As part of ArtworxTO

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky

The project

The Guest’s Shadow is a series of light and sculpture installations which appear to be picnics left out in park spaces in the dark of night, made dream-like by virtue of a gentle light emitting from the objects laid out on the gingham cloth. The food and drink in the picnic is a collection of handmade paper lanterns, produced by the artists by photographing the original items, then printing, folding and taping the digital printouts of the images so that they become three dimensional representations, which hold reusable LED lights.

There will be ten events in all, each staged after sunset and lasting three hours, in various parks and publicly accessible locations across Toronto in Fall 2021 and Spring-Summer 2022. The Events page on this site will show dates and locations as they are confirmed. The size of the picnic will grow with each event, as more lanterns are added over time. Anyone can submit a recipe to the project, via the Recipes page. We will make these recipes, put them in a dish such as a tray or Tupperware container, then photograph and transform them into a lantern to be shown at the upcoming installations. You can follow this process along on our blog, the link for which is also on the Recipes page.

By the end, an unruly hodgepodge of lanterns will have been made, and this cornucopia of imaginary food will be displayed during a final closing event in October 2022. In the meantime, lantern files can be downloaded and made by anyone from the Lanterns page on this site.

Set at night, during the time for dreaming, The Guest’s Shadow combines the spirit of a festival such as Basel’s Fashnacht—an urban, carnival spectacle of folk art including home-made lanterns which offer a satirical, cartoon-like version of the world—with the intimate format of a picnic—a common subject of modern art, in which picnics realize the bucolic fantasies of city-dwellers, and offer the chance for shared food and shared discussion with peers or family. Please join us.

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky

Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky, based in New York and Toronto respectively, are artists who have worked collaboratively since 2004. Their work, laborious and handmade, is concerned with material culture and our relationship to the world of things. Their practice has increasingly incorporated aspects of craft that are communal and more broadly collaborative, such as the production of DIY tutorial videos, the distribution of source files for the making of versions of their works, the hosting of virtual crafting bees, and facilitating other collaborative public projects within and without institutional settings. Their current ongoing project, Crafts Abyss, produced in conjunction with and hosted by the Museum of Arts & Design, NYC, was first created during the 2020 edition of Contemporary Calgary’s Collider residency.

Other exhibitions include: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), LABoral (Gijon), Dos de Mayo (Madrid), Aurora (Dallas), Vancouver Art Gallery, Flux Night (Atlanta), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Power Plant (Toronto), Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal, Tokyo Wonder Site, loop-raum (Berlin), 516 Arts (Albuquerque), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Alter Space (San Francisco), Glow (Washington DC). Mahovsky has written for journals such as Artforum and for catalogues such as Liz Magor (MACM: Montreal, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst: Zurich, and Hamburg Kunstverein). In 2017, Weppler was the inaugural artist in residence with the MFA Art Practice program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and in 2018 she completed a major project for the Community Arts Initiative, Artists Project program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Winners of the 2014 Glenfiddich Prize, they are represented by Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto.