The Bentway and Exhibition Place present an immersive art installation

The Bentway and Exhibition Place invite guests to experience Confluence, a new large-scale art commission, set inside a massive storage chamber under the Gardiner Expressway.

Inspired by the water systems that have shaped Toronto, Confluence flows through an engrossing convergence of natural and human-made forces. The picnic table, a familiar fixture in parks across the city, contorts into a dynamic sculptural installation; twirling, cascading and cresting to evoke Toronto’s buried, lost rivers.

Photo credit: Samuel Engelking

Created by Maine-based artist duo Striped Canary (Stephen B. Nguyen and Wade Kavanaugh), Confluence runs until October 30. For this exhibition, Striped Canary will use standard 2×4 lumber to form a series of undulating picnic table “waves”, which dive into and out of the concrete architecture of the Gardiner. Post-exhibition, the wood will be disassembled and distributed to a collection of community organisations for repurposing.

“As we envision a new future for the Gardiner Expressway, Confluence reminds us of the many forces that have influenced and continue to shape our urban environment,” says Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director of The Bentway. “Though temporary in nature, the project’s approach to materiality, to layered histories, to navigation, and to our most prevalent public symbols both reflects on and will inform our shared landscapes below the Gardiner.”

“One of the ways we connect with our audiences is with a shared way of seeing,” says Striped Canary. “Confluence adopts the vernacular of public space to create an immersive environment that is at once familiar and foreign. The work will use a form that is highly recognizable – the picnic table – to give shape to an invisible natural phenomena, that of the waterways that have flowed beneath Toronto.”

Photo credit: Samuel Engelking

Toronto’s waterways charted important walking trails and gathering places for Indigenous peoples (including the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishnabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee and Wendat peoples) across millennia.

Since colonization, many of the city’s rivers and creeks have been buried underground or rerouted to carry sewage and stormwater, demonstrating how essential resources can be irreparably altered by urban development. Presented beneath the rushing current of vehicles on the Gardiner, Confluence calls for a new balance between the natural and the built forms; the present and the past; the hidden and the seen.

“We’re incredibly excited to embark on our second partnership with The Bentway and, once again, offer the public a chance to immerse themselves in a space at Exhibition Place that is not often visited but certainly sparks the imagination,” expresses Don Boyle, CEO, Exhibition Place. “Leveraging The Bentway’s expertise in delivering thought-provoking art to the public, we’re so proud to continue bringing people together and to encourage spectators to reflect and remain curious about exploring their environments – including the grounds at Exhibition Place year-round.”

 Tickets to Confluence are pay-what-you-can (PWYC) with a suggested donation of $5 and no minimum contribution. Pre-registration is required. https://www.thebentway.ca/stories/confluence/ 

 

  • Wednesday-Friday from 5:00PM – 9:00PM
  • Saturday-Sunday from 12:00PM – 9:00PM
  • Closed Monday and Tuesday

 

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