John Kissick | Sugar Won't Work
Sam Mogelonsky | Pins & Needles

September 11 to October 11, 2014

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 11, 6 to 9p

The artists will be present.
City Councillor Cesar Palacio will launch the fall season with introductory remarks at 7:30p.

Canadian Art Gallery Hop Day: Saturday, September 20, 4:30 to 6p
Led by head of cultural programming at the Drake Hotel Properties, Mia Nelson.
Featuring Q&A with John Kissick and Janet Jones about Sugar Won't Work
Including an announcement by Marianne Katzman on the gallery's evolution. 

An Evening with John Kissick: Saturday, September 20, 7:30 to 11p
Join us for an intimate, celebratory evening of art, dinner and music in honour of John Kissick's latest show and Katzman Contemporary's first anniversary in our new location. Tickets are $50 per person. Please RSVP your interest in attending by Friday, September 12 to erin@katzmancontemporary.com.  

click HERE to jump to John Kissick | Sugar Won't Work
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 John Kissick,  Sugar Won't Work 3: Quietly Fading Away , 48" x 54", 2014

John Kissick, Sugar Won't Work 3: Quietly Fading Away, 48" x 54", 2014

Sugar Won't Work is the most recent and perhaps radical iteration of John Kissick's painterly approach – the most obvious indication of this being the introduction of craft glitter in large sections of his new paintings. Having reached a seminal junction in his career as an abstract painter, Kissick faced the dilemma of either stylizing his own aesthetic, or departing from it altogether. Instead, he chose to force and contort his artistic scope, driving his aesthetic beyond easy convention to become more himself in his work than ever before. His material departure – inclusion of riotous swaths of dense, seductive glitter – is an expansion of Kissick's ongoing interest in creating a disorienting, even manic, visual dynamic within his work. The glitter bombs reflect light in unpredictable ways, and provide a visual barrier to reading the paintings in a traditional spatial manner. The paintings encourage the viewer to actively engage in interpretation, and support a more fluid and open-ended discourse. Glitter also has the added advantage of functioning as a cultural signifier of low tech ornamentation, nostalgia, and kitsch – in keeping with Kissick's use of faded supergraphics and over-crafted decorative gestures, and in direct tension with a variety of expressionist tropes that attempt to purposefully complicate any easy reading of the work.

Throughout his career, Kissick has been preoccupied with one central concern: how does one make abstract paintings that appear knowing, without succumbing to easy cynicism; or visually enticing without collapsing into feigned sentiment or pastiche. Kissick's work is procedurally messy, historically contingent, purposefully disorienting, and in a constant critical dialogue with the historical conventions of abstract painting. Sugar Won't Work is the natural evolution of Kissick's rigourous and uncompromising visual exploration of a reflected and refracted world.

 Sam Mogelonsky,  Bent Spiral I , 6" x 12" x 3 1/2", 2014

Sam Mogelonsky, Bent Spiral I, 6" x 12" x 3 1/2", 2014

Pins & Needles is decorative, playful, and obsessive, with a hidden sinister edge. Sam Mogelonsky’s painstakingly constructed sculptures use embellishment to speak to notions of craft production and decoration. Her work references ostentation and design, the dual nature of bodily pleasure and pain, and at the same time initiates a dialogue between the mass-produced and the hand-made.

Mogelonsky’s biomorphic forms draw the eye, reflecting changing light and colour. While these surface qualities entice viewers to approach for a closer look, upon inspection, their decadence is revealed as façade – the captivatingly vibrant forms conceal sinister undertones. The sequins, systematically hand-pinned to these styrofoam figures, remind the viewer of the intense process of the physical acts of labour – and the resulting pain – involved in their creation.

Mogelonsky also encases document tubes with sequins, secured with long, sharp pointed pins. The spiraling interior view produces a kaleidoscopic effect that speaks of extravagance and decoration, while also calling attention to the dual nature of pleasure and pain. These objects reveal a studded interior core of methodically placed pins whose deliberate labour results in a threatening spiral arrangement; an intoxicating aesthetic that solicits further investigation.

Mogelonsky’s sculptural practice focuses on the manipulation of light hearted, naïvely seductive, artificial surfaces to reveal narratives that oppose the materials used in the creation process. Her obsessive repetition of decorative elements and process-driven labour challenges the limits of adornment, as well as contemporary consumption and its tendencies towards the ominous consequences of excess.


John Kissick: Trained as a painter and writer, John Kissick’s exhibition record includes over two decades of solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Germany, and his work has been featured in numerous important survey exhibitions and public collections. A mid-career survey entitled John Kissick: A Nervous Decade, curated by Crystal Mowry, toured Canada through 2012, and was accompanied by a major publication. A forthcoming touring exhibition, curated by Carl Lavoy, will commence in 2015 and continue until 2017. In 2005, he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy for the Arts. John Kissick is also the author of Art: Context and Criticism (1992/6) and numerous articles and essays on contemporary art for journals and periodicals. Two recent essays – “Elephants in the Room” for Canadian Art Magazine and “Disco and the Death Switch: Tales from Contemporary Abstraction” for Border Crossings – were nominated for National Magazine Awards in 2009 and 2010. He is also the Director of the School of Fine Art and Music, College Arts, at the University of Guelph.

Sam Mogelonsky: Sam Mogelonsky is an emerging Toronto-based artist. She holds a BFAH from Queen’s University, (Kingston, Ontario) and an MFA from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art (London, UK). She has participated in residencies at the Florence Trust (London, UK), the Château de la Napoule Art Foundation (Mandelieu de la Napuole, France), CeRCCa (in Llorenc de Penedes, Spain) and Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Islands). She has exhibited in Canada, the UK, France, Ireland, and Portugal, with recent shows at the Judith and Norman ALIX Art Gallery (Sarnia, ON), The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, ON), The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery (St. John’s, NFLD), and The Red Head Gallery (Toronto, ON). Her work is held in Canadian and international collections and she is the recipient of a 2013 Emerging Artist Grant from the Toronto Arts Council.

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.

  Sugar Won't Work , installation detail, 2014

Sugar Won't Work, installation detail, 2014

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