Selected photographs from OCAD's Hotshots exhibit

OCAD's Hotshots Exhibit at the Steam Whistle

Pictured works by Amanda Rataj, Alex Kisilevich, Lee Kellough, Kirk Wynter, Marino Imperio, Stella Mandrak-Pagani and Raffy Ochoa

It seems like Toronto is being taken over by photography - and photographers (as well as photoenthusiasts) this month. Besides CONTACT, currently showing at the Steam Whistle Brewery is Hotshots, an exhibit featuring the best works of seven third year Photography students from the OCAD. While you wouldn't see this listed in CONTACT's official events guide, Hotshots might be worth a visit if you want to discover fresh, new talent in the city.

According to OCAD faculty Kotama Bouabane, selection for the featured work relied on what the jury thought was fresh and exciting. "These up-and-coming young artists offer unique insight into issues pertaining to the reinvention of the document, exploration of identity and historical versus contemporary processes." From more than thirty students the jury, which comprised of Boubane, Scott Chandler and Michele Crockett, picked Amanda Rataj, Alex Kisilevich, Lee Kellough, Kirk Wynter, Marino Imperio, Stella Mandrak-Pagani and Raffy Ochoa.

Each photo-based artist's collection is completely unique from the other. Rataj revisits tradition through the use of cyanotype on contemporary handmade paper. Mandrak-Pagani infuses mixed media such as paint and sewing on a series of photographs taken in an old Scarborough auto shop. Wynter's preference of analog technology within a digital society is seen through monochromatic portraits of a man with a typewriter in indescript parts of the city. Kellough's Commissioner's Street series implies a feeling of isolation in Toronto's industrial community. Imperio dipped pieces of a toy soldier in vanilla ice cream symbolizing how the media "sugarcoats" violence, making it more appealing to its consumers.

My top two picks both feature photographs of people in hyperrealistic circumstances. Kisilevich's ...And Then You Die ages its young subjects through lighting, wardrobe and special effects makeup and explores ideas on youth's idleness and loss of time while Ochoa's Benny series "deals with the languorous activities a child may experience."

Hotshots by selected OCAD students
Ongoing until May 30, 2008
Steam Whistle Brewery
The Roundhouse - 255 Bremner Blvd
Open free to the public - Monday to Saturday 12noon to 6pm and Sunday 12noon to 5pm.

For more information visit the Hotshots page at the Steam Whistle Brewery website.

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