WTG at 50

Celebrating 50 years!

Today marks the 50th anniversary of our opening on Jarvis Street, Toronto, November 15, 1968.

Jarvis Street just north of King,1968. The vacant used clothing store became the first location of Aggregation Gallery.

Jarvis Street just north of King,1968. The vacant used clothing store became the first location of Aggregation Gallery.

Summer, 1968, before the renovation of 71 Jarvis Street, (Used Clothing), for our first gallery space. A year later, we moved to the larger space next door, then on to four others over the years.

Follow the link to our blog entry from 2012.
and a concise history in the ‘about’ page of our site:

Posted November 16th, 2018, by admin.

William Kurelek _ from farm to desert plains

William Kurelek, Temptation in the Desert Series, Drugs, 1975, oil on masonite, 20" x 16"

William Kurelek, Temptation in the Desert Series, Drugs, 1975, oil on masonite, 20″ x 16″

From farm life to desert plains, William Kurelek did not shy away from the speaking his mind in his paintings, drawings and original prints.

In these deeply moving and often beautiful works the viewer cannot help but be challenged and changed -feeling the joy and the pain. And as a result, a celebration of life in all its forms.

William Kurelek,   I'm Beautiful, 1976, original stone lithograph,  13" x11"

William Kurelek, I’m Beautiful, 1976, original stone lithograph, 13″ x11″

William Kurelek Ukrainian Christmas Eve Feast, 1973, original stone lithograph, 12" x 8"

William Kurelek, Ukrainian Christmas Eve Feast, 1973, original stone lithograph, 12″ x 8″

Posted December 14th, 2017, by admin.

informal ideas; 21.11.17 [transformation and connection] Michael Snow and Kristan Horton

Michael Snow, Wood Calling Bronze, 1989, bronze and wood base, 16" x 9" x 6", 93/500

Michael Snow, Wood Calling Bronze, 1989, bronze and wood base, 16″ x 9″ x 6″, 93/500

In looking at two works, Michael Snow’s Wood Calling Bronze,1989, and Kristan Horton’s Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove, dr0027-s012,2003, we found some intriguing connections. For us there lies an uncanny perceptual disturbance in both works – a shattering and re-construction.

The phone and its ‘cord’ that star in the Michael Snow bronze sculpture Wood Calling Bronze, was originally made to be holographed in one of the ‘calls’ of each work of the 8 holograms in his 1985 holography installation Still Life in 8 Calls, commissioned for the Vancouver Expo ’86 and now in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1989 a little modification was done to the all-wood original to make it cast-able and in the maquette’s casting (and destruction as part of the casting process), its final calling to bronze –still pulsing with energy and history.

Michael Snow, Still Life in 8 Calls, 1985, Installation: 8 rugs, wood table legs, 8 wood chairs, 8 transmission holograms in metal frames, white light illumination, approx. 1.52 m long; rugs: 259 x 182 cm; holograms: 71 x 61 cm, Collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts For further images: The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art The Canadian Art Database: Artist Files, Image Detail View,1985, Still Life in 8 Calls

Michael Snow, Still Life in 8 Calls, 1985, Installation: 8 rugs, wood table legs, 8 wood chairs, 8 transmission holograms in metal frames, white light illumination, approx. 1.52 m long; rugs: 259 x 182 cm; holograms: 71 x 61 cm, Collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
For further images: The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art

Kristan Horton, Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove, dr0027-s012,2003, black and white ultra chrome archival print, 3.25" x 15"

Kristan Horton, Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove, dr0027-s012,2003, black and white ultra chrome archival print, 3.25″ x 15″

Kristan Horton, a mid-career artist whose practice became quite noteworthy in the the early 2000s, recreated frames from the 1964 Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, using every day ephemera found around his studio to build a model which he then photographed, juxtaposing the resulting photograph with an image/frame from the film.

The resulting work recalls and layers the tension, drama and ironic qualities of the Kubrick film.

