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2012-2013 Bread and Butter

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto present:

Winter Vista by Iain Baxter&    Bread and Butter

     13 September 2012 -- 15 May 2013

     Curated by Sandy Saad in collaboration with Barbara Fischer

     Opening Reception: Thursday 13 September, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

     Location: Jackman Humanities Institute, 170 St. George Street, 10th Floor

     Public Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

     Image: Courtesy of Corkin Gallery

Iain Baxter&

photographic print of Still Life with Winter Vista, 1996 cibachrome print, light box, 41.3 x 58.3 cm


Every year, the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto invites scholars to respond to an annual theme.  The exhibition Bread and Butter responds to the Institute's  2012-2013 theme on the subject of Food.  Produced in collaboration with the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the exhibition brings together a selection of artists' works that address the complex relationships between labour, food production, and the global economy in contemporary culture.  If people once secured food through hunting and gathering, and later through farming and agricultural enterprise, today most of the food energy consumed by the world population is produced and supplied by food industries which are operated by multinational corporations that apply intensive farming and industrial agriculture toward maximum system output and profit.

The artists in this exhibition draw attention to the increasingly alienated ways in which food is processed and consumed. Some have devoted their careers to researching the economy of food and the impacts of contemporary industrialized food systems. Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge's photographs present an eloquent account of the harsh experiences of migrant farmers in Ontario.  Cole Swanson's miniature paintings depict roadside emblems that identify regional communities by agricultural and natural resources.  Ron Benner's installation offers a visual account of the artist's extensive investigation into the root origin of corn, finding its migration inextricably bound with colonialism and imperialism. Iain Baxter&'s singular image highlights the year-round, global availability of exotic foods, and Christian Jankowski's video suggests that hunting and gathering has migrated from the wild to bargain hunting in the supermarket.  Concerned with seed circulation and farming methods, local community and globalization, each artist in the exhibition provides a unique and critical perspective on essential elements of modern food systems.

List of Works

  • Iain Baxter&, photographic print of Still Life with Winter Vista, 1996 cibachrome print, light box, 41.3 x 58.3 cm, image courtesy of the Corkin Gallery.
  • Ron Benner, Transend: Meeting Room, 2012, installation including dried corn, fruit, flowers, photographs, books, cardboard boxes and various media.
  • Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge, Salt of the Earth, 2008, four Lambda prints mounted on sintra, 109.2 x 36.5 cm.
  • Christian Jankowski, The Hunt, 1992/1997 Single-channel video betacam SP (Master) with DVD viewing copy, 1:11 minutes, colour with sound. Edition 2 of 5, courtesy of Studio Christian Jankowski.
  • Cole Swanson
    • Roadside Monument: Portage La Prairie (JR Simplot Potato Processing Plant), 2011, opaque watercolour on wasli, 8.9 x 15.2 cm.
    • Roadside Monument: Guelph (Fistulated Cow), 2011, opaque watercolour on wasli, 10.2 x 15.2 cm.
    • Roadside Monument: Burnaby (Snakehead Fish), 2012, opaque watercolour on wasli, 10.2 x 15.2 cm.

Jackman Humanities Institute 2012--2013 Theme: Food

Food is a basic human need. It shapes desires and yields many kinds of enjoyment. The humanities explore food from diverse perspectives seeing it both as an object produced and consumed and also as the means and symbol of our human relations. The diversity of what we eat (and don’t eat) and of how food is produced and shared shapes cultures, communities, nations, and empires. Refracted through literature, religion, and art, food is a central lens for exploring human history and the patterns of our interaction. Hunger, as an index of poverty and of environmental disaster, provides a reversed lens with which we can explore justice and ethics. How humans get what they eat, from near and far, is basic to ways of inhabiting places on the earth and relating to other species. From hunter-gatherers to communal gardens, feudal farming to agribusiness, food and the systems that provide it are matched by a diversity of the tables at which we eat--food for celebration, sustenance, display, competition, joy and sorrow.

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