OCAD Stages An Evolution

Well it's that time of year again kids: The OCAD Graduate Exhibition. For one weekend only the entire school becomes a gallery showcasing all OCAD graduate/thesis work from all areas of art and design, including Photography, Printmaking, Graphic Design, Sculpture, Jewellery, Environmental Design, Illustration, and a whole whack of others.

This year's theme is Evolving DNA. "DNA" referring to "Design and Art"... get it? Ya, I'm not a big fan of the name either. Still, OCAD President Sara Diamond explains that the theme highlights exactly what the students are doing with their work: "They're innovative critical thinkers who are redefining what design and art, digital and analog, didactic and abstract, diametrical and authentic, and direct and ambiguous all mean."

Personally, I think the description she gives is just a tad bit over the top, and even a little pretentious. Regardless though, after getting a sneak peek at a bunch different projects over the last few weeks, I can honestly say that this year's group of over 500 graduates has produced (for the most part) some truly beautiful and intriguing work.

Some highlights/personal favorites to watch out for:

Elizabeth's Queen, a stop-motion animated work by Integrated Media graduate Elizabeth Basskin that investigates the value of Toronto's creative neighbourhoods by contrasting the demolition of an historic building at 48 Abell Street (once home to 80 artists) to the Yorkville of the 1960s and the rapid gentrification of artistic communities.

Transition, photo-based installations by Photography graduates Michele Crockett, Jinyoung Kim, Brooke Manning, Sabrina Russo, and Walt Segers that explore how familial and cultural experiences nurture and inform identity.

The Internet Is Watching You, an integrated media campaign by Advertising graduate Chris Braden that aims to inform people about the extent to which they are being monitored online by companies like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook.

Also, be sure not to miss the Industrial Design, Environmental Design, and Material Arts and Design sections up on the 5th floor (in the giant checkered box in the sky). Aside from creating a truly engaging series of exhibition spaces, the three different design streams have all produced a beautiful and diverse collection of work. So ya, definitely not to be missed.


Evolving DNA runs from Friday, May 9th to Sunday, May 11th at 100 McCaul Street in both the Main Building and the Sharp Centre for Design. The exhibition is open on Friday from 11AM to 8PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 6PM. Student work will also be on display at the OCAD Student Gallery down the road (285 Dundas Street W).

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