In the galleries during the Winter 2023 exhibitions
Wondering what’s happening in the galleries of The Power Plant during the Winter 2023 exhibition season? We’ve asked our team of Gallery Attendants to share their impressions of the current shows, and the memorable moments they’ve spent with visitors while leading thirty-minute Power Tours—free guided tours offered twice a week.
First up is Alex Cameron, a Gallery Attendant who is also a theatre artist, actor, and musician.
“One thing I really like about the Winter 2023 exhibitions is how most of the artworks are intentionally open to interpretation. Throughout all three shows, there’s a central theme: what is not depicted, and what a viewer does not know, is just as important as what is there and what you do know. And it is also valid, encouraged, and okay to not know things—it's a jumping off point for your own discovery, reflection, and critical thought. I think it's important for artwork to serve as a starting point for call-and-response conversations. How one responds to an artwork is just as beautiful and meaningful as the original work itself.”
Alex leading a Power Tour. Photo: Hyerim Han
Among the incredible artworks on display, Alex highlighted Amartey Golding's Hair Garment, a large hand-knotted piece made of human hair from the artist’s Bring Me to Heal series. As someone who has a deep relationship with her own curls and locks, Alex finds it powerful to see such a striking artistic statement about Black hair.
Amartey Golding, Hair Garment (Bring Me to Heal series), 2022. Hand-knotted human hair on a mannequin. Courtesy the artist. Installation view: In the comfort of embers, The Power Plant, 2023. Photo: Henry Chan
The Power Plant's Gallery Attendant team includes diverse talents, including children's book writer and illustrator Teresa Chan. Teresa joined the team during the Fall 2022 exhibition season and had previously worked as an exhibition guide in Hong Kong.
Teresa leading a Power Tour. Photo: Hyerim Han
Of the three exhibitions on view, Teresa feels a personal connection with the group exhibition in parallel, a two-part exhibition featuring diverse artists from Tkaronto (Toronto) and surrounding areas who question the established concepts of what constitutes mainstream art.
“My favorite piece is A Passage by Rouzbeh Akhbari and Felix Kalmenson, which is about Armenia. People may overlook this video work at first glance, but it touches my heart when I hear the folk song about a father taking a train across the country with his sons. The son asks, ‘What year is it? Is this the USSR?’ And the fathers says, ‘It’s peacetime. Instead of guns, everyone is preparing tea and baklava.’ It resonates with those who are facing turbulent times. One day, peace will come, and we will see our family and friends again.”
Pejvak (Rouzbeh Akhbari and Felix Kalmenson), A Passage, 2019. 2k video, 17:00. Courtesy the artist. Installation view: in parallel, The Power Plant, 2023. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.
Ciar O'Mahony is a Gallery Attendant who also curates independent projects in Toronto. They bring their expertise to the role when guiding visitors through the exhibition. From the Winter 2023 season, they particularly resonate with Brenda Draney's exhibition Drink from the river.
Ciar leading a Power Tour. Photo: Hyerim Han
“I like how Draney’s paintings invoke agency in the viewer. She thinks painting is a reciprocal relationship between her and an audience, meaning that when we look at her work, we’re actively creating it rather than passively observing or receiving it. That’s one of the reasons why there’s always blank or ‘unfinished’ space in her paintings. They present sparingly rendered figures, objects, and landscapes, and we add to them by projecting onto those blank spaces. As viewers, we’re very active.”
Ciar’s favourite artwork from the exhibition is Scroll One, an ongoing project that Draney has been working on since 2010. “The images she paints on the scroll are very small, so they feel delicate and vulnerable. That vulnerability pulls me in as a viewer and strongly embodies the artist’s interest in reciprocity.”
Brenda Draney, Scroll One, 2010–ongoing. Watercolour and gouache on paper. Courtesy the artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Installation view: Drink from the river, The Power Plant, 2023. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.
The Winter 2023 season is on view at The Power Plant until May 14, 2023. Join the Gallery Attendants for free thirty-minute Power Tours of the exhibitions on Thursdays at 6 PM and Saturdays at 3 PM. Plan Your Visit.