Home » Art School Dismissed: A Photo Essay

Art School Dismissed: A Photo Essay

This past weekend, an exhibition titled Art School: Dismissed, curated by Heather Nicol, brought together works made by artists who are also art teachers. It took place in a decommissioned elementary school in Toronto. Here are some highlights:


The exhibition’s poster. All photos by VoCA.


Jay Wilson‘s sculpture made from toothpicks and white glue.  It reached nicely between floor and ceiling, and was a reminder of school art projects, where the joy was in making something really cool. We liked its shape and structure.



2 stills from Tara Cooper‘s video ‘Shirts vs. Skins‘, a sweet look at two ball-playing friends.


Paulette Phillips, Bridge of Sighs, a poetic meditation tempered by the frustration of having to view it through a set of locked doors.


Debbie Adams, Bell Curve.  A well-installed series of posters whose format and content encapsulate one aspect of the school experience.  The student as small bundle of conflicted emotions  set within a large, structured institution.




We enjoyed this drawing series (above and below) by Shelagh Keeley.  One page begins with a quote from Michael Craig-Martin, who famously taught the Young British Artists (YBAs) in the UK.  “How a drawing is made determines its character. Line drawings often reveal and immediacy and directness bordering on rawness.  They know genuinely what is needed, no more and no less.” Hello, Tracey Emin.



This installation by Ian Carr-Harris and  Yvonne Lammerich, (below) titled Copy one of the following, asked visitors to sit and copy one of several statements inscribed on the chalkboard, while listening to the sound of pencils writing on paper, coming from a series of speakers on one wall.  On the other wall, the colorful pages already filled out.





Monica Tap‘s lovely torn paper installation, (above) titled Escape.


We enjoyed Yael Brotman‘s “Golden Years“, with accompanying video that referred to a childhood experience from growing up in Montreal.  The gold leaf was a special touch.


Peter Freeman’s sound piece, “Recess,” was the sound of exactly that, but focused into a stairwell looking out over an empty playground.  The chaos of sound with visual silence was arresting.


Finally, Lewis Nicholson and Gwen MacGregor, who coloured the inside of these cupboards with waxed crayons, transforming the most banal of spaces into a quite wonderful sculpture.

6 Responses to “Art School Dismissed: A Photo Essay”

  1. Bill says:

    - The Debbie Adams posters were my faves, along with Monica’s installation and the Principal’s Office video. Did you take in any of the performances? I was only there for one, but it was too ‘faux-Celtic-new-age-hippie’ for my tastes.

  2. I enjoyed the curatorial concept and many of the pieces, in particular the fragility aspects of Jay Wilson’s tooth pick sculpture, and Heather Nicol’s interactive sound piece in the basement. I felt Ian Carr’s piece could have been stronger with only the sound of visitor participant’s cursive writing rather than the overriding sound loop that was continuous. Couldn’t hear the sound of my writing.

  3. Kat Adams says:

    I’m incredibly glad that you have covered this show. I really wanted to be there, and was unable to attend. By the looks of things, there were a lot of incredibly interesting pieces. Good looking stuff!

  4. AC says:

    That’s an interesting point about Ian Carr Harris’s installation, Sandra.

  5. Yes, I think he should have either just the chalk-on-black board writing sound loop, or the a purely interactive sound installation with just the sound of the visitor participant’s writing. I like the idea of the sound of writing, but it was aesthetically weak, I think.

  6. Earl Miller says:

    re. Ian Carr-Harris/Yvonne L. piece –

    I liked this work I think if the sound was of the participants who were copying, making representations of statements, it would detract from the fact that they were making copies. The sound is a representation as well as the copied statements. This installation while of course dealing with representational theory those of us who remember the 80s are familiar with makes a powerful analogy between pedagogical authority and the authority the artist can hold over the beholder.

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