Olexander Wlasenko

 

Olexander Wlasenko is the curator at Station Gallery in Whitby, a well-regarded public gallery that has held several exhibitions of work by Dan Steeves among others. Olexander was born in 1972 in Oshawa, Ontario. A first generation Canadian, Olex grew up connected to his Ukrainian heritage through family stories, culture, books, and film.

Although exposed to art from an early age, it was not until the mid-80′s that Olexander fully realized that art was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Two shows by Ukrainian-Canadian artists in particular influenced his thinking. The first was Kurelek’s Vision of Canada, a retrospective of the works of painter William Kurelek (1927-1977) that toured the country through 1983-1984. The second was Behind the Irony Curtain (1986), by Toronto-based artist Natalka Husar.

Olexander lists his later inspirations as Gerhard Richter, Edgar Degas, William Ventridge, Vija Celmins, and Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum. Closer to home, Olexander credits OCA instructors Husar (for her impact) and Cathy Daley (for encouraging him to draw) as early mentors. Olexander also credits Margaret Priest, a professor at the University Of Guelph, for developing rigour in his work. Finally, he acknowledges Sheila Butler, his thesis advisor at Western, for her support and for fostering a firm theoretical grounding in his chosen medium.

Why drawings? Why pigment on paper? In Olexander’s words, because of the form’s “immediacy” and because it “evokes neo-classicism”. As for subject matter, Olexander’s work has often mirrored social realism and Ukrainian and Eastern European visual history. In recent years, Olexander has found more diverse sources for his work. The contemporary blue-collar subjects of ‘for all’ (2001) for example. And then there’s Claudia …The “Claudia Cardinale” series of drawings, based on film stills found while on a trip to Italy, have been very popular with patrons (and judges) of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. One of Alex’s images, “Claudia with Phone” (2002) was even used to promote the event. In the end though, Olexander continues to return to his Ukrainian roots as a touchstone for meaningful reflection and refining his craft.

Synchronicities: Art and Cinema, 1 hour illustrated lecture by Olexander Wlasenko, Wednesday September 24, 2014,  7 pm in the gallery.

Never has the intersection of art and film been as pronounced as today. Join artist and Curator, Olexander Wlasenko, in a fascinating exploration of visual art and cinema. Wlasenko addresses the influence of moving images on still imagery and vice versa…

Olex speaks about his work at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. Click here to watch the video

 

Biography

EDUCATION

  • 2000 MFA University of Western Ontario, London, ON
  • 1997 BA (Hons) University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • 1995 AOCAD (with Distinction) Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, ON
  • 1994-5 Florence Studio Program (OCAD), Florence, Italy

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • 2013 ‘Off Screen’ Abbozzo Gallery, Toronto, ON
    ‘Art House’ Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, ON
    ‘Somewhere in Time’ Aurora Cultural Centre, Aurora, ON
  • 2012  ‘Cinemarks’, Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, ON
    Surfacing: Off the Pages Station Gallery, Whitby, ON
  • 2011 ‘Just a Moment’, Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, ON
  • 2010 ‘Borrowed Moments’, Durham Art Gallery, Durham, ON
  • 2008 ‘Olexander Wlasenko: As We Slept’, Oseredok, Winnipeg, MB
    ‘Olexander Wlasenko: Someone, Somewhere’, Durham West Art Centre, Pickering, ON
  • 2007 ‘Olexander Wlasenko: As We Slept’, MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, ON
  • 2005 ‘B & W’, Sarah Beveridge Gallery, Barrie, ON
    ‘Another Time, Another Place’, Odd Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon
  • 2004 ‘Someone, Somewhere’, Gallery Stratford, Stratford, ON
  • 2003 ‘Autumn Chronicles’, Pavlo Tychyna Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 2002 ‘for all’, Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville, ON
  • 2000 ‘Ethnic Limbs’, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto, ON
  • 1999 ‘Drawings’, Gallery 396, London, ON
  • 1997 Szobor Park , Zavitz Hall, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
  • 1995 Nera, ex-Emerson Centro di Comunicazione, Florence, Italy

