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Exibitions 1979

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Index of artists, authors and curators

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OPTICA Fonds (Concordia University Archives)

Guidebooks to help in consulting the archives

Electronic Reproduction Fees

Denis Juneau
From January 8th 1979 to January 30th 1979

Michael Billingsley, Tom Fisher, Ellen Carey, Angela Grauerholz
From February 5th 1979 to February 23rd 1979
Inside / Contenu

This photographic exhibition entitled "Inside" deals with work that is strongly rooted in empiricism and deals with issues that are not necessarily photographic in nature. The purpose is not to duplicate external observations or experiences but rather to create expressions of the artist’s emotional and intellectual responses to his/her particular realities – to ‘externalize’ reality. The viewer must look beyond the object and fix on the nature of the development of ‘idea-oriented’ art to grasp the intent.
- Press release (Optica)

- Bogardi, George, «Nature battles culture at photographic exhibit», Montreal Star, 21 février 1979.

Krzysztof Wodiczko
From February 26th 1979 to March 16th 1979
Pojazd 2 (Vehicule 2)

Tim Clark
From March 19th 1979 to March 30th 1979
Some Thoughts on the Questions of Limits in Art / Installation

The proposed installation represents a preliminary attempt to deal with the following question; at what point can work presented as art not be accepted as such, or conversely, what are the foundations upon which we judge works of art? Among some of the predicates that are used in our judgements are; decorative-difficult-new-cliché-minimal / systemic-body and/or narcissistic. Further problems are the private and/or the public domain - the law and/or art, in short, the question of freedom of action. My intention is not to examine, explain, and formulate solutions to each of the listed predicates and/or problems, but more to analyse the foundations of those concepts that affect our interaction with art. The issues are philosophical in nature, therefore my analysis will function from this position : my intention is to try to put forward a method for viewing and understanding the question of ‘Limits’.
- Press release (Optica)

A short printed manifesto came with the installation.

Jaan Poldaas
From April 2nd 1979 to April 27th 1979
E.G. Series

"This young Toronto conceptualist exhibits 31 panels, each two metres high and two feet wide, each uniformly painted in one color. The panels are uniformly hung on the gallery walls, though their order has been improvised, there is no sequential order, no formal relationship between one panel and its neighbours. Although monochrome and ‘abstract’, the colors are representional : a particular blue may reproduce the hue of a CN train, a pink might be based on the color of a model’s flesh. Quite independent as a joyous visual experience, the show takes on added meaning when, with the aids of labels, we recognize in each hue some source that has long been familiar to us. Now the color, liberated from the subject matter, stands on its own merits; those various subjects and sources, organic and inorganic, are now made to coexist within one, coherent artistic experience. It is a curiously moving reconciliation."
- Bogardi, George, "Yves Gaucher – city artist heralded", The Montreal Star, April 18th 1979.

"The ‘E.G. Series’, as you suggested in your letter, would be the obvious work for me to show at Optica. Parts of it have been exhibited on two occasions: 16 panels at A.C.T. in September, and another 16 panels at Harbour front in the Common Factors Show. The series is open-ended; at Optica I’d like to show all the panels that exist at that time, probably between 40 and 50. [...] The colours and kinds of paint are derived directly from previous actual paint applications, and have a complex variety of associations. Among the 30–odd panels completed so far are Coca-Cola red, a worldwide continuously changing standard colour; Police Yellow, a colour highly visible on Toronto streets; and 1972 Ford Lime Green Metallic, from my brother’s pick-up truck, a colour whose specific significance is unknown for me. [...] There’s a sense in which the ‘E.G. Series’ functions as landscape painting, or even group portraiture in the manner of Courbet’s ‘Studio’, and in this sense it’s centered on a particular point of view, namely, here. The prospect of seeing how it responds to being displaced from its origin exites me most about taking it to Montreal."
- Internal document (Optica) : letter from Jaan Poldaas

- Bogardi, George, «Yves Gaucher – city artist heralded», The Montreal Star, 18 avril 1979.
- Nixon, Virginia, «Scrap-yard canvas as comment on art state», The Gazette, 21 avril 1979, p.26.

