2019 - August 2022 Programming

Through a Glass Lightly
WIAprojects @ 1313, Window Box Gallery

Artists’ perspectives as persons with disabilities inform a vision of the world which can be unique - personally, visually, politically... The series exhibition, Through a Glass Lightly induces the Window Box Gallery to act as a looking glass site that reflects back to the viewer changing images of the world - the seasons and times of day/night play over the window surface altering the images within. This exhibit invites others to see not only slightly askew but anew! To see our "acts" as creative offerings. 

ARTISTS include:
Tegan L Smith
Natalie Piper
Tari Ito
Elaine Stewart
Churla Mitchell
Josephine Guan

where water lived
Tegan L Smith
October Window Box Exhibit
Opens Oct 22, 2019 - Nov 30, 2019

Fragments from past work are framed by this map from a 2012 showcase project about the fluctuating Lake Ontario shoreline. It forms part of Floodgates, a project which started over 20 years with memories of dam floodwaters flowing through bushes and living in Toronto near the post-Ice Age Iroquois Lake shoreline. Struggles to reclaim material for art, while industrial economies careen through environmental crises, is evident in past sculptures and an online project, Tender Loving Stuff. Following 2015 radiation and chemotherapy, bouts of fatigue underscored the energy toll that neurological differences have always exacted. Water health and this showcase series theme of women aging with disabilities determined the choice to include nuclear medicine and power.


Tegan L Smith’s current work began with dyslexic measuring quirks and widened to the metric system, world measuring projects and unusual navigation methods. She studied at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and has an MFA from York University, Toronto. She has exhibited work in Canada as well as Italy, the USA and Japan. Recently she participated in her first artist residencies abroad in Scotland and Spain.

Thank you
Philip Dyke, Eduardo Padilla and Michelle Johnson
Pam Patterson, Leena Raudvee and Gallery 1313 for organizing this window box series

CCA Visual Arts

Davenport Road, c.10,000 BCE, Roadside Attractions window, mixed media on Lexan, blue fabric and reflections, 2012, DETAIL

by Natalie Piper
Opening Dec 4, 2019 
WIA@1313 in Window Box Gallery, 
Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto.

This wood mounted digital print is from a mixed media collage that I recently created showing the circulation system of the human body divided into 3 parts.
Born with a congenital heart defect meant several major surgeries were needed throughout my life; I look to examine how times of trauma especially in childhood can alter an individual. At age 12, I was given Hep C through a blood transfusion. Surgery has changed me physically for both better and worse, and mentally I had to come to understand that my body would never just be mine, it has been opened and changed by others and will always need intervention. My relationship with my own physical form is part fear, part awe and pride and dislike. I am very scarred, and each scar tells of an instance I would have to re-think my physical being. Each trauma forced change in my understanding of what it is to be able bodied.

Natalie Piper graduated from the Ontario College of Art and was instrumental, as committee member, in assisting its shift to a university. She also holds a master’s degree in Printmaking from Maidstone, Kent and taught for years at the institution in printmaking, bookbinding and life drawing. Natalie was the first woman digital illustrator for Getty Images in Camden, London and went on to start her own company Art Division, a web and graphic design company in Wimbledon, UK. As a visual artist, she creates in digital new media and, after years of a successful design career in the UK, she has returned to Canada and to developing her art practice. She continues to work as a graphic designer in Inkfly, her own Canadian company.

Tari Ito
Video/Installation: Before the 37 Trillion Pieces Get to Sleep
Opening Feb  4, 2020  - Sept. 2020
WIA@1313 in Window Box Gallery, 
Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Tari Ito was a feminist performance artist who lived in Tokyo, Japan. Seven years ago, Ito was initially diagnosed in 2014 with a neurologic disease called SMA. But in October 2019, it was announced that, as a result of genetic testing, she had ALS. The disease initially progressed rapidly and as a result, she became confined to a wheelchair. Ito had to necessarily review the creative expectations she had of her own body. After a four year break from performance, Ito took part in LIVE Performance Art Biennale 2019 with the North American premiere of Before the 37 Trillion Pieces Get to Sleep, a new project which addressed the crucial reality, and the inhabitants fear, of the “invisible” presence of residual radiation in Fukushima following the March 11, 2011 nuclear disaster. This 2019 performance marked Ito’s return to the Western Front three decades after her first performance in 1990. The Window Box Gallery exhibit marked a similar span of time as she returned likewise to Toronto with this exhibit/video. This was her last exhibit in North America. We mourn her recent death and express our gratitude for having had her with us. She was a powerful feminist and artist.

Elaine Stewart
My dirty laundry…
Sept 15, 2020 - Oct. 15 2021
WIA@1313 in Window Box Gallery, 
Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto.Window Box Gallery

My dirty laundry…
My dirty laundry, as installation, reflects on two of my most appalling experiences with the medical-industrial pharmaceutical complex. It is an ambivalent response as the system that rescued me is the same system that undid me.
The psychiatric drugs that I fought against taking to halt my postpartum depression-induced a psychotic break. My resultant suicide attempt, as a result of this break, left me with one functional limb and a wheelchair. I continue to consume psychiatric drugs; I have not been able to roll away from them. They continue to interrupt my thinking and functioning and making processes.

Elaine Stewart immigrated to Canada from Scotland at a very early age and has worked with threads and fabrics for much of her life. Her family history is bounded by textiles. When older, she started at the Toronto School of Art and began to incorporate textiles, threads, and found materials into her practise. She focusses on both movement- and mind-structured-by-disability supports in two- and three-dimensional installations.
Elaine appreciates the textures that textiles provide, whether it be rags wrapped in wire, muslin ripped, torn and dyed a multitude of colours, or thick and thin threads; they add an organic, emotional edge to her work.
She has participated in Present Tense, Inclusive Arts London, Bridging Forward Accessible Arts Festival, and showed her work online for The Gynocratic Art Gallery. She also participated in Project Creative Users at Artscape Youngplace during Nuit Blanche and Community Creates Change at Wychwood Barns Gallery.
Elaine Lives in Toronto.

