Past Programming

Michel Huneault

 La longue nuit de Mégantic

  • , Chaudière River, heavily contaminated by the oil spill. , August 2013
    Chaudière River, heavily contaminated by the oil spill. , August 2013
  • , Burnt tree inside the red zone, behind the security fence, August 2013.
    Burnt tree inside the red zone, behind the security fence, August 2013.
  • Jacques. First swim of the year in Lac Mégantic. June 2014
    Jacques. First swim of the year in Lac Mégantic. June 2014
  • Installation view
    Installation view


Michel Huneault
La longue nuit de Mégantic

January 29 - March 13, 2015
Opening Reception Thursday January 29, 6 – 9pm, remarks at 7pm

The CONTACT Gallery is pleased to present La longue nuit de Mégantic, an exhibition by Montreal-based photographer Michel Huneault.

La longue nuit de Mégantic is the culmination of the documentary photographer’s year-long project visiting Lac-Mégantic after Canada’s deadliest train disaster in almost 150 years. In the middle of the night on July 6, 2013 a train filled with crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town creating an explosion that destroyed much of the downtown area, instantly killing 47 people. 

The disaster has since been in the forefront of current national debates regarding energy transportation, safety and the environment.  However, Huneault’s interest in this story is human and intimate, with a focus on the community and the aftershock. His experience in international development and academic research on disaster and trauma, both personal and collective, has given him an insightful perspective.

The series of large-format and small photographs, predominantly of the town’s landscape, brings to mind the viewpoint of a wanderer, or stunned observer. Upon Huneault’s arrival within hours of the explosion, and subsequent visits throughout the seasons, he was able to capture an eerie calm that seemed to resonate across the community. Often at night he would return to the same streets, houses or sites, retracing the geography of the scarred place, sometimes encountering locals on a similar journey. As a result, the images convey the passing of time and evoke the emotions of loss, absence and searching, as they evolve over one symbolic year.

An accompanying single-channel video piece consists of a series of portraits and short audio interviews with community members who experienced loss and trauma.  Their stories offer an intimate glimpse into their process of mourning, the need for answers and justice, and the desire to find reconciliation.

Before devoting himself full time to photography in 2008, Michel Huneault worked in the international development field, a profession that took him to over twenty countries, including one full year in Kandahar. He holds a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow, researching on the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was a student and teaching assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, and afterwards held an apprenticeship position with him in New York. Currently, his practice focuses on development related issues, on personal and collective traumas, and complex geographies. Curated by Tara Smith. 

Huneault is the recipient of the 2014 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. Chosen by an international jury, this award recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT’s annual Reviews. 

The award is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Image Works, and Vistek. Huneault’s project has been generously funded by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

La longue nuit de Mégantic will travel to Lac-Mégantic after its run at the CONTACT Gallery.


Exposition: Lac-Mégantic ou la nuit de toutes les douleursAgence QMI

La longue nuit de Mégantic en exposition à Toronto... et bientôt ici, L'Echo de Frontenac

Lac Mégantic, un cliché à la fois, Radio Canada TV News Clip - 2 minutes - french

La longue nuit de Mégantic, Radio Canada Radio Clip - show Grands Lacs Café - 8 minutes - french

La longue nuit de Mégantic, Globe and Mail

La longue nuit de Mégantic à la galerie Contact de Toronto, Photosolution

Picturing Loss, BlackFlash

Toronto: La longue nuit de Mégantic by Michel Huneault, The Eye of Photography (English, Edited version)

(French, Full version) 

CONTACT Gallery Presents an Exhibition on Lac-Mégantic, Photolife

A Photographic Response to an Oil Train Explosion, PDN

80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 205
Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 5pm

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting the creation of the new CONTACT Gallery.  


Johan Hallberg-Campbell

From the series Nzirambi, 2013


Johan Hallberg-Campbell

November 22  – December 20, 2014
Closing Party Thursday December 18, 6 – 9pm

In December 2013, Johan Hallberg-Campbell spent several weeks in Uganda, photographing at the Nzirambi Orphanage, a family-run centre outside Kasese. The resulting series of photographs and video illustrate life at the orphanage and its impact on the many individuals who call it home. This exhibition includes portraits of the orphanage’s residents and staff, as well as landscapes of the surrounding area.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell was born in the Highlands of Scotland and has been living and working in Canada since 2007. He is a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, and his work has been published and exhibited internationally. Johan’s photographic work explores what it means to belong to a community with traditions rooted in heritage, and alternatively what happens when one’s “place” is altered, removed, or shifted.  With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, he is continuing his long-term project ‘Coastal’, documenting the Canadian coastlines. 

