Jess Thalmann – ‘Luminous & Grey’ at Angell Gallery



Perigee and Apogee (Red)2018
Archival pigment print on folded steel
24″ x 32″



ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present Luminous and Grey, a series of new wall-mounted, photo-based sculptures by Jessica Thalmann. This exhibition in the Project Space marks Thalmann’s second presentation at the gallery, running from Friday, January 5 to Saturday, January 27, 2018 with an artist talk and opening reception on January 5 at 7:00 p.m.

For most of us, the colour grey signifies a certain functional dullness or lack of character. For centuries, however, artists have recognized grey as an ambiguous colour, one that is never pure but is defined by the colours around it.  In the early 1880s, Vincent Van Gogh expressed surprised at the “endless variations” of the colour grey in letters to his brother, Theo. Eight decades later, Gerhard Richter started to use grey as the “wretched starting point” for his distinctive paintings.

Jessica Thalmann‘s recent work draws inspiration from David Batchelor’s book The Luminous and the Grey (2014), in which the London, U.K.-based artist defends grey’s role in enhancing the sense of “delirium, pleasure, delight, wonder” that we experience before more  “luminous” colours.  Combined with this interest in colour is Thalmann‘s long-time interest in architecture, especially the Brutalist architecture of the 1960s and 70s. (A notable example being the Robarts Library at U of T .) For her work, Thalmann photographs buildings and streetscapes, which she then reworks by cutting, folding, re-arranging and overlaying with geometric areas of colour, drawing attention to architectural details and forms.  While some have a love-hate relationship with the hard angles and stark concrete, glass and steel construction of modernist buildings, Thalmann finds in them opportunities to examine how – as Batchelor puts it – the city’s luminous colour “seeps, spills, bleeds and stains” across these “neutral” surfaces. Printing stripes of red, teal and yellow within the folds of her photo-objects, Thalmann creates optical illusions – like that of light cast by neon signs – that subtly animate the surfaces of her prints, illustrating how images can be formally manipulated to achieve the same state of ‘object-ness’ as the things they picture.

Artists like Daniel Buren, Barbara Kasten, Walead Beshty and Liz Deschenes may spring to mind when looking at Thalmann’s work. Like them, Thalmann’s uses light, colour, form and, yes, grey, to deconstruct and delineate architectural spaces so we can better discern their easily overlooked, yet marvelous, qualities.

– Bill Clarke

Toronto-based Jessica Thalmann received her MFA from ICP-Bard College in New York in 2015. Her work has been shown in  group exhibitions at the Aperture Foundation, the International Centre for Photography and Humble Arts Foundation (New York), the VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver) and Gales Gallery at York University (Toronto). She is currently at work on a public art project for display around the Honest Ed’s development for two years, beginning spring 2018.


The Readable City at Angell Gallery


Jessica Thalmann. Moonlight, 2017. Archival Pigment Print, 20 x 30 inches, Edition of 10.



Angell Gallery
April 7–29, 2017

Opening reception Friday April 7 from 7 to 9pm

ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present THE READABLE CITY, a group show featuring seven artists from Toronto and Montreal, working in photography, collage, video, sculpture and installation. The exhibition is curated by Associate Director Bill Clarke and features artists: Anna Eyler, Malka Greene, Eva Kolcze, Ella Dawn McGeough, Aude Moreau, Simone Rochon & Jessica Thalmann. Taking its title from a phrase in French scholar Michel de Certeau’s essay “Walking in the City”, the exhibition runs from April 5 through 29, with an opening reception on Friday, April 4 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

How often have you traversed a city park using a path worn into the grass by others rather than walking the route laid down by the park’s designers? When describing how to get from point A to point B in the city, are you more likely to think in terms of street names and numbers, or landmarks and buildings passed by on the way? Have you walked in a parade or occupied a public space during a demonstration.

In “Walking in the City” and “Spatial Stories” – essays found in The Practice of Everyday Life* – French scholar Michel de Certeau examines how we unconsciously navigate urban environments by using “tactics” like those above in response to the “strategies” employed by institutions and governments  to control our movements and influence our behaviours. Certeau, surveying New York City from the top of the then newly built World Trade Center towers, describes how governments, institutions and corporations view the city  as a unified whole, structuring streets in grids, naming parks or squares, and raising buildings and monuments that “historicize, hierarchize and semantically order the surface of the city.” The city’s inhabitants, meanwhile, resist these strictures by creating shortcuts, seizing control of public areas or defacing surfaces. For Certeau, cities are sites of struggle between forces of control and those of expression.

