Arranging Constance Spry - chorégraphie florale

(Added 23 July 2013)

Image: Constance Spry picking flowers, 1958 Image drawn from publications by and about Constance Spry, Leisure collection

Arranging Constance Spry – chorégraphie florale
La Vitrine Atelier Daigneault/Schofield 2126, rue Rachel Est, Montréal
July-August 2013 juillet-aôut 2013

In 1926 society florist Constance Spry caused a “sensation” with her arrangement of collard greens, weeds and seed pods for the shop windows of Atkinsons, Bond Street perfumery. For the vitrine installation at 2126 rue Rachel Est, Leisure considers the choreography behind Spry’s arrangements, highlighting the improvisational gestures and supporting objects behind her brazen floral displays.

Studio Diary, April 23: Rope Study 3

(Added 26 April 2013)

Studio Diary, April 11: Earthly Paradise

(Added 11 April 2013)

Closing reception: Time To Start Over

(Added 10 April 2013)

Image: Installation view,Glow of the Going, Glow of the Gone (2013), Leisure. Photo: Josh Fee

Studio Diary, April 9: Leopards (prisons et paradis)

(Added 10 April 2013)

Studio Diary, April 4: Two Leopards

(Added 5 April 2013)

Time To Start Over

(Added 29 March 2013)

Image: Glow of the Going, Glow of the Gone (2013), Leisure

…the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places.- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818

Time To Start Over, a group exhibition of recent works by artists Lauren Hall, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino and Leisure (Meredith Carruthers _ Susannah Wesley). Scientists suggest that we are entering a geological epoch, termed “the Anthropocene,” in which the natural world bears the unmistakable mark of the human hand. At the advent of this new history, works of sculpture, mixed-media assemblage and video befall the question of a human-made “nature” through history, fantasy, simulation and speculation.

Studio Diary, March 12: Rope Study 2

(Added 12 March 2013)

Studio Diary, March 5: Arranging

(Added 5 March 2013)

Studio Diary, February 21: Rope Study I

(Added 21 February 2013)

Studio Diary, February 12: Glow of the Going

(Added 12 February 2013)

Studio Diary, February 7: Earthly Paradise

(Added 7 February 2013)

Studio Diary, January 29: Watercolour Fire?

(Added 29 January 2013)

A line/ Aligner workshop

(Added 21 January 2013)

Image: A Line / Aligner at La Centrale galerie Powerhouse, Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley

A short presentation where participants are invited to share in the action of A Line, an adaptation based on Houdini’s Trewey’s Paper Rings and Lygia Clark’s Caminhando.

A line / Aligner

(Added 6 December 2012)

Image: A Line / Aligner video still, Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley

One pair of scissors is rusted and the screw connecting its two blades has been tightened too tightly. The other is new and orange handled, of the inexpensive variety available everywhere. The paper is a lightweight bond roll. Snip, snip, snip. The cutters bring an intensity and focus to their task. They seem determined to find this invisible line.

K-Town continues...

(Added 23 November 2012)

The Leisure tribute to Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting is part of the K-town karaoke extravaganza.

Territoires sédimentés

(Added 1 November 2012)

Territoires sédimentés / l’imaginaire dans l’appréhension du territoire
En effet, le territoire prête aisément ses flancs topographiques, sa configuration géographique, sa complexité écologique, sa durée historique et son charisme symbolique aux élans inventifs — parfois fantaisistes — des créateurs culturels. Labile dans son identité et pluriel dans son devenir potentiel, le territoire se révèle couche après couche comme la sédimentation cumulative de processus physiques et de représentations imaginaires.

Witch Trap

(Added 29 March 2012)

Image Witch Trap, Meredith Carruthers _ Susannah Wesley, 2012, photo: David Ross

Inspired by the haunting description of Lake Erie witch visitations in the early 1800s, Witch Trap is an installation and video work that explores the idea of witchiness and culturally constructed affiliations between landscape and the feminine.

Vernissage: Guido Molinari Foundation

(Added 23 November 2011)

mSm MOLINARI, SALA, MUNARI, an exhibition curated by Leisure’s own, Meredith Carruthers.

Petite enveloppe urbaine no. 19

(Added 18 September 2011)

Image: Double page spread from Petite enveloppe urbaine no. 19, Amanuensis, 2011

The Centre de recherche urbaine de Montréal assigned an amanuensis the task of soliciting search requests from fifty-seven people in different cities. The amanuensis received these requests and browsed the Prelinger Library for appropriate material. The collection is arranged as a landscape, interpolating the history of communities and their relationship to the environment. Accordingly, the act of searching must follow the contours of this topology. Petite enveloppe urbaine No. 19 contains the answers to their questions.

I still dream... of Orgonon

(Added 18 September 2011)

Image: Leisure Projects, “Cloudbusting” research at Orgonon, Maine, 2011

K-Town is a Karaoke lounge installation by Luke Painter and Meera Margaret Singh. Leisure’s on-site research at The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust, Orgonon, Maine, resulted in our contribution to K-Town, a karaoke tribute to Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.


(Added 18 June 2011)

Leisure Projects is pleased to support Meredith Carruthers’ project Parade at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery. Parade unfolds over the summer months in the Gallery’s vitrines. This project in three parts, inspired by Jean Cocteau’s ballet Parade, draws from the Leonard _ Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s collection to create a choreography of artworks.


(Added 18 June 2011)

Leisure Projects is pleased to announce that our video work Folie à deux (2009) was acquired by the collection of the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University.

Restless Reader: she was aware of a strange woman inside herself, a woman wakened up and imperious.

(Added 21 March 2011)

Image: The First Lady Chatterley, D.H. Lawrence, 1973 Penguin edition

No, she was aware of a strange woman inside herself, a woman wakened up and imperious. She was running now to get home to tea, but she was running also to get away from this new thing that had come upon her. She was running to escape from the woman inside herself, the woman who felt so fierce and so tender and at the same time, so soft and boundless and gentle, but also so remorseless, like the sea. — D.H. Lawrence, The First Lady Chatterley (The first version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover) first published in 1944

Restless Reader: I hated its beauty and its magic and the secret I would never know.

(Added 20 March 2011)

Image: Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys, Penguin edition, 1980. Smile Please, Jean Rhys, Penguin edition, 1981.

I hated the mountains and the hills, the rivers and the rain. I hated the sunsets of whatever colour, I hated its beauty and its magic and the secret I would never know. I hated its indifference and the cruelty which was part of its loveliness.— Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, First published 1966.

The Compulsive Browse

(Added 19 February 2011)

Image: McGill Archives, Compulsive Browse

The Compulsive Browse Colloquium explores the means and methods of “research” that are used by contemporary Canadian cultural practitioners today.

Restless Reader: A little while ago, when I picked them, they were living flowers.

(Added 29 January 2011)

Image: Simone Beauvoir, Les Belles Images, Fontana Modern Novels, 1979.

The children made their way into a hollow tree and there they found themselves in an enchanting room all paneled in natural wood. Follow up on this idea. – Simone Beauvoir, from Les Belles Images in an edition published in 1979

Restless Reader: she wanted the courage and the power

(Added 10 January 2011)

Image: Alice Munro, Who Do You Think You Are?, Macmillan of Canada, 1989

She had another feeling as well, not envy but a shaky sort of longing (…) She wanted to fill up in that magical, releasing way, transform herself; she wanted the courage and the power. – Alice Munro, Who Do You Think You Are?, 1978. (Macmillan of Canada, 1989, p. 200)

Leisure on residency in the Klondike

(Added 17 December 2010)

Leisure Projects will be in residence at KIAC in Dawson City, Yukon through late November and early December.

Sally Potter's The Gold Diggers (1983)

(Added 17 December 2010)

Sally Potter : I see this film as a musical describing a female quest. Making it has demanded asking the same questions during the working process as the film endeavours to ask about the connections between gold, money and women…- From an interview between Pam Cook and Sally Potter in the chapter, “The Gold Diggers”, from Screening the Past: Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema by Pam Cook (2005, Routledge). more after the jump

Restless Reader: A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her

(Added 16 December 2010)

Image: The Awakening, Kate Chopin, Washington Square Press, 1988

Edna Pontellier could not have told why, wishing to go to the beach with Robert, she should in the first place have declined, and in the second place have followed in obedience to one of the two contradictory impulses which impelled her.

A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her, – the light which, showing the way, forbids it.

At that early period it served but to bewilder her. It moved her to dreams, to thoughtfulness, to the shadowy anguish which had overcome her the midnight when she had abandoned herself to tears.

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realise her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her. This may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight – perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman.

But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult!

Kate Chopin, The Awakening , 1899. (Washington Square Press, 1998, p. 21)

This is post three of the “Restless Reader” a Leisure bibliography of restlessness in literature.

Gold Diggers: two women of altitude

(Added 6 December 2010)

Image: American Women’s Club Excursion and Picnic, c1905-1910, Courtesy of The Dawson City Museum 1983.182.2.1

“…the S.S. Leah tied up at the waterfront (of Dawson City, July 1898)after a twenty-one-day voyage from St. Michael. On board were a diverse collection of sight-seers…

The two women of altitude and, as Lynch (writer of ‘Three Years in the Klondike’, 1904) remarked, considerable girth Mrs. Mary Hitchcock, widow of a U.S. naval officer, Miss Edith Van Buren, niece of the former U.S. president. This commanding pair liked to explore exotic locations each summer, preferably in picturesque outfits. Their gold-mining garb consisted of blue serge knickerbockers, striped jersey sweaters, large sombreros and heavy cartridge belts to which were strapped fearsome handguns.

Lynch marveled at their baggage: ‘Two gigantic Danish dogs, a tent that would entertain seventy five people… a collection of pigeons and rare fowls, boxes and boxes of Pâté de fois gras, truffles, sardines, olives farcies, several kinds of musical instruments, and a bowling alley’. Mrs. Hitchcock, a grande dame with a sharp tongue and hot temper, was furious when told she had excess luggage, and refused to be parted from her Edison motion-picture projector, her ice-cream freezer, her air mattresses, or a single one of her birds (several canaries, two cages of pigeons, and a parrot).” — Charlotte Gray, Gold Diggers 2010

Restless Reader: An autumn of very sparse and meagre romance

(Added 5 December 2010)

Image: A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh, Penguin Books Ltd, 1990

…I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

But with the exception of her sister’s, opinion was greatly in favour of Brenda’s adventure. The morning telephone buzzed with news of her; even people with whom she had the barest acquaintance were delighted to relate that they had seen her and Beaver the evening before at restaurant or cinema. It had been an autumn of very sparse and meagre romance; only the most obvious people had parted or come together, and Brenda was filling a want long felt by those whose simple, vicarious pleasure it was to discuss the subject in bed over the telephone. For them her circumstances shed peculiar glamour; for five years she had been a legendary, almost ghostly name, the imprisoned princess of fairy story, and now that she had emerged there was more enchantment in the occurrence, than in the mere change of habit of any other circumspect wife… — Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust, 1934

This is post two of the “Restless Reader” a Leisure bibliography of restlessness in literature.

The Walker of the Snow

(Added 5 December 2010)

Image: Courtesy of the Dawson City Museum, 1994.123.20

Monday, December 6
at Macaulay House, KIAC artist residence, corner of 7th and Princess
“Accomplice” cocktails will be served at 4:30pm

“To the cold December heaven came the pale moon and the stars,
As the yellow sun was sinking behind the purple bars.
The snow was deeply drifted upon the ridges drear
That lay for miles between me and the camp for which we steer.”
The Walker of the Snow, Charles Dawson Shanly, 1859

Artist Talk at KIAC

(Added 1 December 2010)

Leisure Projects will be presenting an artist talk on Thursday December 2nd at 7:30pm at KIAC, Dawson City, as part of our residency.

Restless Reader: I longed for a power of vision

(Added 30 November 2010)

Image: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, New York: Barnes _ Noble Classics, 2003

“I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of, but never seen; that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach. I valued what was good in Mrs. Fairfax, and what was good in Adele; but I believed in the existence of other and more vivid kinds of goodness, and what I believed in I wished to behold.” — Charlotte Brontë (Currer Bell), Jane Eyre, 1847

This is post one of the “Restless Reader” a Leisure bibliography of restlessness in literature.

Paris of the North

(Added 20 November 2010)

Image: Nebula, Yukon, Canada, Charles Stankievech with Sophie Springer. Penetrating further into the realms of the winter king, we inspect his fortress, reads the description on the back of a 1898 stereograph photo of the Klondike Gold Rush. This image is part of a collection of images and ideas representing fantasies and fabrications related to the outpost of our imagination in the Canadian Arctic.

Leisure Projects departs this Wednesday for an adventure in the Great White North at the Klondike Institute of Fine Arts.

During the residency at KIAC, Leisure Projects will focus on the intersection between social culture and landscape in the history of leisure pursuits, celebrations and social events in the early years of Dawson City. Through research in the Dawson City Museum’s photographic archives, Leisure Projects will explore the impact of outdoor spectacles on the flourishing cultural imagination of the 1900s “Paris of the North”.