Posted December 4th, 2017, by admin.

informal ideas; 15.11.17, colour mapping, Greg Curnoe, Doris McCarthy, Jaan Poldaas

Doris McCarthy, 1968, oil on canvas, 24" x 30"

Doris McCarthy, 1968, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″

With the arrival this fall, in our S27 studio at 401 Richmond, of one of the iconic McCarthy abstract paintings, Banner #2, 1968, we brought out the equally dynamic and seminal Greg Curnoe work, America. McCarthy’s painting maps passages of pure colour, her summer studio place on the shores of Georgian Bay, the patches of mosses, grasses and pools of water in the jagged rocks. Curnoe looks at the larger terrain of North America, redesigning it, also with glorious colour passages, to his own liking. And with these two artists we looked further to Jaan Poldaas’ colour collage, Twelve Colour Pair Study 2, “a constant struggle of will and law” as described by Roald Nasgaard in his book, Abstract Art in Canada.

A triumvirate of sorts – a revelation of colour and place and of placing.

Greg Curnoe, 1989, 21 colour lithograph, 27" x 20"

Greg Curnoe, 1989, 21 colour lithograph, 27″ x 20″

Jaan Poldaas, 1996, collage, 9" x 15

Jaan Poldaas, 1996, collage, 9″ x 15″

Posted November 19th, 2017, by admin.

WTG@S27 informal ideas, 04/16; from the stacks

Open House
Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, June 4, 11-5pm

Including work by Kim Adams, Sara Angelucci, Nicole Collins, Greg Curnoe, Kristan Horton, William Kurelek, Cal Lane, Doris McCarthy, Evan Penny, Ted Rettig, Jaan Poldaas, Michael Snow, Lawrence Weiner.

In our studio we often discover engaging relationships between the works in the collections -a surprising connection between a fine Michael Snow drawing and an Evan Penny bronze study, for instance, or the bold shapes in a McCarthy 1960’s hard edge abstract painting and the and a early conceptual work from the 1970’s Maintenance paintings of Gerald Ferguson.

From time to time we share these moments of visual pleasure and, often, thought-provoking associations through small curated installations as in this current grouping.

Kim Adams, Auto Office Haus

Kim Adams, Auto Office Haus, 1997 (Model for Skulptur Projekte ’97, Munster), 2003, HO scale model parts, 6.5″ x 17″ x 8″

As always, Kim Adams harnesses his and our imaginations, melding the everyday: the hardware store, the wrecking yard, the model maker’s shop, etc. to create substantial and thought provoking works.

The sculpture, Auto Office Haus, 1997, a seminal work, was exhibited in the prestigious international exhibition, Skulptur Projekte Münster, held every ten years in Münster, Germany. Adams was invited to make a large scale, semi-permanent sculpture to sit atop a local 1950’s era taxi stand, now Café Gasolin. He envisioned his work as a fictive office and house for the drivers below. The model for Auto Office Haus was made in conjunction with the Munster Project and exhibited originally at the Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster, (Westfalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History). It is encased in a car-shaped, vacuum formed clear plastic cover.


Michael Snow, Appearance

Michael Snow, Appearance, 1963, graphite on paper, 10 x 7.5

The iconic Walking Woman Works were the focus of Michael Snow’s studio practice from 1961-67 while in New York. Snow decided that the contour from the original Walking Woman cut-out would remain constant throughout. The change of materials and methods that he employed was at the core of a tremendously influential, multi-media practice still resonating to this day. The rare frottage drawing, Appearance, with the two juxtaposed stencil rubbings captures the energy of the period.


Kristan Horton, Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove, dr0027-s012

Kristan Horton, Dr Strangelove Dr Strangelove, dr0027-s012, 2003, black and white ultra chrome archival print, 3.25″ x 15″

In 2005 as part of our Artists Presents series of exhibitions at WTG, Kelly Mark introduced the work of Kristan Horton, in a solo show, Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove. It was very well received and Horton’s work has gone on to be collected and exhibited extensively in public and private collections.

In an article on the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Vancouver presentation of this series in 2007, Robin Laurence states:

Homage, obsession, appropriation–these postmodern impulses are folded into Kristan Horton’s solo show at the Contemporary Art Gallery. The Toronto artist’s series of black-and-white photographs (38 on view here, out of a total of 200) examines and restages scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove. Subtitled How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,—.