As a freelance photographer, Johan has worked on assignments for numerous publications and institutions worldwide. He has curated 45 exhibitions of photography in galleries such as VII gallery, New York and Pikto, Toronto, and is the photo editor at Raw View magazine alongside Donald Weber.

Curated by Tara Smith.

About the Nzirambi Education Fund
The Nzirambi Education Fund is a grassroots initiative helping children from the Nzirambi Orphanage to access higher levels of education. Established over 25 years ago by Dorothy Nzirambi, the orphanage is home to more than 120 orphaned and vulnerable children from the area.  To date, the fund has raised more than $60,000 and sponsored eight individuals through various levels of education, including five young women who are currently in university. The Fund helps break the cycle of poverty, by providing access to education.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the benefit party in support of the Nzirambi Education Fund. The $16,000 raised at this event will directly contribute to tuition fees for a group of 6 students attending university in Uganda. Also a big thank you to Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, and Lamin 8, Stratus and Kronenbourg for supporting the exhibition, as well as the many local businesses that contributed to the fundraising event.


Ian Willms
The Road to Nowhere

Ian Willms, from the series The Road to Nowhere, 2012 - 2013


CONTACT 2013 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
January 23 – March 7, 2014
Opening reception Thursday January 23, 6 – 9pm
Artist Talk Saturday February 15, 2pm


The CONTACT Gallery is pleased to present The Road to Nowhere, an exhibition by Toronto-based photographer Ian Willms. 

In 2012 and 2013, Ian Willms retraced the refugee migrations of his Mennonite ancestors to witness the places where they lived and died. He followed the route of their historical journey through the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Siberia, photographing the communities, farmland, execution sites and mass graves that had been left behind.

From their origins in the 16th and 17th centuries, Mennonites in the Netherlands were attacked by the Catholic Church because of their beliefs, prompting these communities to migrate to Poland. They remained for a century until the state began to force them into military service—against their commitment to nonresistance—inciting another migration, this time to Ukraine and Russia. Life was prosperous and peaceful until the Russian Revolution, which brought the Mennonites into an era in which they struggled to survive under the weight of the Soviet monolith. This history underscores Willms’ work, as he searches for places of significance and traces of Mennonite life in the present day.

Ian Willms’ photographic practice explores the narratives of disempowered peoples, wounded environments and dying cultures that are often the symptoms of “progress” and economic growth. Over the last four years, in addition to the The Road to Nowhere, Willms has explored the impact of Canada’s oil sands industry on Indigenous communities. His work has been exhibited in North America and Europe, including exhibitions at Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography, O’Born Contemporary and Bau-Xi Photo. His work has also been honoured and supported by the Magnum Expression Photography Award, the Pictures of the Year International competition, the Burn Emerging Photographer Fund, the National Magazine Awards and the Canada Council for the Arts. Willms is part of the Global Assignment by Getty Images roster and is a founding member of the Boreal Collective.

Ian Willms is the recipient of CONTACT’s 2013 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. This award, chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT’s annual Portfolio Reviews. The program was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging artists. A special thank you to Vistek, The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto Image Works and Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

Organized by Tara Smith. 

CONTACT Gallery 
310 - 80 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, M5V 2J4 
Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm, Saturday 12 – 5pm

Erik Kessels
24hours in Photography

Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, 2013, installation at CONTACT Gallery, Toronto

24hrs in Photography explores our shifting relationship to photography during a hypermediated era, in which internet users are bombarded with images on a daily basis. Erik Kessels’ immersive installation of vernacular photography, originally conceived for the exhibition What’s Next at Foam(2011), reveals how the limited frame of a computer screen can present an expansive view of the world. An indeterminable number of freely circulating images depict a multitude of people, places, and events across the globe.

