 to August 16.

Two York fine arts faculty members are sharing the stage at the Sound Symposium in St. John’s, Nfld., next month. On July 9, Dance Department instructor Terrill McGuire will perform a dance she choreographed to Pond Life, a work by Canadian composer Ann Southam, performed live by pianist and music Professor Christina Petrowska Quilico.

Earlier in the symposium, on July 6, Petrowska Quilico will premiere Southam’s new cycle of Creeks and Rivers. The 17-movement suite includes new pieces written especially for Petrowska Quilico. She describes the concert, which she calls Soundstill, as "an hour-and-a-half of introspective and virtuosic music." Original paintings of rivers and ponds, black and white pen and ink drawings and collages by Petrowska Quilico will be displayed during the performance.