—The artist’s mimicry is inspired, obsessive, and sometimes ludicrous–a small-scale reiteration of the very qualities seen in the film. —

Each of Horton’s works consists of a still from the film paired with his hilarious mimicry of that scene. Produced in miniature in his studio, Horton’s sets employ the most banal of at-hand objects, such as clothespins, cutlery, screwdrivers, felt markers, plastic bags, twist ties, and bottles of soy and Tabasco sauce. —


Greg Curnoe, Zone, 1980, watercolour on paper, 9 x 7

Greg Curnoe, Zone, 1980, watercolour on paper, 9″ x 7″

Zone, the 1980 multi layered watercolour by Greg Curnoe on one hand references Appolinaire’s poem Zone, (a walk in Paris from one sunrise to another and from one time zone to another). Walks and Curnoe’s immediate and geographical surroundings are central in his work. On the other hand, the Zone overlaying the stenciled text, Tecumseh, might be a reference to the town of Tecumseh and its namesake and/or Zone Township, both places near to Curnoe’s home in London, Ontario. And the bright red circle or wheel encompasses all.

Preceding Zone by 18 years and also available is the rare Curnoe 1962 hand made book The Walk. It was included recently in the important exhibition Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980, at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto and the subsequent tour across Canada. In this book Curnoe documented with stamp pad ink on paper one of his walks through London, ON.


Jaan Poldaas,Twelve Colour Pair Study 2, 1996, collage, 9 x 15

Jaan Poldaas, Twelve Colour Pair Study 2, 1996, collage, 9 x 15

Jaan Poldaas creates a program of self-imposed rules for each body of work. In his book Abstract Art in Canada, Roald Nasgaard includes a section on Poldaas, in which he states,

Colour for Poldaas was ‘a separate attribute’ to focus on, much in the same way that Richard Long was concerned with length, Carl Andre with area, Richard Serra with weight… [The subject matter of the Twelve Colour Pair series, 1997, is] a kind of game of reward and punishment. It begins with the artist deciding on three shades each of four colours: red, green, blue and grey. The project is to make painting pairs in which each panel will be made up of four parallel bands of colour selected from the twelve options…In selecting and arranging the four colours of his first panel, he allowed himself to indulge his own tastes. [but] the strictest of rules are set in place to determine how the second panel would be composed to ensure that it was a kind of opposite… A constant struggle of will and law

We are located in Studio S27, which is in the SW corner corner of the lower level (if you enter by the west/front doors) or ground floor (if you enter from the east side or parking lot doors).

Posted May 13th, 2016, by admin.

Travels with five artists; Angelucci, Bierk, Curnoe, Kurelek and McCarthy

Doris McCarthy, Coming Storm in Ireland, 1999, watercolour on paper, 15 X 22 in

Doris McCarthy, Coming Storm in Ireland, 1999, watercolour on paper, 15″ X 22″

One of McCarthy’s favourite places to sketch was in Ireland in the Spring. The frequent storms and rain not only gave nourishment to the land it provided Doris with vibrant colours and stormy skies. The immediacy of plein air painting is very apparent in this fine watercolour. One can almost hear the wind and the swaying branches, feel the breeze and smell the fresh earth and vegetation.

Doris McCarthy Page


David Bierk, Giverney Trees to Monet, 1989, painted photomontage, 6.5" x 15.5"

David Bierk, Giverney Trees to Monet, 1989, painted photomontage, 6.5″ x 15.5″

During David Bierk’s many travels he sketched and photographed the landscape, combining his painting facility with a fine photographic eye. In this finely balanced photo montage he captures the transitional nature of light in the French countryside while alluding to the work of Claude Monet.

Bierk’s photo based works were included in The Painted Photograph, a three-person exhibition organized and circulated nationally by The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 2005- 2006.

David Bierk Page


Sara Angelucci, Timescape #4 (detail) - Train to Windsor, 2003, Chromogenic print, 16" x 37" with black border

Sara Angelucci, Timescape #4  - Train to Windsor (detail), 2003, Chromogenic print, 16″ x 37″ with black border

In Angelucci’s own words; “The Timescape series is made of film-strip-like narratives marking a particular measure of time and space. Shot on the fly, during a walk or train ride, or from a car window, each strip maps a small journey: some a daily routine, others more unusual and of greater significance. Each Timescape seeks in its own way to fix a passage of time and place, while at the same time carrying a continuous sense of dislocation and transition.