Kessels’ diverse biography informs this unique project: he began his career as a commercial illustrator and is now founding partner and creative director of the advertising agency KesselsKramer (Amsterdam), editor of the alternative magazine Useful Photography, publisher of several books of photographs, and curator of noted international photography exhibitions. What each of these endeavours has in common is an obsession with vernacular photography that fuels an impulse to collect. Like any collector, Kessels’ desire to archive is guided by self-imposed parameters; the prints that comprise 24hrs in Photography were downloaded from all of the free and accessible images uploaded to the photo- sharing site Flickr by amateur photographers in a single 24-hour period—about one million images. Shown for the first time in North America, the installation at the CONTACT Gallery features a random selection of 350,000 photographs, printed and arranged in such a way as to represent the volume of the total download. The heaps of images that the viewer encounters are overwhelming in their plenitude.

The photographs comprise a landscape constructed out of photo paper; visitors are invited to walk on and through the installation. Just as readily, one might lie upon the photographs, resting for a moment on a mattress made of other people’s memories. A tension develops through these embodied interactions with the installation: we can peruse the images as singular representations of individuals and events deemed important enough by someone that they have been documented and put online; in contrast, the exhibition is also experienced as an undifferentiated mass of prints that is greater than the sum of its parts. This tension is palpable in the installation’s imposing physical presence in the gallery, and evokes apprehensions about the carefree ways in which we represent our lives to ourselves and to others online, often without concern for who might be looking, and why. Ultimately, the photographs exist simultaneously as precious memories and paper detritus, in a complex balance that considers how the internet challenges conventional investments in the photographic medium’s ability to create cherished material representations of our most significant moments.

24hrs in Photography takes an intersectional approach in its exploration of media, commenting on photography to the extent that it is shaped by social media, and encouraging the viewer to reflect upon the ways of seeing the world engendered by our interactions online. Kessels’ work manifests what it feels like to be confronted by the slew of images we encounter each day via our networked computer screens. Though hundreds of thousands of images might seem reasonable stored on a server, the volume takes on an entirely different scale when placed into the “older” physical form of print. The monolithic installation renders Flickr’s database form absurd: crucial functions such as searchability become impossible, replaced by other means of encountering the installation such as perusing, wading, or even climbing. Sifting through 24hrs in Photography, we are faced with the lasting implications of the speed at which we document, circulate, and consume images online, a pace that mirrors the frenetic rhythms of our contemporary, mediated lives.

Supported by Hewlett-Packard Canada.

Guillaume Simoneau
Love and War

  • Guillaume Simoneau, Wearing army uniform for me, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2008
    Guillaume Simoneau, Wearing army uniform for me, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2008

Wearing army uniform for me, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2008


CONTACT Gallery January 17 – March 2, 2013
Opening Thursday January 17, 6 - 8PM

Love and War is an intimate and unique investigation that reveals the complexity of a young U.S. Army sergeant's love life—before, during and after her deployment to Iraq. Following his subject Caroline Annandale between the ages of 16 and 25, Montreal-based photographer Guillaume Simoneau documents her transformation through the experience of war and military service as it plays out against her personal world.

The series of images is composed of enigmatic portraits, places and objects, in addition to documentation of personal correspondence through handwritten letters, emails, and text messages. Like a dream or recollection of memories, time collapses as the artist has sequenced the images in a non-chronological order, finding novel and nuanced ways to foreground the changes in Annandale's identity and sense of self. This personal story is a poetic comment on youth, one's coming of age, and the indelible effects of love and war.

Guillaume Simoneau is a Canadian photographer based in Montreal. He began his independent studies in art after completing a diploma in applied science. Today, his work centres mostly on transitional spaces within universal themes. His most recent body of work, Love and War was shortlisted for both First Book Award and European Publishers Award For Photography. Love and War is scheduled to be published in 2013 by Dewi Lewis UK. The series recently headlined the Daegu Photography Biennale in Korea and is heading to the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago in July 2013 for a three person exhibition entitled Backstory: Ron Jude, Guillaume Simoneau and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Simoneau is currently nominated for this year's PDN30. 

Organized by Tara Smith.

Simoneau is the recipient of CONTACT's 2012 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. This award, chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT's annual Portfolio Reviews. The program was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging artists. 