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • 2011 ‘Make it Work: Art + Economy’, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON
    ‘Drawing 2011’, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2010 National Juried Drawing Exhibition White Water Gallery, North Bay, ON
    ‘After Pictures’, Visual Art Centre, Bowmanville, ON
  • 2009 ‘The artist and the crowd in history’, Museum London, London, ON
    ‘Plant 90: Production and Object’, 401 Richmond, Toronto, ON
    Art 2009 Metro Convention Centre, Toronto, ON
  • 2008 47th Annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE), Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘Best of 46th Annual TOAE’, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2007 46th Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘ReSource’, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON
    ‘The Drawing Exhibition’, Arthouse, Calgary, AB
    ‘Best of 45th Annual TOAE’, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2006 45th Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘Best of 44th Annual TOAE’, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON
    ‘Drawing 2006’, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
    ‘Collect’, Sarah Beveridge Gallery, Barrie, ON
  • 2005 ‘Intersection’, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON
    ‘Showcase ’05’, Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, ON
    44th Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘Making Marks’, Sarah Beveridge Gallery, Barrie, ON
    ‘Selections from the Permanent Collection’, Gallery Stratford, Stratford, ON
    ‘Best of 43rd Annual TOAE’, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2004 ‘Corruption of Reality’, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON
    43rd Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    42nd Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘Best of 41st Annual TOAE’, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON
    ‘A Celebration of Ontario’, Artists Centennial of Ontario Archives hosted by John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2002 ‘Myoptic10 Latitude 53’, Edmonton, AB
    41st Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘New Faces, New Works’, Canadian Ukrainian Art Foundation, Toronto, ON
  • 2001 London Regional Forest City Gallery, London, ON
    ‘Present Tense Project Series’, Instant Coffee, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
    ‘Drawing 2001’, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 2000 Forest Pekao Gallery, Toronto, ON
    Language Hotel (residency) St. Norbert Arts Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
    ‘On Immigrant Experience’, Modern Fuel Gallery, Kingston, ON
    ‘Modelumental’, The Red Head Showcase, Toronto, ON
    (S)elves ArtLab, London, ON
  • 1999 ‘DARE’, Forest City Gallery, London, ON
    ‘The Gestalt of the Vault’, The Red Head Gallery, Toronto, ON
    ‘Bizzareries & Delicatesse’, Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, ON
  • 1998 37th Annual TOAE Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, ON
    ‘Crossing Borders’, The Castellani Art Museum, Buffalo, New York
  • 1997 Gallery Launch Exhibition Zinc Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 1995 ‘Arte Firenze’, St. Lawrence Market (North), Toronto, ON

AWARDS

  • 2012 Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Grant
  • 2011 First Prize, Drawing 2011, 12th Annual Juried Drawing Exhibition, organized by John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
    Ontario arts Council Exhibition Assistance Award
  • 2010 Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Grant
    Canada Council for the Arts Project Grant
    Cleeve Horne Purchase Award, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON
  • 2009 Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant
  • 2008 Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant
    Canada Council for the Arts Project Grant
  • 2007 Canada Council for the Arts Project Grant
    Drawing Award, 46th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
  • 2006 Best Drawing Award, 45th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
    Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant
  • 2005 Best Drawing Award, 44th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
    Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grant
  • 2004 Best Drawing Award, 43rd Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
    Canada Council for the Arts Creation / Production Grant
    Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant
  • 2003 Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant
    Special Project Grant from the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 2002 Best Drawing Award, 41st Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
    Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant
  • 2001 The Canada Council for the Arts Emerging Artist Grant
    Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant
    First Prize, Drawing 2001, 2nd Annual Juried Drawing Exhibition, organized by John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • 1999 People’s Choice Award, ‘Bizzareries and Delicatesse’ at Cambridge Galleries
    Special University Scholarship (SUS), University of Western Ontario
  • 1997 The 29th Annual Juried Art Show, University of Guelph
    Dean’s Honour List (Fall Semester)
  • 1994 The Eric Freifield Award, The Ontario College of Art and Design

REVIEWS AND WRITINGS

  • Brizhun-Sokolyk, Oksana, “Olexander Wlasenko in Durham, Ontario” in New Pathway (in Ukrainian)
  • Artwork featured in BBC article on BBCUkrainian.com.
  • Artwork featured in ‘Poiesis XII: The Poietics of Alterity’ ISBN 2147483647
  • Steven, Trish (host) “Simcoe Living”, Rogers Television, September, 2007, Season 7, episode 4, interview on ‘As We Slept’ and ‘Broken Promises’ exhibitions
  • Goddard, Peter “State of the Union”, Toronto Star, October 20, 2007, review of ‘As We Slept’ and ‘Broken Promises’
  • Clayton, Marianne “Forum Picks”, Educational Forum, Fall 2007, review of ‘As We Slept’ and ‘Broken Promises’, pp. 36-37
  • Kevin Temple “Outdoor’s Best”, Now Magazine, January 26, 2006
  • Chase, Christy “Oshawa artist faces reality”, Oshawa This Week, December 3, 2004
  • Aurandt, David, “Corruption of Reality: Redefining Realism”, (Oshawa: The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, ISBN: 0-921500-51-3) 2004
  • O’Connor, Donal “Caught on Film”, The Beacon Herald, March 16, 2004
  • Kobryn, Irena “A Canadian Artist in Kyiv”, Meest (Ukrainian Weekly), February 13, 2004
  • Riabokon, Liudmyla “Oleksandr Vlasenko”, The Day, Kyiv, Ukraine, October 16, 2003 – for a “clumsy” English translation of the original Ukrainian article (new window)
  • Lesya Skada-Ostrovska, “Young Canadian Artist, Olexander Wlasenko draws with his finger”, 1Plus1 Television, September 27, 2003
  • Goodwyn, Jewel MIX Magazine, Spring 2000
  • Sutherley, Jill “Artists find (S)elves”, The Gazette, January 25, 2000
  • Benedict, Ben “Daring artists reveal all in FCG exhibition of taboos”, Scene, December 2, 1999
  • Gillespie, Ian “Stealing the crumbs of culture”, The Sunday Free Press, November 14, 1999
  • Varin-Jarkowski, Karoline “Fine Art of Bizzareries & Delicatesse”, Echo, September 30, 1999
  • Coulson, Sandra “Old films spark artist’s new line”, The London Free Press, June 3, 1999
  • Wherry, Aaron “Student art thinks for itself”, The Gazette, February 9, 1999
  • Leyes, Serena, “Delving into the student psyche”, The Gazette, October 8, 1998
  • Bennett, Matt “Mutation in Recent Toronto Art”, Artfocus, Spring/Summer 1998
  • Hume, Christopher “Zinc Gives Young a Place to Hang”, Toronto Star, July 24, 1997