Sara Angelucci Page


Doris McCarthy, Paul's House at Twillingate, 1987, watercolour, 15" x 22"

Doris McCarthy, Paul’s House at Twillingate, 1987, watercolour, 15″ x 22″

The rough and ready hills and sturdy houses of the Newfoundland ports intrigued McCarthy with their patterns of shapes and colours. She painted them often during her many visits there capturing, as here, the spirit of the place and its inhabitants.


Greg Curnoe, Pangnirtung Looking North, 1971, watercolour, stamp pad ink & pencil

Greg Curnoe, Pangnirtung Looking North, 1971, watercolour, stamp pad ink & pencil

Greg Curnoe traveled to Pangnirtung and Frobisher Bay, Nunavut, in 1971, recording and painting as he went, capturing in this exuberant watercolour sketch the summer light and brilliant bursts of colour.

Greg Curnoe Page


William Kurelek, Niagara Falls, 1973, original stone lithograph, ed. 21/200, 9" x 15"

William Kurelek, Niagara Falls, 1973, original stone lithograph, ed. 21/200, 9″ x 15″

For the much visited Niagara Falls, Wiliam Kurelek focuses his gaze on the fragility of the boat, here almost overtaken by power of the falls. The finely rendered, hand drawn stone lithograph heightens the immediacy.

William Kurelek Page

Posted April 16th, 2016, by admin.

WTG And Ted Rettig_40 years

Open House:
Saturday, November 15, 2 – 5pm
Saturday, November 22, 11am – 2pm. Artist present

Scan of Arts Canada review, 1974

Scan of Arts Canada review, 1974

Forty years ago we exhibited the work of Ted Rettig in a three person exhibition of students in the Fine Arts program at York University. Vera Frenkel, professor and mentor, introduced us to the artists. The above image is a scan of the review of the exhibition in the major national art magazine of the time, ArtsCanada.

Our relationship with Rettig continues to this day and during the past 40 years he has produced numerous bodies of very fine work that we have presented in many solo and group exhibitions.

To celebrate this 40 year milestone we have installed a small grouping of Rettig’s new assemblages, a new limited edition multiple and a small survey of earlier work. We would like to share this occasion/installation during an open house this coming Saturday, November 15, 2-5pm and Saturday, November 22, 11am – 2pm. Ted will be at the gallery on the Saturday, November 22.

In Rettig’s new work he has assembled a number of readymades, manufactured glass bowls and clay saucers with the occasional addition of found rocks, attaching them in vertical pilings. They are dramatic and unexpected while keeping the fine balance of subtlety and spiritual rightness found in all of his work.

Ted Rettig, Model of a Model #5, 2014, glass, clay, ceramic and  painted metal, 17" x 38" x 17"

Ted Rettig, Model of a Model #5, 2014, glass, clay, ceramic and painted metal,
17″ x 38″ x 17″

To compliment the new work we have included a mini survey of some of the work that we have exhibited over the years. Included is the stone in the top image (centre stone on metal plinth) in the image from the first exhibition. It is fascinating to see the connections between the work and how the assemblages relate to Rettig’s drawings and carved sculpture. The installation will remain until November 29.

The 1974 exhibition was during our tenure at 83 Front Street East, our third location as Aggregation Gallery (our previous name before changing it to Wynick/Tuck Gallery in 1982 when we moved to 80 Spadina Avenue.).

Rettig’s Work is included in many public institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario; E.P. Taylor Library, Artists’ Bookworks Collection; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Government of Ontario Art Collection, Toronto; and the National Gallery of Canada Library. His work is also well represented in the Donovan Collection, University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

We hope you will be able to drop by for a visit. We are open by appointment at other times. wtg@wynicktuckgallery.ca; 416-504-8716

Our new quarters our located on the lower level at 401 Richmond Street West, Studio S27, at the south west corner of the building. Parking is available on Saturdays behind the 401 Richmond building.

Posted November 17th, 2014, by admin.

WTG@S27; Snow, Curnoe, Rettig

Michael Snow, One in Two, 1966, charcoal on paper, 11" x 18"

Michael Snow, One in Two, 1966, charcoal on paper, 11″ x 18″

The full collection of Walking Woman drawings by Michael Snow and watercolours by Greg Curnoe are now available for viewing on our website.