The Restlessness Was In My Nature (it agitated me to pain sometimes)

(Added 19 September 2010)

Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890 − 1978) ADOLESCENCE, etching, 1932
Sitter: Dorette Woodward
P2406 – British Art Collection

“In 1929 Brockhurst met Kathleen Woodward when she was a 17 year old model at the Royal Academy Schools in London. Their relationship developed rapidly and Brockhurst rechristened her Dorette; the pair eloped to America amidst great scandal.” – British Art Collection

Recently Leisure has been investigating the idea of restlessness – the tension and expectation of inhabiting a space in between or on the cusp of another. A conceptual state that is at once a holding space and full of action, restlessness is at a loss for what it doesn’t yet embody or possess. It anticipates. It desires. It is reaching for another condition.

Restlessness is often seen as marginalized space – a necessary but temporary condition that must be fought through and against to achieve an end result or status quo, stability and security. Life, however, never ceases to shift and be in flux, it is an inescapable constant; it is what drives us forward,produces change, revolution and regeneration.

Perruque 8: Eames display of hair combs

(Added 18 September 2010)

Image: photograph by Charles Eames

As an update to our perruque series and our general interest in haircare related display, we are pleased to post this Eames arrangement of hair combs.

For an extensive collection of other things organised by colour, size, form, content and / or function visit Things Organized Neatly

Still Life - Leisure, 1936

(Added 11 September 2010)

Image: Madame Yevonde, Still Life – Leisure, 1936

Madame Yevonde (1893 − 1975) was the professional name of Yevonde Cumbers, who was born in Streatham, south London in 1893. The fascinating life and work of Madame Yevonde, from Suffragette to self-employed society photographer, were the subject of the 1998 British Council exhibition Madame Yevonde Be Original or Die.

Several bodies of Yevonde’s work can be viewed online as part of the Yevonde Portrait Archive including her haunting still lifes and a series of portraits of society ladies dressed in classical costume called ‘The Goddesses’. Wreathed in flowers, posing with taxidermy animals or encrusted with jewels and shells; these Andromedas, Persephones and Minervas participated in a consummate game of dress-up, temporarily inhabiting the multi-hued fantasy world of Madame Yevonde.

Leisure collections: The Shelburne Museum

(Added 5 September 2010)

Image: “the imagined home of a retired wealthy sea captain”

Founded by the eccentric heiress Elektra Havemeyer in 1947, the Shelburne Museum is a dream made reality, created to celebrate the American aesthetic – from folk art, to decorative art, to architecture, fine art and other strange and marvellous artefacts. It’s a perfect destination for a leisurely summer drive through Vermont.

When creating the Museum Ms. Havemeyer took the imaginative step of collecting 18th- and 19th-century buildings from New England and New York in which to display the Museum’s holdings, relocating 20 historic structures to Shelburne. These include houses, barns, a meeting house, a one-room schoolhouse, a lighthouse, a jail, a general store, a covered bridge, and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga.

Leisure studio

(Added 29 August 2010)

Please update your address books – Leisure Projects has a new studio address.

Forward all correspondence to:

Dawn machine: Confetti System

(Added 28 August 2010)

Image: gold – homepage from Confetti System online

With his Dawn Machine (1668?), Gianlorenzo Bernini created the impression of a dazzling sunrise as part of a theatrical event (Read more about Leisure performance: Bernini’s Spectacles here).

In a contemporary series of ephemeral installations; glittering walls, tasseled garlands and shining piñatas, the Brooklyn based duo, Confetti System seems to be channelling Bernini’s shimmering radiance. Creating exhibitions, sets, as well as a line of accessories and festive objects, Confetti System, “transforms simple materials such as tissue paper, cardboard, and silk into interactive objects that create a point of focus, where memories are made and a spontaneous collaboration with the viewer is sparked.”

Les Vampires: with great suede wings

(Added 22 August 2010)

Image: Les Vampires, directed by Louis Feuillade, 1915

Of the moonless nights they are kings,
darkness is their kingdom.
Carrying death and sowing terror
the dark Vampires fly,
with great suede wings,
ready not only to do evil… but to do even worse
-Unknown Newspaper, November, 1915

Diaghilev's Les Noces

(Added 18 August 2010)

Image: Rehearsal of Les Noces on the roof of the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo, 1923. Bronislava Nijinska Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (045.00.00)
Digital ID# br0045

Les Noces premiered on June 13, 1923 at the Théâtre de la Gaïté-Lyrique, Paris, with music by Igor Stravinsky; sets and costumes by Natalia Gontcharova, choreography by Bronislava Nijinska.

For Diaghilev’s production of Les Noces (The Wedding), Nijinska insisted on simple scenery and dark colors for the costumes to emphasize the seriousness of the theme, which centers on a young peasant girl who leaves her family for the unknown world of marriage.

Restlessness: Claude Jutra's "Wow"

(Added 16 August 2010)

Image: WOW, 1969, 94 min 41 s
Director: Claude Jutra
With English subtitles

Prompted by the filmmaker, nine teenagers individually act out their secret dreams and, between times, talk about their world as they see it. Babette conceives of herself as an abbess defending her fortress, a convent; Michelle is transported in a dream of love where all time ceases; Philippe is the revolutionary, defeating all the institutions that plague him, and so on, through all their fantasies. All the actual preoccupations of youth are raised: authority, drugs, social conflict, sex.

See an excerpt of this film on the NFB online

Last days of summer: Explorer Roses are fading all over Canada

(Added 16 August 2010)

‘Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.
-Thomas Moore, 1805

Agriculture Canada began a rose breeding program in the 1960s at Morden Research Station in Manitoba, under the direction of breeder Felicitas Svejda. Her objective was to use roses from Europe to create a hardy and disease resistant series of roses to withstand harsh conditions across Canada. The resulting roses were named “ The Explorer Series” with rose cultivars named after Canadian Explorers such as Champlain, Cabot and Henry Kelsey.

Leisure summer reading: Georges Vanier Library

(Added 14 August 2010)

Image: Detail of the English language book section of Bibliothèque Georges-Vanier in Little Burgundy, 2450, rue Workman, Montréal

The recent Leisure propensity for mystery novels may have something to do with a new library card for Bibliothèque Georges-Vanier. Situated in a restored firehall across from a park and wading pool, Georges-Vanier library is a perfect leisure reading haunt. The library is meticuolously shelved and and visually annotated by theme (see photo above for the visual key for mystery).

Leisure summer reading: Agatha Christie

(Added 13 August 2010)

Image:Vintage Agatha Christie from the World’s Smallest Bookshop, 1966, 1969 Book Club Editions, Third Girl jacket cover design by Salem Tamer

Whether portraying dedicated sleuths like the foppish mustachioed Belgian dandy M. Poirot, or amateur observers of human nature like the deceptively muzzy Ms. Marple, for adventure with charm and subtle social commentary, Agatha Christie (15 September 1890 –12 January 1976) does not disappoint. In the words of American mystery writer Hugh Pentecost, “Like good wine, Agatha Christie improves with age. When she writes formula, it’s the best formula; when she writes off the track, she keeps you, skillfully, from seeing around the curves.”

An excerpt from Third Girl dust jacket description and Chapter 14 below:

Leisure summer reading: World's Smallest Bookshop

(Added 12 August 2010)

Image: World’s Smallest Bookshop
County Road 503, Minden Hills, ON, Canada

For bookish summer revelers making there way from Montreal to Ontario cottage country, Leisure Projects recommends a stop at the World’s Smallest Bookshop on County Road 503, Minden Hills, Ontario.

The World’s Smallest Bookshop occupies a roadside shed measuring roughly 10’ x 10’. Wood burned signs greet the road-weary and announce the pleasures within – “Come on in and say to hello to … Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Thomas Hardy, John Steinbeck, Margaret Laurence, The Bronte Sisters, Alice Munro, Scott Fitzgerald, Robertson Davies…”

Leisure summer reading: Cushing's Island Lending Library

(Added 12 August 2010)

While holidaying on Cushing’s Island, Casco Bay, Maine (see the 2008 post “Other people’s holidays are annoying”) Leisure Projects was charmed by the Island Lending Library.

Located in the front room of the Meacham cottage, the lending library is open to cottage regulars and first time visitors alike. Reading can be done in-situ, or books can be signed out using the self-service wicker basket sign-out system. Books are outfitted with library sign-out cards, which are deposited for sign-out reference with return dates determined by the borrower. The book selection, organized by size, theme and age appropriateness, is very strong in large format picture books and coming-of-age adventure fiction, making the Island Lending Library particularly popular with the 13 and under set.

Leisure Projects took the opportunity to re-visit some of our favourites:

Leisure Radio

(Added 13 March 2010)

Leisure Projects will be broadcasting live this Monday evening on Thrift Store Radio, 89.0 fm.

Tune in at 7pm to hear Leisure Projects present: Jano, Laura, Charlerie, Odile, Natalie, Taylor, Bunny, Sheena, Francesca, Samantha, Aretha, Louisa, Jannetta, Holly, Kumari, Isa, Olivia, Carly, Donna, Tess

For streaming audio visit:

Thrift Store Radio is part of the exhibition, Ghost Acoustics (AKVK – Steve bates, Joshua Bonnetta and Douglas Moffat) at the FOFA Gallery, 1515 Ste Catherine St Ouest until March 21.

Les amazones et le mâlisme artistique

(Added 22 January 2010)

Art et féminisme Public events poster, 1982. La Médiathèque du Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Leisure Projects extends special thanks to Robin Simpson for his participation at the recent Salon events at the SBC gallery and for contributing an article to Leisure Letters. Click here to read Robin’s survey of press material surrounding the two exhibitions ( Art femme ’75 at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, and Art et Féminisme at the MAC in 1982) that inspired us to initiate the exhibition “I haven’t been a figment of my own imagination” at the SBC gallery, Montréal.

Then, Now and Later

(Added 28 November 2009)

Salon 1: Then, Now and Later
Feminist art from a curatorial perspective

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the first Salon event at the SBC gallery. In particular Catherine Morris who jumped into this experiment with us. The Salon discussion touched on geo-politics, the definition and re-definition of feminist “waves” in art and culture, as well as the impact of dialogue in forming a continuum of female art thinking and creation.

Catherine Morris spoke candidly about her new position as Curator of Feminist Art at the still quite new Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, The Brooklyn Museum as well as her experience curating “Gloria” (with Ingrid Schaffner, at White Columns, 2002).

mysterious sequined figure / club-woman / society hostess / culture vulture

(Added 22 November 2009)

According to Gazette reporter Virginia Nixon, the opening of the three-part exhibition, Artfemme ’75 at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, the Musée d’art Contemporain and Powerhouse Gallery, was graced by a big snowstorm and the spirit of notorious ‘bon vivant’ and Algonquin Round Table participant, Tallulah Bankhead…

Salon events @ the SBC

(Added 16 November 2009)

Parallel to the exhibition I haven’t been a figment of my own imagination, presented from November 21, 2009 to January 23, 2010, Leisure Projects/the SBC invite the public to a program of events and film screenings…

Watching Water: Views of Niagara Falls

(Added 1 November 2009)

In the heat of SUMMER!, a detail from Watching Water: Views of Niagara Falls, Leisure Projects’ contribution to AbC’s WATER anthology. With special thanks to photographs posted to flickr by: Wil Zoetekouw (summer of 2003), Yangyongwei (August 2, 2005), hokorii, August 2, 2007, Difo&Natura (August 6, 2008), Wolfgang Staudt (August 10, 2006), digitaleye81 (August 19, 2007), Dreamer (August 24, 2006)

Alphabet City is a series of annual hardcover anthologies originating from Toronto, Canada. Each volume in the series addresses a one-word topic of global concern and draws on the diverse perspectives of writers and artists from many cultures and disciplines. Each book is a graphically rich and textually surprising combination of images and texts that critically and imaginatively reinvents the topic at hand…

je n'étais pas qu'une simple chimère

(Added 7 September 2009)

Image: Lili Reynaud-Dewar, The Power Structures, Rituals _ Sexuality of the European Shorthand Typists 2 (detail) 2009, Still from video projection

*je n‘étais pas qu’une simple chimère
I haven’t been a figment of my own imagination*

Aleesa Cohene (Cologne), Luanne Martineau (Victoria), Lili Reynaud Dewar (Paris), Lucie Stahl (Vienna)

21 November, 2009 – 23 January, 2010
SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art
372, Ste-Catherine West, space 507
Montréal, QC

Inspired by a photograph taken in 1974 of a group of women in conversation while lounging in a Paris studio, this exhibition presents the work of four contemporary artists (Aleesa Cohene, Luanne Martineau, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Lucie Stahl) whose practice, directly or indirectly engages with the formal visual elements and-or conceptual legacy of an earlier generation of feminist artists from the 70s and early 80s.

