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SEPT 22 to OCT 26, 2019


Jon Sasaki is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist who explores many concurrent streams of inquiry that regularly intertwine in surprising ways. Charting the territory between logic and absurdity, his work often stages inefficiencies or impossible tasks as prompts for ad hoc problem solving, performative thought experiments that strive to find useful models. His practice brings performance, video, object and installation into a framework where expectation and outcome rarely align. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at The Esker Foundation (Calgary, Alberta), The Richmond Art Gallery, The Rooms (St. John's, Newfoundland) and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Sasaki has participated in recent group exhibitions at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul, South Korea). The Bentway (Toronto, Ontario), the Canadian Embassy in Japan (Tokyo) and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto).


He has presented durational performance projects at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Power Plant (Toronto), the LIVE Performance Art Biennale (Vancouver, B.C.), Toronto's Nuit Blanche, Edmonton's Nuit Blanche and The Toronto Dance Theatre.


Numerous one-night, event-based participatory projects have brought his practice into spaces where the outcomes are tied to a search for useful social models. They have been presented at the Gardiner Museum (Toronto), Massive Party (The Art Gallery of Ontario) and Operanation (Canadian Opera Company, Toronto). His involvement in participatory events began with his membership, from 2002 to 2007, in the Toronto/Vancouver-based art collective Instant Coffee.


Sasaki has participated in Canadian and international residencies, including the 2015 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize (Dufftown, Scotland), Cataract Gorge AIR (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia), Struts&Faucet (Sackville, N.B.), three stints in Japan, and The Canadian Residency (Detroit, Michigan).


Beginning in 2014 with a public commission for Sheridan College, Sasaki has been working in the realm of public art. He has completed permanent works for the City of Barrie Ontario and Coxwell station on the TTC subway line. He is currently artist lead on a Toronto waterfront memorial to Terry Fox, in collaboration with landscape architecture firm DTAH.


Sasaki holds a BFA from Mount Allison University (Sackville, N.B.). He lives and works in Toronto where he is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery.

Jon Sasaki holding a fishing rod and line, with caught metal


The autumn of 2019 was great. I got to spend it in one of my favourite places in the world and refamiliarize myself with a town I fell in love with as a student in the '90s. I arrived at the end of September with a long list of things I wanted to work on during my stay. It was a mixed bag of projects, some new ideas and some old neglected things that just needed a bit of time and space to take across the finish line. I had that in Sackville, and it ended up being a very productive time for me, the conclusion of some projects and the starting point for others. And, as I had done years earlier, I spent many hours in the MTA library flipping through books and jotting down ideas. Up on the third floor I figured out solutions to some art problems that had been vexing me for a long time. It was so deeply gratifying, but I was aware this was an invisible form of productivity and I worried Coco and Todd would think I was slacking off. I figured I should probably do something that looked like art, so I spent a week charcoal sketching the local scenery and taping the drawings up on the wall to resemble a studio. To my surprise I found this deeply gratifying as well, a comforting return to a mode of working that I had set aside for too long. Coco and Todd were very supportive; week after week I would propose ideas that probably didn't sound all that much like art, but invariably they would find ways to help make them happen.



Canadian Landscapes Made with Canadian Ingredients.

An ongoing project


I have been making Canadian landscape paintings using only Canadian ingredients; soil dug up in various provinces, ground into pigment, mixed with Saskatchewan-grown linseed oil and applied to Quebec-grown birch panels. It has been excruciatingly difficult.