Greg Curnoe, Untitled, Canadian Flag, 1980, stamp pad ink, guache on paper, 4" x 7"

Greg Curnoe, Untitled, Canadian Flag, 1980, stamp pad ink, guache on paper, 4″ x 7″

We are also open by appointment at WTG@S27, 401 Richmond Street West , Studio S27, wtg@wynicktuckgallery.ca

Ted Rettig, Model of a Model #4, 2013, Clay and glass, 20" x 10" diam.

Ted Rettig, Model of a Model #4, 2013, Clay and glass, 20″ x 10″ diam.

This recent work, Model of a Model #4, by Ted Rettig will be in the exhibition, Instigator(s), curated by Patrick Macaulay, at the Harbourfront Centre, opening this Friday, June 20, 6-10pm.

Posted June 20th, 2014, by admin.

WTG@S27: invitation to open house

Michael Snow, 1963, graphite on paper, 11" x 8"

Rotary Walking Rubbing, Michael Snow, 1963, graphite on paper, 11″ x 8″

We invite you to visit our new downsized studio/office/viewing space. We will be open coinciding with the building’s Doors Open weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 12 am to 5 pm at 401 Richmond Street West, Studio S27. At other times we will continue to be open by appointment or by chance.

For this occasion we will have on view recent arrivals including a collection of Michael Snow’s Walking Woman drawings – a rare grouping – and Greg Curnoe watercolours, along with a selection of other fine works from our racks, Doris McCarthy, Ted Rettig, Kim Adams among others.

Greg Curnoe, 1978, watercolour, 9" x 6"

Nadir Again, Kitchen Window, Port Stanley, Greg Curnoe, 1978, watercolour, 9″ x 6″

Drop by and catch up with us in our new format as private dealers and art appraisers.

You will find us on the basement level at the south-west corner. Just head down the elevator and follow the signs by turning left to the end of the hall and then left again. Or if you are using the front lobby main staircase, just keep heading in the same direction until you reach our red door, Studio S27.

Looking forward to seeing you,
Lynne and David

Posted May 20th, 2014, by admin.

WTG_ 45 Opening

WTG_ 45 ( happenstance and continuance) opened on Saturday last.  It was an intense installation followed by a memorable opening day. Here are some of the people as they look through the show and some gather at the end for a group shot.

Michael surveys the Slide Stack, now secure, while some viewers check it out at the opening.

JackLynn Pierro looking at Dyan Marie installation in the Project Room


Ted Rettig checking out the crate installation and Kim Adams Bike


Group shot towards the end of the opening Standing from L to R; Frances Orr, Colette Laliberte,Joyce Chapnick, Paul Chapnick, Lynne Wynick, David Tuck, Angela Leach, Stephen Marie Rhodes, Dyan Marie, Carol Wainio, Richard Rhodes, Paul Theberge, Alice Rettig, Chris Youngs, Ted Rettig, Peter Larisey; Front L to R; Michael Tuck, Charlene Daignault, Rebecca Tuck, JackLynn Pierro

The Installation Continues

Michael is tracing a stencil multiple, As Long As It Lasts, by Lawrence Weiner for the laser typesetter.  The work will be made with laser cut red letters and installed on the outside window of the Project Room for the 45th Anniversary exhibition, WTG_happenstance and Continuance.  This work was installed in the same location for our first exhibition, PLAY, and for a full first year at our 401 Richmond Street space.  It was also installed as a “reflection” within the same exhibition, as seen below.  It is fitting that it be installed again for our last exhibition here.

Larence Weiner, As Long As It Lasts installed in silver text in between Kelly Mark and David Askevold works in the exhibition, PLAY, opening WTG exhibition at 401 Richmond Street West, 2000

Lawrence Weiner solo exhibition, With the Passage of Time, 1997 at WTG, 80 Spadina Avenue, Fourth Floor

We first exhibited the work of Lawrence Weiner in 1997 for a solo exhibition of the major work, With the Passage of Time.  Lawrence also made four new drawings at that time to accompany the wall installation.  The work, pictured above, was purchased by a private collector and eventually donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The working sketch for With The Passage of Time is included also in this current exhibition.


