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AGO Partners with Images Festival to Feature Jon Sasaki Installation in its Toronto Now Series

(TORONTO - March 25, 2011) Toronto-based artist Jon Sasaki will present a new installation that recontextualizes the iconic images of the Canadian landscape famously depicted by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Inspired by the artist's childhood visits to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the National Gallery of Canada, Jon Sasaki: Pine features work created and conceived on a visit to Algonquin Park, where Thomson created some of Canada's most recognizable paintings. The exhibition will be on view from April 6 through June 5, 2011.

Presented in collaboration with the Images Festival, Jon Sasaki: Pine includes three works: Jack Pine, 8' Camera Crane, a haphazard 360-degree shot of the view depicted in Thompson's 1917 painting Jack Pine; Northern River, 8' Camera Crane, a large digital photograph that shows the same camera and crane rendered practically immobile by pine trees in a landscape reminiscent of Thomson's 1915 painting Northern River; and Canoe Lake Water Cooler, a water cooler placed in the gallery that dispenses unfiltered water from Canoe Lake.

"Like Tom Thomson, Jon Sasaki has created a series of works that resonate with the iconic Ontario landscape," says Michelle Jacques, the AGO's acting curator of Canadian art. "But the tools of Sasaki's artmaking-camera and crane-do not blend as invisibly into the surrounds of the idyllic park as Thomson's paint box once did. Sasaki‘s photographs are compelling depictions of Algonquin, but they are also a gentle critique of the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between the traditions of art history and the tools of contemporary artmaking."

Jon Sasaki: Pine launches the second year of the Art Gallery of Ontario's Toronto Now series, a rotating series of contemporary art projects that puts the focus on Toronto artists and displays their work in the free, street-facing Young Gallery. Artists previously featured in the series include Dean Baldwin, Will Munro, and Allyson Mitchell. The next installation opens June 11 and will feature work by artist Libby Hague.

A reception to celebrate the opening of Jon Sasaki: Pine will take place in the Young Gallery on Wednesday, April 6 from 5 to 7 pm. The Young Gallery is adjacent to FRANK, the AGO's signature restaurant.

Toronto Now is generously supported by The Contemporary Circle. Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported the Canada Council for the Arts.

Jon Sasaki utilizes performance-for-video, objects, installations and interventions in work that mixes humor and pathos, often with gently antagonistic results. His work has been presented in recent solo exhibitions at The Doris McCarthy Gallery (University of Toronto, Scarborough), 126 (Galway, Ireland), Centre Clark (Montreal), and Latitude 53 (Edmonton). He has participated in group exhibitions at VOX (Montreal), The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Owens Art Gallery (Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB), Simon Fraser University Gallery (Burnaby, BC), as well as the 2006 and 2008 editions of Toronto's Nuit Blanche. Jon was an active member of the Instant Coffee art collective between 2002 and 2007. He lives and works in Toronto and is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects.

The Images Festival is the largest festival in North America for experimental and independent moving-image culture, showcasing the innovative edge of international contemporary media art both on and off the screen through film, video, installation, music, and performance. The 24th edition of the festival runs from March 31 to April 9, 2011 in Toronto. For more information, visit

With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery's façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


For more images and more information, contact:

Sean O'Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454,

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners:
BMO Financial Group, Signature Partner of the Canadian Collection Program | Amex, Signature Partner of the Contemporary Collection Program | Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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