Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Brainy Idea - City Hall

Summer 2016 - Toronto ON


Toronto Brain Project



Baycrest Health Sciences is bringing together the best minds in the arts to support the top brains in science in an effort designed to put the spotlight on aging and brain health.

The Brain Project has attracted 100 artists who have created brain sculptures that will be on display across Toronto, starting June 3.

It will be a memorable installation as disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia are among the greatest health concerns of our time, Baycrest president William Reichman said as he announced this year’s Brain Project.

In Canada, 750,000 people suffer from age-related brain disease, and as the population ages, the problem will only worsen.
I have been searching these art exhibits around the city. I will post by area.

I have copied the descriptions from the Brain Project site. I will post them by geographical location.

City Hall - 19 to date

Butter Tarts on the Brain puts Toronto artist Charles Pachter’s love of the delectable dessert on display. This piece came to life because whenever he thought about them, his mouth would start to water, so he assumed there must be a direct connection to the brain. Pachter also thinks the word onomatopoeia, the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect, aptly describes his sculpture. Food for thought indeed.


Artist Judy Singer approached this sculpture with associations of visible light and radiant colour that are produced by the flow of electric currents in the brain. The luminous colour resonates with texture and enhances the undulating forms.



Our brains are more circuitry, speeding thoughts in this city:

Life is a series
Yes or No?
Zeroes and ones
Choices in love and fear.

This isLovebot Brain.



Dreams are hope. Tina Struthers created her sculpture to honour the caretakers and families who often lose their own reality as they protect the dignity of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and for the researchers, doctors and scientists who give us hope as they search for treatments. The work is created in textile because our most treasured memories are filled with the luminosity of colours and texture found in fabric. This is Dreaming in Full Colour.



Stemming from Taxali’s idea of our everlasting connection with those we love, “My Heart Knows You” is an homage to this touching sentiment. A person suffering with from Alzheimer’s disease, or any related form of dementia, may not remember those they know and love. However, their heart surely has recognition. Various fictional characters and words were chosen to convey possible stories and moments in a person’s life. The aim of the piece is to evoke the notion of a ‘mental diary’; a personalized love letter to a partner, family member or friend. The concept appeals to all involved – both to the person afflicted with dementia and to those they know and love. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, taking loved ones away from family and friends. Despite this, the bond of love is unfathomable…because ‘our hearts always know’.



Brain on… was sculpted with hollow steel squares, eliciting both the strength and delicacy of the brain. The squares strip away distractions, leaving a powerful vision and exploration of the human brain, adding an element of mystery and abstraction. Each square represents the trials and tribulations of life; the four corners are the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions of human beings. The surface represents the changes and aging of the brain, still beautiful in all its imperfections.




I’m So Neuronic gives form to inspired flares and comets that energize the universe within the mind. Here, the mysterious volcanic grey organism is colour coded: the rational, analytical left side and the emotional, intuitive right side. Ecstatic explosions of awareness are ignited by memories seen just below the surface. Stretching to make sense of, and make use of, the network of memories collected and filed. To remember is to see. To live. As seismic eruptions slow down, synapses are disrupted and neurons interrupted. Essential, intimate synergies are lost. The gift undone, the lava cools.


Pieces of old books frequently show up in the art of Andre Monet, often in the background of portraits, since he believes that every face tells a story. Similarly, this piece takes its inspiration from books, specifically memoirs, as they tell life stories and are the record keepers for the many moments that fill the corners of the mind. As in visual art, the stories that a person chooses to put to paper are immortalized. The mind may go, and the person eventually goes too, but the memories remain. They are the legacy.


When standing on a shore, we witness the power of the sea as the waves crash inland. When we look to the night sky, we are imbued to contemplate the vastness of the universe. Humbled and awed by the natural world in which we live, Richard Ahnert was inspired to paint stories about our relationship with the universe. Nature unabashedly reveals her beauty, history, mystery, power and vulnerability to us all. Our brain is much like our environment, vast, complex and fragile. As we push and test the limits of both, it is our responsibility to respect, understand and protect them. This is Holding On.







Concussion is inspired by the use of scans to completely visualize the brain. It is based on a 3D CAD model of a brain derived from a scan. Michael Truelove sliced this data to discover the cross sections which revealed some interior detail. The slices were then laser cut. The finish is a copper sulphate patina with a clear topcoat. The title of the piece is rooted in Truelove’s own experiences with concussions.





Gina Godfrey was inspired by one of her recent abstract works called Eyecatcher. This adaptation is primarily in the same colours – black and white with streaks of orange and blue to represent brain impulses. The frontal lobes that look like large bug eyes are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning and abstract thought, which the artist thought would be fitting references in a brain sculpture.


Covering half the design with unglued black Bunchems, designer Kris Jackson used Spin Master’s Bunchems to represent the loss of memory, creativity and the darkness one may experience as the mind begins to go blank. All the black Bunchems can be removed, helping to transform the brain back into a healthy, colourful symmetrical state. By viewing the sculpture from different angles, certain aspects will stand out and spark a viewer’s own creativity and memory. A Brainstorm in every glance.


This multi-faceted work was crafted in the Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio at Baycrest by residents, patients, family members, staff and volunteers. Each clay tile is unique and was made by hand, hardened in the kiln, painted and glazed. The vibrant colours and shapes reflect different themes of life from social and cultural identity to the beauty of nature. This brain may be one, unique piece of art, but it is more than meets the eye. It is a collaborative work made by many brains whose pieces shape a mosaic that reflects the diversity of the Baycrest community.



Peter Tunney believes in the human brain. He believes the human brain may be billions of times more powerful than any of us have ever imagined. He says that the more we learn about the brain, the less we know. This sculpture is what Tunney imagines his brain might look like. This is My Brain.



Pat Service was born and raised on the West Coast. She earned a BA from the University of Like an idyllic drive through the country on a summer’s day, this is Day Trip.





Celebrated Toronto-based photographer Scott McFarland used elements from his medium, including colour negative film, along with expanded polystyrene, magnetic paint and rare earth magnet to create his Untitled brain sculpture.


The Turing Pattern is named after Alan Turing who developed a mathematical system to illustrate “Morphogenesis,” which describes among other things how animals such as zebras develop stripes. It is an example of how a simple binary system allows complex patterns to develop “the same but different.” In this piece, Jacob Yerex has employed curved lines to make the Turing Pattern on one side of the brain and sharp corners on the other – the same on both sides but different. He sees this as a reference to how our brains develop very differently but are essentially the same.

Artist Harold Feist has applied a thick, translucent skin of acrylic paint made up of folds and layers of varying colour which flow over and through one another. The paint is made of varying thicknesses of titanium coatings on suspended mica particles which produce hues and shades that change depending on the angle of view and the quality of light. Feist said this shifting behaviour of colour is analogous to the neoplastic nature of the brain’s ever changing, interconnected structure.




When artist Malcolm Liepke first received the unadorned sculpture, he spent a lot of time studying the piece, trying to unearth an inspiration. After looking at it for a while, he began to notice all of the curves and indentations, both concave and convex. They seemed to be compressed – and he thought of people squished and condensed into a small space. As a figurative painter, he began to wonder: what if these were all women – mimicking the curves – squeezed and contorted onto the surface? Curves and Contours is this inspiration realized.






1 comment: