April Hickox | Invasive Species
Penelope Stewart | Ruin Gazing 

April Hickox | Invasive Species and Penelope Stewart | Ruin Gazing investigate the intersections and interrelationships between humans and the natural environment. In these bodies of work, both artists entice the viewer to consider notions of ephemerality, metamorphosis, and ownership of land vis-à-vis our dysfunctional relationships with nature through their documentation of altered or constructed landscapes.

November 22 to December 20, 2014   

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, November 22, 2 to 6 p
The artists will be present.

click HERE to jump to April Hickox | Invasive Species
click HERE to jump to Penelope Stewart | Ruin Gazing
click HERE to jump to Biographies and Contact Information


 April Hickox,  Boat , chromogenic print mounted on dibond, 40” x 50”, edition of 5, 2014

April Hickox, Boat, chromogenic print mounted on dibond, 40” x 50”, edition of 5, 2014

Invasive Species features human encroachments and their resulting imprints on Toronto Island. This series of ten large-scale photographs explores ways in which people affect the land by interfering with and altering its natural growth via large-scale land management and day-to-day interactions in order to adapt the environment for personal use and recreation.

Human intervention within a natural landscape is a central theme in the work of April Hickox. Through photography, Hickox examines issues of site and place as linked to the constructed landscape and its various uses. This latest body of work was inspired by her lifelong connection to Toronto Island and its immediate environment. Toronto Island is a car-less, alternative community of 750 people who live in a public park – the largest green space in Toronto – located less than one mile from the downtown core. Living in this community for most of her life has heightened Hickox’s awareness of the continuous seasonal and generational changes within the community and its environment, as well as the connections one establishes with a familiar landscape.

Toronto Island was once a thriving community of several thousand people; however, in the 1950s, much of the Island was expropriated by metro Toronto, and many of the original houses were demolished. In 1993, provincial legislation was passed to protect the remaining houses from undergoing the same fate. Toronto Island Park, like most urban parks, was constructed as a stylized wilderness environment for public use. Recently, there has been a movement away from formal parks towards more naturalized landscapes. As the park’s usage has grown, the management is changing to reflect a newer vision that promotes a more sustainable application of park resources. The Island Park now includes pockets of Carolinian forest, playing fields, beaches, sand dunes, and wet meadows that surround the small community of people who live there year round. 

Accompanying this exhibition are three portfolios that further expand upon the “invasive species” theme. They were produced over three years and first published in October 2014. Each portfolio features nine images from three Ontario sites: Toronto Island, Point Pelee, and the Hancock Woodlands. These collections document the changes that have occurred over time to these sites attributable to human interventions and natural metamorphosis. The images are chromogenic prints, 22” x 40” and 16” x 30”, in editions of seven.


 Penelope Stewart,  No: 11 , stereoscopic photo card, 3 ⅘” x 7”, edition of 4, 2014

Penelope Stewart, No: 11, stereoscopic photo card, 3 ⅘” x 7”, edition of 4, 2014

Ruin Gazing features three bodies of work that explore the duplicity of utopian visions of the garden. Each series reflects the fragility of our idealistic aspirations to transform nature through culture.

In “Trace Laminations,” Penelope Stewart presents ten glass negatives of photographed elements of 19th and 20th century greenhouses and conservatories. They reveal her fascination with the greenhouse or conservatory in terms of its formal attributes of structure, systems, and space, and its informal traits of transparency, reflection, and shadow. The buildings are romantic architectures that function as museum, authority, monument, and theatre, while the natural elements within these structures experience displacement, diminution, and transplantation. The ghostly images featured in these negatives reference the practice during World War II to recycle photographic glass negatives into greenhouses and conservatories, as well as the history of photography.

“Ruin Gazing Volume I: Paradise Gardens” is a collection of thirty-six stereoscopic photo cards, photographed and created by Stewart, that explore formal gardens as a constructed vision of Eden. Each card set consists of dual images that are marginally modified perspectives of the same object. This twinning generates an illusion of three-dimensional space when the works are experienced through the accompanying vintage viewers.

“Apian Reverie” and “Nature Morte” comprise the final project in this exhibition. Stewart appropriated two found 19th century glass negatives, from which she printed scaled-to-life images. “Apian Reverie” presents a gardener working with a small bee box in the fruit trees of an orchard, while “Nature Morte” features a jug of creamy milk alongside a wax comb dripping honey. Accompanying these large photographs is a series of beeswax cast sculptures, expanding the field of the photograph, and creating a reciprocal conversation between the image and the objects.


April Hickox: April Hickox is a lens-based artist, teacher, and independent curator who resides on Toronto Island. Her artwork includes: photography, film, video, installation, and site interactions. Hickox's work is based in narratives – the passage from one experience to another in the life process – that encompass history, memory, and place.

Hickox has been supported by all levels of funding throughout her career, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. As an active community leader, she is the founding director of the Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography, as well as a founding member of Tenth Muse Studio and Artscape. Hickox was also a co-chair of the 2014 “Art with Heart” fundraiser for Casey House. She is an Associate Professor of Photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). Most recently, her work was featured in A Noble Line, curated by Marnie Fleming. April Hickox is represented by Katzman Contemporary.

Penelope Stewart: Penelope Stewart is a site-sensitive installation artist who works across the varied media of: sculpture, installation, photography, works on paper and architectural interventions. Central to her practice is an engagement with space and place – its architecture, history, politics, ideology, and environment. Whether it is her large-scale beeswax architectures, or her trompe l’oeil photographs, Stewart brings a sensory intensification, a haptic quality, to the encounter.

Stewart’s exhibition history includes: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Koffler Centre for the Arts, Toronto; Musée d'Art de Joliette, Québec; Musée Barthétè, Boussan, France; Oakville Galleries, Ontario; Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Ontario; ACT Design Museum Canberra, Australia; Poimena Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. In 2015, Stewart will mount a solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery at Dawson College, Montréal.

Katzman Contemporary: Katzman Contemporary is a commercial gallery in Toronto, Ontario, and is the new iteration of the former Katzman Kamen Gallery, and the original Leo Kamen Gallery. With a critical directorial vision, refined mandate, and new location, Katzman Contemporary is growing and progressing from its original ethos and roster of artists to include new visions and cultural exchanges. Through our diverse and engaging programming, we are interested in re-imagining traditional commercial exhibitions with curatorial interventions and discursive events. At this site, new connections among art, artists, discourse, curatorship, and community emerge.

For additional information, or to inquire about this exhibition, preview opportunities, and/or general gallery questions, please contact our Gallery Manager, Erin Canning, at erin@katzmancontemporary.com.


Katzman Contemporary
86 Miller Street
Toronto, Ontario, M6N 2Z9

Tuesday to Thursday 11 – 5p
Friday to Saturday 11 – 6p
or by appointment