Before the ancients threw knucklebones, ivories, and bone-dice in games of chance, shamans and oracles tossed similar lots to divine futures. Our present games are survivals of these magical processes.
Gambling is connected to an instinct for life, a craving to immerse oneself in chance and risk, an escape from everyday reasoning and calculation. The casino takes this yearning and provides a place to see your dream come true instantaneously.
Pair A Dice, a project initiated by Brad Tinmouth and Tom van Ryzewyk, is a simulated casino that internalizes and borrows the operational codes of world-class casinos. However, this is achieved by means of a DIY process that ultimately produces a critical pastiche.
Twelve Toronto-based artists whose works evoke gaming culture’s various atmospheres have populated the space with layers of additional reference. Racing dogs, astragali, playing cards, scratch tickets, etc. doubly signify the hope of a jackpot and the despair of degeneration and loss.
Say the password twice and you may enter a special space that extracts value from contingency in the casino, in the markets, and in life. This place heightens the relations between individuals and groups, and between the world and its beholders.
In the wake of this night traces of gaming, drinking, and a certain kind of socializing remain. What occurs in natural and unplanned circumstances, according to chance, operates by the hand of the audience. What remains is a document of the soirée.
Nicholas Bierk (b. 1985, Peterborough, ON) studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited work in Canada and the United States. He is the son of Canadian painter David Bierk and brother to Jeff, Alex and Charles, also artists. Bierk lives and works in Toronto.
Liam Crockard (b. 1986, Kitchener, ON) received his BFA from OCAD University in 2010. His sculpture, collage and photography often examine the nature and value of work, with a particular emphasis on “jerry-rigging” and improvisation as both a symptom and a strategy for art-making and survival alike. He has had solo and group exhibitions at Towards, Cooper Cole, Clint Roenisch, MKG127, Roberta Pelan, and internationally at Gestalten Space Berlin, West Cork Arts in Ireland, Scott Projects in Chicago and was recently a featured artist at the 2017 Material Art Fair in Mexico City. His work has been reviewed and published in Artforum, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, C Magazine, Elephant Magazine and the Toronto Star. He is currently co-director of The Loon in Toronto and Paper Local, a freely distributed newspaper project. Crockard lives and works in Toronto.
Maya Fuhr (b. 1989, Victoria, BC) currently lives in Toronto. Her work has been shown in exhibitions worldwide. Showing at galleries in London, Paris, New York, Tel Aviv and at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2017 She was awarded the Magenta Foundation Photography Project Award, enabling her to continue her series “Malleable Privilege”- a tongue-and-cheek investigation of her relationship with fashion and its impact on the environment. Her work discusses her aesthetic voice through a use of opulent and cinematic expression. It is both raw and surreal featuring a meticulous pairing of colour and light. Her collection is a combination of unique portraits in nondescript locations, still lifes featuring found objects and unconventional storytelling; all seamlessly inhabiting an oddly romantic world. Still, the work manages not to take itself too seriously causing a curiously unique humour. Fuhr’s gaze finds itself fixed on things that vibrate in tune with each other creating images that resonate with emotion. Her work promotes an openness towards the details that otherwise go unnoticed in our daily lives. Maya Fuhr creates images full of warmth and honesty, allowing yourself to get mesmerized by the glinting colour fields and seduced by a detached yet intimate sensuality.
Darby Milbrath (b. 1989, Victoria, BC) is a painter currently based in Toronto and represented by Projet Pangée (Montreal). She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include, The Flowering Songs at Projet Pangée (Montreal), A place in the Country at Clint Roenisch Gallery (Toronto), Blue Hyacinth at Erin Stump Projects (Toronto), and Domestic Tranquility at 0-0 LA (Los Angeles). Milbrath has also been represented at Papier Art Fair (Montreal), Art Toronto, and Material Art Fair (Mexico City). Milbrath’s oil paintings are informed by her background in the theatre as a contemporary dancer. The nostalgia for her imaginative childhood with her sisters, the landscape of the West Coast Gulf Islands whereon she was raised, as well as her mysticism that began as a young girl there, are recurring motifs in her paintings.
Sister Piff (b. Keswick, ON) received her BFA in Photography from OCAD University in 2017, focusing on non-traditional uses of lens-based media. She has previously worked in collaboration with various clothing brands, nonprofits, and local musicians, including PASAN 2018 and 8BALL.TV. She currently works as a freelance tattoo artist and illustrator in Toronto.
Lauchie Reid is an illustrator, fine artist and educator based in Toronto. As a founding member of art/illustration collective Team Macho, his work spans multiple genres and media and can be found in private collections across North America. His solo artwork focuses on a reinterpretation and subversion of the traditions of Western European oil painting and casts a critical eye at the ideas of nostalgia and dominance in the historical and artistic traditions often taken for granted in the mainstream. As an educator and materials expert, his focus lies in encouraging artists to look past accepted convention and engage with materials and content in ways that create a meaningful and personal connection in their work.
Brian Rideout (b. 1986) makes pictures about pictures. His work investigates contemporary images, sourced from print and online, for their art historical relevance, as a continuation of the history of painting and image production. Rideout’s works comprise a narrative of art, architecture, and object following an undulating cycle of definition, utility, and design, softly dramatizing the multiple registers that art has come to occupy and employ over time as a material thing wholly existing in the world. He is interested in art as document, as decoration, as ideological accessory, as technological or functional support. Rideout was the 2017 recipient of The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts (Emerging). He studied at Georgian College (Barrie, ON) and has recently had solo exhibitions at MKG127, Parisian Laundry, AC Repair Co., and Georgian College. Recent group shows include UNTITLED Miami Beach (Miami), Chromatic Festival (Montreal), Spring/Break Art Fair (NYC), Art Toronto (Toronto),’The Agency of Acquaintances’ at Clint Roenisch Gallery (Toronto), and ‘Taking [A] Part’ at Mercer Union (Toronto). He lives and works in Toronto.
Brad Tinmouth lives and works in Toronto.
Thomas van Ryzewyk (b. 1988, Calgary, AB) is a Canadian painter and designer living and working in Toronto. Thomas’s self-taught painting practise builds on a decade of commercial and cultural design experience. Thomas’s still life and landscape paintings primarily focus on realistic depictions of power and consequence in contemporary society. His work draws influence from the transitionary period between 19th century realism and impressionism. Thomas holds a degree from the York/Sheridan Bachelor of Design Honours program and has been acknowledged and exhibited internationally. Mostly, he is just getting started with painting though.
Trevor Wheatley & Cosmo Dean work together to create large installations. They both live in Toronto.
Curtia Wright (b. 1991, Scarborough, ON) is a multi-disciplinary artist and mural artist. She holds a BFA from OCAD University. Wright’s work concerns the way societies perceptions of bodies, specifically black bodies, have the ability to shape their narratives without consent. Her current works delve into the spiritual and mental wellness of African peoples and the link to mythology and disseminating what ‘fantasy’ is and who it belongs to. She has exhibited at Margin of Eras Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, 918 Bathurst, White House Gallery, Younger than Beyonce, Toronto; Art Gallery of Guelph, Guelph, Canada; and Arts Dimensions Gallery, St. Louis, USA. Curtia Wright lives and works in Toronto, Canada.