What Is VAO?

Visual Arts Ontario is a non-profit organization that addresses the interests of artists of all career levels, as well as arts organizations and the art-interested public. VAO provides a wide range of programs and services including workshops, self-help guides, and on-line training. Programs cover such topics as portfolio presentation, exhibition management, marketing strategies, and business skills for the small business operator.

FOUND FAUNA

Fauna, in Roman mythology, is a fertility and earth goddess. It is also the Roman god Faunus, and the related forest spirits called Fauns. In the exhibition “Found Fauna”, it is the collection of unheard-of species created by the artist: human with bird’s head, bird with human hand and the face of a man with tentacles sprouting out from his nostrils.

It may be relevant to compare Erik Jerezano’s drawings to the sumi-e paintings from the viewpoint of the tools he uses: ink, pen and brush. While the majority of sumi-e paintings denote their subject matters in real, but more poetically stances, Jerezano’s work has never had that Neutrality that many sumi-e paintings have. In fact his work possesses the kind of wildness and edginess that most sumi-e painters would refrain from.

Since the beginning, Erik Jerezano’s world is freaky, but fresh. The viewers could not take their eyes off the work because it is the Neverland where the most weirdest things can happen. “There is nothing to support a cry of protestation, for the distance between reality and Erik Jerezano’s world is too far apart. Therefore, he can twist and turn his characters; put them into wicked relationships with each other and it all comes back to invention.” wrote Julie Oakes, one of the artist’s advocates.

Erik Jerezano was born in Mexico City in 1973. He is a self-taught artist who arrived to Toronto in 2001. Since then he has exhibited his work in numerous galleries. In 2005, he was awarded a Toronto Arts Council Emerging Artist grant and his work was selected by the Drawing Center Viewing program in New York.

In the past, he was involved in community arts projects in Mexico City, where he collaborated on outdoor murals. In 2004, he and two other artists created Z’otz* Collective (Nahum Flores, Erik Jerezano, Ilyana Martinez). The artists meet weekly to collaborate on multi-media works that include drawing, painting, collage, portable sculpture and the written word.

Featured

School For Young Shamans

University of Toronto artist-in-residence AA Bronson has worked alone since his partners in General Idea both died of AIDS in the 1990s. But he is never really alone. As an artist, mentor, and healer, he remains a collaborator. Performance has been his primary medium since the 1990s, specifically as a self-described healer: a role that involves both playacting – attuned to the “sham” in shaman – and real laying on of hands. For his recent exhibition in New York, he collaborated with artists of various generations to produce AA Bronson’s School for Young Shamans.

AA BRONSON performing Butt Massage Demonstration May 12, 2004, showing the installation AA BRONSON*BUTT SPA, 2004. The performance was formatted as a “demonstration” of the artist’s infamous Butt Massage, but included texts relating to the body and trauma, the artist’s experience during five weeks in bed from a herniated disc, various reflections on healing and being healed, and the anus as a site of shame.