Breaching Nirvana
Churla Mitchell
Opening and Performance: Nov 13, 2021.
Exhibit runs from Nov. 13, 2021 - Dec. 30, 2021.
WIA@1313 in Window Box Gallery, 
Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Photos courtesy of  Churla Mitchell

This piece grew out of a need to come to terms with a traumatic period in my life. I was entangled in a relationship with someone who was badly addicted to crack cocaine. By the time I discovered this, it was extremely difficult to disentangle myself from the relationship and it took a lot of willpower and strength to finally end it permanently. In Breaching Nirvana, I convey the feeling of freedom that I finally achieved.

Churla Mitchell is a multi- media, bi-polar performance and visual artist and maker of things. She studied painting and sculpture at The Alberta College of Art and Fashion Design at George Brown College. Her medium use includes watercolour, indigo and other natural dyes, wax encaustic, embroidery, knitting, crystals, oil paint and plant matter. She grew up under the influence of the Northern Lights in Alberta and moved east at the age of nineteen to follow her artistic dreams. She reads Runes as a divination method for personal spiritual growth and has a crystal practice as well as being an avid gardener.

Artists@Work: Bodies of Labour
ARTIFACTS (Pam Patterson & Leena Raudvee)
Window Box Gallery @ Gallery 1313
1313 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

Feb 17 – April 30, 2022
Photo-ground by Miklos Legrady from video by Hri Neil
 of ARTIFACTS in performance.

Photos by Clement Kent

ARTIFACTS (Pam Patterson & Leena Raudvee) continue with their series Artists@Work within the context of, and by foregrounding the practices of, disability artists. The layering of time, histories, bodies, and conversations become significant here.  Decades of collaboration and the assistance of others are significant: Natalie Piper designed the “work” logo, Hri Neil made a video of ARTIFACTS in performance, and Miklos Legrady captured multiple stills from this video to create a complex photo-ground. The intent here in Bodies of Labour is to repurpose all this collective effort as legitimate labour.  

Objects representative of ARTIFACTS’ tasks, installed in front of the ground, provide placeholders for the bodies of Raudvee and Patterson. The objects become figures central to, rather than illustrative of or adjunct to, the narrative. The objects hung seemingly “straight”, perform askew, counter to the norm: the broomstick becomes a support aid, the dustpan refuses to hold that which it collects…  and in doing so the installation explicitly references so much about Patterson & Raudvee's resilience as disability artists.

Thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support for the work of disability artists.

The Artist is Napping
Josephine Guan

Window Box Gallery @ Gallery 1313
1313 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON
June 1 - Sept. 2022

Josephine Guan is a Chinese-Canadian artist and researcher. She is interested in cultural understandings of health and disability and knowledge that stems from lived experience. She has recently extended that practice into documenting the lived experience of others through different modes of storytelling for awareness and change. Her work often takes form as multi-media and assemblage.

 Her recent master’s research project is an exploration into the recovery process for acquired brain injury survivors as told through postcard drawings. She is a recent graduate of the Inclusive Design master's program at OCAD University and is working as a research assistant in the Department of Aging, Health, and Society at McMaster University.

Exhibit Statement

My brain is sometimes leaky – sometimes foggy. That means constantly negotiating how much I do in a day. I survived my way through grad school propped up by the central premise of Tricia Hersey’s The Nap Ministry: that rest is a tool for liberation and healing. I resist the urge to perform busyness and resist testing the limits of my body by napping. I ask for a collective slowing down so that I can keep up on things that matter.

This piece is part of a master’s research project investigating the lived experience of acquired brain injury.

Artists' Book & Research Paper: https://drawingfromexperience.cargo.site/ 

OCAD University also wrote a piece about the project: https://www.ocadu.ca/news/ocad-u-researcher-explores-drawing-way-process-change-after-brain-injury

Culminating Event: Presented by WIA@1313 & Tangled Arts & Disability

Image from Traveling by Pam Patterson

We CAN Workshop: A Disability Arts Pandemic Debrief

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 7-8.30PM ZOOM

Presenters: Josephine Guan, ARTIFACTS (Pam Patterson & Leena Raudvee) and Sean Lee (Tangled Arts & Disability).

Petra Kuppers (2022) in Eco Soma writes…

The year 2020 marked the start of the global corona virus pandemic… [P]ractitioners found themselves shifting ground in viral times… (5) I… love my instability, to be in ocean waves, on uneven forest ground…  I aim to get myself into encounter zones where I feel difference close up, skin to skin, where a lack of balance is an aesthetic strategy. In the pauses when I rest, I have enough time to contemplate the implications and to witness the world… (4)

Many of us in the disability arts community have been unbalanced by this pandemic. This has generated moments where we have felt fragile, uncertain, and vulnerable. Spaces have opened – and closed. In alluding to Kupper’s ocean wave imaginings, the tide now recedes, and we are, individually and collectively, presented with a time to debrief and witness how we now present (in) our diverse worlds.

We invite this complex creative disability arts community to come and workshop with us as we “contemplate the implications” of this (almost) post-pandemic time.

Key considerations come to mind:

What have been the individual and collective losses and gains from this global pandemic? What are the potentials/realities here? How has/will this time affect our ideas, images, and strategies for practice? How (well) can we now access each other and “gallery”? How will we maintain our agency and potency as a community - be felt close up, skin to skin - as we persist in unbalancing, and challenging the limitations of, an abled world.

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