John Brown | The Visceral THING
Feb 01, 2008 - Apr 20, 2008

Balint Zsako | Works from the Bernardi Collection

Public Reception:  Friday, February 1st, from 7 – 10 p.m.

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art launches 2008 with two exciting solo exhibitions, John Brown | The Visceral THING and Balint Zsako | Works from the Bernardi Collection, taking place in our galleries from February 1 through April 20.

Regarded by many in the field to be one of Canada’s greatest contemporary painters, The Visceral THING will, remarkably, be Toronto artist John Brown’s first solo exhibition in a public institution in over 20 years. Widely and zealously collected by private individuals, important corporate collections and prestigious institutions across Canada, this exhibition brings together a tightly focused selection of 30 works spanning nearly 25 years, including two recently completed paintings – his largest ever. Although Brown tends to work slowly and meticulously on each painting, for months and sometimes years on a single panel, he has produced a prodigious body of work in distinct sets of themes and approaches, including abstraction, figuration and drawing. However, on this occasion exhibition curator David Liss opted for a poetic or associative presentation rather than a retrospective or chronological examination:

“As familiar with his work as I thought I was, as I became more immersed in the project, it became clear to me that any didactic approach, such as a thematically organized survey or chronology, would be a disservice that might restrict the breadth, scope and true value of John’s practice. The selection here embodies the curious yet essential paradoxes of his paintings: they are as straightforward as they are ambiguous, and they are intended to be felt, to be experienced or apprehended more than they are to be read or interpreted literally. Virtuoso paint handling contrasts starkly with brutally scraped surfaces. Each picture bears the scars and shadows of the actual history of their own making. Yet the sheer real-time visceral presence of each of them seems to defy the very facts of their physicality as they also conjure virtual, timelessly ethereal, even sublime inspirations.”

Born in Budapest, Hungary into a family of artists, Balint Zsako has been immersed in the lexicon of the visual arts literally from day one! Not yet 30 years old, Zsako has been extremely active within the last half-dozen years or so, producing and exhibiting his drawings, watercolours, paintings, sculpture and photography in a number of venues in Toronto and beyond. Since moving to New York last Spring he has quickly received recognition and success through various activities, including group and solo exhibitions and a cover illustration commissioned by The New York Times Magazine. Also throughout these recent years, Zsako has had his work acquired by several important private collections. The exhibition at MOCCA will present a selection of 60 delightfully quirky, sometimes vaguely sinister and disturbing drawings and watercolours, owned by Sarnia, Ontario-based collector Roy Bernardi. Mr.Bernardi is noted for his significant holdings of contemporary art that include such prominent Canadian artists as Paterson Ewen, Marcel Dzama and John Scott. In 2008 MOCCA will publish a fully illustrated catalogue of Balint Zsako’s works included in The Bernardi Collection with an essay by Winnipeg writer and publisher Robert Enright.

Please join John Brown and Balint Zsako at a public reception honouring their exhibitions at MOCCA on Friday, February 1, 2008, from 7 until 10 p.m.

All MOCCA programs and activities are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, BMO Financial Group, individual memberships and private donations.