The Blackwood Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located on the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto.
Blackwood Gallery holds multiple exhibitions on-campus throughout the school year, showing off the work of professional artists. In addition, an exhibition for the graduating class of the school’s Art and Art History program takes place in late March/early April. Blackwood Gallery is also active in arts events and exhibitions in the greater Mississauga and Toronto areas, regularly travelling to engage in or host screenings, artist talks, workshops, and performances.
On-campus, the organization has two galleries: the “main” gallery located in the Kaneff Centre, and the eGallery, located in the Communication, Culture, and Information Technology building. During yearlong exhibitions, the two galleries work in tandem to display and feature the various artworks and pieces that comprise them.
Blackwood Gallery explores the definition of art beyond its traditional connotation of visual media. Befitting its academic locale, the gallery has a strong focus on the intersection between art and research, logic and sense. Much of the Blackwood’s work involves using art for educative, inquisitive, and philosophical purposes. The medium they take can include films, documentaries, written pieces, physical installations, live performances, and more. Blackwood events often take place off-site, with a workshop titled Reading the River being hosted along the bank of the Credit River in summer 2019, and a barn-raising event at the Riverwood Conservatory that same period.
Its most recent exhibition, Other Life Formings, was held in the winter of 2020, featuring art works themed heavily around animation, questioning what is the boundary between technology and life. These include pieces utilizing AI, and a short film by Indigenous animator Amanda Strong. Blackwood supplemented this exhibition with a series of artist talks and workshops featuring Strong, Daniel Barrow, and Sean Martindale. Blackwood engaged students at UTM with its Greenwood Initiative, who hosted a scream for climate change that September, and a stylish event known as the Trashion Show in early March.
Blackwood Gallery also releases themed micropublications in a series called SDUK (The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge) several times a year, and they are available for free and on its website. Each of the broadsheets contain a series of essays and artistic writings by the gallery’s curators and professional arts workers.
If you’re curious in both broadening your horizons on what art can be, and using art to broaden your scope and perception of the world, take a trip down to UTM and check out the gallery during the school year – or alternatively, check its website, where its upcoming (October 2020 – January 2021) exhibition is planned to be staged virtually. The exhibition itself will be a commentary on the use of digital media as an interrogative and thought-provoking tool, further displaying the Blackwood’s commitment to questioning the institutions even it remains a part of.