Jonathan Middleton


  • Set: Room 302

    October 22–November 26, 2005

    Judy Radul and Geoffrey Farmer in collaboration

    Curated by Lorna Brown and Jonathan Middleton

    An act can be the process of doing or performing something, a decree or a written document, a part of a theatrical performance, a pose of intentional or unintentional insincerity. Acts hover between the real and the represented; they can be symbolic, an oblique sublimation of another, earlier act, or through repetition, can form a habit. Judy Radul’s diverse practice in performance, video, installation and writing has focused on a range of acts—rehearsals, casting calls, entrances and exits, acts of speech—that underlie or anticipate the gestures captured in the frame of the camera or the stage. Objects can be acted upon, can prop up an act, support it, influence its effects, or be entered as evidence. Objects that suggest costumes, make up kits for a reconstruction, or stand in for absent actors, populate the installation work of Geoffrey Farmer. Whether an invitation to re-enact the role of a movie hunchback, or a ’70’s feminist performance artist, his arrangements of materials and constructed environments forecast the creation of a persona and encourage an imagined narrative.

    Room 302 is a result of Radul and Farmer’s shared interests, realized through remaking, redoing and reconstructing with objects, arrangements and the mediating camera. Their collaborative installation restages the cusp between the ‘truth’ of a performance and the suggestive power of an object, the indirect means by which we grapple with the complex territory of the real.

    GEOFFREY FARMER’s work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at Or Gallery, Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver; the Power Plant, Toronto; and 1999 Melbourne Biennial. JUDY RADUL’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Presentation House, the Belkin Satellite, and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and The Power Plant, Toronto. She has performed widely, including at the Western Front, Vancouver and Institute of Contemporary Art, London UK.

    Set is a series of three exhibitions, a site-specific performance event and artist talks, exploring the concepts of rehearsal and reenactment and how they relate to social roles, institutions, and histories. Set is produced in collaboration with the Western Front and is supported by the British Council’s UK Today Series and the Independent Critics and Curators program of The Canada Council.

    For a full list of Set events, visit

    Postscript 16: Richard Fowler on Set: Room 302 (PDF)

  • Boys and Girls Welcome!

    March 25–May 6, 2000

    Just in from the corner of Nanaimo and First sits a deadpan clapboard structure, its windowless facade contradicting the friendly handpainted Boys and Girls Welcome! sign that is tacked where a window ought to be. Photographed in isolation and printed in deeply saturated colour this forgettable building becomes embued with a sinister innocence. This image is one of a series of cibachrome prints presented in a first solo exhibition by Alan Hoffman. His enlargements of vernacular architecture in Vancouver and his hometown Penticton hover between nostalgia and unease. The gas stations, motor motels and churches at first appear to be architectural models or miniatures, perhaps model train environments. In recognizing the Ridge Theatre or Penticton’s giant peach it becomes clear that the curiously distorted sense of scale and euphemized colour are technically accomplished representations of the familiar landmarks and architectural oddities of Vancouver neighbourhoods and Okanagan tourist destinations.

    Hoffman has chosen to photograph the clumsy manifestations of lowbrow aspirations—not the grandiose failures of Vancouver modernism so comprehensively covered by this city’s more senior artists. His work escapes ‘the quaint’ and resists ‘the serious’ simultaneously as it fails to allow easy entry into the ‘reality’ it pictures.

    anarchive 02

    Breukleman, Jim; Laurence, Robin “Hot Properties”, Presentation House Gallery: North Vancouver, 1987.

    Adrian, Robert; Arngn’naaq, Ruby; Butler, Jack; Campbell, Kati; Esch, Deborah; Falk, Lorne; MacInnis, Neil; Miller, Bernie; Moylan, Tom; Robert, Jocelyn; Urban, Colette. “The City Within”. Jeanne Randolf, ed.: The Banff Centre, 1992.

    Graham, Rodney; Kleyn, Robert; Linsley, Robert; Sinclair, Jennifer Oille; Smithson, Robert; Snider, Greg. “Some Detached Houses”. Bill Jeffries, Cur. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1990.

    Haraldsson, Arni; Kleyn, Robert. “Project on Vancouver Architecture and Landscape”. Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, 1995.

    Sekula, Allan; Dufour, Gary; O’Brian, John. “Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes”. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1997.

    Crewdson, Gregory; Morrow, Bradford; Steinke, Darcey. “Dream of Life”. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, 1999.

    Group Exhibition. “Mois de la Photo à Montréal, 1999”. Organized by VOX, Montréal, 1999.

    Hoffman, Alan. “Fourteen Stories”. Self-published. Vancouver, 1996.

    Whitehead, Gary. “I Can Fix Anything”. Arsenal Pulp Press: Vancouver, 1994.

    Derksen, Jeff. “Until”. Downtime Talonbooks: Vancouver, 1990

    Coady, Lynn. “Nice Place to Visit” Play the Monster Blind. Doubleday: Toronto, 2000

    Speak, Dorothy. “The View From Here” Object of Your Love. Somerville House: Toronto, 1996

    Gom, Leona. excerpt from “Zero Avenue”. Douglas & McIntyre: Vancouver, 1989

    Trujillo Lusk, Dorothy. “Sentimental Intervention” Writing 25. Kootenay School of Writing: Vancouver, 1990.


  • Boys and Girls Welcome

    BGW front
    BGW spine
    BGW back

    Title: Boys and Girls Welcome
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Alan Hoffman
    Writers: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2000
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Round Head Brass Fastener
    Process: Offset
    Dimensions: 11.5 x 11 x 0.8 cm
    Weight: 29 g
    Price: Not available

    A special poster/catalogue project featuring the responses of the following artists and writers to Alan Hoffman’s photographs: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek. This project is made possible through the generous contribution of James Baker and Stacey Noyes.