Monday, October 12, 2009

PLP at Roberts Street Social Centre

Here are some photos from the day of the opening at Roberts Street Social Centre!  Thanks again Sarah Evans of RSSC and Morag Schonken (and Suzy, pictured above!) for helping put on the show. Everything looks super!

The Portable Library Project is on display at Roberts Street (in the Anchor Archive Zine Library) until November 1st.  Their hours of operation are Tuesday from 6-9pm and Sunday from 2-5pm...if you're in Halifax, be sure to check out the show before the end of the month!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photos:  Morag Schonken

Sunday, October 4, 2009

PLP at Roberts Street Social Centre

Well, it's that time again!  The second Portable Library Project show opens in one week, at Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax. Thanks so much to everyone who helped put this show together, specifically Sarah Evans and everyone at Roberts Street for their help and enthusiasm, and my good friend (and PLP artist) Morag Schonken for helping co-ordinate the exhibition.  Stay tuned to the blog for photos of the show and press from Halifax!


The Portable Library Project is a multi-dimensional mail-art/book-making project involving the creation of small works exploring ideas surrounding archiving, journaling, libraries, ephemera, and incorporating an art practice into everyday life. The 18 participating artists span several artistic disciplines, from performance art to fibre-based art; from photo-based art to craft to sculpture and installation.  Artists involved in the project are based across Canada, the US and are from as far away as Seoul, Korea.

Invited artists were sent/delivered an empty cigar box, roughly the size of a hardcover book. Over the course of a week, participants were expected to create a 'book' a day reflective of each person's day-to-day activities and artistic process. Books were ideally made while on the go; boxes were intended to be carried with the participant, where books were to be added and collected each day for seven days.

How do working artists fit artistic production into everyday life?  Challenging oneself to make work outside of a studio setting is one way. One element of The Portable Library Project serves as a challenge to artists to adopt a portable art practice to fit the demands of the life of a working artist, which often entails a job or two in unrelated work environments. The portability of the book format is a natural basis for the project, which also encourages artists to explore and comment on the relationship between the book and the art object.

Participating artists:
Aimee Lee (Seoul, Korea)
Amber Landgraff (Toronto)
Cara Spooner (Toronto)
Daphne Gerou (Toronto)
Debbie Danelley (Winnipeg, MB)
Deborah Margo (Ottawa, ON)
Fiona Bailey (Toronto)
Jen Pilles (Oakville, ON)
Laura Calvi (Halifax, NS)
Laurie Kang (Toronto)
Margaret Flood (Guelph, ON)
Margaret Legue (Forest, ON)
Morag Schonken (Halifax, NS)
Sheila Jonah
Simon Rabyniuk (Toronto)
Stephanie Cormier (Toronto)
Stephanie Vegh (Hamilton, ON)
Sylvia Ziemann (Regina, SK)
October 11th-November 1st, 2009
Opens Sunday, October 11, 2-5pm
Anchor Archive Zine Library
at the Roberts Street Social Centre
5684 Roberts Street
Poster design: Tara Bursey

Friday, July 10, 2009

PLP at lowercase gallery

Here are some photographs of the PLP installation at lowercase gallery, taken the day before the opening on July 4th.  Thanks so much to everyone who made this happen:  Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen of the Regional Assembly of Text, and Jo Cook who oversees lowercase gallery.  All three ladies are incredible zinesters/bookmakers in their own right.  For images and info of some of their work, check out the "Little Books" section of the Regional Assembly of Text's online shop and Jo's publishing project, Perro Verlag.

Stephanie Vegh on the Portable Library Project

Participating artist Stephanie Vegh was kind enough to post about the first showing of the Portable Library Project on her blog.  She also wrote a bit about the process of making her awesome contribution, which was inspired by the Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest.  Find her post here.  Thanks, Stephanie!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Laurie Kang


Collage on paper.

Laurie Kang is a photo-based artist born in Toronto, Canada.  She currently lives and works between Toronto and Montreal.

Sheila Jonah

Magpie Box

"Magpie Box is a visual diary of treasures collected in travels in downtown Toronto over seven days.  Setting the parameter that all items must be “found” in my regular environment, I spent time like a magpie searching for the “shiny” and colourful, the unusual and unique, the mundane and commonplace – pieces of detritus that one encounters daily.  Each tiny accordian book reflects my movement and activities daily over the span of a week as well the state of the recycle bin at the warehouse and my friends waste baskets.  An addictive weeklong mini bookmaking experience now all housed in the recycled cigar box."

Sheila Jonah is a Toronto based visual artist who delights in the daily game of collecting bits and pieces, ephemera, old books, pieces of wood, used cool stuff, thrown out treasures and anything that can be recycled for printmaking, papermaking or handmade artist books.  A graduate of OCAD majoring in Printmaking, Sheila has studied and made art in New Zealand, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Vancouver (which by far has the best skiing and kayaking). She now spends her time in the Historic Distillery District in downtown Toronto working at PROOF Studio Gallery and drinking Balzac’s Coffee, eating Soma chocolate, Eccles cakes and happily printing away.

