Sunday, 12 May 2013

Paola Poletto

John McKenzie House - Ontario Historical Society


This year is the 100th anniversary of the John McKenzie House, a large three-storey structure on property deeded to Joseph Cummer in 1801. Early on, a portion of the property was sold to Philip McKenzie, an English immigrant trained as a carpenter and casket maker. He ran a farm that was eventually taken over by his son, John. In1812, John McKenzie subdivided the farm and registered the "Empress Subdivision". One hundred years ago, the surrounding area thus embarked on a transformation from a rural village to a suburban community. 

The house today is the headquarters of the Ontario Historical Society. The grounds host a marvelous community garden that lends a visible presence of the area's agrarian heritage. Of particular acclaim is Willowdale's nitrogen rich soil, which gives roses a brighter hue. 

work in progress for installation

a hundred times: the excesses of daily living memorializes the daily refuse of take out food and grocery store purchases that accumulate as plastic containers in my family's blue and green recycling boxes. The collection boxes are painted over gallery white; containers for art. Covered with rose petals, these empty, locally sourced food containers and drink bottles assume a false sense of weightiness, accomplishment and craftiness. 

This installation is located on the porch of the John McKenzie House. Visit any time between July 2- August 26, 2013.

Ontario Historical Society
34 Parkview Avenue, North York

Thanks to the Ontario Historical Society for hosting this installation.


Paola Poletto is an artist, writer and arts administrator. She is artist coordinator of Oh Dear (2013), Tel-talk (Tightrope Books, 2012) Boredom Fighters! (Tightrope Books, 2008), Ourtopias: Cities and the Role of Design (Riverside Architectural Press, 2008); and co-founder/editor of a lit-art zine called Kiss Machine (2000-5), which included a girls and guns issue with traveling exhibition to artist run centres in Ontario, followed by a tour through Eastern Europe. In 2009, Paola was guest curator of fashion no-no, an show that intersected design, craft and new technologies (Queens Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre), and from 2000-8 was director of digifest, an annual new media festival produced by Design Exchange in collaboration with Ontario Science Centre and Harbourfront Centre. Paola's work involves a lot of people with a whole bunch of viewpoints, much like the Surrealists did, and the occasional solitary retreat into cheap aesthetics and craft-based objects. Her latest object making endeavor is StudioPeePee. It operates out of North York and has largely inspired the Oh Dear project.

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