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Free Press

Friday, October 27, 2017 to Friday, November 24, 2017

Opening reception: Friday, October 27, 7:00pm

Sean MacAlister and Liam Crockard

From 1892 to 1934 The Farmers Sun was published weekly as an alternative to the London Free Press, the most widely distributed newspaper in Canada. The aim of The Farmer's Sun was primarily agrarian and pro-labor, and over its run represented a number of different socially progressive platforms. For several years The Farmer's Sun also included The Brotherhood Era, a supplement dedicated to urban and industrial labor concerns. While The London Free Press remains the most widely distributed newspaper in Southwestern Ontario, The Guelph Mercury has stopped producing physical newspapers and the Postmedia group has announced numerous layoffs in newsrooms across the country. By virtue of physical scarcity and an explosion in available online material, our notion of journalism has become elastic. In many ways this elasticity has democratized the medium, giving primacy to firsthand reportage. Stories are pieced together across Twitter feeds and status updates. As one sees the grounds for reportage constantly shift, so too must the nature of what we call “the news”. Hyperlocal and avowedly subjective, our current idea of news is a lens by which to organize the information that we all have access to. We worked collaboratively within this newly expanded field to create a body of work that functions as an ad-hoc network that probes the limitations of The News Canon. How do we define a newsworthy event? When does noise become content? Free Press is classic street level documentation to an exhaustive degree. Generated within the City of London and in proximity of Forest City Gallery, the literal site of our reportage is the same land broken by those represented in The Farmer's Sun and its supplement The Brotherhood Era. Like these publications, our Free Press is an alternative perspective on news networks from the ground up.

Sean MacAlister (b. Calgary, 1987) is a self taught multidisciplinary artist who believes that art has no beginning or end. As such, he conducts his work through a series of ongoing projects that rely on an experimental coverage of preexisting situations, forms, and experiences. He has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions at numerous artist run spaces in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, and Sao Paulo. His work has been reviewed by C Magazine and Color Magazine and published by Swimmers Group and JMS Press. MacAlister is currently the director of 67 Steps, an exhibition space and podcast where he lives and works in Los Angeles.

Since graduating from OCADU in 2010, Liam Crockard has been building a multifaceted career of sculpture, collage and photography works examining the nature of work itself, with a particular emphasis on “jerry-rigging” and improvisation as both a symptom and a strategy for art-making and survival alike. He has had solo and group exhibitions at Cooper Cole, Clint Roenisch, MKG127, Roberta Pelan, and internationally at Gestalten Space Berlin, West Cork Arts in Ireland, Scott Projects in Chicago and was recently a featured artist at the 2017 Material Art Fair in Mexico City. His work has been reviewed and published in Artforum, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, C Magazine, Elephant Magazine and the Toronto Star. He is currently co-co-director of The Loon in Toronto and Paper Local, a freely distributed newspaper project.


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