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Ripley Whiteside
Aquariums of Toronto
December 3- 24, 2016 | 3 – 24 décembre 

Opening event Saturday December 3rd from 2 pm to 5:30 pm  | Artist in attendance
Vernissage le samedi 3 décembre de 14h à 17h30 en présence de l’artiste

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain
Centre Space
65 George Street
Toronto, ON M5A 4L8

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present Aquariums of Toronto an exhibition of new works by Ripley Whiteside on display at Centre Space from December 3 – 24, 2016.

At first glance, Whiteside’s suite of large and medium-sized drawings appear as menageries of colourful and exotic aquatic species. In Spadina (2016), for instance, a lithe and green-coloured American eel descends diagonally through the water towards its unsuspecting prey – one of several Siamese fighting fish that occupy the same glass enclosure.

Like all of the works in this exhibition however, Whiteside’s juxtaposition of rare, beautiful and foreign underwater species now found in the Greater Toronto Area is informed by a deeper investigation of the ecological consequences of both aquacultural development and our need for spectacle.

As a rapidly expanding global city, Toronto has experienced growth that has been costly to biodiversity. Loss of habitat, pollution, overfishing and other environmental problems that accompany development have significantly impacted ecosystems of Lake Ontario and other local waterways. […] A stroll through downtown Toronto reveals a condensed form of the dislocation of aquatic life: the aquarium. This ubiquitous form of display appears in various guises – decorations for dentists’ offices or hotel lobbies, commodity presentations at pet stores of fishmongers, or entertainment and education at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. In the logic of the aquarium, the plants’ and animals’ state of displacement is overcome in their aestheticization […]. – Ripley Whiteside (full text click here)

Originally from North Carolina, Ripley Whiteside is a Montreal-based visual artist. He graduated with a BFA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2008, and earned a MFA from the State University of New York-Buffalo in 2012. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and Canada, and is the recipient of various grants and residencies.

The Gallery thanks SODEC for its support.

Please visit the gallery website for more information and detailed images of the works presented.

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, 963 Rachel est, Montréal, Québec H2J 2J4 Canada

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