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Galleries

Butcher Gallery

Posted by Elena Potter / Posted on April 17, 2011

Butcher GalleryButcher Gallery is a hidden space, off the beaten path, but its new location is just the start of its unconventional nature. The brainchild of artists Brad Tinmouth, Lili Huston-Herterich (who met while studying at York University), and collaborator Kaitlin Till-Landry, Butcher is a space as experimental as the practices of its directors. Started in Till-Landry and Tinmouth's old apartment, the space is still housed in a residence, but much has changed in the year or so since its inception.

The gallery moved from what is arguably the roughest stretch of downtown Queen East, to a quirky residential lane near Dundas and Lansdowne, in late 2010. The move was partly to get out of the difficult neighbourhood, but also came simultaneously with a few changes within the gallery as well. Till-Landry left Toronto to study at SAIC, and Tinmouth and Huston-Herterich were moving in together.

Looking for a new space presented all kinds of possibilities, and while the pair considered renting a storefront for the appearance and accessibility of an "ordinary" gallery, they ended up choosing the small house at 4 Northern Place, which offered the most freedom: less interference with neighbours, and more room to expand the exhibition area. "We like living with the work that we show," says Tinmouth. Both believe that the viewers' knowledge that the gallery is also their home fosters a certain intimacy between the art and the audience.

Wall space is not the main concern--Butcher Gallery focuses on collaborative projects, installations, screenings, and happenings. "Pretty well all of our exhibitions are event-based," explains Tinmouth, which makes sense for a gallery without regular visiting hours. And, since he and Huston-Herterich are both artists, they are continually looking for ways to integrate their own practices into the shows at Butcher. "We see each exhibition as a collaboration between the artist, the space, and ourselves," says Huston-Herterich of their approach to programming.

In addition to running the gallery, both co-directors have administrative jobs in the arts: Tinmouth handles title distribution at Vtape, and Huston-Herterich co-directs gallery programming at O'Born Contemporary. Though they both acknowledge the occasional difficulties of divided energy and time, these roles both help them to finance Butcher's shoestring budget, and to glean valuable insights about gallery practices.

When the gallery started, its mandate was to exhibit the work of online artists in real-world space, but they no longer limit themselves to this. However, there is a certain pervasive reach of Internet-related themes, and a self-referential and performance aspect to much of the work. Huston-Herterich says the artists they exhibit "have a consciousness of contemporary viewing practices"; indeed, an understanding of the difference between looking at art online, and looking at art in physical space, is palpable in previous works shown at Butcher.

Plans for future projects include commissions, artworks that are thematically linked to the Dundas West neighbourhood, and international collaborations. "We don't want Butcher to become hermetic," says Tinmouth.

Installation photographs of the exhibition "Manifest Destiny," courtesy of Butcher Gallery.

Discussion

8 Comments

J. / August 8, 2010 at 04:29 pm
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Neighborhood revival? What, gentrification aka The Rome Plows. Oh, boy, just what's needed.
bittles / August 8, 2010 at 05:13 pm
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the worst butcher in toronto. hands down. they actually sold me counterfeit maple leafs bacon. i swear to god.
saltspring / August 9, 2010 at 12:05 am
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So, where exactly are your pics of all the displayed art? Or were the pretentious owners so secretive that they told you to piss off?

This is one of the lamest reviews I've ever seen on this site.
Randy Johnson / August 9, 2010 at 01:05 am
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J:Gentrification is a myth,

bittles:maple leaf bacon was never real to begin with

saltspring: you just kinda suck
douche / September 4, 2010 at 08:13 pm
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@saltspring: It's called art not authority you 905 fugwick!
Ted / February 17, 2011 at 01:37 pm
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great new location and we wish you great success
M&D
meg / April 18, 2011 at 09:46 am
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Great looking photos and an interesting review. This is the wave of the future.We need to bring art into all kinds of different places. On and off the pedestal.
Kopelev / February 26, 2013 at 11:36 am
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I from Moscow Russia I THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED...
TAKE A LOOK AT MY WORK http://www.kopelev.net/gallery/free.htm
IT'S FREE.
THANKS

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