The Witch Doctor of Long Point

(Added 11 June 2009)

….at the foot of his bed, a huge trap was bolted to the floor, where it was set every night to catch witches. The jaws were about three feet long and when shut were two and a half feet high. But in spite of this defensive means the witches would occasionally take Dr. Troyer out into the night and transform him into various kinds of animals, compelling him to act the part. “One night the witches took him out of a peaceful slumber, transformed him into a horse and rode him across the lake to Dunkirk where they attended a witch dance. They tied him to a post where he could witness the dance through the windows, and fed him rye-straw…. (more after the jump).

-from Canadian Houses of Romance by Katherine Hale _ Dorothy Stevens, 1926.

Mary Wigman: Witch Dance

(Added 28 May 2009)

“The revised Witch Dance made explicit what had been implicit in the identically titled solo presented twelve years earlier on her debut program. As in the earlier solo, the choreographer does not impersonate the character of a witch but rather embodies the quality of “witchness.” However, her self-transformation is intensified and made more complete through her use of a facial mask, designed by Viktor Magito. As a review described the effect: ‘She emloys a small face mask, which doesn’t hide all of her cheek, nor does it cover her hair. The eye openings of the mask allow her eyes to be seen… (Her) partially covered body…lives no longer, but withdraws so far from life that each movement extinguishes all thought of human existence.’
… Wearing a mask, the female dancer objectifies herself rather than allowing herself to be objectified by the (male) spectator. Wearing a mask, she turns the gaze back on the spectator.”

-from Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman, by Susan Manning , University of Minnesota Press, pg. 127

Leisure talks

(Added 28 May 2009)

Leisure Projects is participating in two public events surrounding the exhibition Making It Work. An artist talk on Wednesday May 27 from 6:30-7:30 and a round table discussion involving many of the collectives participating in the exhibition on Sat June 13, 3-5pm. The round table will discuss larger issues surrounding collaborative process and will be moderated by Vincent Bonin.

Perruque 7: Hair Beautiful

(Added 11 April 2009)

A recent addtion to the Leisure collection is a copy of Hair Beautiful magazine, published in the 1960’s by the Poly Divison of the Lambert Chemical Company, London. Rich in tips and how-to imagery, this publication also serves up inspiring descriptions of high-piled hairdos. Some haiku-esque, card-sharp favourites are transcribed here…

The art of marketing art

(Added 11 April 2009)

This past February Leisure Projects had the pleasure of participating in a panel alongside Mark Lanctôt, Donald Browne and The Sanchez Brothers, moderated by Cheryl Sim. The discussion, a pre- “Art Matters” event, was an opportunity for exchange on the ins and outs of developing and marketing an independent professional practice. Copied here is a summary written by Russ Cooper and published in the Concordia Journal.

Perruque 6: Homer's 'systematic soldiering'

(Added 11 April 2009)

In the spirit of collaboration Perruque 6 is a contribution from Knowles Eddy Knowles.

Knowles Eddy Knowles are in search of the ultimate object: A homer (the word translated from the french Perruque, to mean, something produced on company time with company materials, usually destined for domestic use) from a wig factory…

Making It Work

(Added 10 April 2009)

May 5 to June 13 2009
BGL, CRUM, DGC~CGA, Knowles Eddy Knowles, Leisure Projects, PME-Art
Curator: Susannah Wesley

Organized by the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery
Université Concordia University
1400, boul. de Maisonneuve ouest, Montréal
(514) 848-2424, ext. 4778

Opening: Saturday May 2 4–6 pm

The exhibition Making It Work explores the process of collective art practice. How do collectives work? How are collective imaginaries formed and developed? How does the process vary from one collective to another? How does shared authorship affect what is achieved as the end result? Collaboration is the site where art making is actively complicated, where discussion, cooperation and argument coalesce to shape something new. The process is fascinating, rich and essential to the collective being.

photo: Leisure Projects, Folie à deux, video still, 55 mins, 2009

Perruque 5: Suzanne Dery's wig

(Added 3 February 2009)

As the Hair Follies exhibition continues Leisure Projects is learning of new and exciting hair stories and projects. We were particularly thrilled to learn of Suzanne Dery’s wig project…

Perruque 4: Hair Wars

(Added 1 February 2009)

Photos from Hair Wars, by Johanna Lenander (Author), David Yellen (Photographer), powerHouse Books, 2007

During her presentation at Concordia University for students in the ceramics, fibres and ARTX departments, artist Io Palmer introduced us to “Hair Wars”, an amazing hair competition that originated in the mid-eighties in Detroit. A recent monograph by photographer David Yellen documents the phenomenon. See below for a description of the book.

Remote controlled hairy-copters, an eight-foot-wide hawk, a birthday cake spouting confetti, a working barbeque grill, a Bible made of hair—these are just a few creations featured in Hair Wars, David Yellen’s jaw-dropping collection of portraits taken at the touring American showcase of the same name. Combining advanced styling techniques, countless pounds of human hair extensions, and irrepressible imagination, these proudly outrageous coiffures take the time-honored tradition and culture of African American hairstyling out of the beauty parlor and onto the runway. Founded by David Humphries, a.k.a. “Hump the Grinder,” in the nightclubs of Detroit during the mid-80s, the “hair off” events started out as “Wednesday Night Hair Connection,” a weekly party. By 1994, the event had grown into a national showcase that toured the country, visiting cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, as well as hometown Detroit.

Hair Follies Exhibition Features Outrageous Wigs

(Added 1 February 2009)

Leisure Projects was pleased to participate in a casual interview over lunch and tea with the Montreal Gazette reporter Christine Redfern. An excerpt from the article published in the January 17 issue is copied here.

Perruque 3: Good Night Veronica

(Added 1 February 2009)

Images: Good Night Veronica, Denise and Alain Trez, Viking Press, New York, 1968 (Translation, Douglas McKee)

In the bedtime reading classic Good Night Veronica, Veronica and her charming dog Citron are longing for a cool breath of air on a hot summer night when their beds are surprisingly relocated to a breezy treetop. This pleasant existence is interrupted when the tree shakes them to the ground and runs off into the distance. In their search to regain their treetop paradise, Veronica & Citron persevere through rainstorms and fish swarms, unraveling clouds and alphabet flora. At a pivotal moment in this journey, Veronica’s hair mysteriously grows to elaborate lengths, functioning first as a glider, then parachute, then country lane.

Perruque 2: The Illusive Wig Collection of William John Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck

(Added 17 January 2009)

Image: photocopy courtesy of Anne Carruthers

A recent note from one of Leisure Projects’ favourite independent researchers brought to our attention the mysterious wig collection of the illusive William John Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 5th duke of portland (1800-1879).

Excerpt from Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island, Harper Perennial, 1997

He (W.J.C Scott-Bentinck) lived in just one corner of his stately home and communicated with his servants through notes passed to him through a special message box that was cut into one of the doors to his rooms. Food was conveyed to him in the dining room by means of a minature railway running from the kitchen. In the event of chance encounters, he would stand stock still and servants were instructed to pass him as they would pass a peice of furniture. Those who transgressed this instruction were compelled to skate on the duke’s private skating rink until exhausted.

...For reasons that can only be guessed at, the duke used his inheritance to build a second mansion underground. At its peak, he had 15,000 men employed in its construction, and when completed it included, among much else, a library nearly 250 feet long and a ballroom that could accomadate 2,000 guests.

...When it was necessary for the duke to travel to London, he would have himself sealed in his horse-drawn carriage, whcihc would be driven through a mile-and-a-half-long tunnel to a place near Worksop Station and loaded onto a specia lflatcar for the trip to the capital. There, still sealed, it would be driven to his London residence, Harcourt House.

When the duke died, his heirs found all of the above ground rooms devoid of furniture except for one chamber in the middle of which sat the duke’s commode. The main hall was mysteriously floorless. Most of the rooms were painted pink. The one upstairs room in which the duke resided was packed to the ceiling with hundreds of green boxes, each of which contained a single dark brown wig.

Perruque 1: Harald Szeemann's Grandfather, Secret Inventor of the Perm

(Added 17 January 2009)

Image source: Harald Szeemann, Individual Methodology JRP Ringier, 2007

Harald Szeemann (born June 11, 1933 in Bern, Switzerland) was an independent curator often cited as the originator of the contemporary thematic art exhbition (Großausstellung or “great exhibition”), in which the artworks are tied to a central concept and are assembled into new and often surprising interrelationships.

In 1972 he was the youngest artistic director at documenta 5 in Kassel. After documenta 5, Szeeman invented a series of small scale exhbitions grouped together under the moniker “Museum of Obsessions”.

Szeemann’s “Grand Father: A Pioneer Like Us” (1974) took place in his Bern apartment (later to become Galerie Toni Gerber). In the exhibition he presented hairdressing equipment that belonged to his grandfather, who was a professional hairdresser and secret inventor of the perm. By displaying objects on an equal level with artworks, Szeeman pushed the boundaries of professional exhibition making, creating a model of exhbition as personal cosmology.

Hair Follies ~ La Perruque

(Added 5 January 2009)

Bernard Perreault, Galaxie, 1968, Collection Musée d’art de Joliette

Hair Follies ~ La Perruque
Matthieu Gauvin
Maya Hayuk
Fabienne Lasserre
Io Palmer
Ken Smith

January 5th – February 6th
FOFA Gallery
1515 St. Catherine St. West, EV 1.715
Montreal, Québec

January 15th
Opening, 6-8pm
and wig-making workshop with artist and fashion designer Rainer Clair Gilles

Leisure Projects is pleased to present Hair Follies as the first exhibition of 2009 at the Concordia University FOFA 1 gallery. Sometimes beautiful and ornamental, other times abject and grotesque, hair is an unassuming yet powerful personal agent. In the spirit of “perruque” 2 the Hair Follies exhibition claims the head as a site for the creative analysis of personal décor…(more after the jump).

Leisure Projects and the FOFA gallery would like to extend their special thanks to the Musée d’art de Joliette and Art Solution Services inc. for their help in the realisation of this project.

De salons en glaciers : Leisure Projects par Gentiane Bélanger

(Added 4 January 2009)

Special thanks to Gentiane Bélanger for her thoughtful article about Leisure Projects and the “Brushing up against the wild” project. The article is in the current issue of Etc Revue de l’art actuel, Néoféminismes : l’intime / neofeminisms: intimacy. Read the excerpt here or visit for magazine distribution.

Cutting Slack

(Added 4 January 2009)

Leisure Projects is pleased to participate as a guest of Randall Szott in the on-line forum Cutting Slack ( with a contribution entitled “Aftermath: Dali in Hollywood (1941).” Szott is the initiator of Leisurearts (, and a kindred spirit of our own investigative project.

Zoë Pawlak interviews Leisure Projects about "Office Hours"

(Added 3 January 2009)

Zoë Pawlak of the art and entrepreneurship blog the Loaded Bow ( recently interviewed Leisure Projects about collaboration, alternative work spaces and the “Leisure Office Hours” project at Knock on Woods International Residency and Dwelling for Intervals.

White dotted with black, Des Esseintes, Ermine

(Added 30 December 2008)

Image: Alternate Ermine Spot Styles, A Dictionary of Heraldry, Stephen Friar, Harmony Books, 1987

As the snow alternately blows, melts and freezes, Leisure Projects is curled up with a good book. Huysmans recommends a drop of spirits to cheer the winter months… for our fellow aesthete recluses during the winter season we recommend ‘Against Nature’ . For more on this leisure standard refer to the Leisure Letters archives, Leisure galleries: Huysmans’ Against Nature.

Des Esseintes sat dreaming of one thing and another. The burning logs piled high in the fire-basket filled the room with hot air, and eventually he got up and opened the window a little way. Like a great canopy of counter-ermine, the sky hung before him, a black curtain spattered with white.

Suddenly an icy wind blew up which drove the dancing snow flakes before it and reversed this arrangement of colours. The sky’s heraldic trappings were turned around to reveal a true ermine, white dotted with black where pinpricks of darkness showed through the curtain of falling snow.

He shut the window again. This quick change, straight from the torrid heat of the room to the biting cold of mid-winter had taken his breath away; and curling up beside the fire again, it occurred to him that a drop of spirits would be the best thing to warm him up.”

‘Against Nature’ A Rebours, Joris-Karl Huysmans. 2003 edition translated by Robert Baldick, with notes and introduction by Patrik McGuinness, p.44-45

Hair Follies ~ Happy New Year!

(Added 30 December 2008)

Leisure Projects is ringing in the New Year while installing the upcoming Hair Follies exhibition at the FOFA gallery. Hope to see you soon at the opening January 15, 6-8pm!

The Art of Season’s Greetings 12: Artists’ Handmade Cards

(Added 26 December 2008)

As is the seasonal habit of many contemporary Canadian artists, in the early twentieth-century artists also engaged in the creative process of making their own unique handmade Christmas cards. This card was created with a woodblock print by Montreal artist and contributor to the Canadian Artists Series, Anne Savage (1897-1971), and did not form part of a professionally printed series. This whimsical scene seems to combine church with fairy tale imagery to evoke the magical feeling of the season.

Image: Anne Savage, woodblock print Christmas card, n.d., H.O. McCurry Fonds, , Library and Archives Canada. Inside inscription reads: “’Christmas to you’.”

