The 1980s saw a generation of artists who, raised during cold war politics and the advent of television and mass entertainment, responded to this conflicting backdrop by sourcing new critical approaches suited to the media age. Pioneering in this regard was the artist group General Idea who, in their now iconic 1985 video, Shut the Fuck Up!, urged that all representations be “turned upside down and inside out.” In Toronto, this call was heeded by new approaches to painting, drawing, video, performance and sculpture on the part of a number of now well-established Canadian artists including Susan Britton, David Buchan, Tom Dean, Tanya Mars, Sandra Meigs, John Scott and Joanne Tod. While not all directly associated with Cameron House, the works presented here provide a broader overview of 1980s Toronto and an art scene marked by collusion between creative angst, experimentation and vanguard explorations of a burgeoning image-based, media-saturated culture. By the end of the decade, a frightening new reality emerged that forever changed the landscape, as the HIV/AIDS epidemic cut a devastating swath through the art world, locally and internationally.
John Scott, Second Strike, 1981. Oil stick, graphite & varsol on paper. NGC Collection. © John Scott
Tom Dean, The Floating Staircase, 1983 videotape, 23:00 min on 3/4" cassette. NGC Collection. © Tom Dean
General Idea, Mondo Cana Kama Sutra, 1983 printed, 2001. Serigraph on wove paper 43 cm x 56 cm. NGC Collection. © General Idea
Joanne Tod, Having Fun? / The Time of Our Lives, 1984. Oil on canvas. NGC Collection. © Joanne Tod
David Buchan, On the Rocks, 1984. Cibachrome transparency in fluorescent light box. NGC Collection. © David Buchan
Sandra Meigs, Purgatorio, A Drinkingbout (Series of Drinkers - Smokey The Bar, No. 2), (detail), 1981. NGC Collection. © Sandra Meigs.
Jun 25, 2011 - Aug 21, 2011