Winter Island: James Gardener Open Studio & Artist Talk

“There is no outside to the act.”1

I arrived on the island last Monday, as the last participant of the Winter Island Artist Residency Program that Artscape Gibraltar Point organized with 8-11 and YTB. I took fb and insta off my phone and I only brought books about Magic and some paint, tarot cards, and paper. My studio work has for a long time been developing alongside a body of research looking at the Occult and its intersections with contemporary art production. During this residency I have been focusing exclusively on how this research can enter more directly into the studio work instead of it being a peripheral interest.  I have been thinking a lot about ritual, altered states, alchemical process, and how these ideas can be used to talk about studio space, art productions, and labor.

If any of these themes sound interesting, please come to the island and join me for an open studio and informal talk about the work on Thursday from 4:00-8:00.


A shuttle bus will be available to pick people up from the Ward’s Island ferry terminal. Please DM James Gardner, or post below to confirm a spot and negotiate a pick up time.

Thanks to 8-11 and all the people at Artscape Gibraltar Point for organizing the residency and giving me the opportunity to develop new work in such a great place.

I would like to also acknowledge the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts and The Ontario Art Council.


About the Artist

James Gardner uses painting as a means for philosophical inquiry and as a tool to consider the (re)construction of identity and consciousness through images and symbols. Gardner’s work considers the ecologies of material based art practices and the intersections that systems of art production have with architecture, material substance, and hermetic thought. Gardner’s practice also includes facilitation and collaboration through his work with the collective VSVSVS.  Gardner has been the recipient of multiple grants from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts. James was nominated for the RBC Painting Award in 2014. Recent exhibitions include his solo show Painting Eaters at Katzman Contemporary in Toronto, and the VSVSVS show At the Same Time at Contemporary Calgary. Upcoming stuff includes a VS project in Athens Greece as part of Platform Projects curated by Artemis Potamianou, and two solo shows in this fall at Campus Gallery at Georgian College and Katzman Contemporary in Toronto.   James Gardner was born in Kitchener and lives and works In Toronto.

1Verwoert, Jan, On the Work on Danai Anesiadou, “Cookie!”, Sternberg Press/Piet Zwart Institute, Berlin/Rotterdam, 2014, p. 74.James