Still from eighteen years and 57 seconds, a time-lapse animation about Sammy Yatim (2016)


I became an artist on May 1, 1969, the day I turned five. Like most birthdays (if you’re lucky, and I was), there was a sparkling specialness to everything. My mother was preparing the flower garden as I sat close by on the cool flagstone walkway that wove through a lilac grove.

I cannot recall that day without my mouth filling with the taste of lilacs, lilies of the valley and fertile earth. Such hopeful flavours.

We lived in a politely understated old Anglophone neighbourhood of Montreal-the single family, self-contained homes bordered on either side by absurdly delicate wire fences.  As I slowly dissected lilies and lilacs between my fingers, I watched my mother chat with the neighbour.  Just over the winter, my consciousness had expanded to include this older stout woman on the other side of the fence. She smelled of bread, warm honey and wool.

They were like bookends, the women, our neighbour as apparently settled into life as my mother was emerging---a fresh-faced hippy, optimistically jumping into adulthood with a brood of children and gardens equally bursting with life.

Trowel in hand, Mrs. Lipschitz pushed up her cardigan sleeve and dug deep into the soil. I caught a glimpse and instinctively looked away, embarrassed confused  and terrified. Later that night, after the birthday treats and candles, I asked my mother about what I had seen on Mrs. Lipschitz’s arm and, while inhaling the lingering scent of cake and spring on my fingers, I learned about the Holocaust.

Since that day, I have tried to make sense of the inextricable bond between life’s simple yet exquisite beauty and horrific tragedies and acts of evil. Of course there is no sense to be made. These are riddles without solutions.

The ongoing contemplation of these mysteries led directly to me becoming an artist.  When learning abstract concept in math, we use “manipulatives”; items that physicalize the conceptual. My manipulatives are the narrative structures that support enigmatic contemplation. At times, Little Red Riding Hood, Barbie and Ken have been cast as the key protagonists in my exploration of the collision of sexuality, spiritual faith and gallows humour. At others, I’ve employed pop-cultural motifs and historic design motifs to evoke era and social context while contemplating the nature of identity, family and loss. More recently, I’ve focused on portrait studies of individuals whose life narrative has buried them in tragedy while paradoxically revealing immeasurable compassion, dignity, and strength.

 My goal is not to unravel these inscrutable truths, but rather to deepen my connection to them and, through my art practice, my connection to others.




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1989/1993    BFA/MFA York University, Toronto, Ontario

1984-1986    University of Toronto, Toronto School of Art, Toronto, Ontario

1983             Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island

Selected Exhibitions

2018    DRAWING 2018/2017, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto

2017    Universal Loss, Gallery 101, Ottawa (Animation Premier)

2016    somebody’s baby, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto (solo/catalogue)

2014    Second Time Around, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto

2012    Paradise Now 1982-2012, Zweigstelle Gallery, Berlin

2010    Warm Ice, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough

            Slipstream, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto

2009    Time and Again, (solo) Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto

2008    The Tales We Tell, Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto

2006    Drawing 2006, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto

             Miami Art Fair, Palm Beach Art Fair, Ashley Gallery, Philadelphia

2005    I laughed so hard I cried, (solo) Rodman Hall, Brock University St. Catherines

             Ghost Stories, (solo) Art Gallery of Cambridge, Preston

2004    Stitch, Robischon Gallery, Denver, Colorado

             Cabinet of Curiosities, Cabinet, Toronto

2003    Stories without words, Rockefeller Arts Center, Fredonia, New York

             Art @ Suite 500, York University Alumni Exhibition, Toronto

             Dislocation, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto

2002    Thin Edge: Contemporary Canadian Drawing, (solo) Gallery Stratford

             echo, (solo) Saw Gallery, Ottawa

             Moving Pictures, Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto

             Wild Life, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

2001    Flotilla, (solo) V. MacDonnell Gallery, Toronto

             The Spirit of Ontario, Ontario Legislature Building, Toronto

    , Cyber Exhibition

2000    Some of the parts, Agnes Etherington (solo) Queens University, Kingston

              Picturesque, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

 1999    It, and all the rest of it (solo) Mercer Union, Toronto

             Trans- (two-person) Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto

 1998    Anatomical Permutations, Museo del Pueblo, Guanajuato, Mexico

             25, King Street West, Toronto

             Graphic Knowledge, Women's Art Resource Centre, Toronto

              The Edge of Everything, Koffler Centre, Loggia Gallery, Toronto

               Dreadsville, Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon

               Within the world without (solo) Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal

