Exercises in compassionate mind training
November 15 - December 12, 2018
Ella Dawn McGeough
HaeAhn Kwon and Paul Kajander
Curated by Kristin Weckworth (Kiko)
Lojong (mind-training) is a series of 59 slogans that give specific guidelines on how to approach meditation and awaken compassion in daily life. Developed over a 300 year period between 900 and 1200 CE as part of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, Atisha, a Bengali meditation master is regarded as the originator of the practice.
I was introduced to the slogans through a group meditation practice and was struck by their scope and variation. My meditation teacher, sensing my interest, gave me an envelope filled with slips of paper, each listing a slogan, and suggested I try picking one out randomly, and meditating on it for a time. I carried this envelope with me to India and used it as a guideline for my daily practice. On returning to Canada, a friend happened to gift me with a print he had made listing all the slogans. This print hangs next to my desk as a guiding compass. The slogans reappeared when I entered my studies in Contemplative Psychotherapy. Our training in compassionate meditation, Tonglen (the practice of giving and taking), was born out of the Lojong slogans. Without directly seeking it out, Lojong has been a strong guiding force in my life and a practice I continue to draw more knowledge from through the infinite ways it can be studied.
I appreciate that the slogans carry with them an awareness that can be interpreted from many perspectives. Their messages range from direct common sense, to admonishing specific behaviours, to uplifting esoteric wisdoms. The range of possibilities they illustrate inspired me to explore them further through a collaborative curatorial project. I invited visual artists with no direct connection to the Lojong practice to read through the 59 slogans and select one that resonated with them intuitively. We discussed their chosen slogan and they began the process of creating a work in response to their chosen slogan. This process was left open to interpretation. Some artists chose to use their slogan as a mantra, others used it as an anchor and reminder in daily life. Some chose to create work based more on their personal connection to the slogan and others used this as an opportunity to study the slogan's history and meaning in depth. I’ve often reflected on the process of art making as a form of meditation and was interested to see how incorporating these teachings affected each artist’s practice, and their life inside and outside of the studio.
As with previous curatorial projects where I sought to unite artists from different backgrounds who shared connections through their ideas and inspirations, this show actively opens the door for conversations between the practice of art, meditation, mindfulness, compassion and the process of looking within and out at the world we are all a part of. The results of this collaborative practice were shared through a month long art exhibition and a series of deep looking and listening sessions at the gallery. Rather than having a traditional art opening, individual events were held for each slogan and work of art.
Jennifer Murphy is a Toronto based artist working in collage and mixed media. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), The Power Plant(Toronto), White Columns (New York), the MOCA (Los Angeles) and recently has had a solo exhibition at Gallery 44 and was including in a group exhibition at 8eleven both in Toronto. Murphy has been on the long list of the Sobey Art Award three times and has received numerous grants and awards. In 2012 she participated in The residency A Paper, A Drawing, A Mountain at the Banff Art Centre. Murphy's work has been included in publications such as Canadian Art, Flash Art, Juxtapose, N+1, Bad Day, C Magazine, Hunter and Cook, Millions, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail among others. Her work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections Including TD Bank, The Bank of Montreal, MaCarthy Tetrault LLP, MedCan and the Drake Hotel. She is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto.
Feather Face by Jennifer Murphy
Courtesy of Clint Roenisch Gallery
Heather Goodchild is a Toronto based multi-disciplinary artist exhibiting since 2002. She most recently exhibited at Museum London (London, ON) as part of Embodiment alongside Joanne Tod, Suzy Lake, Shelley Niro, Betty Goodwin, and Thelma Rosner. In 2017 she collaborated with Lisa DiQuinzio on She Shells at Modern Fuel (Kingston, ON) and continued her collaboration with Naomi Yasui, Last is First, at Eastern Edge (St John's, NL). Goodchild exhibited at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2013, was the Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2012 and in 2014 was a resident at Cité des Arts Internationale, Paris through the Canada Council for the Arts. Alongside her studio practice, Goodchild works with musicians on videos and album art, including Bahamas, Matthew Barber, Feist, Chilly Gonzales, and Doug Paisley.