The Slide Stack and the Red Cart


Michael installing the Slide Stack, September, 2012

The Slide Stack

So far we have been, and will continue to, look through our history, writing stories as we go along.  For today’s entry I have taken some shots for the blog of the installation in progress for our upcoming 45th anniversary exhibition.

Up until about 10 years ago all of our images and documentation were primarily on 35mm slide film and mostly taken by David. Any time we documented a show or some new work in the gallery we bracketed the shots so that we would have at least 6 copies of each at 3 different exposures.  It was considerably cheaper (and better quality) to have 6 slides of the same work than, to later, duplicate the slides to meet requests.  That meant we gathered a very large slide library over the years.

Now during the process of digitizing the slides, (Michael Tuck, our son, is the computer master and general jack of all trades around the gallery during the downsizing) we have had to edit and reduce the collection to the key documentation.  That left us with several thousand slides for the garbage or recycling.

Each of us had other ideas for re-purposing the slides.

For one, it seemed to me that the slides and their inherent history needed to be a part of this 45th anniversary exhibition.

Charlene inspecting the Red Cart.  In the background is a painting by Angela Leach and on the cart is a painting by Doris McCarthy from her 60′s abstract period.

The Red Cart

There are always surprises when a group show is in progress.  Here is Charlene discovering some hidden “treasures” in the old  cart -a phone receiver with no phone attached and various other assorted hardware that seemed to have no good reason for being there, but I’m sure did originally.   In the background is the slide installation in the beginning stages nearby a painting by Angela Leach and many decisions still to be made.

The cart was found in our new space at 80 Spadina Avenue in 1982 when we were moving from 83 Front Street .  At that time it was an old 4 wheeled dolly with only one fence.  We needed it to be double-ended to hold the many works of art that we had to move and since our space at 80 Spadina would be 6500 square feet (and the whole fourth floor we were renovating with our neighbour, Olga Korper, was 20,000 sq ft. ).  The General Welding School, our old neighbour from Jarvis Street welded a second fence for us.  We thought this would be a good cart to have around.  We were right.  The cart was put to good use over the years.

It became the Red Cart when Fela Grunwald was renovating her space at 80 Spadina (the third gallery on the fourth floor there).  She needed it as a good base with wheels to use as a scaffold for finishing and painting her walls.  Since the cart was going to get renovation grime and paint on it she offered to paint it any colour we wanted after she was done with it.  Red was our colour of choice.

It might end up in  the current installation which  is coming along nicely –more later.

Sophie, Sally and the Crippled Civilians

We came to know Sophie as a regular eccentric of Jarvis and King area where we located our first gallery.  She passed by our storefront  every day on the way to the the Society for Crippled Civilians (known in the neighbourhood in those days affectionately as ‘the Cripps’) dragging a cart, empty on the way and full on the way back.  Sophie lived in the building she was born in on the North east corner of King and Market Street across the road from the St. Lawrence Hall.  Her father had run a printing shop out of the building and the family lived in the quarters above.  That was many years earlier.  In 1968, Sophie, already in her senior years, ran a second hand shop (cum antique store) in the storefront.  She was a character.  One could enter her store and look under her watchful eye but only a few were selected by her to take any of her treasures home. Gradually we gained her trust and acceptance as fellow shopkeepers.

Sophie often found her treasures at the Crippled Civilians store (later to be renamed Goodwill Industries) at the North east corner of Jarvis and Adelaide.  That’s where Sophie was headed with her cart to check out their daily arrivals.  In those days you could find some good stuff, including antiques.

Salmagundi Antiques and Aggregation Gallery, about 1969

Lynn Brown opened Salmagundi Antiques next door to us at 75 Jarvis Street in 1969.  With Grumbles coffee house on one side and Salmagundi on the other our location was becoming a destination.  Jarvis Street was still the home of the CBC at the time, with a studio complex several blocks east of us down King,  and many CBC people discovered us on their way to the Saturday St. Lawrence Farmers Market.  Word travelled fast.

Drawer unit with Ian Murray broadcast and a Janice Gurney work on wall, LIST, 1996

Crippled Civilians was also a daily destination for Lynn Brown.  If there was something she could not use but felt we might she would let us know.  On one such occasion she had discovered three very old, large oak drawer units , probably used originally in an architect’s office for plans. David and I headed over, purchased all three for $50, refinished them and are still using them to this day, mostly for storage of unframed work. Occasionally they have become part of exhibitions as seen here adapted with plastic sheets for viewing of books and multiples in the LIST exhibition in 1996. Probably the best $50 we have ever spent.

