Art Metropole is pleased to announce Halos, an exhibition of work by Toronto-based artists David Buchan and Robert Flack. Though both artists died over 10 years ago, their individual legacies and collected artworks continue to influence current communities of young contemporary artists in Canada and internationally. Art Metropole is presently celebrating its 30th Anniversary and acknowledges the significant roles that both Buchan and Flack played in the organization’s history and development.
Halos comprises work by both artists – culled from various periods in their creative careers – in combination with objects, mementos and personal ephemera, in an effort to illustrate their collective scope of vision and the individual personas behind the work. As well, the exhibition explores each artist’s affiliation with Art Metropole.
Empathetic Ear, a site-specific environmental audio work by Andrew Zealley, accompanies the exhibition. This work is conceived around spoken word cassette recordings, given to Zealley by Flack in the last months of the artist’s life. The recordings – psychic readings between Flack, fellow artist Chrysanne Stathacos, and seer Jeremy Stockwell – are reduced to their visual sound wave state, silent “gates” through which manipulated fragments of Flack’s original LP collection are glimpsed. The voice of the medium becomes the medium.
Art Metropole thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, as well as private donors for their support.
David William Buchan was born 11 February 1950 in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from York University, Toronto, Ontario, in 1972 and lived for a short period of time in Montreal, Quebec, before settling permanently in Toronto in 1975. Between 1975-85, he was primarily employed at Art Metropole in the capacity of Bookstore Manager. His association with Art Metropole and especially with its founding members, General Idea, would continue to be a vital source of personal and professional support throughout his life. During the mid 1970’s to mid 1980’s David’s artistic production was largely performance based and consisted of multi-media productions. A performance piece entitled “Fruit Cocktails” was performed at the artists’ video conference Fifth Network, 8 September 1978 and debuted Lamonte del Monte, an invented persona which David would assume in a variety of performances, artworks, and installations until 1988. In addition to performance art, David produced photo-text works and magazine pages which featured parodies of 1950’s and 1960’s advertising, and in keeping with his performance pieces, functioned as popular culture commentaries. In 1982 he was awarded a Canada Council Artist Studio in Paris, France. Beginning in 1984, David began to produce cibachrome transparencies, cibachrome prints and duro-transparencies often working on a large scale. These photographic works represent a continuation of David’s earlier work in terms of their interest in visual and popular culture. In producing these photo-based works David used contemporary advertising as well as historical paintings as source images. Throughout his artistic career David Buchan produced work which often contained autobiographic points of reference and employed not only himself, but also friends, as models in his photo-based works. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, in addition to solo exhibitions, in Canada, the United States and Europe; and is in the collections of The National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, Winnipeg Art Gallery, as well as private collections. In conjunction with his artistic career David also worked as a graphic designer for twelve years producing a variety of publications and exhibition related material for numerous individuals and organizations. On 5 January 1994 David Buchan died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Robert Flack (1957-1993), was born in Guelph (Ontario), and moved to Toronto to study at York University. He began employment at Art Metropole in 1980, where he also worked as a layout artist on many General Idea-related projects such as FILE Megazine. From the beginning, Flack’s work expressed an “otherworldliness” – a quality that focused sharply with his HIV sero-conversion in 1988. From that point forward, Flack’s vision rocketed almost exclusively into the internalized realms of psychic energy, the chakras and the “etheric body.”
Andrew Zealley is a Toronto-based artist whose work expands beyond audio and music methods to inform mixed disciplines and media. His practice has been situated at the shifting nexus of HIV/AIDS, queer identity, and the body since 1990. Zealley s audio installation, Nature: This Is A Recording, is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada. He has recordings published by labels Art Metropole, Fine & Dandy, How To Explain Silence To A Dead Hare, Old Europa Cafe, Public Record/Ultra-red, Tourette Records, and Vague Terrain. Zealley holds an MFA in interdisciplinary studies from OCAD University. He is currently pursuing doctoral research through the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University; Program of Study: Safe and Sound: Art, Queer Listening, and Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS.
1: Adrew Zealley.
2: Ann Dean and Richard Banks.
3: Alan Belcher.
4: Andrew Zealley's Rob Flack tattoo design.
5: Rebecca Baird, John Mclachlin and Kenny Baird.
6: Andrew Paterson and Maurizio Pisigni.
7: Oliver Girling.
8: Sybil Goldstein and Ray Johnson.