Humanities at Large

Weather Amnesia - JHI's Newest Art Exhibition

Submitted by Sonja Johnston on September 27 2019.
Opening Reception and Walkthrough
Barbara Fischer, Yuluo Wei, Alison Keith
Barbara Fischer - Curator, University of Toronto Art Museum; Yuluo Wei - Curator, Weather Amnesia; Alison Keith - Director of JHI. Photo: Barry Roden

Many of us live in a controlled, urban environment and often spend many hours indoors, making it easy for us to forget about (or deny) the proof of the changing environment around us. Can we reconnect with nature when we’re inside? Renegotiate with the landscape around us? Weather Amnesia, curated by MVS Curatorial student Yuluo Wei, explores our changing environmental conditions through the lens of ten artists’ works and artefacts and makes us wonder and think about what the future holds in store.

Attendee at opening reception
Photo: Barry Roden

Yuluo came by recently to our Thursday Fellows’ Lunch to give us a tour of the exhibit and some insight into the curatorial process for selecting the works on show. Paintings by Doris McCarthy, David Milne, Walter Phillips and Graham Norwell that portray what winters were like in the past create a dialogue with pieces like Lisa Hirmer’s Watching, Dull Edges photographic series and Watching, White Ibis triptych.

Some objects are meant to be touched and interacted with like the mass timber model of the Jackman Humanities Building, the hygrothermograph, and the live migration map. Other pieces draw the observer in by reflection, whether by the pieces themselves or by mirrors or glass. Yuluo’s curation leaves it up to the audience to understand or make use of the exhibition, to be more connected to weather and the environment and remind ourselves that we’re dealing with a climate crisis.

Cross-laminated timber model of the Jackman Humanities Building
Photo: Barry Roden

Yuluo’s guest during the Thursday Fellows’ Lunch walkaround was Anne Koven, Executive Director of the Mass Timber Institute, and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry.

She stressed the need for more sustainable, green products like cross-laminated timber which uses waste wood from milling operations and uses less energy than steel and reinforced concrete. The Jackman Humanities Building model was made from cross-laminated timber.

The opening reception was held on Wednesday, September 18 and the exhibition continues until June 26, 2020.