ArtScopeTO 07: Interview with Photographer Andre Vittorio

April 16, 2018 | By

Apparently spring within the GTA has been postponed indefinitely because apparently we’ve been very, very bad, or the protective dome over Toronto’s been punctured too many times by amateur pilots, prolonging the dome’s self-sealing feature three-fold.

Either way, it seems winter just wont go the !!#@*? away, and neither does the wave of colds & flu that will eventually hit you, no matter how careful you’ve been. My daily mug of ginseng tea kept my cold / pounding headache / sore throat at low tide for weeks, but by Thurs. night it was clear the weekend wasn’t going to be fun – hence a delay in getting a lot of material up on the site.

 

The luminescent Eiffel Tower, spread out like a butterfly, which forms the centrepiece of Andre Vittorio’s Abstractions on Metal show, showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen St. East) until April 28, 2018.

 

Before my voice completely disintegrated Sat., I recorded the intro & outro for the latest edition of ArtScopeTO featuring photographer Andre Vittorio, whose series “Abstraction on Metal” is showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen Street East) until Sat. April 28, 2018. (I’m still intelligible, but sound like an amateur Barry White.)

 

The six colour images of abstract forms rooted in Renaissance architecture, part of Andre Vittorio’s Abstractions on Metal show, showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen St. East) until April 28, 2018.

 

Our brief discussion highlights the brilliant abstract images in high contrast colour (see above picture), and I hone in on Brutalist architecture, partly because one of the stations I pass through (and where the TTC’s unceremoniously dumped passengers when a train’s being retired) is Glencairne Station. Vittorio’s stills captures the station in striking B&W – perhaps the best format for Brutalist buildings because the lack of colour accentuates the style’s most arresting features: bold, bunker-like geometric forms, slim glass and metal trim, and the myriad textures which are more often than not unique to moulded concrete.

I’m thinking in particular of the grain from the poured material, the wood grain from imprinted planks, and the diverse forms which add dimension to walls, like the coarse beveling of the Ontario Science Centre’s inner walls.

I can understand why Brutalism isn’t well-loved: its name implies the imposition of a behemoth, obliterating anything colourful and delicate nearby, and its shadow smothering whatever lies below. York’s Ross Building is a fine example of Brutalism at its most severe, but York’s attempts to tone down the Ross’ dominance on the campus landscape hasn’t been fully successful; no matter what’s built around or nearby, and regardless of the front ramp being torn down to make room for Vari Hall, the Ross ain’t going anywhere. You can’t hide it, obfuscate it, or cloak it and make it disappear.

That’s perhaps the enduring legacy of Brutalism – being built solid and making the sweeping glass structures under its shadow seem ephemeral. We should be thankful we still have examples of the unique architectural style, and thankful to photographers for capturing these behemoths in the event the city bends over and allows a structure to be egregiously modified beyond recognition by developers, uglified, or blown to bits for something glassy and banal.

I strongly urge readers to take a peek at Vittorio’s website and visit the gallery to experience the size and detail of his work, and peruse the folders of stills that include images from Japan, Cuba, and Toronto.

 

Black & white images from Japan, part of Andre Vittorio’s Abstractions on Metal show, showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen St. East) until April 28, 2018.

 

Further B&W images of European train stations, part of Andre Vittorio’s Abstractions on Metal show, showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen St. East) until April 28, 2018.

 

Photographer Andre Vittorio, whose Abstractions on Metal series is showcased at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen St. East) until Sat. April 28, 2018.

 

 

My interview with Andre Vittorio (www.andrevittorio.com/) is available on Google Play, iTunes, Libsyn, and YouTube, and his work can be seen until Saturday April 28, 2018, at The Urban Gallery (400 Queen Street East).

Special thanks to Glenda Fordham at Fordham P.R. for facilitating the interview. See Fordham’s blog for additional photos and a video tour.

Coming next: two by Woody Allen, two by Jess Franco, and as a tie-in to Part 3 of my series (Mis)Adventures in Video at Big Head Amusements, I’ll review the only feature film shot at York University before its makeover, Damian Lee’s Gnaw – Food of the Gods: Part 2 (1989), which makes good use of the Ross Building’s ‘I will smight you with my shadow’ persona.

 

 

Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com

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Category: ArtScopeTO, EDITOR'S BLOG, INTERVIEWS, podcast

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