Toronto - Mushroom Studio is a 20-foot high model of an Amanita Pantherina mushroom that houses artist Katie Bethune-Leamen’s studio in its stem. Periodically, for the length of the installation, Bethune-Leamen will be in residence during the garden’s open hours, busy making new work and inviting visitors to stop by and chat; at other times the studio will be empty, allowing viewers to circle the structure and peer in through lit windows.
Mushroom Studio evokes the magic of mushrooms as habitable spaces - a mainstay of fairy tales. Its form draws on many references, including the large-scale versions of objects such as giant eggs or apples that were built in North America in the early 1900s to attract tourists. Mushrooms are both adored and abhorred - delicious consumables that inspire charming imagery while tinged by the threat of the deadly organisms lurking in certain species.
Bethune-Leamen has participated in exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including 31 group exhibitions since 2001. Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at Convenience Gallery in Toronto, and a group exhibition as part of a Residency/Exchange between Oberland, NL and YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto. Bethune-Leamen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1996 from Concordia University in Montreal, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Guelph in 2003. She currently lives and works in Toronto. This is her first outdoor work.
Mushroom Studio opens May 28 at 4:30 p.m. and continues through April 15, 2009. The Toronto Sculpture Garden, at 115 King St. E., is a City of Toronto park and is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
The Toronto Sculpture Garden has featured more than 75 artists in over 55 exhibitions since it opened in 1981. The site is operated by the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. The garden was developed through the sponsorship of the Louis L. Odette Family, the City of Toronto and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. Exhibitions are funded by the non-profit L.L.O. Sculpture Garden foundation and administered by the Garden’s director, working with a volunteer Art Advisory Board.
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