Drawer unit with display of books and multiples, LIST, 1996


Old wooden desk with books and multiples, LIST, 1996


Other finds were a desk that was used by David in the back office at our Front Street location from 1972 – 1982.  I used the desk in my small front office at the 80 Spadina Avenue location, 1982 to 2000.  It also was commandeered for the LIST show.

Shortly after Lynn opened her store she adopted her dog, Sally, from the Humane Society.  A few of the older inhabitants of the area were war veterans living in the rooms in nearby buildings.  Sally was a favourite of many.  Out of their small pensions they would bring by treats for her, sit for a while or take Sally for walks.

Sally of Salmagundi Antiques, around 1970

Lynn kept her store open on Sundays.  On sunny warm mornings we would head down from our 69 Jarvis Street rooms to her store with a plate piled high with freshly made fried egg and bacon sandwiches, take over some of her chairs and enjoy a Jarvis Street breakfast with her and Sally.

Jarvis Street in those days was almost deserted, especially in the morning on Sundays.  Occasionally a small parade, always with a band and veterans and cadets from armed forces units would march by going from the Armoury at Queen and Jarvis to  St. James Cathedral, a regimental church for several groups.  Sometimes they would form up on equally deserted Adelaide street, behind St James, then march east to Jarvis, along King to take the Salute in front of the cathedral, and back up to where they had started, having gone full circle of the block. They were used to having few spectators on their Sunday marches, least of all younger people, looking suspiciously like hippies, hanging out of the second and third story windows  or lounging on old chairs in front of Salmagundi, waving them on. It was their parade, of course, but with us the only people on that block, it seemed like our own personal one.

Free Top Soil on Jarvis and Rat Stories

Free Top Soil, 73 Jarvis Street renovation, 1969

Free Top Soil on Jarvis Street.

This is not a sign one would have expected to see on the sidewalk in front of a storefront at Jarvis and Adelaide, even in the late 60’s when the now plush St. Lawrence Market District was not in the foreseeable future.

However the signage seemed pretty obvious to us.  We had just shovelled out large amounts of earth not to mention, ingots, old glass bottles and sundry pieces of metal, large and small, thankful to have not come across any large bones, from the unfinished basement of 73 Jarvis Street, the second location of Aggregation Gallery.  We intended to lower the floor and lay a new concrete surface to provide additional space for our framing service and larger storage for the art inventory.

It was a laborious process shovelling the earth on to a conveyor belt that was angled through the window well out to the sidewalk from where we shovelled the earth on to a pick-up truck.  The truck when full was driven by our landlord to the Leslie Street Spit (just beginning in those days) and, once again shovelled off by hand.  We could not afford a tilt truck.

In between truckloads the piles of very rich black earth remained on the sidewalk.  It wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination to consider a sign – Free Top Soil.  As far as I can remember no one took us up on the offer. But it was a sight for eyes of the old and the new inhabitants of the area.

Basement of 73 Jarvis Street -during excavation and relocation of stairs, 1969

Rat Stories.

Before the landlord laid the new concrete there was a large thick wooden door at the bottom of the stairs to the basement.  It was closed most of the time.  A coffee house, Grumbles, had moved into our first space at 71 Jarvis.  One time, Grumbles asked us to accept an evening bread delivery to keep overnight in our space for them to collect in the morning.  The next day we opened the gallery to pick up the large kraft paper bag sitting on our desk.  It was empty but still upright.  This seemed very odd and suspicious.  Perhaps Grumbles immediate thought was we had had a hearty dinner the night before.

However, after some investigation we found a hole in the bottom of the bag and some crumbs trailing off the desk to the floor in the direction of the stairs to the basement.  We followed the crumbs down to the solid wooden door.  The door now had a small hole gnawed out of the bottom of it and an indent in the earth floor below.  We cautiously opened the door but found no bread and no rodents in sight –still a bit of a mystery.

Not for long however.  For some time after that we had regular visits of large city rats, the culprits we assumed.  Rat traps were placed around the premises.