Luther Price
Number 9 and Number 9 II

  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY
  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY
  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY


September 6 - October 6, 2012

Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections Programme

American artist Luther Price is known primarily for his radical Super-8 experimental films and his recent handmade 16mm found-footage works. However, this year's Whitney Biennale revealed another extraordinary body of work from Price: his gorgeous glass slides.

While Price's focus on fleshy deterioration and decay has often been called "Boschian," his slides are buoyed by their fragility and projection through a near-obsolete analogue slide machine. In Number 9 and Number 9 II, individual collages of transformed found footage and other detritus are held within the slides, materiality giving way to abstraction as light passes through them. Transcending ideas of cinematic decasia, the mesmerizing mix of reclaimed photographic imagery, inks, paint, and other particles offer soulful expressions of the tactile and the fleeting.

This exhibition contains four rare, wax paper ink blots and two carousels of eighty handmade slides, on continuous view at the CONTACT gallery. Price's 16mm film Sorry--Horns (12) will be presented alongside older slides in the TIFF Wavelengths programme.
- Andréa Picard, Exhibition Curator

Luther Price studied sculpture and media/performing arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he currently teaches. Known since the 1980s for his Super 8 films and performances, Price has recently turned to 16mm film. His work has been shown at a number of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Light Industry, San Francisco Cinematheque, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and at the 2012 Whitney Biennale, New York.


Alex Kisilevich

  • Alex Kisilevich, Hair Rainbow, 2012
    Alex Kisilevich, Hair Rainbow, 2012, Digital Chromogenic Print
  • Alex Kisilevich, Flowered Vent, 2011
    Alex Kisilevich, Flowered Vent, 2011, Digital Chromogenic Print

CONTACT 2010 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
Toronto Image Works Gallery, February 23 – March 24, 2012
Opening reception Thursday February 23, 5 – 8pm

Alex Kisilevich's practice investigates the duality of photography, with its capability to imply truth while simultaneously subverting it. His new photographs employ aspects of sculpture, installation and performance to touch on ideas of distinction and assimilation. The images, full of pathos and absurdity, continue to explore human subjectivity as well as the relationships we form with the things around us.

Alex Kisilevich is a photo-based artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. He is a recent graduate of the MFA program in Visual Arts at York University and holds BFAs in Music and Photography from York University and OCAD University, respectively. Kisilevich's photographs have been featured in publications such as Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward and BlackFlash Magazine. His work has been exhibited internationally and was recently shown in a solo exhibition during the Lianzhou Photography Festival 2011 in China. Kisilevich is represented by Angell Gallery in Canada.



Jonathan Taggart
The Friction of Distance: The Lillooet River Valley

CONTACT 2011 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
The CONTACT Gallery January 19 – February 16, 2012
Opening Thursday January 19, 6- 9PM

The reserves of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation are scattered along both sides of British Columbia’s Lillooet River in an expanse of traditional territory stretching 100km north and south between the towns of Pemberton and Harrison Lake. Like many of Canada’s indigenous communities, these settlements exist in isolation; poverty is rampant and infrastructure dearly lacking, and with limited access to health and education resources, the communities of the Lillooet River Valley can be seen to represent a continuation of what has too often been referred to as the “Indian Problem.” This series illustrates Taggart’s ongoing commitment to document and raise awareness of the socio-economic challenges facing Canada’s First Nations communities.

Jonathan Taggart is a photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a founding member of the Boreal Collective of Canadian photojournalists. His photography has been exhibited internationally, has been featured in the New York Times Lens Blog and Applied Arts Magazine, among others. He was nominated for the National Magazine Award (Photojournalism, 2010) and PDN30 (2012), and is a three time Ontario Arts Council grant receipt. Taggart spends his volunteer time as a photography instructor at Vancouver’s Urban Native Youth Association.

Organized by Tara Smith.


Jesse Louttit
No Roads

CONTACT 2011 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
Toronto Image Works Gallery January 19 – February 16, 2012
Opening Thursday January 19, 6- 9PM

Jesse Louttit’s new series documents Moosonee and Moose Factory, two northern Ontario towns unconnected to the road system and only accessible by train or plane. Located on the shores of the Moose River and James Bay, they are at the northernmost point of the Ontario Northlander train route. Originally settled as fur trading posts, the towns grew in prominence with the arrival of the rail line in 1932 operating as gateways to surrounding communities, many of them Cree settlements. Louttit’s return to Moosonee, the place where his father was born, was inspired by his fascination with isolation, connection and travel in remote places. Unable to locate the areas on Google Street View, these large format images are personal substitutes, responding to the global mapping project with an insightful approach. Taken at dusk and before dawn, Louttit’s use of light and composition evoke qualities of beauty, stillness, and contemplation, while depicting the infrastructural elements of these isolated towns.

