Join us for the Festival welcome reception at the opening of Elaine Whittaker’s Cc: me. Meet Elaine and enjoy readings by her chosen poets at the Red Head Gallery on Thursday May 24th @ 7:30pm.
Cc: me is an installation of drawings, live bacteria, poetry, and sound by artist Elaine Whittaker. It is based on the content of a collection of facsimile thermal transfer carbon rolls, technological remnants of the rapidly disappearing world of the fax, collected at the Toronto Environmental Alliance over a ten-year period. The pieces contain the imprint of past faxes that included both campaign, political—and now historical—documents of the organization, and a plethora of unwanted commercial advertisements. For Cc: me Whittaker reuses the rolls as drawing material and montage, and as the base for the Bioart installations. A copy of the transfers traces and fragments onto prepared wax boards, sheets of mylar, and inserted into petri dishes cultured with Halobacterium sp. NRC-1. Sketched in the form of human figures, the artworks become shadowy iterations of the body, conveying images of mutable histories, degraded texts and transformative ecology. Several pieces are interpreted by four established local poets, transformed into evocative expressions of wit, longing, memory, hardship and life – installations of word and object. The carbon copy of yesterday becomes the transfigured art of today.
Elaine Whittaker is a Toronto-based artist, creating mixed media sculpture and installations that intersect art, science, medicine, and the environment. Her transdisciplinary art has been exhibited in solo and group shows examining water, blood, biotechnology, the genome, AIDS, cloning, climate change and infectious disease. Her mixed media installations incorporate diverse materials: from wax, paint, sound work, and photo-based imagery, to wire, mosquitoes, salt crystals, and live microorganisms. They have also been featured in literary and medical periodicals, at a dance and science festival, at a convention of medical and health practitioners, and been the inspiration for ekphrastic poetry and sound works. Her recent installation, (in)trepid cultures, examined the paradoxical beauty and fear we have of microorganisms. On display were live bacteria in various stages of growth coupled with microscopic images.
Whittaker has exhibited in galleries nationally and internationally, and received awards and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. She has been an invited participant in international residencies, a speaker at a conference on public health, and participated in workshops on biology and art. Her work is included in a number of private and corporate collections. She holds a BFA in Visual Art from York University, Toronto, a Fine Arts diploma from the Toronto School of Art, and a BA in Anthropology from Carleton University, Ottawa. She is represented by the Red Head Gallery in Toronto.