Far Off Kin
Far Off Kin, a solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Celeste Toogood, ran in the Open Studio Gallery from February 5 – 28, 2009. Toogood’s mixed media prints reveal images of isolated and uninhabited landscapes— images which guide the viewer through a “negotiation of the natural in an age in which nothing goes untouched and in which we approach the idea of nature with a degree of apprehension,” as Toronto-based writer Malcolm Sutton points out in the accompanying essay.
Seeking knowledge about plants and ecological systems, Toogood’s work aspires to renew the relationship that humans have with their natural environment and investigates the meaning of representing the natural world. Developing out of a previous body of work depicting the effects of human intervention on the lives of animals, this new series focuses on the spaces inhabited or formerly inhabited by animals. Far Off Kin—implying a separation in time, a distance from an ancient connection to that which is familiar, and an observation on how the inhabitants have affected the navigational course of the earth—presents a viewpoint of the Canadian landscape at a time of redefinition and massive environmental change.
Toogood has exhibited extensively in group exhibitions in Canada and internationally; this is her first solo exhibition in Toronto. As essay writer Sutton points out, even as we are taken by the beauty of Toogood’s prints, we are also pressed to confront our conception of nature which is at stake in them.
Celeste Toogood is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Upon graduating, Celeste returned to Toronto and continues her practice of silkscreening, drawing and making sculptures. Using colour and texture in her work, she investigates the meaning of representing the “natural” world. Celeste generates her imagery, and finds inspiration while hiking, snowshoeing and canoeing in Canada’s wilderness. Seeking knowledge about plants and ecological systems, she aspires to renew the relationship that humans have with their natural environment. Celeste’s work has been shown in Tokyo, the U.K., Netherlands, Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and Toronto in various group shows. This is her first solo show in Toronto.
Malcolm Sutton is an editor and writer living in Toronto. He has studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Concordia University and the University of Ottawa, and is presently writing his PhD dissertation on the fiction of Robert Coover and Gilbert Sorrentino. Other ongoing writing projects include “1001 Xanadus,” a collaborative work with artist François Lemieux.