One evening I came down late in the evening to do some gallery work.  As I entered the street from our upstairs apartment and headed to the front door of the gallery I heard a rustle behind me.  It was dark, I was spooked and hurriedly unlocked the front door and entered.  Much to my dismay there was also rustling of a different kind in the gallery and it didn’t help that the light switch was across the room.  I had a choice –back out and face the rustle on the street or risk whatever was inside the gallery.  I nervously chose the inside route.  I suspected a rat.

Once I had light to see I grabbed the phone and called David to come down and rescue me as I didn’t want to venture alone outside again.

We discovered the rat, much more attractive than rats are often depicted, in a trap, but just, and trying to get free.  After some attempts by us to dislodge the rat, it made its escape and disappeared into the basement.  We didn’t see any rats inside or out after that, thank goodness.


The move to 71 Jarvis Street in 1968

In 1968 we moved from 26 Spadina Road, where we had opened the forerunner of Aggregation Gallery, to the then downtrodden bottom of Jarvis Street just south of Adelaide Street .  We were still students at the Ontario College of Art and living off odd and part time jobs as well as our student loans.  We managed to put together $325.00 to renovate the storefront space at 71 Jarvis Street and opened Aggregation Gallery in November, 1968.  We were a cooperative of four people for that first year.  David Tuck and I initiated the cooperative and carried on as partners in Aggregation Gallery after the two others, fellow OCA student, John McDonald and artist, Roman Kowal, left the group.  We lived in rooms on the second and third floors above 69 Jarvis, in the same building, with some of the others of the original 8 person cooperative from Spadina Road. To help pay the rent, and in return for some construction materials and the electrical work, we also worked for our landlords helping renovate some of the other spaces in their Jarvis Street building.

With hard manual labour and a lot of ingenuity we managed to build the first space.  Not without a number of adventures along the way.  Shortly after we arrived at Jarvis Street the original Toronto  red brick  buildings across Jarvis Street and east of St. James Cathedral were, unfortunately, under the wrecking hammer.  David was not happy about the demolition and did what he could, writing letters to the papers, one of which was published in the Globe and Mail with a picture regarding the building at the S.E. corner of Church and King Streets.  He felt it was vital to the rest of the block of 19th Century buildings –last time we noticed the lot was still being used for parking, but the rest of the block was eventually restored or infilled.  We hoped to help raise the awareness of some of the architectural losses to the city.

However once the buildings were coming down (MacFeeters Creamery and adjacent buildings seen here), we scrounged for materials, old multi-nailed, timbers that could be recycled. Several of the new interior walls at 73 Jarvis, our second location, are the results of these efforts.  We spent more time removing nails than driving them.

On one of our trips across the road to gather materials, early one evening, the night watchman recently arrived, stopped me while I was dragging a large beam out of the building.  He was not aware that we had permission from the foreman, nor of our presence, and not pleased at the unexpected meeting.  Neither was I.  After some explanation he let me carry on.  Needless to say we were somewhat rattled and discontinued our foraging for that evening.

The wood front of 73 Jarvis Street was rough-cut recycled Japanese mahogany from piano packing crates that David found in the old Gerard Street Village.  Sculpture stands were found, old industrial barrels, cleaned and painted, and so on.

We were interested in having a space to show our work and that of our peers and did not consider ourselves entrepreneurs at the time.  It was practical, we had a place to live and we met a lot of very unique people – a very exciting time.

We were the lone gallery among such existing long time neighbours as several machine tool outlets, the Toronto General Welding School , some second-hand shops and a very old seed company housed in brick building with a wraparound wooden porch, where the workers sat on their lunch hour with their feet up on the railings.

We felt that with the restoration of the St. Lawrence Hall in 1967 as a centennial project and the old St. Lawrence Market down the street, the area should have a bright future as more people became committed to its restoration.


David Tuck and Lynne Wynick, on Jarvis Street in Toronto in 1971 during work on renovations to the second location of Wynick/Tuck Gallery, then called Aggregation Gallery. In the background is St. James Park and Cathedral.

After 45 years, Wynick/Tuck Gallery is closing its public exhibition space, but will remain in business by appointment only. The final show, WTG_45 Years (happenstance & continuance), runs from September 22 to October 13, 2012.

Over the next month leading up to this final show, come back here for some behind the scenes stories and photos from the archives.