Mary Porter

Mary Porter is a Toronto-based artist and arts educator originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her interdisciplinary practice is rooted in painting and drawing and in recent years has expanded to include photo-based stop-motion animation. Her work has been exhibited and screened across Canada and the United States. She holds a BFA from NSCAD, an MFA from York University, and a BEd from the University of Toronto. Having a strong interest in contemporary arts education, she has worked as an instructor in varied settings including OCAD University, Sheridan College, and the Living Arts Centre. She has received support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and SSHRC.

Jameson Ave. The photographs for this animation document my experience observing two densely populated blocks of mid-20th-century modernist apartments on Jameson Avenue, a street in the Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale that I walk nearly every day. I wanted to make something generally considered to be banal and homely into something beautiful and strange. There is a widespread perception that the street is another 1960’s urban renewal failure, a hindrance to gentrification, and aesthetically incongruous with the rest of the neighbourhood. With this in mind, I’m intrigued by Jameson Avenue. On an evening stroll you encounter a corridor of lit-up windows that give the street a colourful beauty that it lacks during the day. This project focuses solely on the lit-up spaces, showcasing not the architecture and the street, but evidence of the lives of those who make this place their home.

Exhibition at National Film Board, Médiathéque, Toronto, Canada; in co-presentation with Toronto Animated Image Society.