Unlike the capital cities of Europe, New York hasn’t “learned the art of growing old by playing on all its pasts,” according to Certeau. The same could be said of Toronto, which, like New York, seems always to be “in the act of throwing away its previous accomplishments and challenging the future.” (The same may not be said of a city like Montreal, which has done more to preserve a sense of its past.) Cities, however, are more than architecture and infrastructure. They are places where people seek success, acceptance and community, and arenas in which social movements coalesce and ideas ferment.

The exhibition also picks up on another thread in Certeau’s essays; that is, how people’s presence in spaces turn them into places. The artists here closely observe the surfaces of the city and give them new form, We are invited to consider how our actions shape the cities in which we live, and how, through collective action, we can produce communities in which everyone can say, “I feel good here.”

Text by Bill Clarke

*Quotes taken from: de Certeau, Michael: The Practice of Everyday Life: translation: Steven Rendall, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984.

Jessica Thalmann at Contact Festival in Toronto


Jessica Thalmann, Pleats of Matter (Ross Building), 2016, Archival Pigment Print, 20 x 30 inches


Surface Tension

Jessica Thalmann & Ryan Van Der Hout

May 5–22

Reception: May 5, 6pm–9pm


Surface Tension joins two bodies of photo-based work by Jessica Thalmann and Ryan Van Der Hout. Both artists use archival documents to rethink the meaning of identity, history, memory, and loss by simultaneously defacing and exalting filmic and photographic objects.

Thalmann’s series Utopos attempts to understand the relationship between Brutalist architecture and traumatic histories involving protest, shootings, and violence. The project began by focusing on the 1992 Concordia University shooting, where her uncle was killed. Reflecting on the emotional implications of his death and its reverberations throughout her family, the artist distorts images of cold, monolithic Brutalist buildings, folding the photographs to create sculptural reliefs and organic forms.

Van Der Hout’s body of work, Creative Destruction, explores ideas of modernization, progress, and loss by etching into the surface of photographs from the Toronto archives. Working with images from 1890 to 1916, a period of rapid modernization in the city, he physically strips away portions of the chemical emulsion to create marks that veil, alter, or erase the past.

For both artists, the complex relationship between memory and the archive becomes prevalent as seemingly precious photographs are folded, torn, scraped, rubbed, and cut, simultaneously erasing and preserving a past half remembered.


Click here for more info.

First Annual Open Studios at Celsius13

Friday, January 22
at 7 PM
1013 Grand St, Studio 13, Brooklyn, NY


To celebrate our awesome new studio/exhibition space, we are having a studio warming party and exhibition of recent work. Come have a drink and be a part of the beginning of a great new space!

Celsius13 consists of:
Kasia Gumpert
Xavier Lujan
Marie Louise Omme
Jessica Thalmann

ICP-Bard MFA Symposium: What’s Love Got To Do With It?


What’s Love Got To Do with It:
Affect, Interactivity and the Haptic
A Symposium

Saturday, December 13th, 10AM- 4PM

School at International Center of Photography,
Seminar B/Shooting Studio
1114 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Inspired by Eduardo Cadava and Paola Cortés-Rocca’s Notes on Love and Photography, this symposium will expound on notions of love through an inquiry and exploration of modes of representation. How do experiences of loss, fantasy, intimacy and displacement change our proximity to photography and the creation and interpretation of images? How do physical and virtual relationships cultivated in a Post-Internet culture influence contemporary art practice? Invited panelists and speakers will address the tactics used by artists and thinkers as they navigate the contemporary landscape while reshaping materiality, sensory practices, the economy of sexuality, and fetish.

The ICP-Bard MFA candidates in conjunction with MA candidates from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College are please d to present this one-day symposium. Visual artists, dancers, educators, and curators will come together to re-examine the role love plays in our creation, interaction, and interpretation of art and objects. The day will be comprised of artist talks, panel discussions, and an artist-led performance followed by Q+As from the public. As part of a forthcoming symposium publication, various objects of desire offered by participants will be photographed over the course of the day.

Speakers include: LaToya Ruby FrazierGerard and Kelly, Jacolby Satterwhite Johanna Burton, Andrew Durbin, Jessica Berson and others…

For a full schedule, please visit:

The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. Please reserve a ticket at:

This event is sponsored by the International Center of Photography and Bard College.

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and the reproduced image in all its forms. Through our exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image within our comprehensive educational and archival facilities. Visit for more information.