The Art of Season’s Greetings 11: Coutts Painters of Canada Series

(Added 25 December 2008)

But although individual cards may represent a sum which is in every way in keeping with their own ephemeral nature, there is nothing insignificant or ephemeral about the industry which produces them, nor can there be anything insignificant about the influence of their design on the public in general when one thinks in terms of the millions and millions of them which are sold each year. – Paul Arthur, 1958

Besides the Canadian Artists Series, there were other attempts to promote the work of Canadian artists through the medium of the Christmas card. The Coutts’ Painters of Canada series was a short-lived project initiated in 1931 by greeting-card businessman William E. Coutts, again at the urging of A.Y. Jackson. By contrast with the widely inclusive Canadian Artists Series, the Painters of Canada Series focused on the Group of Seven painters and their contemporaries, and consisted of carefully selected the work of thirty artists for representation in the cards. For this series, they silk-screened original commissioned oil paintings the size of greeting cards. It did not last long as it did not do well financially. Journalist Michael Mitchell wrote that the reason A.Y. Jackson continued to initiate these commercial projects was that, “He detested the cards of the period, feeling that their rigidly realistic treatments of Christmas themes and idealized winter scenes were sentimental and old-fashioned.”

Paul Arthur, “Recent Christmas and New Year’s Greeting Cards by Canadian Artists,” Canadian Art, 15 (Autumn 1958): 288.

Michael Mitchell, “Season’s Greetings from the Group of Seven,” The Globe and Mail – Weekend Magazine, (Dec. 2, 1978): 16.

Image: A.J. Casson, Through Winter Trees, n.d., Coutts Painters of Canada Series, Joan Murray Fonds, Library and Archives Canada. Inside inscription reads: “With all kind thoughts at this Christmas Season and best wishes for your happiness in the New Year.”

The Art of Season’s Greetings 10: Canadian Artists Series Serigraphs

(Added 25 December 2008)

Until 1928, the Canadian Artists Series Christmas cards were printed with the Dell’Aqua process, giving them the stylized graphic appearance shown in preceding Leisure Letter postings. This process was expensive because of the labour required for hand-colouring. After 1929, because of the onset of the Depression, Rous and Mann, Ltd. reverted to the more economical letterpress process of printing where both black and coloured ink were applied to a relief image. Examples of cards by artists from this later era can be distinguished by their uniform borders and resemblance to serigraph oil paintings, such as this card by Paul Caron. The change in appearance of the cards coincided with the diminishment of their sales. This could have been due to their new look, but was also certainly a result of the Depression, which reduced the population’s expenditures on items potentially considered frivolous, such as Christmas cards.

Graham W. Garrett, “Canadian Christmas Cards.” Paper held in Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, n.d.

Image: Paul Caron, Canadian Artists Series, n.d., Joan Murray Fonds, Library and Archives Canada. Inside inscription reads: “Kind thoughts and Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year.”

The Art of Season’s Greetings 9: Religion and the Theatre

(Added 22 December 2008)

“While the majority of painters have shown a preference for glimpses of Canadian landscapes, the traditional subjects, usually utilized for greeting cards, are not neglected in this series.”

Religious iconography was not common amongst the cards of the Canadian Artists Series. However, this card by Group of Seven member F.H. Varley likely depicting Joseph fleeing to Egypt with the Christ child is one of the exceptions. Likewise, Group of Seven member J.E.H. MacDonald also created religious imagery in some of his designs for the Series. Writing about the Canadian Artists Series for Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine in 1926, Fred Jacob described MacDonald’s religious pictures as “delicate designs” in contrast to the rugged landscapes. In particular, MacDonald’s religious cards were linked to a theatrical production. Jacob wrote that MacDonald’s card depicting the Magi worshipping the Christ child, The Starre, I see it Come Againe, was reminiscent of a local Canadian theatre production of The Chester Mysteries, at Hart House Theatre in Toronto; a production he calls “one of the artistic achievements in the history of the community theatre in Canada.” Thus, the religious picture is still considered Canadian content for the Canadian Artists Series cards.

Fred Jacob, “Canada’s Own Christmas Cards,” Canadian Homes and Gardens, (Dec. 1926): 35.

Image: F.H. Varley, Canadian Artists Series, Rous and Mann, Ltd., n.d., Joan Murray Fonds, Library and Archives Canada.

The Art of Season’s Greetings 8: Nautical Themes

(Added 20 December 2008)

Historical and mythological scenes also appear as exceptions amongst the landscape-based Canadian Artists Series Christmas cards. This nautically themed card by Group of Seven member A.J. Casson is inscribed inside with statistical information about the sixteenth-century Spanish Armada, including the weight and number of ships from the British Royal Navy involved in the historical event. Conversation with Joyce Sowby indicated that her father, H.L. Rous, creator of the Art Department at Rous and Mann, Ltd., was very interested in historical topics and would have perhaps included such a card out of personal interest.

Image: A.J. Casson, Canadian Artists Series, Rous and Mann, Ltd., n.d., Joan Murray Fonds, Library and Archives Canada.

The Art of Season’s Greetings 7: Canadian Wild-Life

(Added 15 December 2008)

Quaint images of the landscape and of people doing activities in the landscape certainly dominated the imagery of the Canadian Artists Series. There are, however, some exceptions, including religious imagery, historical themes, images of Santa Clause, and scenes of wild-life. Canadian wild-life images include this one by Charles Comfort of a group of deer, and another by Group of Seven artist Fred Varley of a group of crows. Deer and crows are not symbolically connected to Christmas, and thus we could say that these animal images were chosen as representations of Canadian fauna as further demonstrations of the richness of the wilderness.

Image: Charles F. Comfort, Canadian Artists Series, Rous and Mann, Ltd., n.d., Joan Murray Fonds, Library and Archives Canada.

The Art of Season’s Greetings 6: Artists and the Landscape II

(Added 14 December 2008)

“Naturally, when the well-known Canadian artists were called upon to design a series of greeting cards, they produced a group of pictures that might be described as a miniature impression of the general trend of art in Canada to-day. In that one respect at least, they are the most distinctively national greeting cards in existence.”

From the perspective of initiators A.Y. Jackson and Rous and Mann, Ltd., the Canadian Artists Series Christmas cards were a vehicle for distributing the new nationalist art seen as based on the wilderness landscape…

The Art of Season’s Greetings 5: Artists and the Landscape I

(Added 11 December 2008)

“In recent years the tendency of our artists has been to interpret the varied life in Canada, the clarity of its atmosphere, the rugged massiveness of its mountains, the solemn majesty of its forests, the sweet tranquility of its wooded ravines, the golden richness of its fertile prairies, the soft cleanness of its snow-laden landscapes, the zest of its biting storms, the quaint simplicity of its habitant villages, the many aspects of life on its lakes, rivers and seas. And here on the small surfaces of these cards you have a vivid reflection of this trend in Canadian art.”

M. Lovell, “The Story of the Christmas Card and its Distinctive Development by Canadian Artists,” The Chatelaine 2 (Dec. 1929): 17.

Image: Mabel Lockerby, Canadian Artists Series, Rous and Mann, Ltd., n.d., Mabel Lockerby Fonds, Library and Archives Canada.

The Art of Season’s Greetings 4: The Canadian Artists Series Cards

(Added 9 December 2008)

As the market for Canadian-produced Christmas cards opened, a role for Canadian artists emerged in the creation of designs for commercial lines. Printing firms such as Grip, Ltd. and Rous and Mann, Ltd. created art departments in which they hired artists to work. They also initiated specific artist-designed Christmas card series. Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson (1882-1976) was an active instigator of commercial projects to help struggling artists financially, as well as to promote what the Group saw as the new national Canadian school of art, which was based on post-Impressionist interpretations of the landscape…

Actions: What You Can Do With the City

(Added 7 December 2008)

This fascinating, sprawling exhibition is currently showing at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal and Leisure’s own Meredith Carruther’s was a member of the curatorial team. Leisure would like to acknowledge and salute the hard work that Meredith and all her colleagues put into this exhibition and congratulate them on a job extremely well done!

The Art of Season’s Greetings 3: Lacrosse and Canadian Cards

(Added 5 December 2008)

Despite these Canadian printing efforts, sales of Christmas cards in Canada were low. North American companies were just beginning, whereas Europeans had already perfected the process and thus could produce cards more cheaply. The American market grew following the invention of the postcard. From 1900 until the Great War in 1914, Canada’s Christmas card market was flooded with imported cards from both Europe and America. In Canada, from 1914 until the Great Depression of the 1930s, the market for locally produced, printed and designed Christmas cards increased steadily. Forty years after the debut of the Christmas card in Canada, publishers finally saw a market for distinctly Canadian Christmas cards, as seen in this example of a very “Canadian” themed card…

The Art of Season’s Greetings 2: Canadian Compliments of the Season

(Added 4 December 2008)

Canadian publishers had jumped on the bandwagon of printed Christmas cards as early as the 1870s to compete with foreign printers. This card is cited as the earliest known Canadian-produced Christmas card. Montreal and Toronto boasted printing or publishing companies that considered Christmas cards an essential part of their business. Montreal’s firms were G. & W. Clarke, J.T. Henderson and Bennett & Co. G. & W. Clarke was one of Canada’s most prominent Canadian Christmas card publishers. Though they printed their Canadian winter scenes in England and Germany, this publishing company’s records for the year 1881 show sales of 17,000 cards in one season. In contrast to Clarke’s use of foreign printing companies, in the 1880s J. T. Henderson created cards publicized as “designed, patented and produced in Canada.” Henderson said in 1881: “My cards are all Canadian workmanship. Canadian in sentiment, design and execution.”...

The Art of Season’s Greetings 1: Victorian “Chromos”

(Added 2 December 2008)

It is rumoured that Christmas cards originated in England, and that the first one was published in London in 1843. Though note cards, decorative stationary and Valentine’s Day cards were certainly popular, it was the introduction of chromolithography in the late 1850s that allowed for commercial production. The idea of the Christmas card traveled from England to Germany, and from Germany to America with German designer Louis Prang. However, these cards, called “chromos,” remained a European phenomenon during the second half of the nineteenth century, and became increasingly “frilly” in the late Victorian period (1870s-80s). Greeting card historian Kenneth Rowe says this was because of the “unending search for novelty” during this period…

Image: Nineteenth Century Greeting Card by Rosina Emmett. Reproduced in Helena E. Wright, With Pen and Graver: Women Graphic Artists Before 1900, (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institute, 1996): 11.

Leisure Letters welcomes guest editor Catherine Sinclair

(Added 1 December 2008)

Festive Drop In Invitiation, laser print, foil stamp and gold sparkles, 2005

Leisure Projects always thrills to the festive season. In past years with holiday teas, festive drop-ins and greetings we have indulged in all the fancy dressing and trimming that seasonal customs provide. To help us celebrate this year, we are pleased to invite the first ever guest editor to the Leisure Letters section of our website.

For the next weeks Catherine Sinclair, Curator of the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art and Assistant Curator of the Ottawa Art Gallery, will be writing a series of Leisure Letters on the history of Christmas greeting cards. Drawing on her graduate research on Christmas cards in Canada, Catherine will focus on artists’ Christmas card designs, specifically on the “Canadian Artists’ Series”; a series of artists’ cards designed to promote Canadian landscape art, printed by the Toronto firm Rous and Mann, Ltd., in the 1920s until the 1950s.

Vienna Diary 8: A Decadent Room

(Added 16 August 2008)

Gustave Moreau, Les chimères (1884) detail as found in Dreamers of Decadence/ Esthètes et Magiciens 1971

Old chests, rare tapestries, two Carpaccios, three Boticellis; studies by Rosetti and Burne-Jones; a sedan-chair which carried the Marquis de Polignac beneath the fretted foliage of Versailles; a prodigious number of Byzantine Madonnas and Italian pots; pewter with matt blue tones next to Japanese porcelain; an aquarium in which, among the seaweed, there swim fish caught off the coast of Orissa. Then there are wide divans covered with the skins of black bears and stillborn tigers. Between two vases holding crimson flowers, on a table strewn with golden knives, stands a large goblet in the shape of a winged sexual organ containing Kanaka confits. Hung from the ceiling by invisible threads, peacock feathers sway in the air to the plaintive lament of viols and the ecstatic sound of harmonicas. -Anon (Gil Blass), source: Phillipe Julian, Dreamers of Decadence/ Esthètes et Magiciens, 1971

Phillipe Julien, author of Dreamers of Decadence/ Esthètes et Magiciens, was our guide to the Symbolist painters – introducing the atmosphere of the Decadence with purple prose gleaned from period texts and evocative chapters such as, The Mystical Chimera, The Chimera – Catchers and Breeding the Chimeras.

Leisure Office Hours

(Added 16 August 2008)

Lou Grant’s desk from the set of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970 to 1977 (Collection of the Kansas State Historical Society)

Leisure Office Hours
With the collaboration of Zoë Chan and Mark Clintberg
Knock on Woods International Residency and Dwelling for Intervals

Friday September 5th, 15-18h
262 Fairmount ouest
Montreal, QC

Office hours involve being present for work in a fixed location for a set and known duration. These set hours encourage communication and work flow between internal members of an organisation and external participants in projects or services. With the Leisure Office Hours experiment we ask ourselves if there might be something we are missing by eschewing a work routine. Could the formalized act of being present change the way our ideas are generated and elaborated? What kind of unexpected communications might occur during Leisure Office Hours?