   1997    there, here and there (solo) Tableau Vivant, Toronto

   1996    Duke u menta '96, Duke of Connaught Tavern, Toronto

               BEYOND: AKA Artist-run Centre, Saskatoon (Touring)

   1995    Shadow of Doubt, Paul Petro, 100 Yonge Street, Toronto

               JUICY FRUIT, Koffler Centre, Toronto (Catalogue)

   1994    Duke u menta '94, Duke of Connaught Tavern, Toronto (Catalogue)

               Young Contemporaries 1994, Lake Galleries, Toronto

               Dreaming of You, Garnet Press Gallery, Toronto

   1993    Facing the Nineties, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

               London Life Young Contemporaries '93, London Regional Art and Historical Museums, London, Ontario (Touring Nationally, Catalogue)

               Excerpts from the Life and Times of Little Red Riding Hood (solo) MFA  thesis exhibition, Art Gallery of York University

Honours and Awards

2005/2010    Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Grant,

                      Framework Foundation Purchase

2002             Toronto Arts Council Mid-Career Grant,

                      Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Grant

2001              Canada Council Mid-Career Grant, 

                      Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant

2000             Ontario Arts Council $5,000 Grant

1999              Toronto Arts Council Grant

1998              Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant

1997              Canada Council Emerging Artists' Grant

                      Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant

                      Ontario Arts Council $3,000 Grant

                      Ontario Arts Council First Film and Video Grant

1996              Ontario Arts Council $3,000 Grant

1995              Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant

                       Ontario Arts Council $3,000 Grant

1994               Special Project Grant, Ontario Arts Council, for Duke-u-menta (23rd Room)

                       Exhibition Assistance Grant, Canada Council,  Duke-u-menta (23rd Room)

1992-1993      Ontario Graduate Scholarship

1991                York University Scholarship, York University Graduate Assistantship

                        Interim Cultural Grant, Toronto Arts Council, for 7 rooms ... (23rd Room)

1988               Jack Bush and YUFA Foundation Scholarships, York University

                       C.B. Cragg Prize for Excellence in Science, York University

1987               Jack Bush Scholarship, York University

Teaching/Guest Artist

2008-2016     Course Director: Interpretive Drawing, Sculpture, Project X Sheridan College

2010-present Fulltime Professor, Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, Sheridan College

2006-2008     Course Director: Drawing, Visual Strategies University of Toronto

2005            Instructional Drawing DVD produced, Firebrand Interactive,  Art appreciation lessons developed, Lives of the Artists Series, HBO

1995-2010    Course Director: Advanced Life Drawing, Intermediate Drawing, Fundamental Drawing, Toronto School of Art, Course Director: Drawing, Koffler Centre, Toronto

                     Course Director: Drawing Principles, Ontario College of Art and Design Course Director: Drawing, AGO, Toronto. Visiting Artist: Dundas Valley School of Art, York University,                         Queens University, University of Waterloo, State University of New York, Fredonia

2000            MFA  Advisor, Norwich University, Vermont, Course Director: Perspective Drawing, OCAD 1996-1997  Program Coordinator: Toronto School of Art

1996-1999    Independent Studio Programme Committee, Student mentor, Toronto School of Art

1995-1996    Instructor: Sketching, Royal Ontario Museum, Visiting Artist: Sheridan College, Department of Art and Art History

1994             Course Director: Foundation Drawing, Ontario College of Art

1992-1995   Studio Instructor: Drawing, York University, Toronto, Tutorial Leader: Critical Issues in the Studio, Toronto School of Art