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  • 2020 Ducks Unlimited National Portfolio

    Location: Bracebridge, ON

    DUCKS UNLIMITED CANADA – NATIONAL ART PORTFOLIO CALL FOR ENTRIES – DEADLINE JULY 31,..
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  • The Second Latin American Contemporary Fine Art Competition

    Location: New York, NY

    The Second Latin American Contemporary Fine Art Competition - May 21st to June..
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  • Lines, Shapes & Objects Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the Lines, Shapes & Objects art competition. For this..
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  • HEDI KYLE: THE ART OF THE FOLD

    Location: Halifax, NS

    The NSCAD School of Extended Studies & Letterpress Gang are hosting a..
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  • Toronto Outdoor Art Fair - Call for Artists

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Attend the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair Attend the 58th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Canada’s..
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  • Surfaces Exploration and Experience Karen Colville Artist

    Location: New West Minster, BC

    In the Plaskett Gallery @ Massey Theatre Surfaces…Exploration & Experience Artist Karen Colville June 25th..
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  • Race, Ethnicity and belonging

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all artists (over 18) residing in Alberta..
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  • Art District Gallery Membership

    Location: Kitchener, ON

    Art District Gallery May Membership Drive - Drop in Open House -Tuesday May..
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  • I-Park 2019 Autumn Artists-in-Residence Program

    Location: East Haddam, CT

    Application Deadline: Monday, May 20, 2019 I-Park, located in rural East Haddam, CT (U.S.),..
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  • Art in the Garden 2019

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Taking place at various gardens on Vancouver's North Shore, this will be the..
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  • North Van Arts Deadline Extended! (50th Anniversary Exhibition)

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    North Van Arts has extended our deadline to Sunday May 26 at Midnight..
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  • Manitoba Neuroscience Network Donation Request

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Seeking art pieces for the silent art auction that will take place as..
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  • “White” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline June 30, 2019

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: White cats, white milk, white snow. Reflecting most wavelengths of visible..
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  • Call for Art | 4th Annual Cityscapes Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 4th Annual Cityscapes art competition. For this competition,..
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  • Myseum Intersections 2020: Call for Submissions

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Myseum of Toronto is launching a call for submissions for our fifth annual..
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  • Call For Artists - Art Sale Fundraiser

    Location: Toronto, ON

    ART SALE FUNDRAISER BENEFITING CRISTINA’S TORTINA SHOP HOSTED BY PROGRESSIVE TRAINING COLLEGE OF BUSINESS..
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  • H.A.P. Art Contest by ALPHA Education

    Location: Scarborough, ON

    ALPHA Education is hosting its annual History + Art = Peace Art Contest!..
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  • On the Same Page: Transforming Paper

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    On The Same Page: Transforming Paper showcases artists working with paper as an..
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  • ANIMA MUNDI | VENICE MAY-NOV 2019

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: ANIMA MUNDI | VENICE MAY-NOV 2019 ITSLIQUID International Art Festival ITSLIQUID GROUP,..
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  • Art in Odd Places (AiOP): INVISIBLE

    Location: New York, NY

    Art in Odd Places (AiOP) 2019: INVISIBLE Saturday, May 18, 2019, 12 am-11:59 pm..
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  • 9th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Past (Tense) by David Scott Exhibition

    Location: Calgary, AB

    HUB @ 302 Crossroads Art Centre The Alberta Society of Artists #302 – 1235-26th Avenue SE Calgary,..
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  • Call for Artist/Writer in Residence

    Location: Harrison Hot Springs, BC

    The Kent Harrison Arts Council Artist in Residence Program Visual Artist / Writer in..
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  • Sue J Amon Art Exhibit

    Location: Yarmouth, NS

    There will be an art exhibit of the works of Sue J Amon..
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  • Acrylic Painting Workshop with Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

    Location: Nakusp, BC

    In this 2-day workshop, we will learn from the award-winning acrylic painter Tatjana..
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  • Artists’ Network Gallery Streetcar Art Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Submissions: March 8 – May 31, 2019 Exhibition: June 11 – 27, 2019 We are..
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  • Friends of Bon Echo Art and Sale exhibition

    Location: Cloyne , ON

    Call to Artists With its striking views and varied moods, Mazinaw Lake has drawn..
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  • Acrylic Painting Workshop with Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki In this 2-day workshop, we will learn how to quickly develop rich..
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  • Jun 8 – Intro to Stained Glass Workshop

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this workshop attendees will learn how to make a simple sun catcher..
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  • Jun 6 – 27 – Introduction to Acrylics

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    This course is intended for anyone who would like to try acrylic paints..
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  • May 29 – Jun 19 – Core Drawing Skills

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Master the fundamentals of drawing in this introductory course, which will build your..
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  • May 25 & 26 – Cedar Bark Hat Workshop

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Join master weaver Jessica Silvey and learn the fundamental techniques of the checker..
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  • May 1 – 22 – Drawing Fundamentals & Community

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this introductory level drawing course, students will be introduced to a variety..
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  • Spring Film Series at North Van Arts Announced!

