January 2019 saw the 16th edition Come Up To My Room, the popular Toronto alternative art and design event, created and produced by The Gladstone Hotel. This was my fourth time attending. I caught the show on the last day in the afternoon. I would have loved to have seen it twice because I have a feeling that some of the installations would be experienced a different way at night.
You can read about my 2018, 2017 and 2016 visits to get a taste of past shows. The show is always a bright spot in a dreary, cold January. This year's show twisted and re-imagined space and scale through interactive and tactile installations. As an antidote to our current uncertain times and gloomy contemporary issues, the works reveled in playfulness and lightheartedness. Here, artists and designers were the optimistic superheroes we need- providing us with creative solutions and shifts in perspectives through these spaces that remove us from our everyday. Light, colour, and sound were warped to create fun (yet at times uncomfortable) spaces that bring familiar elements and creative approaches to life in unexpected ways. BAM! KAPOW! ZAAAAP! KABLOOEY!
This year the fourth floor featured work from Haliburton School of Art & Design: Faculty & Alumni of the Integrated Design Diploma Program.
Here are some of my favourites from this year's show.
Penumbra by Chromatic Aberration
This installation was so magical. I'd love to have something like this for my room. I'd seen work from two out of the three collective members before at past CUTMR. A trans-formative collage that uses light to project through engraved glass and wooden sculptures, creating an ever-changing, interactive shadow narrative.
(Femmes of Fire) always surviving, by Natalie King
Two figures from the series. The figures inhabited the second floor hallway. They illuminate the existence of the queer body. This work is meant to embrace femininity in all forms, celebrate its existence and reconcile the trauma, hostile behaviour and anxiety toward queer femme identities.
Stay A While, by Cleo Halfpenny
This weird and whimsical textile based installation was intended to inspire the feeling of stumbling upon a strange and unknown environment. That's exactly what it felt like walking into the room.
TRON209 by Bruno Billio
Billio has been the resident artist at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto for the past 16 years and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He transformed his studio into a black light version negative of itself.
Sunugin: a shrine by Alesha Aquino
Sunugin (which means, "to burn" in Tagalog) is the cursed goddess of affirmation and fire. Before becoming the object of scorn, Sunugin was a timid goddess who glimmered in the night sky. Fate brought her to the deep, deep dark where she suffered in her loneliness, harboured resentment as a fire in her chest and poisoned her mind with insecurity. She grew scales and lumps, becoming too heavy to move, thus sinking lower into the ground, until one day she plucked a lump of coal from her skin and set it on fire. As it burned, she sang an affirmation every night, regaining her self-worth until she shed all the poison, all the doubt and reclaimed her spot in the sky. This installation is an homage to Sunugin’s life and power, as well as any individual's personal battle with low spirits and despair. It is a narrative about pushing oneself to their limits and discomforts in order to feel every bit of misery to realize life’s greatest joys.
I love the imagery and the story. Click to scroll through.
Terraflora by Cole Swanson
This mural was on the third floor corridors. Extracted from regional clays and soils, each pigment was hand-rendered to reveal a range of mineral colours, including hues taken from local sites near the Cheltenham Badlands and the peaks of the Scarborough Bluffs. The artwork evokes bacteria, fungi, algae, and lichens and those natural processes of growth and deterioration that would befall the hotel if devoid of human intervention.
Top: Owl (wood, string and nails) by FASTWÜRMS
Bottom: Tops & Bottom (used dress shirts and pants, carbed wooden dowel, wooden bone scuplture and bent silverware) by Barr Gilmore & Michelle Harris
Did you attend CUTMR 2019? I'd love to hear about your favourites.
Story and photos by Glodeane Brown
If you liked this post, please like, comment, and share.