CURATORIAL PROJECTS AND RESIDENCIES

  • Curator of Joscelyn Gardner: Bleeding & Breeding, solo exhibition with Barbados-born printmaker at Station Gallery, Whitby, Ontario from January 14 to February 12, 2012. Exhibition publication.
  • Curator of Meryl McMaster: In-Between Worlds, solo exhibition of early-career photographer at Station Gallery, Whitby, Ontario from February 18 to April 8, 2012. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9867171-3-0
  • Curator of Fictionary, group exhibition of early and mid-career artists working with drawing and narrative at Station Gallery, Whitby, Ontario from July 21 to September 2, 2012.
  • Curator of Reading the Image, group exhibition of mid-career and established artists incorporating image and text at Station Gallery, Whitby, Ontario from October 21 to December 2, 2012.
  • Curator of ‘Jane Eccles: Overlap’, a solo, retrospective exhibition of paintings at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from February 26 to April 10, 2011. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9867171-1-6
  • Curator of ‘Brendan Fernandes: Dada Afrika’, a solo exhibition of multi-media works at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from January 8 to February 20, 2011.
    Curator of ‘Tony Romano: Notary Moon’, an exhibition of multi-media works at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from October 23 to December 5, 2010 in partnership with the MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9690917-9-0 (catalogue available on-line)
  • Curator of ‘Mike Berube: Know Hope’, a solo exhibition of work by the photo-journalist and artist at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from September 4 to October 17, 2010.
  • Curator of ‘David Scott Armstrong: crossing, still’, a solo exhibition of work by the printmaker and York University print professor, at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from July 17 to August 29, 2010.
  • Curator of ‘Darlene Cole: Curtain Call’, a solo exhibition of work by the painter based in Brooklin, ON at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from June 5 to July 11, 2010.
  • Curator of ‘Before and After’, a group exhibition of established artists with a focus on printmaking and the Station Gallery’s permanent collection, Whitby, ON from April 17 to May 30, 2010.
  • Curator of ‘Bonnie Devine: Body Bags, Medicine Basket’, a solo exhibition of work by the Ojibwa artist based in Toronto at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from February 27 to April 11, 2010.
  • Curator of ‘Lauren Schaffer: Translating the World for Isabella’, a show of work by the conceptual artist based in Toronto at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from September 12 to October 25, 2009.
  • Curator of ‘Natalia Laluque: The Canadiana Project’, a show of paintings and ceramics by the Ukraine-born artist at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from July 25 to September 6, 2009. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9690917-7-7 (catalogue available on-line)
  • Curator of ‘Michael Belmore: Embankment’, a solo exhibition of contemporary sculptor of Annishnabe heritage at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON from February 28 to April 12, 2009. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9690917-7-6 (catalogue available on-line)
  • Curator of ‘Tantramar Gothic: New Work by Dan Steeves’, exhibition held at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON ISBN: 978-0-9690917-5-2 (catalogue available on-line)
  • Curator of ‘Todd Tremeer: A Past Again’, exhibition held at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON in 2009 ISBN: 978-0-9690917-6-9
  • Curator of ‘Steven Laurie: Art of the Motor’, a solo exhibition of Toronto-based artist Steven Laurie at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-9690917-4-5
  • Guest Curator of ‘One Root, Many Routes’, a group exhibition exploring the elasticity of ethnicity; featuring the works of Vera Jacyk, Bohdan Sirant, Natalie Laluque, Jean-Michel Komarnicki, Anna Yuschuk, Orest Tataryn, Olena Kassian, Charles Sharun, May 4 to May 22, 2008, KUMF Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • Guest Curator for ‘Broken Promises: Soviet Photography in the Age of Stalin’, MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, ON, Sep 13 to Nov 4, 2007
  • Curator of ‘Vera Jacyk: Chysto, Chysto, Chysto’, a solo exhibition of Toronto-based artist Vera Jacyk at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition publication: ISBN 978-0-921500-83-4
  • Curator of ‘Mind Map’, an exhibition of early-career artists from the Durham region at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition Catalogue: ISBN 10:0-921500-71-8
  • Curator of ‘About Face: Portraits & other Pictures’, an exhibition exploring the finest examples of Canadian portraiture at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition Catalogue: ISBN 0-921500-59-9
  • Curator of ‘2nd Site’, an exhibition of early-career artists from the Durham region at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition Catalogue: ISBN 0-921500-47-5
  • Curator of ‘Random Cities’, exhibition of early-career artists from the Durham region at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition Catalogue: ISBN 0-921500-76-9
  • Curator of ‘Industrial Strength’, an exhibition of visual responses to efficiency at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition publication: ISBN 0-921500-52-1
  • Curator of ‘Energy Implosion: The (905) Imagination’, exhibition of early-career artists from the Durham region at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Exhibition Catalogue: ISBN 0-921500-45-9
  • Guest Curator of ‘31 Flavours into the Blender’, Georgian College, Barrie, ON, March 10 to March 31, 2006
  • Language Hotel residency at the St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Center, Winnipeg, Manitoba, December 2000

