CONTACT Photography Festival 2017 | Public Installation
Billboards at Dovercourt and Dupont, Toronto
May 1 – 31, 2017
Supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada
Special thanks to the Toronto Arts Council
Curated by Heather Rigg
Two grappling arms merge in stillness. A bridge’s shadow zigzags across a concrete wall. A cluster of stars cloaks a nude body. Glowing light meets an open hand. These four images, placed at the intersection of Dovercourt Road and Dupont Street, comprise Toronto-based artist Steven Beckly’s public installation New Romantics. Void of advertising, and placed next to the changing light refracting through an abandoned glass building, each photograph tangles the perception of light and shadow, figure and ground, surface and space, arousing a fraught tenderness.
Cultivating moments of intimacy, Beckly approaches photography as both a sensual and a social practice—an act that connects rather than distances, feels rather than explains. The project’s title draws upon the spirit of New Romanticism. Stemming from the early 1980s, the British movement elevated images of “glam rock” stars, such as David Bowie and Boy George, bringing gender bending and androgyny to the public consciousness. Invoking a similar freedom of expression and fluidity of experience, New Romantics calls for the revival of a civil romance amid a seemingly bleak and fractured world. By focusing on images that evoke sensations of love and closeness, Beckly’s large-scale images bring visual poetry and optimism to the streets at a moment when the political climate is increasingly hostile and exclusive. Embodying a sense of hope, desire, and social togetherness, his project advocates a public intimacy built by an emotionally-connected humanity.
PANEL: Printed Matter
Sunday May 7, 3 pm – 4 pm
Artist Steven Beckly, creative director Romke Hoogwaerts (Rubber Factory Posters, MOSSLESS), and publisher Robyn York (Anchorless Press) discuss the opportunities and challenges of passion projects and self-publishing.
April 21, 2017 – July 11, 2017
The Drake Hotel
1150 Queen St W
Azza El Siddique
The Drake’s spring exhibition ‘An Orbit’ explores movement, elements in playful opposition, counterbalance, and time.
A tender touch can bend the straightest of things
7 January 2016 to 15 February 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, from 7 to 9 pm
Eastern Edge Gallery
72 Harbour Drive
St. John’s, NL A1C 1B1
Steven Beckly’s new exhibition A tender touch can bend the straightest of things cleaves images and objects, photographs and sculptures. Each work expresses an intimacy from touch in both content and form, interrelating the visual and the haptic. His pictures of colour, light, and skin are printed on various surfaces—opaque and translucent, hard and soft. Forming a typology of textures and producing a range in perception, they delicately bend and fold against the apertures of the gallery space. Arousing sense and sensation, they affirm paper as a tactile and three-dimensional space of exposure. By transforming flatness into volume, the installation overturns the traditional conception of a rectilinear photographic frame. As viewers navigate the installation, they encounter a space disrupted by the touch of another presence, pointing to an intimacy between the physical and the spiritual, the natural and the spectral.
Read curator Mireille Eagan’s response to the show: http://easternedge.ca/thespacebetween/
Steven Beckly: Framework
November 9 to December 9, 2016
Opening: Wednesday November 9, 7 – 9 p.m.
121 Roncesvalles Ave
Toronto, ON M6R 2K9
Curated by Blair Swann
Framework is a colour transparency installed in the window frame of curator Blair Swann’s apartment door. Rotated over the course of the exhibition and illuminated by the changing light of day, the installation offers multiple ways of looking at a picture. Fluid in content and form, the work questions the fixity of its photographic frame through the destabilization of its four borders.
As an artist and curator, Blair Swann has worked on exhibitions, residencies, and publications. From 2014 to 2016, he served as the Art Editor of the University of Toronto’s Hart House Review. Recent curatorial projects include Ghost Story, a group exhibition at XPACE Cultural Centre, and The Door, a new window space that he programs from his home. Swann received his BA from the University of Toronto in 2016.
The Door is an accessible, street-level window space that is viewable 24 hours.
The exhibition is accompanied by a poem in four parts co-authored by Lindsay Miles, Amanda Norsworthy, and Fan Wu.
Steven Beckly: Come to My Window
Artscape Youngplace Billboard
September 2016 to January 2017
Curated by Matthew Kyba
In Come to My Window, a finger presses against a plane window waiting for a reciprocal touch. It is looking for contact, longing for intimacy. The title is taken from the 1994 Grammy Award-winning song by Melissa Etheridge. The first single released from her album Yes I Am, it confesses Etheridge’s intense longing for a beloved while implicating the singer’s queerness and activism.