Monday, June 29, 2009

PLP at lowercase gallery

I'm leaving for Vancouver this Thursday! The Portable Library Project's first public showing, at lowercase gallery in Vancouver, opens this Saturday at 4pm. Read the following for all the details, and check out this weekend's other festivities brought to you by the ladies of the Regional Assembly of Text!

The Portable Library Project is a multi-dimensional mail-art/bookmaking project involving the creation of small works exploring ideas surrounding archiving, ephemera, journalling, libraries and incorporating an art practice into everyday life. The 18 participating artists span several artistic disciplines, from performance art to fibre-based art; from photo-based art to craft to sculpture and installation. Artists involved in the project are based across Canada, and are from as far away as Seoul, Korea.
Invited artists were sent/delivered an empty cigar box, roughly the size of a hardcover book. Over the course of one week, participants were expected to create a 'book' a day, reflective of each person's day-to-day activities and artistic process. Books were ideally made while on the go; boxes were intended to be carried with the participant, where books were to be added and collected each day for seven days. 
Participating artists:
Aimee Lee (Seoul, Korea)
Amber Landgraff (Toronto)
Becky Johnson (Toronto)
Cara Spooner (Toronto)
Daphne Gerou (Toronto)
Debbie Danelley (Winnipeg, MB)
Deborah Margo (Ottawa, ON)
Fiona Bailey (Toronto)
Jen Pilles (Oakville, ON)
Laura Calvi (Halifax, NS)
Laurie Kang (Toronto)
Margaret Flood (Guelph, ON)
Margaret Legue (Forest, ON)
Morag Schonken (Winnipeg, MB)
Sheila Jonah
Simon Rabyniuk (Toronto)
Stephanie Cormier (Toronto)
Stephanie Vegh (Hamilton, ON)
Sylvia Ziemann (Regina, SK)
The Portable Library Project is organized and curated by Tara Bursey.

July 4-31, 2009
Opens Saturday, July 4th, 4 pm (BBQ at 6pm)
lowercase gallery
at the Regional Assembly of Text
3934 Main Street
Poster design:  Jo Cook

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

PLP Exhibition Dates

I am thrilled to announce the first confirmed tour dates for the Portable Library Project!

July 2009
lowercase gallery and reading room
at the Regional Assembly of Text
3934 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
Opening: Saturday, July 4th. 4pm

October 2009
Roberts Street Social Centre/Anchor Archive
5684 Roberts Street
Halifax, NS
Opening: TBA

I will be traveling with portable libraries in tow to Vancouver to mount the first exhibition in July. Wow! For more on the lowercase reading room and the Regional Assembly of Text, read on, or check out their blog and website.

"The lowercase reading room, “one of the richest collections of unusual zines and artist-made books in the country,” is located at 3934 Main Street in Vancouver, BC. Assembled from the combined collections of Jo Cook, Rebecca Dolen and Brandy Fedoruk, the reading room houses over 500 books in a 9′ x 3′ space at the Regional Assembly of Text, a gift store of hand-made textual oddities. Open seven days a week from noon until 5 pm, the reading room provides a quiet place to read or research the endless possibilities for self-publishing. There are full-colour comics, photocopied grocery lists, zines about personal obsessions and enthusiasms. There are pamphlets and manifestos, the rude and crude and X-rated, alongside lovingly handstitched books with fur-lined covers. An afternoon of browsing may uncover books about holidays from hell, brochures about the end of the world, a survey zine about New Year’s resolutions and a quiz about toast.

"The first systematic defence of one’s right to self-publish was written by John Milton in his Areopagitica in 1644. Milton argued that the survival of an ideology-based state hinges on its tight control of ideas and that state control is impossible to challenge unless self-publishing is allowed. Whether or not the authors of the books in the lowercase reading room collection have read Milton, they share the impulse to create works without censorship. The self-publisher has a dream: she sees the world and its variety of creatures and inventions, she hears the many forms of speech and sees its written symbols, she is not afraid of inconsistencies. She welcomes accidents and the beauty of human imperfection that is edited out by homogeneous ideologies."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stephanie Vegh

Dashiell Hammett's Violent Masterpiece Red Harvest

"This library contains seven distillations of a second-rate paperback print of hard-boiled detective writer Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, which depicts the disorientation and downfall of the Continental Op as he struggles to purge the criminal lifeblood of the corrupt mining town of Personville, familiarly known as Poisonville. The individual book-objects are tactile interpretations of key elements of the narrative, each attuned to the commonplace violence of Red Harvest with its masculine trappings of leather, gin and dead matches for cigars long since extinguished."

