Offence/Defence: An artistic examination of fences

Toronto Inspires when three artists’ distinctive perspectives on barriers, real or otherwise, seamlessly dovetail into a cohesive exhibition that delivers heart, politics and whimsy.

Post by Lynda Chubak, avid Toronto arts fan

Offence/Defence

Offence/Defence is a dynamic examination of our relationship with fences and their demarcation of the territory between “us” or “them”. These complex ideas are presented in the abstract through works that are easily relatable to everyday experience, yet simultaneously provide a variegated analytic framework from which we can (re)consider our own relationships with and responses to barriers.

Offense/Defense runs until November 30, 2013. All are welcomed! Milton Centre for the Arts, Holcim Gallery

A glimpse of the artists and their work

KAL HONEY

Kal Honey

Kal’s 20-year background as a graphic designer underpins his current artistic practise that combines utilitarian materials and a bold sensibility. His works are frank and meticulously hand-crafted, with a manufactured precision. Often, they are embedded with levity. Like many of us, he has mixed reactions to fences, understanding the comfort of privately chilling in one’s own fortified backyard, without feeling the possible obligation of polite chit chat. Conversely, he recognizes the community building aspects of open gardens or hip-high separations that encouraged neighbourly engagement common to his parents’ generation. His works explore this kind of dichotomy through external manifestations: fences, by-law signs and a flag. Continue reading

Families break into chain-linked tennis courts.

Toronto Inspires when neigbours choose to (re)claim public spaces.

Post shared by Lynda Chubak

For more than a decade, through my home-office window, I’ve watched the bustle taking place within the chain-linked encased tennis courts belonging to a Toronto high school. Designed with a phys-ed program in mind, the four courts have been supplemented with regulation basketball hoops making them noisy, ball-thumping, teenage-trash-talking zones a few times a week during school hours. On pleasant days, at lunch or after school, the courts might also see some action. These are the designated times when the “permitted” users of these tax-funded facilities are welcome. After hours, the “others” are locked out.

Learning to ride a bikeFunnily, the restricted-access courts are most populated during weekends.  Trikes, training wheels and parents running alongside tippy cyclists abound. Frequent street hockey games ensue as a net dragged into the courts is left for weeks on end. Dogs freed of their leashes chase after balls. Clusters of neighbours with young families casually chat, while their kids safely burn off some energy.

Fenced in Fenced outNormally law-abiding citizens have snipped and crumpled back the barrier to reclaim this community resource. Over the years, whenever the fence’s surreptitious opening is repaired, community members eventually cut their way back into what they feel is their right to public space.

For a thought-provoking examination of fences as physical and psychological barriers, visit Offence/Defence. The art exhibition, on until November 30, is a dynamic examination of our relationship with fences and their demarcation of the territory between “us” or “them”. These complex ideas are presented in the abstract through works that are easily relatable to everyday experience, yet simultaneously provide a variegated analytic framework from which we can (re)consider our own relationships with and responses to barriers.

Offence/DefenceArt Exhibition: Offence/Defence. Until November 30. All are welcome! Milton Centre for the Arts, Holcim Gallery

Inspiration Takeaway: Discover new perspectives on everyday life through art.