Captured from the clouds and situated outside Artscape Youngplace, the billboard expresses a similar and unfulfilled wish: a desire for a public and global intimacy that stems from the ground and blooms from the individual. Against the backdrop of windows that adorn the repurposed school, Beckly’s image becomes a public invitation to engage these openings as sites for social connection.
Matthew Kyba is an independent curator and Founder/Director of Bunker 2, a Toronto-based contemporary art and project space. He received his MFA for Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD U and has organized shows in Toronto, Portland OR, and Kingston ON.
Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) provides opportunities for curators and artists to mount fully realized exhibitions within a critical framework. Through a wide-ranging annual program of exhibitions and projects supported by the production of original publications, editions, and events, CDCC is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on curating and exhibition-making as a way to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life.
Working Title presents:
Various Small Portraits
A photo show curated by Luis Mora
Saturday May 21, 7 – 10 pm
127 Davenport Road
Toronto, ON M5R 1H9
Aaron Mcelroy, Alana Celii, Ali Bosworth, Andreas Laszlo Konrath, Benedict Brink, Brett Gundlock, Dafy Hagai, Denelle Kennedy, Elizabeth Renstrom, Eriver Hijano, Eva Michon, Fantavious Fritz, Gemma Warren, Grace Ahlbom, Hayley Louisa Brown, Hudson Hayden, Jamie Campbell, Jody Rogac, Jonnie Craig, Jordan Sullivan, Julian Berman, Justin Aranha, Kane Hopkins, Kristie Muller, Laura Lynn Petrick, Lindley Warren, Matthew Tammaro, Molly Matalon, Nathan Cyprys, Noel Rodo Vankeulen, Ryan Allan, Ryan Lowry, Samuel Bradley, Sarah Blais, Scott Pilgrim, Seth Fluker, Steph Anienoritz, Steven Beckly, Suzanna Zak, Tess Roby, Vanessa Heins
Of you, unfolding
May 6, 2016 – June 2, 2016
Friday May 6th, 6 to 8 pm
Daniel Faria Gallery is pleased to present Steven Beckly’s MFA thesis show Of you, unfolding in the project gallery.
Nude, male bodies surround me. Sweat condenses within creases of flesh, adding texture
to the forests of hair, the coated grit of sand, the glossy film of sunscreen.
I feel the heat of new love.
I reach across and drape my shirt over you to save you from the sun burning your
face. A beam of light infiltrates my shirt and pierces your ear, reddening it like a flame—
I take a picture of you.
Light has an edge that blinds and burns, penetrating the cellular depths of the
body. Likewise, light can damage the celluloid of film and mutate an image, scarring
it spectrally and unpredictably. These phantom wounds have always been comforting to
me. They remind me that I’m not alone just as you remind me that I’m not alone.
You make fun of me for duct-taping the back of my camera instead of getting it
fixed. Light leaks in sometimes.
A Public Display of Affection
AKA artist-run, Saskatoon
Billboard May and June, 2016
In A Public Display of Affection, a spectrum splashes across a tattoo of two connected circles. They share a slender arm, an anonymous fragment of a social body. Inhabiting AKA’s billboard, the image overlays symbols of unity, inclusion, pride, celebration, and love against Saskatoon’s spring sky.
our 19th annual holiday exhibition
December 4 – December 19, 2015
Opening reception: Friday December 4, 7 – 11 pm
Paul Petro Contemporary Art
980 Queen St West
Toronto, ON M6J 1H1
This year’s tree by Jacqueline Treloar.
Stephen Andrews, Steven Beckly, Julie Beugin, Amy Bowles, Leigh Bridges, Churla Burla, Jane Buyers, Keith Cole, Dennis Day, Tom Dean, Maura Doyle, André Ethier, Gary Evans, FASTWURMS, Marie Finkelstein, Erella Ganon, Robert Flack, Sadko Hadzihasanovic, Anitra Hamilton, Andrew Harwood, Natalka Husar, Zachari Logan, Jiva MacKay, Olia Mishchenko, Janet Morton, Will Munro, Garry-Lewis James Osterberg, Shannon Partridge, Andrew James Paterson, Sandy Plotnikoff, Mélanie Rocan, Gretchen Sankey, Morley Shayuk, Cole Swanson, Ho Tam, Freddie Towe / FannaWanna, Carol Wainio