Emerging artist and writer Stephanie Vegh was born in Hamilton, Canada in 1980, where she studied Art and Comparative Literature at McMaster University. She completed her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art and has since served as Artist-in-Residence with the Repton School in Derbyshire, England and written essays and articles for various galleries and publications throughout the United Kingdom and Canada.
In 2007, she returned to Hamilton where she serves on the Boards for Directors for Hamilton Artists Inc. and The Print Studio. Her drawings have been included in group shows in Hamilton, Toronto and Winnipeg, and she will be mounting her first significant solo exhibition at the Leeds College of Art and Design in 2010.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Margaret Legue

Hoarding Memories

"My current practice is centred around certain historical aspects of WWII with allusion to social/political movements of the 60s-70s. A lot of my research is done through libraries and museums...I'm interested in the archival/journaling aspect of (The Portable Library Project) in that it's an integral part of how i conceptually base my art, taking a look at past historical events and propaganda from a contemporary standpoint."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jen Pilles

I Wish I Hadn't Done That


Jen Pilles is a third-year illustration student at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. She is founder/co-founder of the Welland Zine Library, OCAD Zine Library and Sheridan Zine Library.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cara Spooner

Movement Maps


"By creating daily movement maps that documented both dance and pedestrian movement, the subjective nature of place and perspective became my priority. The personal scale, accuracy and symbolic notation was explained through a fragmented legend on the back each map which included things such as who I interacted with, topics I discussed, recipes I used as well as the poem from that day's 'poem-a-day'. (a task I have been practicing since March)"

Since completing her BFA at York University, Cara Spooner has been involved in many performance and installation work as both a performer and choreographer. She has performed with the Integrated Dance Artists Collective, Matthew Romantini, the Parahumans, Yvonne Ng, Bluemouth Inc. and has presented solo work at Series 8:08. She has choreographed for the Toronto Fringe Festival, Labspace Studios, Ladyfest, Pleasure Dome's Toronto New Works showcase, Art Harvest and will be collaborating with American artist Robin Lasser on a performance installation in the coming year. Recently Cara and Alicia Grant created a performance/installation for 20 performers and 20 household objects titled 5x4. Their site-specific dance/film interactive installation The Residents was presented as a part of Toronto's Nuit Blanche 2007 at the Casa Loma stables and was named the "#1 pick of the night" by the Toronto Star. Cara and Alicia have also performed their site-(un)specific pieces It/Out/In as well as Mourning Sunshine as a part of the St. John's Festival of New Dance in June 2008 which was also named 2008's 'best site-specific dance piece in Canada' by the Globe and Mail. They will be debuting a new collaborative performance installation as a part of the 2009 programming at Xpace Gallery titled Draft 4.

Simon Rabyniuk

Dirt Workers (7 Days in 21 Movements)

"For a period of seven days I collected and saved the inconsequential paper markers of my movement and consumption; a collection that I added to, with the shiny bits, that caught my eye, glittering in the gutter. Each days holdings were composed -- loosely grouped by time of day found -- and scanned; then divided into three. A basic photocopy transfer technique was used to embed the 21 images onto off-white, machine made, insubstantial paper."

Simon Rabyniuk
makes full confession
of the misdeeds of his youth. A few cigarettes, a few mouthfuls of meat, a few annas pilfered in childhood from the maidservant, two visits to a brothel (on each occasion he got away without “doing anything”), one narrowly escaped lapse with his landlady in Plymouth, one outburst of temper, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University (2006) — that is about the whole collection.

As the middle child, of Jim and Cathie Rabyniuk, he has been socialized in the art of diplomacy and peacemaking -- while on average receiving 10 less hours per week of parental attention then his siblings -- diplomacy and peacemaking emerged as tactics for establishing an equitable distribution of love within his family.

He is currently exhibiting a series of diptych paintings in King City, ON, in a space where social skills are work-shopped with children with autism or Aspergers Syndrome. He has also recently lent his volunteer support to the Toronto Free Library, taking place at the Toronto Free Gallery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Deborah Margo

Made in Cuba and Canada


Gouache, coloured pencil, ink, markers, seeds and plant matter, pastel paper, glassine paper, collaged magazine paper, thread and scotch tape.

"The title of the book and the author's name are not written on the spine or the cover of the book. Nevertheless, the title can be inferred by the pieces of text on the box's various exterior surfaces. To be explicit, the book is a cigar box made in Cuba with it's final destination and transformation occurring in Canada.

"The seven object/books are text-less. Instead their contained leaves and seeds are signs of past and future growing seasons. Each one contains something different that can be identified by the sample found in the small glassine envelope attached to the “cigar” form by thread. In alphabetical order – but not representative of their placement in the box – there are: Basil leaves, Gideon’s Trumpet seeds, Hollyhox seeds, Marigold seeds, Mint leaves, Myrtle leaves and Scarlet Runner Bean seeds.

"In remembering what the box originally contained, I made my own “cigars” based on some of the plants I tended this past summer as a professional gardener working in the Ottawa region."

Deborah Margo was born in Montreal in 1961 and currently lives in Ottawa. She received an undergraduate Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal (1984), and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia (1990). Her work combines different disciplines including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and ephemeral installations persistently questioning the contextual identities of public and private spaces. In addition, she has experience as a curator, writer and, since 1999, has been teaching painting and sculpture at the University of Ottawa.