Jesse Louttit is a photographer who lives and works in Toronto. His large format landscape images often reveal the traces of human existence in the environment. His work has been featured in PDN, Applied Arts and Report on Business and has been exhibited at Pikto and the Boiler House for CONTACT 2011. The Harbourfront Centre will be presenting a series of No Roads in the Photo Gallery from January 28 to April 15, 2012. 
Opening Friday January 27, 6 - 8pm.

Organized by Tara Smith. 

Toronto Image Works Gallery
80 Spadina Avenue
Suite 207 Toronto
Ontario M5V 2J4

Exhibition Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 7pm
Saturday 11am - 3pm

Medium_Massage 2.0 :: an infinite inventory

November 5 - December 3, 2011
Opening Reception Saturday November 5, 2 - 5pm

Kate Armstrong
Myfanwy Ashmore
Jeremy Bailey
David Jhave Johnston
Rafaël Rozendaal
Cheryl Sourkes
Donna Szoke
KD Thornton

"All media are extensions of some human faculty - psychic or physical"
- The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan, p 26

Medium_Massage 2.0 :: an infinite inventory is a net-based exhibition inspired by Marshall McLuhan and graphic designer Quentin Fiore's collaborative book The Medium is the Massage. Published in 1967 in an experimental format that fused Fiore's engaging graphic style and visual language with McLuhan's text, The Medium is the Massage introduced McLuhan's theories of media and communications technology to a mass audience. Within the context of Marshall McLuhan's centennial and 20 years after the development of the first webpage, the media artists in this exhibition reflect McLuhan's prophetic theories through their immersion in the networked medium and cultural shift that McLuhan predicted in the 60s.

The exhibition includes a new expanded version of The Medium is the Massage matched with compositionally similar images using google algorithms; a sorrybot that gives a unique apology to every citizen on earth; new web software that re-invents the way artists communicate with the media; an archeological examination of 8 bit-graphic images and obsolescent media through daily floppy disc mining; and more!

Curated by Michael Alstad. Presented by Year Zero One (YZO) in collaboration with the CONTACT Gallery for the McLuhan100 Festival.

YZO gratefully acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support of Medium_Massage 2.0.


Gregory Crewdson - Sanctuary

September 8 - October 22, 2011

Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections Programme

With La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini broke with the neorealist tradition of filming on location, and moved to Cinecittà Studios, where he built a near-exact replica of Rome's famed Via Veneto. Cinecittà, then known for hosting American epics like Ben Hur, would become inextricably linked with the great director.

In this series of photographs, artist Gregory Crewdson revisits Fellini's stomping grounds, documenting a cinematic ruin where narratives linger like ghosts. The traces of bygone productions are everywhere: a painted sign, perhaps from Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York; flooded alleyways that evoke HBO's Rome.

Crewdson—known for highly staged, fantastic photographs—chooses to dwell on the gaps in the fragile illusions of these film sets. Scaffolding can be seen supporting each structure. Modern high rises can be glimpsed behind an ancient cottage.

Mussolini once described Cinecittà as the place where "dreams become reality." For Crewdson—like Fellini before him—it is a place to revel in the dreamlike nature of reality itself. — Michael Connor, Exhibition Curator

Gregory Crewdson (b. 1962, lives and works in New York) is internationally renowned for his elaborately constructed, surreal scenes of small town America. His large-scale colour photographs psychologically reference the movies by iconic filmmakers such as David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stephen Spielberg. Museum and public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and the V&A Museum, London. A retrospective of his work, spanning his career, from 1985 - 2005, was shown as a traveling exhibition from 2005 - 2008, at major museums in Europe. Another travelling exhibition of his work opened at the Kulturhuset Museum, Stockholm, in February 2011, followed by Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen and c/o Berlin, Berlin.



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