Tuesday, February 7, 2012

vsvsvs | Accidental Ashtray

vsvsvs is a collective studio and gallery project situated in the remote Port Lands of Toronto. The members, many of them recent graduates from Guelph University, include Stephen McLeod, Wallis Cheung, Miles Stemp, Jemma Egan, Laura Kreviazuk, Ryan Clayton, Anthony Cooper and James Gardner. Their website, here, suffers from some grant-speak ("...aims to build community and foster the creation…") that fails to represent the true vibrancy of their project, but the news section illustrates how much they've been able to accomplish in the twenty months since discovering the warehouse space on craigslist. Their front gallery space has hosted a variety of exhibitions by other artists, and they've recently began a residency program. It offers artists a small room to work in, access to their fully furnished wood shop, and an exhibition to mark the residency's end. I imagine the true benefit to visiting residents, though, would be the immersion in their inventive environment.

The 4000 square foot building is divided into studio&accommodation spaces for each, often masked by trap doors and false bookshelves, or on self-made second stories, accessible only by ladder. A recent piece on blogto marvels at how well the group get along, given that they must all share one small shower.

The gallery space keeps minimal hours, but they welcome drop-ins. I've shown up with friends a few times, more-or-less unannounced, and they've always accommodated us. If you visit, be sure to ask for a tour of the full space.

Art Metropole's annual Christmas sale featured the collective's Mystery Cans, in an edition of seven. At only twenty dollars each, I immediately regretted passing on these (I overspent on books), but artmetropole.com now lists a new work that captures the spirit of the group. Accidental Ashtrays are broken mugs and other ceramics repurposed as functional ashtrays. Each are unique and are also priced at only $20.00.

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