In Conversation

Face to Face 2020

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery invites you to an intimate dinner and conversation with guests of honour from the art world.

Face to Face is a unique and exclusive event that brings Toronto’s most discerning cultural leaders and contemporary art patrons together with artists from across the globe for an intimate dinner and conversation. In addition to facilitating connections with a wide range of dynamic artists, the event raises vital funds for The Power Plant’s commissioning of new works, free exhibitions and public programming that serves the community.

A panel discussion featuring leading contemporary artists is followed by dinner, where guests are invited to continue engaging with the artists and cultural producers at their table. This year, invited artists include Stephen Andrews, Abdelkader Benchamma, Shary Boyle, Brenda Draney, Iris Häussler, Sasha Huber, Shona Illingworth, Geoffrey James, Laurie Kang, Jeremy Laing, Sandra Meigs, Jennifer Murphy, Thomas J Price, Jennifer Sciarrino, Syrus Marcus WareTim Whiten and more.

Invited table moderators include: Amin Alsaden, Jessica Bradley, Laura Demers, Vera Frenkel, Joshua Heuman, Justine Kohleal,  Katie Bethune Leamen, Crystal Mowry, Julia Paoli, Jennifer Simaitis and Gaëtane Verna.


A look into last year's event, Face to Face: An Evening with Rashid Johnson:


About the artists

Stephen Andrews (b. 1956, Sarnia, Ontario) has exhibited his work in Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Scotland, France, India and Japan. He is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver; and the Schwartz Collection, Boston, as well as numerous other public and private collections. His work deals with memory, identity, technology and their representations in various media including drawing, animation and recently painting. He is represented in Canada by Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto.

Abdelkader Benchamma (b. 1975, Mazamet) lives and works between Paris and Montpellier, and studied Fine Art at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He imposes constraints upon his process to create delicately executed and dynamic drawings of states of matter. His drawings take their inspiration from visual scenarios that stem from reflections on space and its physical reality, its limits and its zones of contact with mental space. They operate with diversions, modulating objects to testify of possible malfunctions in our relationship with the other and with things. Shifting of reality, intrusion of the invisible, indeterminate matters undergoing transformation, minuscule catastrophes are at the heart of Benchamma’s work.

Benchamma will present a solo exhibition at The Power Plant in Fall 2020.

Shary Boyle
(b. 1972, Scarborough, Ontario) is a Toronto based artist, whose work is exhibited and collected internationally. In 2017 her sculptures were featured in South Korea’s Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, and the Phaidon, UK publication Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art. Shary Boyle is the recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. She represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Shary Boyle’s 2018 public sculpture commission Cracked Wheat is on the front grounds of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Her work will be featured at the museum in a major solo exhibition opening February 2021.

Brenda Draney
is Cree from Sawridge First Nation, Treaty 8, with a strong connection to Slave Lake. Draney’s work is collected and shown globally including the National Gallery of Canada; the Embassy of Canada Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Alberta; NS-Dokumentationszentrum München; the Sobey Collection; and the Shorefast Foundation. She won both the 2009 RBC Painting Competition and 2014’s Eldon and Anne Foote Visual Arts Prize in Edmonton and was short listed for the 2016 Sobey Art Award at the National Gallery of Canada. Draney’s work visually represents the moment when vulnerability is exposed, while encouraging the viewer to reject the notion to dominate the void where horror, poignancy, or powerful moments exist. Draney encourages her viewer to face this void head on, but as an empath. She provides enough tools for the viewer to place their own narrative within her typical imaginary spaces.

Iris Häussler (b.1962, Friedrichshafen, Germany) was trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and currently lives and works in Toronto. Her immersive installations revolve around fictitious stories. Beginning with detailed biographies of invented characters, she builds the material evidence of their obsessive lives and works. This results in site-specific unsettling environments in domestic dwellings, historical houses and in museums spaces. Visitors form their own meanings and interpretations of the lives of Häussler’s characters by piecing together the clues and content they get from the artefacts and through guided tours. Because Häussler is interested in the fragile boundaries between fiction and reality, she often does not immediately reveal that her installations are contemporary artworks. Visitors would later refer their experience often as “walking through a novel in three dimensions”.

Sasha Huber (b. 1975) is a visual artist and art-based researcher of Swiss-Haitian heritage. Her multidisciplinary work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to the remnants of colonialism in the environment. Sensitive to the subtle threads connecting history and the present, she uses and responds to archival material in a layered creative practice that spans video, photography, collaborations and performance-based interventions. She has also laid claim to the compressed-air staple gun, being aware of its symbolic significance as a weapon, while it offers the potential to renegotiate unequal power dynamics. She is known for her long-term artistic-research contribution to the Demounting Louis Agassiz campaign aimed at dismantling the glaciologist’s lesser-known, but contentious racist heritage (since 2008). Huber also works in a creative partnership with visual artist Petri Saarikko. Together they have initiated the long-term project Remedies Universe (since 2011), which explores methods of self-help and medical healing in different geographical and cultural contexts, and has led to invitations to artist’s residencies around the world. Huber shows her work solo and collaboratively in Finland and internationally such as 29th São Paulo Biennial 2010; 19th Sydney Biennial 2014; 56th Venice Biennial 2015; 1st Riga Biennial 2018 with Remedies Universe and is represented in various public and private collections in Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.

Huber will present a solo exhibition at The Power Plant in Winter 2021.