Yvette Poorter’s, Knock on Woods International Residency and Dwelling for Intervals is a constructed space that dedicates itself to offering local and international artists a sense of rootedness and respite from a hectic and bewildering globalism. The residency is a para-site that consists of a rustic tent-cabin and a forest of tree-flags that can be and has been situated almost anywhere.

Vienna Diary 7: Dazzling Demons

(Added 31 July 2008)

Danaë, Gustav Klimt, 1907, 77×83 cm
Currently housed in Galerie Würthle, Vienna, Austria

Curled in a royal purple veil, Danaë receives a visit by Zeus – symbolized here by golden rain flowing between her legs.

Dazzling Demons
Jonathan Jones
Wednesday May 07 2008
The Guardian

It was all over. The Reich was finished, Hitler dead, his charred jaw bone all Russian pathologists could find of him in the smouldering ruins of Berlin. Hundreds of miles to the south, in Austria, an SS unit prepared to stage its own private apocalypse.

On May 7 1945, they arrived at Immendorf Castle in southern Austria. The German soldiers already billeted there were ordered to leave. That morning, German forces in Austria had signed their surrender, to take effect the next day; for these SS men, it was the last night of the war.

Schloss Immendorf was a beautiful setting for their final night of power and freedom. The castle’s massive fortifications were softened with sloping tiled roofs, so that it resembled a Loire chateau, set in spacious parkland, with ivy growing up the walls. A curving staircase led to a grand interior full of art treasures, stored here by the Reich to save them from air raids on Vienna.

Among this store were 13 paintings by Gustav Klimt. It seems that these were on view in the castle apartments: the Nazis, the castle’s owner later reported, looked at the paintings with appreciation, and one was heard to say that it would be a “sin” for the Russians to get their hands on them. Klimt’s sensual art turned out to be a fitting backdrop for the events of that night: according to a 1946 police report, the SS officers “held orgies all night in the castle apartments”. Who knows what this means, but it is a strange and macabre image – the SS holding their orgies as Klimt’s maenads and muses looked on.

Vienna Diary 6: Tafelperchten

(Added 28 July 2008)

Since our studio visit with the Austrian artist collective kozek hörlonski we have been haunted by the aviary encrusted, lozenge-shaped tafelperchten. The mask display at the Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde (Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art), fueled our curiosity with its panopoly of antlered elephants, grinning mustachio-ed impresarios and zebra-striped aligators. We invite stories (real or imagined) about tafelperchten, perchten and perchta at

Artist vs. Curator

(Added 21 July 2008)

Leisure Projects was delighted to contribute to Miriam Kathrein’s project Artist vs curator/Curator vs artist. For more information visit

Vienna Diary 5: The Flak Towers

(Added 21 July 2008)

”[…]there stands in Vienna a stark, immutable reminder of the years of the Third Reich: six huge surviving reinforced- concrete anti-aircraft towers whose blank facades and imposing mass contrast sharply with the city’s finely-restored historical architecture.”...

Image: Lawrence Weiner, “Smashed to pieces (in the still of the night),” Flak tower, Vienna. Photo S. Wesley 2008.

other peoples' holidays are annoying

(Added 11 July 2008)

In the truest spirit of holiday bragging, Leisure Projeccts is pleased to redirect all incoming mail while we are on working holiday in Maine this weekend. Please send all urgent correspondence via carrier pigeon, honey bee or fast boat. We are at Cushings Island, Portland Harbour:

Vienna Diary 4: The Prater (1824)

(Added 9 July 2008)

“The Prater of Vienna is the finest public park in Europe – for it has more rural beauty than Hyde Park, and surely the more varied and natural arrangement of its woods and waters is preferable to the formal basins and alleys of the garden of the Thuilleries[sic]...”

Vienna Diary 3: Palace of Leisure

(Added 15 June 2008)

The Vienna Jubilee Exhibition of 1898 inspired Adolf Loos to make public his critical analysis of Viennese culture- including its plumbing, furniture, hygiene, carriages, undergarments, and men’s shoes. These texts, (later published together under the title “Spoken into the Void collected essays 1897-1900”), solidified Loos’ contrary reputation as innovative architect, dandy, and artistic radical. In Ornament and Crime (1908), Loos elaborated on his critique of cultural relations and spectacles with his haunting and incisive dismissal of the exhibitions at the Municipal gallery.

Darkling Eclipse in Der Standard

(Added 8 June 2008)

Begegnung mit Mr. Loose
Symbolismus und das Verbrechen des Ornaments: Der Kunstverein das weisse haus zeigt die Ausstellung “Darkling Eclipse”

Vienna Diary 2: Adolf Loos Bar

(Added 8 June 2008)

Kärntner Bar (American Bar), Adolf Loos, 1907. photo: Susannah Wesley, 2008

”...with pieces of blue, white and deep red glass like in a western, the filtered light from the ceiling’s marble coffers and the undersides of the translucent tables gave you the sense of well-being. You sipped your drink like a disillusioned pleaure-seeker. The ice cubes in your glass seemed to warm themselves in the magnificent evening light which filtered through the onyx squares of the fan-light over the narrow door.” – O. Kokoschka, Ma vie (1907?)

Ways to melt snow that you never thought of trying

(Added 15 May 2008)

“The Ice Palace appeared in the 22 May 1920 issue of the Saturday Evening Post and was collected in Flappers and Philosophers. It was the first of a group of stories in which Fitzgerald examined the cultural as well as social differences between the North and South.” – The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina

Leisure Projects is pleased to be invited as guest curators within the inaugural issue of the newly launched on-line project Trickhouse (, founded and curated by Noah Saterstrom and edited by Selah Saterstrom. For this issue Leisure Projects organised an on-line exhibition entitled Ways to Melt Snow That You Never Thought of Trying, which brings together archival imagery, text, and the work of Diane Borsato, Zoe Stonyk, Neath from Walking Turcot Yards, and Leisure Projects.

Vienna Diary 1: Lina Loos' bedroom

(Added 14 May 2008)

“The white room that Loos designed for Lina, his blonde, blue-eyed, nineteen-year-old wife, was the most intimate place in the house. The white walls, the white draperies and the white angora sheepskins created a sensual and delicate fluidity; every object in the room was white. Even the closets were concealed behind pale linen drapes. this was an architecture of silence, of a sentimental and erotic approach. Its contrast with the more public living spaces attests to a method of composition that was strictly governed by the psychological status of each room.” – Panayotis Tournikiotis, Adolf Loos, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002, p. 36.

Leisure guest curates Trickhouse

(Added 13 May 2008)

Leisure is pleased to be invited as guest curators within the inaugural issue of the newly launched on-line project Trickhouse (, founded and curated by Noah Saterstrom and edited by Selah Saterstrom.

Darkling Eclipse

(Added 12 May 2008)

Karine Fauchard, Birgit Knoechl, Faith La Rocque, Luke Painter, Ayumi Rahn, Fabian Seiz, Andrea Szilasi, Stacey Watson

Curated by Leisure Projects (Meredith Carruthers & Susannah Wesley)

May 21 – June 21 2008
Vernissage May 20, 7pm
Kunstverein das weisse haus
Vienna, Austria

In the months of April and May, Leisure Projects (Susannah Wesley & Meredith Carruthers), have been undertaking research, studio and gallery visits as curators in residency at Kunstverein das weisse haus, Vienna.

Inspired by our time in Vienna, the exhibition Darkling Eclipse, explores the mutability of decoration and the capricious power of ornament to both mask and transform an individual. It reflects the moment when surface matter, and the easy simple pleasure it brings, is betrayed and overwhelmed by something much more unwieldy, obscure, and even wild. Either unleashing uninhibited from behind an anonymous façade, or being restrained and contained by its fabricated structures – the decadent id rides the line of ornamentation through the figure of the changeling.

Uniting the work of Canadian and Vienna-based artists Karine Fauchard, Birgit Knoechl, Faith La Rocque, Luke Painter, Ayumi Rahn, Fabian Seiz, Andrea Szilasi, and Stacey Watson, the exhibition Darkling Eclipse will create a haunting and disquieting space where ornamentation and its darkling other are exposed, transformed, and eclipsed.

Image: Faith La Rocque, She-wolf, 2007, ink-jet print

Everybody must have projects all of the time

(Added 9 April 2008)

Leisure Projects celebrates the newest addition to our collection, a small etching of tools from the French wig trade circa 1780, with the quote below from Theodor Adorno (found via

”(...) Everybody must have projects all of the time. The maximum must be extracted from leisure. This is planned, used for undertakings, crammed with visits to every conceivable site or spectacle, or just with the fastest possible locomotion. The shadow of all this falls on intellectual work. It is done with a bad conscience, as if it had been poached from some urgent, even if only imaginary occupation…” - Theodor Adorno, Vandals in ‘Minima Moralia’, (written 1945, first published 1951), p. 138.

Meredith Carruthers on "Constellations" by Charles Stankievech

(Added 18 March 2008)

Charles Stankievech, Leisure’s colleague on the Imaginary Places Residency, is holding his exhibition Constellations at the Darling Foundry in Montreal (March 20-June 1) and Leisure’s own Meredith Carruther’s has written the text in the accompanying exhibition publication.

das weisse haus

(Added 18 March 2008)

Leisure Projects is in Vienna as curators in residence at das weisse haus. We are currently exploring the city and visiting artists’ studios. We are interested in hearing about what is happening in and around the Viennese contemporary art scene. Please contact us at

For more information see:
Kunstverein das weisse haus
Westbahnstraße 11-13/I/3
1070 Wien

Winters past

(Added 13 February 2008)

Sempronius Stretton, Fashions in Lower Canada 1805-06, watercolour and pen and ink drawing (taken from Micheal Bell’s book Painters in a New Land, published by McClelland and Stewart, 1973)

As we wallow in the depths of Quebec winter and sigh with boredom and discouragement each time we reach for our winter uniform – the same old coat and scuffed pair of boots – day in and day out, Leisure Projects casts an eye back on former winter leisure activities and attire worn in this fair but frozen winter wonderland…

Leisure Repose

(Added 25 January 2008)

Leisure Projects is currently in repose.
Coming up 2008-09 are a Leisure Projects curator-in-residence at Kunstverein das weisse haus, Austria (, Hair Follies (curated by Leisure Projects, a co-production of Musée d’art de Joliette and Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery), The Dawn Machine (an event and vibraphone performance at James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario) and World Leisure a presentation and poster session (details to be confirmed).

Leisure holiday greetings

(Added 30 November 2007)

With the first frosts thirst would set in, and game birds could be lured by simple tricks- like leaving a mirror in an open field to suggest a pool of water. The short-sighted woodcock always came down to inspect it, whirring into the shooter’s range.
- Monsieur, Lawrence Durrell, 1974

With the first winter snow drifts here in Montreal, Leisure thoughts have turned to seasonal celebrations of the past few years; from our first Christmas “staff party” and gift exchange at the Ritz Carleton, to the “festive drop-in” featuring Tricia Middleton’s pink puff engulfed fir tree in Susannah’s (now former) apartment on Boucher, to last year’s Storming the Ice Palace that rang in the New Year at Gallery Articule’s new storefront space.

This season Leisure Projects is focused on holiday lure and allure alike, imagining branches low bough-ed with the weight of birds (picture playground equipment black with ravens à la Hitchcock in “The Birds” ). In this past year’s exhibition at Bishop’s University we considered birds as denizens of a space of fantasy- colourful, decorative, fetishized objects. As we explored our bird fascinations our Mothers helped out, sending by priority post bird ornaments of our youths- sassy red cardinals, jewel-eyed birds with plumed tails, and partridge feathered partridges.

Leisure galleries: Huysmans’ Against Nature

(Added 29 November 2007)

Nepenthes or Pitcher Plant, artist unknown

Leisure Projects has been circling around Joris-Karl Huysmans novel, ‘Against Nature’ ( A Rebours ).

When it appeared in May of 1884, Huysmans’ Against Nature “fell like a meteorite into the literary fairground” (Huysmans – Introduction deluxe edition, 1903) and was considered alternately as manual for decadent, aestheticized living or cautionary fable of debauched cultural crisis. However, we at Leisure Projects would prefer to consider Huysmans’ imaginary abode as a gallery of leisure- an interior landscape, personal museum and system for provocative intervention.