RELATED EXPERIENCE

  • Guest lecturer, “Synchronicities: Art & Cinema”, Art Gallery of Peterborough, January 19, 2013Guest lecturer, “Synchronicities: Art & Cinema”, Art Gallery of Peterborough, January 19, 2013
  • Co-juror, Ontario Association of Art Galleries, 35th Annual OAAG Awards, August 2012
  • Peer Assessor, Canada Council for the Arts, Project Grants for Arts Organizations, June 2012
  • Juror, Meaford Arts Centre, May 27, 2012
  • Juror, Headwaters Arts, May 25, 2012
  • Juror, Ontario Shores Red Hot Juried Show, April 23, 2012
  • Juror, Markham Group of Artists “In Transition” exhibition , November 30, 2011
  • Guest Lecturer, Two Hats: Artist as Curator, Curator as Artist, Nipissing University, November 11, 2011
  • Juror, Sumi-e Society of Canada Juried Exhibition, November 18, 2011
  • Juror, Second Annual Arts Council of Northumberland juried show, November 23, 2010
  • Juror, Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, ON, April, 2010
  • Juror, Secondary School Students Juried Show, Lindsay Gallery, May, 2010
  • Juror, Oshawa Art Association, Oshawa, ON, June, 2010
  • Panelist, Roundtable on “Exhibition Needs for Artists”, Kent Farndale Gallery
  • Panelist, “Is there life after OCAD?”, Ontario College of Art & Design, February, 2010
  • Durham College School of Media, Art & Design Steering Committee member
  • Moderator, “Home Page: Visual Culture and Domestic Space” with V.Jacyk, T. Laurin, V. Mak. MacLaren Art Centre, April 16, 2009
  • “Kurelek: Diasporic Revelations in Cultural and Historic Memory” – guest lecturer at Trent University, July 27, 2009
  • Advisory Panel member-Surfacing Magazine
  • Juror, Pine Ridge Arts Council, Ajax, ON, October, 2009
  • Juror, Quinte West Juried Exhibition, Belleville, ON, May 2009
  • Juror, The Conference Place Community Art Show, Whitby, ON, April 2009
  • Juror, Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Visual Artist Grant, November 2008
  • Juror, Annual York Region Juried Exhibition, F.H. Varley Art Gallery, October 2008
  • “Pedal Point/Pivot Point”: Graduate Student Conference, panelists: Craig Buckley, Paola Poletto, Olexander Wlasenko, February 15, 2008, University of Western Ontario, London, ON
  • Juror of 4th Annual Juried Art Show & FAD Art Exhibition, Durham College, April 25 to May 5, 2006
  • “Kurelek: Diasporic Revelations in Cultural and Historic Memory” – guest lecturer at Trent University, January 16 and June 5, 2006.
  • Juror of the 3rd Annual Juried Drawing Exhibition at the John B. Aird Gallery, January 14, 2002.
  • Teaching Assistant and sessional instructor of undergraduate Drawing & Painting course at The University of Western ON from September 1998 to April 1999.
  • Presented paper entitled, “L’il Russians and Other Prostheses” at Joint Graduate Session held in conjunction with University Art Association of Canada, OCAD, November 4, 1999.
  • Assistant Curator and Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection of Historical Photographs at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa from September, 2000 to February, 2008.
  • Current Curator at Station Gallery, Whitby, ON
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