Always Already Alison Kobayashi, Ryan Park, Roula Partheniou, Jon Sasaki and Joshua Thorpe

June 14 - August 2, 2015

Curated by Julia Abraham

Photos courtesy of the artists and the Blackwood Gallery
Special Events

Opening Reception
Sunday, June 14, 1 – 3PM
A FREE shuttle bus will depart from Mercer Union (1286 Bloor Street W) at 12:30pm and return for 3:30pm. Artists will be present.

ARTBus Tour
Sunday, June 21, 12 – 5pm
The tour starts at the Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould St, Toronto) 12noon and then departs for Blackwood Gallery and Oakville Galleries. A $10 donation includes afternoon refreshments by the Trafalgar Brewing Company and Whole Foods Market, Oakville. Seating is limited. To RSVP contact or call 905-844-4402 ext. 24 by Friday, June 19 at 4pm.

Exhibition Statement

In 2013 the Blackwood Gallery began a new acquisitions programme after a 13-year moratorium.
The acquisitions draw on two facets of the gallery’s history. First, its initial collecting programme from 1969-1996 that amassed a collection of prints by Canadian artists. Second, the recent Blackwood exhibition programme which supports young Canadian contemporary artists, especially those with strong conceptual and performative practices. Keeping in mind these two lineages, the gallery’s new collecting priorities are focused on artist’s editions and non-object based art from Canadian contemporary artists. Always Already presents the Blackwood Gallery’s ten recent acquisitions of work by Alison Kobayashi, Ryan Park, Roula Partheniou, Jon Sasaki and Joshua Thorpe.  

The exhibition highlights the character of this new collection as one that functions in a continuum of potential prospects and imminent iterations. Each of the artists has been included in previous programmes at the Blackwood Gallery, all of which were compound presentations curated by Christof Migone: Fall In (2009) followed Fall Out (2009), The Projects: Port Credit (2009) followed The Projects: Port Credit (2010), WOOD TWO (2012) followed WOOD (2011).  Always Already refers to each of these exhibitions, all the while collapsing the history of the gallery, its curatorial experiments and creative leadership, with future stratospheres of rolling rehearsals, arrangements, and formats. Here, the artworks crystallize in a [somewhat] material form.

Surfacing between multiple points of manifestation, this exhibition is the articulation of just one moment, one example:

A poem feasts the wall.
Take a postcard, pass it on.
Two bananas: watch your step.
One fall, ten falls, how many will follow?
A looping cube and a pulsing landscape.
Graphited silence spills over a monochrome.
A crate holds everything, withholds nothing.
Voices layer and connect points, between you and me.


For more information on our permanent collection and recent acquisition, please click here.


Ryan Park

Ryan Park, Untitled (4’33”), 2006, book with graphite. Courtesy of the artist.

Ryan Park’s interdisciplinary practice results in videos, photographs, and manipulations of found materials that suggest presences and absences, urges and constraints. Themes of time, distances, and the body expressed through the material of everyday life produce works that oscillate between serious and playful, clinical and poetic. His work has been exhibited across Canada, in the United States, and in Europe. He received an MFA from the University of Guelph and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Park lives and works in Toronto.


Alison S.M. Kobayashi

Alison S. M. Kobayashi, Pal Superette 7 to 11 Sign in Savannah, Georgia, 2014,
watercolour on postcard. Courtesy of the artist.

Alison S. M. Kobayashi is an artist working in video, performance, installation, and drawing. She was born in Mississauga, where she received a BA from the University of Toronto. She now lives in Brooklyn where she is the Special Projects Director at UnionDocs, a Center for Documentary Art. In her work, Kobayashi performs a variety of characters that are both studiously and playfully rendered. These personas are inspired by Kobayashi’s extensive collection of lost, discarded, and donated objects, ranging from answering machine tapes purchased at a secondhand shop, to a love letter left on a sidewalk. Through repeated interaction with the objects (listening, transcribing, re-enacting, playing) narratives and imagery begin to manifest themselves and inspire performances, videos, installations, and drawings. The results are humorous, low-fi artifacts of an artist embodying the lives of others. Kobayashi’s short videos have been exhibited and screened widely in Canada, the United States, and overseas. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar, and her body of work was a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival, Indonesia. In 2012, she was commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, France, to produce her first live performance, Defense Mechanism. She is currently developing her second live performance.


Joshua Thorpe

Joshua Thorpe, Blackbirds, 2014, digital file of text. Photograph by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Joshua Thorpe is an artist and writer living in Toronto. He has a Master’s in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto, and he teaches and consults on writing and rhetoric, in both academic and private contexts. He is the author of Dan Graham Pavilions: A Guide (Art Metropole), as well as several other published works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Recent and/or upcoming exhibitions of Thorpe’s paintings, drawings, prints, and installations include group and solo shows at Diaz Contemporary (Toronto); CSA Space (Vancouver); 3A Gallery (New York); Museo Napoleonico (Rome); and Open City (Lublin, Poland).


Roula Partheniou

Roula Partheniou, Caution Yellow, 2014, fimo and acrylic paint Photograph by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Roula Partheniou’s practice explores the replica and how the remaking of a familiar object can shift our perception and perspective. Her projects take the form of sculptural installations that make use of material puns, context, colour cues, and various degrees of trompe l'oeil to deconstruct the familiar and trigger a reconsideration of common forms. Her work questions how we see and read objects and challenges the viewer to negotiate between the perceived and the actual. She has exhibited throughout Canada and internationally, with recent exhibitions at Oakville Galleries (Oakville); The Art Gallery of Peterborough (Peterborough); Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, NB); Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga); The Power Plant (Toronto); Museum of Bat Yam (Bat Yam, Israel); Plug In ICA (Winnipeg) and MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA). Forthcoming exhibitions include Tanya Bonakdar (New York); Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran (Montreal); UWAG (Waterloo); MKG127 (Toronto) and The Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina). She is represented by MKG127 in Toronto.


Jon Sasaki

Jon Sasaki, A Minimalist Cube Shipped with Minimal Effort and Expense, 2012,
powder coated steel cube with shipping stickers. Courtesy of the artist.

Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist Jon Sasaki's work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions in galleries, including the Ottawa Art Gallery (Ottawa); the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge, AB); and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Recent group exhibitions include Platform Art Spaces (Melbourne); Nihonbashi Institute of Contemporary Art (Tokyo); and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto). In fall of 2014, he completed an outdoor public installation at Sheridan College (Oakville, ON) as part of their Temporary Contemporary commissioning program. He is the recipient of the 2015 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize (Dufftown, Scotland) and will participate in the Canadian Residency (Detroit) in the fall of 2015. Sasaki holds a BFA from Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB). He is represented by Jessica Bradley Gallery in Toronto



Julia Abraham is a Toronto-based curator. She is currently the Exhibitions and Outreach Coordinator at the Doris McCarthy Gallery. Recent work includes curatorial projects at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (Toronto), the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Toronto), the Freie Kunstakademie (Stuttgart, Germany), the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (Birmingham, UK), and Gallery 44 (Sydney). Julia has published texts in the Munich-based Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon on artists including Gordon Lebredt, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Kelly Mark, and Suzy Lake. Julia has attended the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales (Australia), and she holds a Master of Philosophy from the University of Birmingham (UK), and a Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies from the University of Toronto.

Installation Photos

The acquisitions were purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grants program/ Ouvre achetée avec l'aide du programme de Subventions d'acquisition du Conseil des arts du Canada.

The exhibition is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.