Meredith Carruthers on "Ana Rewakowicz : Dressware and Other Inflatables"

(Added 28 November 2007)

Leisure wishes to announce the launch of the Ana Rewakowicz catalogue Dressware and Other Inflatables, edited by Gaëtane Verna published by the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University. This 100 page catalogue includes texts by Craig Buckley, Cynthia Imogen Hammond, Gaëtane Verna, and Leisure’s own Meredith Carruthers


(Added 28 November 2007)

“puff”, Meredith Carruthers & Susannah Wesley, 2007

Sat. 21st 1792—I read of “a leaf imported from Botany Bay, which when dried goes off by the application of a match with an explosion of gunpowder, and the air is agreeably perfumed”. -An excerpt from The Diary of Mrs. John Graves Simcoe Wife of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, 1792-1796

Leisure projects presents a tribute to Elizabeth Simcoe in the form of a small red leaf in the Cloche Gallery.

Lake Erie

(Added 8 November 2007)

Lake Erie a video by Leisure co-founder Susannah Wesley, will be on view at Locust Projects (Miami) as part of the exhibition, Get Lost curated by Mark Clintberg. (Nov 10 – Dec 31)

Susannah Wesley on "Blankety Blank" by Candice Tarnowski

(Added 7 November 2007)

Leisure is pleased to announce the opening of the Candice Tarnowski exhibition Blankety Blank at the Toronto Harbourfront York Quay Centre. The exhibition is located in the Project Window at the west side of the York Quay Centre and is accompanied by a brief text by Leisure’s own Susannah Wesley. Click on the link below to read an excerpt of the exhibition text.

Meredith Carruthers on 'After Berlin' by Jennifer Lefort

(Added 30 October 2007)

Leisure wishes to announce the launch of the Jennifer Lefort catalogue After Berlin published by the Parisian Laundry and featuring an essay by Leisure’s own Meredith Carruthers. Join us at the book launch and vernissage for the After Berlin exhibition on Thursday November 1st, from 6-9pm.

Leisure & art: women automatistes (Les Femmes végétales)

(Added 30 October 2007)

Françoise Sullivan et Jeanne Renaud, vers 1944. Photo : A. Renaud.(taken from Patricia Smart’s Les femmes du Refus global, 1998. p 67.)

« Aucune des lettres écrit de New York par Louise Renaud aux différents membre du groupe automatiste n’a été conservée, ce qui constitue une perte irréparable pour quiconque voudrait mieux connaître le parallélisme étonnant entre l’automatisme et le mouvement new-yorkais. Nous savons tout de même qu’elle a apporté un jour à Saint-Hilaire les derniers numéros de VVV, des livres surréalistes et des films de Maya Deren, et que, sous sa direction, les membres du groupe ont tenté d’écrire et de monter une pièce d’avant-garde, Les Femmes végétales...

Leisure & art: women automatistes (Françoise Sullivan)

(Added 25 October 2007)

Françoise Sullivan, dans Danse dans la neige, 1948. Photo : Maurice Perron (taken from Patricia Smart’s Les femmes du Refus global, 1998. p 128.)

« ... [Françoise] Sullivan sort littéralement de cadre de l’art académique en exécutant dans la nature deux danses conçues comme les premières de quatre qui devaient se dérouler au rythme des saisons…

Leisure & art: women automatistes (Françoise Riopelle)

(Added 25 October 2007)

Françoise Riopelle, répétition de Danse d’objets, 1960.(taken from Patricia Smart’s Les femmes du Refus global, 1998. p 261.)

« En avril 1960, au Théâtre Orphéum, Françoise Riopelle présente ses premières chorégraphies dans le cadre d’une soirée de chanson, de poésie, de danse et de théâtre organisée par un groupe de jeunes artistes qui se donnent pour nom « Les Nomades ». Sous le titre La Mort à vivre, le spectacle cherche à exprimer l’angoisse et la volonté de vivre de la jeune génération en ce début de Révolution tranquille…

Leisure & art: women automatistes (Madeleine Arbour)

(Added 25 October 2007)

Madeleine Arbour, maquette de présentation pour Rêve-réalité, 1953. Photo: Maurice Perron (taken from Patricia Smart’s Les femmes du Refus global, 1998. p 197.)

« Comme d’autres femmes automatistes, Madeleine Arbour a œuvré dans plusieurs disciplines au cours de sa vie – l’étalage, les décors et les costumes de théâtre, la télévision, le film, l’art de la murale, la tapisserie, le design et l’aménagement intérieur. Par-delà le mélange inattendu de simplicité et de sophistication qui caractérise son art, l’unité de son œuvre tient dans le fait que toutes ses créations transforment et embellissent les espaces mêmes où l’on vit …

Leisure galleries: volunteerism

(Added 18 October 2007)

Left: Labour Minister Charles Daley opens the the flower show at Rodman Hall Arts Centre, Staff photo, St. Catharines Standard, 1961. Right: President of the St. Catharines and District Arts Council Women’s Committee at annual flower show, Staff photo, St. Catharines Standard, 1964.

While perusing a scrapbook that detailed the evolution of Niagara’s local theatres and galleries from community initiatives to state funded institutions, I was surprised to find the histories of staid institutions populated by surrealist floral displays, crepe paper costumes and amateur can-can girls- participants in a spirit of volunteerism and the enjoyment of cultural activity. Regional museums and galleries in Canada were built on a foundation of community participation. This participation ranged from the cooperative use of space by amateur theatre groups, artists and musicians to participation in volunteer groups and committees.

Leisure and play: Brontë Juvenalia

(Added 17 October 2007)

Cover and frontspiece, Fairies, handmade book, E.M. Rothwell, senior fourth, Queen Victoria School, circa. 1920

After the death of their older sisters in 1825, the Brontë children, working in pairs, began a process of collaborative writing -producing historical fantasies, poems, plays and miniature books based on imaginary worlds.

Leisure performance: Swan king

(Added 14 October 2007)

Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm II Venus Grotto Linderhof Palace, photo: unknown

Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm II was the chimeric King of Bavaria from 1864 to 1884. Known alternately as the “Swan King”, the “Fairy tale King” and the “Mad King”, Ludwig thought of himself as the “moon king”, a shadow king to Louis XIV’s sun. King Ludwig was a patron of composer of Wagner and mastermind of extravagant castles and landscape follies.

The Official Dinner- thank you

(Added 8 October 2007)

The Official Dinner, 2007 photo: Gary Buttrum

Leisure Projects would like to extend sincerest thanks to everyone who participated in the Ocotber 4th Official Dinner event at the Drake Hotel. Over one hundred guests were piped past the Royal Mounted Police (garbed in traditional royal visit attire, including black tunic and spike-topped white helmets) up the velvet carpet to dinner at the Drake.

Leisure hosting: Dali & Gala

(Added 8 October 2007)

Salvador Dali, Surrealist Forest, Del Monte Lodge Hotel, Pebble Beach, September 4, 1941 (Corbis/Bettman-UPI)

Aftermath: Dali in Hollywood (1941)

When Salvador Dali returned to the United States during World War II he was unwelcome in the New York circle of Surrealists in exile. He settled on the West Coast, and created theatrical, hybrid events that liberally borrowed from past surrealist installations. Dali & Gala’s 1941 Surrealist Forest event at the Del Monte Lodge Hotel, Pebble Beach, California was a crazy indulgent event that really explored the spectacular aesthetic of salon social culture – pictured here is a forest of oversize animal-manikins, banquet table and guests Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Ginger Rogers.

Leisure performance: Bernini's Spectacles

(Added 8 October 2007)

Gianlorenzo Bernini Ecstasy of St. Teresa Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Marble, 11’ 6” (1647-52)

Best known for his sculptural and architectural achievements, Gianlorenzo Bernini was also an interdisciplinary artist , creating events and awe inspiring sets. These spectacles were almost like happenings and blended reality and fantasy.

Leisure performance: Parade

(Added 8 October 2007)

Cardboard costume, Pablo Picasso, 1917

Ballet was a machine to produce a poem- Cocteau, Cahier Roman, 1917.

In opposition to naturalism, John Cocteau wished to establish a theatre of effects- a synthesis of dance, music and scenic design. In an attempt to “engender formalised worlds of fantasy and delight” Cocteau challenged traditional western theatre’s preoccupation with ‘staged literature’ and attempted to create a new form that combined lightheartedness and the extraordinary, which he described as ‘staged magic’.

The Official Dinner

(Added 10 September 2007)

The Official Dinner
Featuring photographs courtesy of the Archives of Ontario, video courtesy the National Film Board of Canada, with special thanks to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police & Toronto Bagpiper Doug Swann

Dinner Event: Wednesday October 3rd, 2007. 7:30pm
Exhibition: September 29-October 31, 2007.
Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street W, Toronto, Ontario

*Dinner tickets $69.00, Cocktail reception $20.00
R.S.V.P. to the Drake Hotel 416.531.5042 X113

The Official Dinner is a contemporary art event and exhibition investigating the historical atmosphere of entertaining. Presented as part of the Alphabet City “FOOD” issue, The Official Dinner is a collaboration between Leisure Projects, the Drake Hotel, and the Drake’s chef Anthony Rose.

Images: (clockwise from the left) Canadian Mounted Police and bagpiper at the Official Dinner event; Still from the NFB film Gastronomie; Archival imagery courtesy of the Ontario Archives; Mixed Bouquet (detail) Jo-Anne Balcaen.

Leisure at the back gallery

(Added 1 August 2007)

Exhibition text – Mike Rattray

“There is something mystifying to the act of leisure. It beckons a romanticized pursuit of itself while at the same time is reduced to packages and pre-ordered fabrications of organized time-management.”

the back gallery

(Added 20 July 2007)

Ice Grotto (detail), Leisure Projects, 2007

July 27, 2007
4810 Papineau, Montreal

Leisure Projects has recently returned from a few months spent indulging in one of Canada’s most pre-eminent leisure hotspots – Banff National Park and resort. While in Banff, Leisure Projects explored popular past imaginaries of Banff society and wilderness by researching the social history, glamour and fantasy of Banff National Park from a decidedly female perspective.

With an ambiance reminiscent of magic lantern slide shows, Leisure Projects will share their recent work and experiences in an evening exhibition/event at the Back Gallery.

The Miniature Exhibition

(Added 14 June 2007)

Leisure Projects is pleased to participate in an exhibition of Lilliputian artworks by participants of the Imaginary Places residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Piracy is capitalism's nostalgic dream.

(Added 13 June 2007)

Charles Stankievech announces the release of the independent mini-film, Pirates In The Clouds.

Brushing up against the wild

(Added 13 June 2007)

Wednesday, June 20 2007, 11am
The Banff Springs Hotel, Rundle Lounge, 2nd floor

Join Leisure Projects for our Imaginary Places Residency event at the Banff Springs Hotel. Tea will be served promptly at 11am. Please RSVP – places are limited.

Images: (clockwise from the left) Ice Grotto centre-pieces used at event; documentation of re-enactment performance series; documentation of ballet performance at event; archival image of Banff skaters.

Graveside touring

(Added 10 June 2007)

Veiled in black tulle Leisure Projects and Alberta based artist Kay Burns spent a sunny afternoon graveside in Banff.


(Added 7 June 2007)

Note arts visuels
Voir, 7 juin 2007
Élise Giguère

Banff Hot Springs

(Added 23 May 2007)

Leisure projects has safely arrived at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta.

Alphabet City & the Drake

(Added 23 May 2007)

Leisure has been chatting with Alphabet City and The Drake Hotel in Toronto

Montréal Cité Bédé/Comic City

(Added 10 May 2007)

(Leisure’s own) Meredith Carruthers initiated the Montréal, Cité bédé/Comic City project while Assistant Curator at the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts and it is presented as an inaugural exhibition of that Gallery’s successor, the SBC
Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Birdwatching: Leisure & Landscape

(Added 2 May 2007)

Guy Ben-Ner, Amos Latteier, Alison Norlen

May 2 – June 23 2007
Vernissage May 5, 2pm
Foreman Art Gallery
Bishop’s University

Birdwatching is a unique way to approach and know a landscape. Part looking, part collecting, birdwatching as a cultural activity has created new communities and left a legacy in visual art, books and regional museums. The exhibition BIRDWATCHING at The Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University addresses the special history of birdwatching and leisure in the Eastern Townships.

Images: installation views of the exhibition.

Dressing Up With Leisure

(Added 20 April 2007)

Festive corsage, Leisure Projects, 2005 Photo: Joanna Bell

You can create an exotic and special world out of the most ordinary objects, Gloria Vanderbilt, Gloria Vanderbilt Book of Collage, 1970

With a photo series of our corsage collection Leisure Projects tackles the theme of PLAY in the Pivot Journal’s inaugural issue.

PLAY Pivot: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Journal of Visual Culture launch

Graduate Students Association Lounge
2030 Mackay
Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec

Hazel Meyer, Knitdown s.v.p.

(Added 20 March 2007)

Hazel Meyer, Knitdown s.v.p. , 2004-2006

Over the past year, Leisure Projects has been pleased to support Hazel Meyer’s book endeavor, Knitdown S.V.P. We look forward to celebrating the completion of this project with Hazel on Sunday, April 1st at La Cornetteria.

Knitdown s.v.p.
HAZEL MEYER (Montréal)

Book Launch
Sunday April 1st 2007, from 1-4pm.
La Cornetteria, 6528 blvd St. Laurent (between Beaubien & St. Zotique).