Bob Parent
From April 30th 1979 to May 25th 1979
Golden Years of Jazz

David Tomas
From September 17th 1979 to October 5th 1979
Oeuvres sur l'histoire du physique en peinture / Works on the History of Physic in Painting

"Dave Tomas’ first one-man show includes a piece consisting of a large canvas and a smaller drawing, titled A Photographic Record of the History of Motion of a Free-Falling Body Leading to the Confirmation of Galileo’s Definition of Uniformly Accelerated Motion and the Structure of Projectile Motion – 1638. [...] Another piece titled The Discovery of the Positive Electron (1933) [...] A third piece, Tracks Due to the Fission of Uranium (1946) [...] Tomas also includes a pair of art school like drawings incorporated into the exhibition as time-displaced portraits of J.N. Niepce, the inventor of photography, and W.C. Rontgen, discoverer of X-rays. The works include considerable text which take a considerable amount of time to read, but time is an important aspect of Tomas’s intellectual interpretation of history. None of the works are temporally static. The events depicted involve not only Space, or the properties of the continuum which we for the sake of convenience label Space, but Time as well, not only as duration but also as a function of the properties of Space. [...] Tomas re-examines historical scientific events which have been preserved by language and memory, and restructures them in terms of personal experience, [... an] extremely intellectual and intensely personal interpretation of the sociology of science. Tomas’ images leave little or no room for subjective interpretations, that is, the titles and texts tell us exactly what it is we are looking at: an event or demonstration of an idea that, though normally beyond or below the threshold of direct human experience, is none the less real. [...] Though the exhibition seems almost intimidatingly intellectual, especially to one without a background in the history of science, it is also aesthetically appealing and intriguing."
- Blair, Michael, "Dave Tomas – Optica – Montreal – September 15 to 30", Vanguard, November 1979.

- Blair, Michael, «Dave Tomas – Optica – Montreal – September 15 to 30», Vanguard, novembre 1979.

Serge Tousignant
From October 12th 1979 to November 10th 1979
Exposition solo / Solo exhibition

The following document is only available in French :
"La majorité des œuvres montrées appartiennent à la série Géométrisation solaire (1979) et sont montrées pour la première fois à Montréal. Elles seront montrées par la suite entre autres à Sable-Castelli, Toronto (7 - 28 juin 1980); McIntosh Gallery, London (4 février - 1er mars 1981); Off Center, Calgary (12 mai - 6 juin 1981)."
- Internal document (Optica)

Suzy Lake, ”Are You Talking To Me?”, 1979.

Suzy Lake
From November 13th 1979 to December 1st 1979
«Are You Talking To Me?»

"Suzy Lake’s work since 1972 has been involved with images about ideas concerning the transference of identity through role-playing. A continuity has been established among works of the past seven years, and in individual works of sequential imagery by the presence of the artist’s own image. One of Lake’s consistent premises for the work has been the nature of the ambiguities of identity : between what a person is in emotional, psychological, and physical terms and what she perceives herself to be and what she is perceived to be. In her attempt to demonstrate the enigmatic implications of this preoccupation, Lake has increasingly relied on manipulation of photographic processes. As Sontag says : ‘To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.’"
- Ferguson, Bruce, "SUZY LAKE, Are you talking to me?", Exhibition catalogue (Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon), February 13th – March 2nd 1980.

- Ferguson, Bruce, "SUZY LAKE, Are you talking to me?", Exhibition catalogue (Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon), February 13th – March 2nd 1980.

Aaron Siskind
From December 5th 1979 to January 4th 1980
Exposition solo / Solo exhibition

Invited by John Heward.

Optica is proud to announce the exhibition of photographs by major American photographer Mr. Aaron Siskind. Aaron Siskind was born in New York in 1906, and since his first exhibition in 1939 at the Photo League in New York, has exhibited extensively in the United States and Europe. He is represented in the collections of many major museums, eg. The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitain in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Fogg at Harvard, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Siskind has also been published in numerous books and periodicals, and copies of his most recent book will be on display at Optica during the exhibition. The exhibition will consist of 46 photographs dating from 1944 to 1977 and will be on loan from Mr. Siskind. Mr. Siskind is presently represented by the Light Gallery in New York. Mr. Siskind has very graciously agreed to be present at the vernissage on December 5th at 8:30 PM.
- Press release (Optica)