Three Objects, Three Poisons, Three seeds of Virtue by Heather Goodchild
Lisa DiQuinzio works primarily as a painter. Her use of assemblage sculptures and found objects complement and expand her painting practice. Working somewhere between abstraction and representation her work employs fluid and intuitive mark making. Her sculptures of shells, feathers, fabric and discarded materials are strung together and hung in a way to to highlight the transitory and liminal nature of her painting. Thematically her work seeks to engage embodied responses to the articulation and archiving of the everyday, the nuanced, and the mundane. Lisa received her BFA from York University. She has exhibited her work across Canada. Her solo exhibitions include ESP Gallery, Toronto, G Gallery, Toronto and Katharine Mulherin, Toronto.
Holy Ghost by Lisa DiQuinzio
Ella Dawn McGeough is an artist who is interested in relays. Her practice involves making, writing, organizing, and teaching. She received a BFA from UBC (2007), an MFA from Guelph (2013), and is currently a PhD student at York. Recently, she has presented work at 2nd Kamias Triennial, Moire's Catwalk, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, Usdan Gallery - Bennington College, and Forest City Gallery; participated in residencies at Banff Centre, Flaggfabrikken in Bergen Norway, and Trelex in the Tambopata National Reserve Peru; plus curated numerous projects at G Gallery and Susan Hobbs Gallery. She often facilitates Art+Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thons at the Art Gallery of Ontario among other venues. Her writing has been published by Public Journal, Moire, C Magazine, ESP, Open Studios, and Susan Hobbs Gallery, among others. She is from Vancouver and lives in Toronto.
"23" by Ella Dawn McGeough
Rachel Crummey is a visual artist and writer based in Toronto. She has been an artist in residence with Kulturkontakt Austria, the Salzburger Kunstverein, and 33 Officina Creativa in Toffia Italy. She was the 2015 winner of the Joseph Plaskett Foundation’s Nancy Petry Award, for emerging Canadian painters. Recent shows include “Spirit House” (Pushmi-Pullyu, Toronto) and “Fait ou Défait C’est Idem” (Galerie Deux Poissons, Montreal), both 2018. Her poem “Kamouraska” was published in the Winter 2018 edition of the Puritan. She graduated with her MFA from University of Guelph in 2014. She gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Two activities: one at the beginning, and one at the end by Rachel Crummey
Faith La Rocque is a visual artist who examines facets of human experience including psychology, the body, transformation and the healing process. She often works thematically and responsively to sites and spaces. Drawing upon the physical properties and cultural uses of natural materials and consumer products, La Rocque produces objects and installations that explore narrative ideas. She is interested in making art that has 'live' or active elements, recruiting the senses and allowing for different levels of engagement. La Rocque received her BFA in Art History and Studio Art from Concordia University (2003) and her MFA in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art (2006). Recent exhibitions include She changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes, Moire's Catwalk, Toronto; Medium, Sister, Brooklyn; and Imitation of Life, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener.
Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow by Faith La Rocque
Claire Greenshaw is a Toronto based artist working in drawing and
sculpture. Greenshaw has exhibited across Canada, and internationally.
Her solo exhibitions include Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto, Helen Pitt
Artist Run Centre, Vancouver and The Khyber Arts Centre, Halifax.
Greenshaw received an MFA from the Glasgow School of Art (2009) and a
BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax (2002).
She was co-editor and designer for Millions magazine from 2011-2014. She
is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto. She gratefully
acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Abandon any hope of fruition by Claire Greenshaw
Courtesy of Clint Roenisch Gallery
HaeAhn Kwon mainly works in drawing, sculpture and installation. Her current research interest in strategies of the makeshift has led to a body of works that recombines and transforms everyday objects. Her assemblage and installations are informed by the vernacular architecture and object arrangements found in the urban environment of her native South Korea. Kwon received her BFA from Cooper Union and has participated in exhibitions in Canada (Support, ESP), the US (The Hand, Michael Benevento) and South Korea (Samuso, Sempio Space, Okin Theater).
Paul Kajander's work encompasses video, sculpture, ceramics, sound, performance and photography, often in mixed media installations. His work has been shown in various exhibition contexts, including Franz Kaka; Toronto, the New Media Society; Vancouver, the Hammer Museum; Los Angeles, The SFU Audain Gallery; Vancouver, Daniel Faria Gallery; Toronto, the Seoul Museum of Art; Seoul, The Real DMZ Project; Cheorwon-gun, Art Sonje Center; Seoul and the Western Front; Vancouver.
Print from "Areas of Study As Blocks" Series by Haeahn Kwon and Paul Kajander