Panel Discussion: Break In/Break Out/Break Up

(Added 2 March 2007)

Leisure is pleased to participate in the panel discussion BREAK IN/BREAK OUT/BREAK UP as part of the Art Matters Festival.

Leisure galleries: Thomas Barnett Museum

(Added 27 January 2007)

Niagara Falls Frederic Edwin Church, 1856

In 1826, Thomas Barnett established the “Thomas Barnett Museum” (presently the Niagara Falls Museum) at the Table Rock

Leisure performance: Loie Fuller

(Added 4 January 2007)

Loie Fuller Untitled 1905
Photo credit: Roger Sinek

It was only with the invention of photography that performance began to make its mark in the history of art. -source Lost Histories Art, Lies and Videotape, Tate Liverpool, 2004

‘At the Coliseum Loie Fuller’s dancers have been delighting everyone with a feast of vision. Her effects are obtained by the use of coloured limes thrown upon white and pale pink costumes, and they are really wonderful. A particularly pleasing result was obtained by painting a gilt network on the slide through which the light was thrown. This colour projected on to a white costume very justly took the title of “The Magic Veil”. -source: The Dancing Times, London, January 1922, p.353

Leisure & sport: Indoor Rinks

(Added 27 December 2006)

Photograph: Skating Carnival, Victoria Rink, Montreal, QC, painted composite, 1870. William Notman (1826-1891); N-0000.68.1; © McCord Museum

Between the 1860s and the 1890s, Canada led the world in the construction of indoor skating rinks with natural ice.

Storming the Ice Palace

(Added 15 December 2006)

Leisure Projects invite you to
Storming the Ice Palace

December 31, 2006 5pm – 7pm
Articule, 262 Fairmont O, Montréal

“Under the bright rays of a winter sun, the milder light of the moon, or the artificial rays of gas or electricity, the Ice Palace has a more beautiful effect upon the beholder than had the brilliant and dazzling temple of King Solomon upon the gaze of the Queen of Sheba”.

In an attempt to capture some of this by-gone atmosphere and propose the possibility of its return, Leisure Projects presents Storming the Ice Palace, a glittering New Years Eve pre-event featuring all things cold and sparkling.

Images: (clockwise from the left) Exhibition window at Articule; Archival imagery of Montreal ice palaces; Ice palace pinata (detail); partial installation view

Leisure and Tarpaulin

(Added 27 November 2006)

Theatre Loie Fuller, Henri Sauvage (1900), Paris


V4n2, Fall/Winter 2006
Selah Saterstrom, Guest Editor

A Banff residency for Leisure

(Added 19 November 2006)

Leisure Projects is pleased to have been selected for the Imaginary Places residency at the Banff Centre in spring 2007. We will be packing our cases and heading for the hills hoping to be inspired by fresh air and the glamorous resort culture of a bygone era.

Leisure hosting: la salonnière

(Added 19 November 2006)

« la Chambre bleue d’Arthénice » Salon de Madame de Rambouillet

By the seventeenth century, the salon had become an entrenched part of French society and intellectual life and had also come to have a serious influence on politics and the arts. Famed hostesses such as Madame de Rambouillet would open their gilded homes on certain days of the week to members of polite society, as well as to more marginal writers and thinkers.
-Mireille Silcoff, Editor-in-Chief, Guilt & Pleasure Magazine,

Leisure galleries: Peggy Guggenheim, Art of this Century

(Added 9 October 2006)

Gallery for abstract and Cubist Art at Peggy Guggenheim’s New-York museum-gallery “Art of This Century”, 1942
Photo: Berenice Abbott
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

excerpt: Confessions of an Art Addict, Peggy Guggenheim, 1960

” The only condition I made was that the pictures should be unframed. Otherwise Kiesler had carte blanche. I had expected that he would insert the pictures into the walls. I was quite wrong: his ideas were much more original. In the Surrealist gallery he put curved walls made of South American gum wood. The unframed paintings, mounted on baseball bats, which could be titled at any angle, protruded about a foot from the walls. Each one had its own spotlight.” (p.99-100, ECCO edition, 1979)

Carte Blanche Launch

(Added 9 October 2006)

Leisure hosts
The Carte Blanche launch featuring Mackenzie Stroh
Tuesday Oct 10, 6-8pm
Hotel de la Montagne, 1430 de la Montagne Street, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Z5

In a parallel activity to the launch of the Mackenzie Stroh Carte Blanche, Leisure Projects investigates the social history of the Hotel de la Montagne lobby and nightclub. In a self-guided tour including ivory-tusked elephants, golden crocodiles and Grecian portraits, Leisure explores the constructed atmosphere of Hotel de la Montagne, re-appropriating its contents as an exhibition of hotel décor.

Leisure & landscape: Banff Springs

(Added 28 September 2006)

Mrs. Margaret Greenham’s Children’s theatre, Banff, Alberta (c 1950?) Eleanor G. Luxton

Baudelaire wrote, “You know that nostalgia for countries we have never known, that anguish of curiosity? There is a country, where everything is beautiful, rich, honest and calm. Where life …is sweet to breath; where disorder, tumult and the unexpected are shut out”. The Banff Springs Park and Resort has held just such a place in popular imagination. Teetering between the overwhelming awe of sublime natural landscape and the built fantasy-come-reality of the palatial Banff Springs resort, it plays on the publics’ fantasy and desire – a dangling and attainable fairytale.

Art Tells Gorgeous Lies That Come True

(Added 4 September 2006)

In support of new storefront art spaces, “black flags” and “black confetti” ...

Leisure & landscape: The Peacock Room

(Added 20 August 2006)

Detail of the central shutters on the east side of Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, 1876-77, by James McNeill Whistler Oil paint and metal leaf on leather, canvas, and wood, 4.2×10 x 6 m

The Peacock Roomwas once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy shipowner from Liverpool, England. It was originally designed by a gifted interior architect named Thomas Jeckyll. To display Leyland’s prized collection of Chinese porcelain to best advantage, Jeckyll constructed a lattice of intricately carved shelving and hung antique gilded leather on the walls. A painting by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) called La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine — or The Princess from the Land of Porcelain — occupied a place of honor above the fireplace.

Susannah at SAW

(Added 18 August 2006)

As part of a recent invitational residency at SAW Susannah Wesley prowled abandoned graveyards…


(Added 8 August 2006)

A slow parade at Alley Jaunt ...

Leisure & sport: Archery, bearbaiting & skittles

(Added 9 July 2006)

Finsbury Archers at the time of Queen Elizabeth I

Pre-modern Leisure and Sport

Traditional plebian recreations were thwarted by elites. English Kings, like Edward II in 1365, outlawed ball games, bowling and hurling because they competed with work and were associated with crowd disorder. And…clerical and reform-minded Puritan attacked sport as a threat to Sunday worship and work. Elites, however, participated in socially exclusive sports such as hunting and the mock war of tournaments. For relatively affluent merchant and tradesmen, there was archery, which kings supported as essential for military preparedness until the 17th century. While King Henry VIII forbade laborers from playing games (except at Christmas and in the presence of the master), he tacitly allowed it for the propertied, and Queen Elizabeth enjoyed bearbaiting while her 17th-century successors were fond of skittles and golf.

Tree House: escapism and childhood outsiderism

(Added 8 July 2006)

As one of the guest curators of the TREEHOUSE exhibition ( Taran Gallery Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts), Susannah Wesley considers the shade dappled dreams of the tree house, a place where illicit explorations meet escapist fantasies. This week at the summer soaked opening Leisure celebrates escapism and childhood outsiderism.

Leisure seeks: shoe sponsor

(Added 8 July 2006)

In order to keep us in shining white shoes, and to be the first known Canadian curatorial team with a shoe sponsorship…

Leisure & Landscape: Resort Disasters

(Added 26 June 2006)

Image No: NA-3342-5
Title: Fire at chateau, Lake Louise, Alberta.
Date: Summer 1924
Remarks: Furniture in foreground.
Glenbow Museum- Photo Archives

Resort Architecture: Fire & Glamour
Chateau Lake Louise & Banff Springs Hotel

Due to the nature of early building materials, fire was a recurring theme in the past century, causing destruction in both
the Banff Springs Hotel as well as the Lake Louise Hotel.

Chateau Lake Louise
On July 3, 1924, a fire destroyed the wooden chalet at Lake Louise. However within the year, the CPR rebuilt a new eight-story brick wing to join the Painter wing of 1913. It was then that they decided to change the hotel name to Chateau Lake Louise.

Leisure & Landscape: Dancing Holidays

(Added 26 June 2006)

Dancing Holidays
Produced by The National Film Board of Canada
Year: 1959
Running Time: 07 min 33 s

Ballet by the Lake
The Wilderness Ballet Camp in Ontario’s Algonquin Park.

Dancing on the Rockies
The Banff School of Fine Arts ballet class practises out of doors.

Leisure & Landscape: Hair gardens

(Added 26 June 2006)

Ken Smith, “Bouffant Topiary,” Hair Gardens, Max Fish Gallery, 1998. Photomontage

Ken Smith here suggests possible topiary tactics for the landless, absurdly style-conscious urban dwellers to get a leg up on their fashionable rivals. Says the landscape architect: “Hair design and garden design have similarities. They are both organic, grow and are manipulated. They have to do with style, fashion and pretense.” – Pruned (Landscape Architecture blog) by Alexander Trevi

Leisure & Landscape: Canons of taste

(Added 26 June 2006)

Conspicuous Consumption
Thorstein Veblen

Unproductive Consumption of Goods is Honourable
Penguin Books – Great Ideas
First published 1899

Canons of Taste; Greenery and Pets

Everyday life affords many curious illustrations of the way in which the code of pecuniary beauty in articles of use varies from class to class, as well as of the way in which the conventional tastes of beauty departs In its deliverances from the sense untutored by the requirements of pecuniary repute. Such a fact is the lawn, or the close-cropped yard or park, which appeals so un-affectedly to the taste of Western peoples…

Leisure collects: Ice Palace

(Added 25 June 2006)

The Ice Palace stood as the glittering centerpiece of the 1883 Montreal Winter Carnival. Part page out of a Hans Christian Anderson fable, part feat of winter engineering, the Ice palace was constructed from blocks of ice cut from the St. Lawrence River and lit by electric lamps each evening. The palace was demolished at the end of carnival week, “stormed” by snowshoers carrying torches and fireworks. We can only imagine the fury and beauty of this towering structure and the drama of its yearly demise.

Leisure & Landscape: Marie Antoinette

(Added 24 June 2006)

La reine Marie Antoinette dans le parc de Versailles – 1780
Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun
Black chalk stump heightened with white chalk on grey-blue paper. (23-1/2” x 16”)

Marie Antoinette
Petit Hameau
Exerpt: Casid, Jill H. “Queer(y)ing Georgic: Utility, Pleasure, and Marie-Antoinette’s Ornamented Farm”

Marie-Antoinette’s Hameau designed by the architect Richard Mique was begun in 1783 and substantially completed by 1786. Consisting of a Norman-style rustic hamlet and a farm, the Hameau was considered a type of ferme ornée or ornamented farm which combined agricultural production or utility with pleasures for the eyes and other bodily senses.

Leisure R & D Residency

(Added 16 June 2006)

Jesse Ash or Simon Clark, Haliburton Lake, 2006

As the first recipients of the Leisure Research and Development Residency, Jesse Ash and Simon Clark spent four days in Ontario cottage country, pursuing their interest in cultural landscape research while engaging in conversation, leisure sport and festive decoration.

Hunting Party

(Added 15 June 2006)

MONTREAL HOUR, June 22nd, 2006
The Montreal Hunt Ball – Isa Tousignant

Leisure Projects uncover an unknown part of history
Hidden in a nook behind St-Denis near Ontario is a little street named Joly where a gallery lives. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m., Galerie Yergeau is a diamond in the rough among the back-lane garbage piles and clinking cacophonies seeping out from St-Denis’s busy restaurant kitchens.

Go Hunting

(Added 6 June 2006)

Reading Montreal, Online Journal, June 6, 2006 – Rebecca Duclos

As the fine weather pervades the senses, the shackles of work seem to loosen somewhat, and the urge to pursue adventure only increases in strength – think of the thrill of the Hunt. Only, in this city, you won’t do damage to a fox or a hound or a horse or your fashion reputation.

Sound the bugles

(Added 25 May 2006)

Montreal Mirror: May 25-31.2006 Vol. 21 No. 48

In this day and age, we hunt for bargains, for love, for a missing sock, but rarely for a beast. So it is hard to conceive of a time when our concrete playground was someone else’s hunting grounds.

Se mettre en jeu: Meredith Carruthers

(Added 14 May 2006)

As part of the exhibition series Se mettre en jeu, curated by Mike Patten, Leisure’s own Meredith Carruthers’ has created an impressive assemblage of interventions at Galerie d’art du Centre Leonardo da Vinci (May 12 -17).

Projected Fantasies: The viewer and the landscape

(Added 11 May 2006)

Leisure and associates anxiously await the results of Susannah Wesley’s research on the subject of leisure and landscape. In this twenty page paper Susannah will explore the site of the painted landscape as a repository for shifting subjective readings and projected fantasies of the viewer.