Shona Illingworth is a Danish Scottish artist. Solo exhibitions of her work include Bahrain National Museum; UNSW Galleries, Sydney; FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool ; Wolverhampton City Gallery; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton. Her work has been part of group exhibitions at venues including the Wellcome Collection, London; Imperial War Museum, London ; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna; Akbank Sanat, Istanbul and has been screened at WORM, Rotterdam; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Nottingham Contemporary; the MAC, Belfast; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art Buenos Aires and Modern Art Oxford. Her work has been commissioned by The Wapping Project; Film and Video Umbrella; Hayward Gallery, London, and Channel 4 Television, and she has undertaken artist residencies at Sharjah Art Foundation and Berwick Gymnasium. Illingworth was a recipient of the Stanley Picker Fellowship, shortlisted for the Jarman Award (2016) and is currently an Imperial War Museum Associate and sits on the editorial board of Digital War. She lives and works in London, UK. 

Illingworth will present a solo exhibition at The Power Plant in Winter 2021.

Geoffrey James is a photographer living and working in Toronto, Canada. Born in St. Asaph, Wales, James studied Modern History at Wellington College and Oxford University before immigrating to Canada. Active as a photographer since 1970, James is well known for his photographs of parks and gardens as well as his photographic essays embracing the picturesque as it relates to the European photographic tradition. His fascination with the bucolic and utopian landscape in particular has informed his creative oeuvre. The National Gallery of Canada organized a retrospective of James' photographs titled Utopia/Dystopia: The Photographs of Geoffrey James, which ran from May to September 2008.

Laurie Kang (b. 1985, Toronto, Canada) holds an MFA from the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. She works in photography, sculpture, installation and video. Kang has exhibited internationally at Topless, New York, USA; The Power Plant Gallery, 8-11, The Loon, Franz Kaka, Toronto; Parisian Laundry, Montreal; Carl Louie, London, Canada; Quezon City, Philippines; Feldbuschwiesner, Berlin, Germany; Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw; Raster Gallery, Warsaw, Poland; Camera Austria, Graz, Austria; Painel Gallery, Porto, Portugal. She was recently artist in residence at Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada, and artist in residence at Interstate Projects in Brooklyn, NY in the fall of 2016. Kang lives and works in Toronto.

Jeremy Laing is an artist making work and community in Toronto. Upcoming projects include exhibitions at Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver, BC; Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington, DC; and the Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell, IA.

Sandra Meigs is dedicated to painting and to the possibilities of enchantment that painting presents through colour, form and imagination. She believes that the very authenticity of one’s experience offers proof that what is imagined when looking at a painting is as real as anything else that one experiences in the world. She has also inter-woven sculpture, film, sound, and other media in her works. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria, where she taught Painting, Drawing and Integrated Media. Recent exhibitions include Room for Mystics, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Glass Ticker, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto, and Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Meigs won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO in 2015. Her exhibition The Little Lost Operas opens 12 March 2020 at the Susan Hobbs Gallery until 19 April. She resides in Hamilton, Ontario.

Jennifer Murphy is a Toronto based artist working in collage and mixed media. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Power Plant, Toronto; White Columns, New York; the MOCA, Los Angeles. Recently she has had solo exhibitions at Gallery 44 and Clint Roenisch Gallery and was including in a group exhibitions at 8eleven and Zalucky Contemporary. Murphy has been on the long list of the Sobey Art Award three times and has received numerous grants and awards. In 2012 she participated in The residency A Paper, A Drawing, A Mountain at the Banff Art Centre. Murphy's work has been included in publications such as Canadian Art, Flash Art, Juxtapose, N+1, Bad Day, C Magazine, Hunter and Cook, Millions, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail among others. Her work can be found in numerous private and corporate collections Including RBC, TD Bank, The Bank of Montreal, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, MedCan and the Drake Hotel. She is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto.

Thomas J Price (b. 1981, London, UK) lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of Price’s work have been organized at the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK (2016); Harewood House, Leeds, UK (2015); and Yorkshire Sculpture Park London, West Bretton, UK (2014). His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions around the world, including Talisman in the Age of Difference, curated by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2018); Sculpture in the City, London, UK (2018); and the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, Vancouver (2016). From 2004–06 he was the recipient of the Sir John Cass Foundation Scholarship.

Price presented a solo exhibition at The Power Plant in Summer 2019.

Jennifer Rose Sciarrino’s sculpture, video and installation works consider the living world through its entanglements in nature and technology. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include from root to lip, Mercer Union, Toronto; Ruffled Follicles and a Tangled Tongue, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; But both are sensitive, Projet Pangée, Montréal. Her work has been included in exhibitions at venues including Art Museum, Toronto; Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, Mississauga; Jackman Humanities Institute, Toronto; Oakville Galleries; Bâtiment d’art Contemporain, Genèva; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; and The Power Plant, Toronto, among others. Sciarrino lives and works in Toronto, and is represented there by Daniel Faria Gallery.

Syrus Marcus Ware (b. Montreal, Canada) is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. He uses painting, installation, and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and has shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He has won several recognitions including the TD Arts Diversity Award, 2017; Steinert & Ferreiro Award, 2012; and “Best Queer Activist” from NOW Magazine, 2005. Syrus Marcus Ware lives in Toronto, ON.

Tim Whiten (b. 1941, Inkster, Michigan) Immigrated to Canada in 1968 and taught at York University for 39 years where he is currently Professor Emeritus. Whiten held fellowships at Penn State University, Arts & Humanistic Studies in 1974 and at the SACATAR Foundation, Brazil in 2001-02. His range of work has extended from two- to three-dimensional forms, including site-specific works, real-time systems, ritual performances and mixed media installations. Since 1962, he has had work presented in exhibitions throughout North America and internationally. Whiten’s work is included in numerous private, public, and corporate collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (both the de Young and the Legion of Honor/ Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts). Tim Whiten lives and works in Toronto. He is represented by Olga Korper Gallery.