David Hartt in the forest
23 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens

Over the past ten years, the films and photographs of Montreal-born, Philadelphia-based artist David Hartt have explored how social values are expressed in the built environment. Whether considering the offices of the Johnson Publishing Company—home to Ebony and Jet magazines—or reflecting on unrealized urban plans for post-war Athens and Detroit, Hartt's work looks carefully at the legacy of late modernist design and its corresponding ideals.

His most recent project, in the forest, continues this investigation, taking up Moshe Safdie's abandoned Habitat Puerto Rico project. Building on the experimental housing typology first advanced by Safdie in Montreal's iconic Habitat 67, Habitat Puerto Rico was initiated in 1968, intended to be one of many iterations of the project realized across the globe. Nearly fifty years later, Hartt revisits the site in San Juan where parts of the unfinished project still remain, considering the fraught symbolism of this moment in modernism—both its colonial and nationalist undertones and its failure to build a better world.

Borrowing its title from a chapter in Claude Levi-Strauss's 1955 memoir Tristes Tropiques—an anthropological classic that raises questions about how a subject might be represented and engaged—this exhibition includes a new film, a pair of related photographs and a series of aluminum and ceramic sculptures installed throughout the gallery, the latter housing a selection of tropical plants. These mirror the vegetation outside in Gairloch Gardens, itself an imported landscape transposed onto the former wetlands of Lake Ontario.

David Hartt: in the forest was commissioned by the Graham Foundation, Chicago, with additional support from Oakville Galleries.

Opening Hours

in Gairloch Gardens

Tuesday to Sunday: 1:00 pm–5:00 pm

Please note that the Galleries will be closed December 24th through 26th and January 1st.

Related Programs

Family Art Workshop

18 November 2018

Bring the whole family to Oakville Galleries for a free art workshop inspired by David Hartt's exhibition. Take in a brief tour of the show, then drop by the Education Centre to help us make a stop motion animation!

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Free Talk with Mark and Ben Cullen

11 December 2018

Join us for our Big Thinkers speakers series with Canada's top horticulture expert Mark Cullen and his son Ben Cullen. Sharing excerpts from his newest book, Escape to Reality, Cullen will discuss topics ranging from garden and nature as therapy to practical tips for cultivating and coexisting with your garden.

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ARTbus: Exhibition Tour

23 September 2018

Ride the ARTbus and discover some of the season's best exhibitions in the GTA! We'll visit the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Small Arms Inspection Building and Oakville Galleries.

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Free Talk with Alissa York

1 November 2018

Join us for our Authors on Art series with acclaimed writer Alissa York in parallel with our fall exhibition David Hartt: in the forest. Alissa York is the award-winning author of the novels The Naturalist, Fauna, Effigy and Mercy, and the short fiction collection, Any Given Power.

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Related exhibitions

Gabriel Kuri

23 September 2018 – 6 January 2019 Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square

Encompassing work in sculpture, collage, installation and other media, Mexican-born, Brussels-based artist Gabriel Kuri often uses repurposed materials—natural, industrial and otherwise—to link questions of form with larger conversations surrounding how commodities are valued, circulated and assigned function.

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