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    The North Van Arts International Film Series is presented by North Van Arts..
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  • International Open Call to all Artists: Painting on the Edge

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    International Open Call to all Artists: Painting on the Edge Painting on the..
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  • The Wilds of Venice: Study Contemporary Art + Creative Entrepreneurship at the European Cultural Academy with the Jealous Curator and The Wild Residen

    Location: Venice,

    Education Opportunity for Artists: the 'Wilds of Venice' Certificate Course in 'Creative Entrepreneurship +..
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  • Summer Solstice Art Festival

    Location: Brainerd, MN

    We are having a Summer Solstice Art Festival June 23rd 10-4. We..
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  • Architectonic

    Location: St. Charles, MO

    The Foundry Art Centre is a Community Art Center with Fine Art galleries..
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  • Mid Main Art Fair

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    The 9th annual MID MAIN ART FAIR will be held on Sunday, June..
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  • Game Studio needs Art Illustrators

    Location: Bridgewater, NS

    We are a fully funded video game studio in Nova Scotia that is..
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  • Anima Mundi

    Location: Venice, Italy,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: ANIMA MUNDI | VENICE MAY-NOV 2019 ITSLIQUID International Art Festival Deadline: April..
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  • Call to Artists - $40,000 in Awards - The Salt Spring National Art Prize

    Location: Salt Spring Island, BC

    The Salt Spring National Art Prize offering $40,000 in awards, one of Canada’s..
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Tom Dean: Desire

By Gil McElroy January 6, 2003

} Tom Dean: Desire May 30-September 15, 2001 Toronto Sculpture Garden, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Toronto-based artist TOM DEAN’s recent site-specific exhibition at the Toronto Sculpture Garden (May 30-September 15, 2001) was part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of this pocket-sized art park in the heart of downtown Toronto. For “Desire,” Dean brought together five figurative bronze castings of cherubs and five bronze swans, all approximately life-size, pairing them in miniature scenarios spread out across the tiny expanse of lawn, all the better to mess about with a couple of the classic symbols of love and lust. Each cherub and swan was a unique original -no pose was a duplicate-and so each pairing of beast and babe made for an interactive drama of singular and unique proportions. Over near a low brick wall, a cherub and swan eye each other warily, both half-turned away, the swan with its wings spread wide, the cherub pressing one of its arms against itself and clutching the rock upon which it sits with the other. Near a brick walkway, a cherub nestles in the grass on its back. Close by, a swan preens its back feathers, head buried beneath a wing. They seem oblivious to the presence of each other. In front of a wall before which cascades an artificial waterfall, a swan stretches its neck upward, perhaps trumpeting. The cherub nearby protectively holds an arm against its head, covering one ear. Nearby, another cherub crawls along the grass, bare bum in the air, its companion swan presumably fast asleep, head and neck relaxed along its back. And in the middle of it all, a cherub sitting in the grass seems to have just thrown something-one arm frozen in the follow-through of its volley-toward the nearby swan it glares at. Neck arched, head near the ground, one wing raised protectively, this swan appears the outraged victim to the cherub’s inexplicable attack. It’s all body language, of course, subjective and wide open to as many varied readings and interpretations as there are those who came to walk amidst these small bronzes. In the torpor of the summer’s heat wave, anything seemed possible. Even the Garden of Eden. The setting of the cherubs within the confines of the grass, trees, bushes and plants of the Toronto Sculpture Garden unavoidably conjured up allusions and connotations of biblical proportions. Eden, that garden against which all others are inevitably measured, was guarded (the story goes) by warrior cherubim, there to keep interlopers -like the evicted Adam and Eve-out, and while those cherubs bear little physical relation these soft, overstuffed infants of Baroque imagination and contemporary greeting card fancy, the association, however wobbly and creaky, manages to stand. Barely. But it succeeds in rendering only half the equation, for these babies- all male, incidentally-are situated in relationships with their companion swans that Dean has intended to be meaningful (ergo the many and varied possible readings of body language). The symbolic baggage both bird and babe bring to the proverbial table must also come into play. The pudgy cherubs of the Baroque, the putti of the Italian Renaissance-images of which have been commercially trafficked by New Age merchandisers and become an integral part of contemporary pop culture- are the mythological descendants of Cupid (the Latin word for “desire,” incidentally). The swan itself is an emblem of Aphrodite. So Eros it is, then, love and lust cavorting on the lawn of the Toronto Sculpture Garden in the guise of a handful of bronze babies and birds. But it is no dance of dialectics that these creatures enact within the dramatic little cocoons of their pairings, for they are birds of the same metaphorical feather, flip sides of the same coin. Walking amidst the sculptures of “Desire” was not to experience some aesthetic amalgam, some conceptual synthesis, of visual ideas Dean had set in knee-high binary opposition to one another out on a small patch of Toronto lawn. Rather, it was to bump heads with a few pieces of some ancient amatory puzzle, and to risk the hubristic temptation of trying to fill in the empty spaces. As Dean well knew, our vanity would bequeath to “Desire” what it needed to be complete. Good thing, then, that we were there to help out. This review originally appeared in Art Papers Magazine, January/February 2002. ___________________________________________ Gil McElroy is a critic, independent curator, artist, and poet currently living in Colborne, Ontario. His latest books are Gravity & Grace: Selected Writing on Contemporary Canadian Art (Gaspereau Press), and a book of poetry, Dream Pool Essays (Talonbooks). View Gil's curriculum vitae.