Montreal parties: Corona Theatre

(Added 11 May 2006)

Corona Theatre interior, 1987
Paintings on the fire curtain probably date from the Corona’s construction in 1912
(Montreal Movie Palaces, 1993)

Corona Theatre
2490 Notre Dame West

“Only in the mid-1980’s was the Corona rediscovered. The Montreal artist Janet Mckinnon spearheaded a Commission pour la restauaration du Théatre Corona, and a group of theatrically minded young women called Les Petites Filles aux Allumettes (headed by the artists Martha Flemming and Lyne Lapointe) borrowed the theatre from the city in the summer of 1987, cleaned it up, mounted “a hybrid of visual and theatre arts”. And threw open the Corona’s doors, if only briefly, for the first time in twenty years.” Dane Larken, Montreal Movie Palaces, 1993.

Montreal parties: Bed-In

(Added 11 May 2006)

Photo: Anne Yorke, 1969

The Montreal Bed-In
Queen Elizabeth Hotel, 1969
900 Rene Levesque Blvd. West
Corner suite rooms 1738-1740-1742

“They fought their way in, and their faces dropped, there we were like two angels in bed, with flowers all around us, and peace and love on our heads. We were fully clothed; the bed was just an accessory.” – John Lennon, Chronicle Books, 2000

The Hunt Ball

(Added 11 May 2006)

Erica Eyres, The Discriminating Gentlemen’s Club, jake moore

Vernissage: May 24th
Exhibition: May 24 – September 2, 2006
Pause estivale: July 15 – August 21, 2006
Galerie Yergeau, 2060 Joly, Montreal.

Featuring the work of artists Erica Eyres, The Discriminating Gentlemen’s Club, and jake moore, The Hunt Ball exhibition captures the complex and lavish celebration of beauty and violence played out in the annual Montreal Hunt Ball held at the Ritz Carleton throughout the 1950s. This combination of elaborate festive décor (which included papier-maché polka-dotted horses, flowered garlands, flags and animal ice sculptures) together with the macabre and slightly dusty aspects of hunt display (including hunt paintings, gun collections and taxidermy animal trophies) provides a rich site for ruminations on the aesthetics and objectification of both violence and pleasure through leisure activity and sport.

Images:(clockwise from the left) archival imagery of the Montreal Huntclub thanks to the McCord Museum; Plaster Ruth (detail) jake moore; Fox Discriminating Gentleman’s Club: Dog series, Erica Eyres

Montreal parties: Expo 67 (enchanted)

(Added 10 May 2006)

The Tinder Box, Fairytale puppet theatre, Jiri Trnka
Photo: This was expo, photographs: John Visser, Harold Whyte, Peter Varley

Expo 67
April 28- October 27, 1967
Czechoslovak national pavilion
Close to Ile Notre Dame Station of the Expo Express

“Alongside the massed-tractor solemnity of the Russians and the relative earnestness of other nations, there was something intriguingly improbable about the Czechoslovak Pavilion. All that glass for instance: glass fountains, glass pillars, glass walls, glass sculptures – glass poured and tortured into an enchanted forest of shapes that trapped the light and toyed with it until the effect was almost mesmeric.”

Illumination Escapade

(Added 5 May 2006)

The Foreman Gallery of Bishop’s University, Quebec, opened the new exhibition Illumination Escapade this week (May 2006), a long-term curatorial project helmed by the Leisure Projects’ own Meredith Carruthers.....

Montreal parties: Expo 67 (hostesses)

(Added 23 April 2006)

Expo Hostesses at Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Photo credit: © National Archives of Canada

Expo 67
April 28- October 27, 1967
South side of Ile Notre Dame

“This pavilion presents Man and Color – an adventure in color motion and sound. The exterior of the pavilion is round, with 112fins painted in a spectrum of vivid colors surrounding the circular steel frame….

Montreal parties: Hunt Ball

(Added 23 April 2006)

Montreal Hunt Ball, 1950 – Photo by Geraldine Carpenter, Ritz-Carlton Collection

1228 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal Hunt Ball
Annual event

“The Montreal Hunt Ball, an annual Ritz event. The decorating arrangements were invariably lavish….

Montreal parties: VE-Day

(Added 26 March 2006)

Montreal VE-Day Party
May 7th – 8th, 1945

“On May 7, 1945, within minutes of a CBC bulletin that Germany had surrendered unconditionally, crowds flooded onto Rue Ste-Catherine in Montreal….”

Montreal parties: The Tin Flute

(Added 26 March 2006)

Party at the Létourneaus’ House
Sir Georges Etienne Cartier Place
The Tin Flute (Bonheur d’occasion), Gabrielle Roy
Winter, 1941

“The Létourneau apartment, on the first floor of a tall brick building, was all lit up. From every window lights shone across the snow in the quiet square. Florentine stopped at the foot of the steps and listened with beating heart to the festive sounds, muffled by wet snow….”

Montreal parties: St. Jean Baptiste

(Added 26 March 2006)

St.-Jean-Baptiste celebrations
24 June

“Following a tradition the origin of which is lost in antiquity, many people, among them the Gauls, lit fires to celebrate the summer solstice. According to the Jesuit Relations and the Journal des Jésuites, this tradition was revived on the banks of the St Lawrence in 1636. In 1646 the Journal reported that ‘on 23 June the fire for St-Jean was lit at half-past eight in the evening… One heard five cannon shots and two or three discharges from muskets….’

Montreal parties: Lady Aberdeen

(Added 26 March 2006)

Montreal, January 18, 1898
Lady Aberdeen as Constance de la Tour
Copyright McCord Museum

Most of the sets at this ball represented the French regime, possibly in an attempt to educate the country about Canada’s French past. Several descendants of the historical figures portrayed were in attendance….”

Montreal parties: Ice Palace

(Added 25 March 2006)

Montreal Winter Carnival
February 1884

“Composite moonlit views of the Montreal Winter Carnival. The main scene centers on a huge ice palace with a procession of men with torches, visitors, and horse-drawn sleighs. Inset views show tobogganers on a steep hill and ice skaters in festive costume celebrating winter. The ice palace is lit within by an orange light. The print is highlighted with glitter, giving a snow blown effect….”

Lauren Nurse & Fiona Jardine

(Added 23 March 2006)

Leisure Projects presents
Fiona Jardine & Lauren Nurse
A glittering social evening of art and music.
Une soirée sociale scintillement de l’art et de la musique.

Samedi le 18 mars 2006, 20h – minuit
Saturday march 18th, 2006, 8pm – midnight
OFF Interarts 5145 Boul. St-Laurent Montréal, QC

Bringing together the work of Glasgow based artist Fiona Jardine and Montreal artist Lauren Nurse, Leisure Projects presents two week street-side window exhibition a special one-night event – a collaborative environment of art and live music amongst the glittering reflection of mirrors, disco-balls.

Disco Spends a Dancer

(Added 23 March 2006)

After the two week Leisure Projects window display, Disco Spends a Dancer, we are pleased to present…


(Added 23 March 2006)

The Blinding Light

(Added 6 February 2006)

As part of the Joyce Yahouda gallery ‘Bingo Bazaar’, Leisure Projects presented our signature Spruce Beer cocktail, The Blinding Light – a heady mix of spruce beer and vodka, reminiscent of the finest Wild West moonshine. A riotous event of down-home fantasy, the SOIRÉE BINGO (hosted by Celine B. La Terreur) included over 20 artists selling their wares at decorated tables, a live bluegrass band (Notre-Dame-de-Grass) and Bingo cards designed by over 30 artists.

Montreal parties

(Added 30 December 2005)

Palace, capitol, Loews, Strand, Montreal c. 1950
Andre Morency

Montreal parties- Reading Montreal
November-December, 2006

In November/December of 2005 Leisure Projects was invited to guest edit two, one week sections of the online journal: Reading Montreal(

Part of the Reading Cities project (published by Robert Ouellette), Reading Montreal (edited by Rebecca Duclos, David Ross & Alexandra McIntosh) “looks at the city through the eyes of many of its most creative artists and arts institutions”. By collecting stories, experiences, and ideas about Montreal the site encourages alternate and pluralist experiences of the city.

As part of our ongoing preoccupation with Canadian glamour we based our research on the giddy theme of pre-1975 Montreal celebrations.

A Festive Drop-In

(Added 20 December 2005)

Featuring a tree by
Tricia Middleton

Leisure Gallery
December 18 2005, 2pm – 5pm

Oversized silver corsages, flocked cocktail aprons, curlers & cocktails highlight this afternoon event. Inspired by the hopeful glamour of 1950’s Christmas, Leisure members spend days baking in heels and exploring the granny-hairdressing underbelly of Montreal. Tricia Middleton elaborates on the festive theme with her pink cotton ball- tree extravaganza.

Back-to-School Special

(Added 12 November 2005)

Illustrated binders by: Meredith Carruthers, Megan Carruthers, Hollie Dzama, James Kirkpatrick, Logan MacDonald, Douglas Moffat, Lauren Nurse, Kenneth Raddatz, Marc Ryan, Susannah Wesley

The Store – Joyce Yahouda Gallery
November 12 – December 10 2005
Vernissage – Sat. 12 November, 2005 3pm – 5pm

As the leaves change colour and the temperature begins to drop, we find ourselves applying for continuing education programs, searching for opportunities to wear plaid fashions, and purchasing new stationery supplies. Autumn remains linked to a time of new beginnings; the childhood excitement for a new school year overrides the sophisticated appreciation of summer pleasures.

Leisure Sponsorship

(Added 12 November 2005)

Leisure Projects is pleased to announce the generous support of BiC France of the 2005/2006 programming season.

Luke Painter: Pipe Dreams

(Added 8 November 2005)

Regent Theatre, Cinifest Minifest
Picton, ON
Sat. November 6, 2005 4pm – 9pm

Leisure Projects is pleased to present a satellite installation of the work of Luke Painter to be exhibited in the foyer of the Regent Theatre for the duration of this years Cinefest-Minifest programme. Luke painter’s looping videos; Pipe Dreams: Atwater, Malibu and Windsor, are a series of architectonic animations, created meticulously in flash. In a gritty flight of fancy, uncanny visions are deconstructed and reconstructed from the urban Montreal landscape.

Leisure Class

(Added 15 October 2005)

Mountain X-press
Arts & Entertainment
Oct 19, 2005 / vol 12 iss 12

Struggling artists help their own, installing where they can whatever it takes

by Connie Bostic

Borrowing heavily from the comic-book oeuvre, Finlayson takes our fear of difference and turns it briskly but amiably on its head: Portraits show creatures sporting multiple sets of teeth, horns coming from their foreheads, eyes protruding wildly from their sockets, and rows of breasts marching defiantly down their bodies. Yet the beings imply no evil or threat. They just seem to be going about their everyday business, and in this instance, their business is marching in a parade.

The impression is one of benign indifference: an acceptance of life as it is. Finlayson achieves this partially with his consummate skill as a draftsman – but that skill isn’t enough to give these creatures the presence they possess. An astute student of contemporary Japanese literature and mythology, Finlayson is playfully nudging our collective unconscious. The participants in his parade have universality and speak directly to the viewer about his or her own world and those creatures – real or unreal – who populate it.

Kevin Finlayson: Parade

(Added 12 October 2005)

Leisure presents a group of sympathetic monsters by Kevin Finlayson at the Holden Gallery of Warren Wilson College, NC, USA.

Labour Day Croquet

(Added 5 September 2005)

Leisure hosts a graceful game of croquet with friends to celebrate Labour Day at Montreal’s, “Parc des corroyeurs” (named in 2001 for workers who processed hides by hand in the local tannery industry).

Landscape with Swan

(Added 10 April 2005)

Consisting of sweet and moody paintings by Susannah Wesley and a carnation covered swan by Meredith Carruthers, the window display at Nota Bene Gallery explores the subversive potential of pastoral landscapes.

Will this boat take us there?

(Added 17 February 2005)

A Dvd and launch event at the Nautical Bar, Ritz Carleton Hotel, Montreal.
An ephemeral landscape of fake nature wrapped up in a delicious binding of silk and Japanese paper, this limited edition includes an illustrated booklet by artist Meredith Carruthers with a new text by Luigi Discenza.

Leisure Paintings

(Added 3 September 2004)

Featuring Hannah Hewetson, Fiona Jardine, Ciara Phillips, Cecilia Stenbom, Susannah Wesley, Meredith Carruthers, Adele Chong, Kevin Finlayson, Luke Painter, Beth Stuart, Robert Truszkowski

Watercolour is sly – it appears to be one thing but is also another.Through it’s shifting and lucid quality watercolour is capable of being both playful and sublime – from leaving the most simple and ephemeral of marks, to building the deepest layers of complexity.

Pre-Leisure: Thanksgiving

(Added 15 November 2002)

Both adrift in Glasgow Scotland, Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley teamed up for what must be understood as their first experiment in Leisure. Considered in hindsight, the Canadian Thanksgiving event features many now trademark Leisure qualities.