Marking the closing of the 2022 festival, the Toronto Biennial of Art presents a newly commissioned site-specific work by artist Judy Chicago. This one-of-a-kind Smoke Sculpture™ will be visible from the shore of Lake Ontario, as a series of environmentally safe, non-toxic coloured smokes are released from a barge. Harkening back to Chicago’s Atmospheres photo series of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which sought to soften and “feminize” harsh, man-made environments, A Tribute to Toronto works against the tradition of male Land Art artists whose work imposed itself on the earth. Instead, Chicago’s performance offers an alternative and impermanent approach that merges colour with landscape to increase awareness of the beauty of our natural environment.
A piece that will take place on a site unlike any other, working directly on a body of water for the first time—Lake Ontario. At the time of writing, Judy and her collaborators—her husband, photographer Donald Woodman and Chris Souza of Pyro Spectaculars—have been making plans and tests for releasing white, yellow, green, blue, and purple pigments from a barge into the air where they will mix with the wind and the light to create a myriad of colour effects.