Jason de Haan, Lord of the Flies, 2007
Too Many Words is an exhibition that brings together a diverse selection of artists who take the role of reading as a central preoccupation and site of creative inquiry. Using a variety of strategies, the artists in this exhibition share a common engagement with the ways in which reading is enacted, experienced and represented in contemporary life, as well as their own artistic practice.

The works in Too Many Words cast a critical eye upon not only what we read or the role of reading in society, but also how reading is done: the experiential underpinnings of this phenomenon. The paintings, video, drawings, sculptures, text-projects and book-works that comprise the exhibition push our more commonplace expectations of reading—entertainment and knowledge, signification and meaning, transmission and reception—into conceptions of representation, subjectivity, nostalgia, authorship, literary inspiration, nostalgia, cultural memory, consumerism and obsession. In this exhibition the private and public faces of the words that surround us are conflated. As Too Many Words suggests, the overwhelming profusion of words which gives rhythm to everyday life involves an ongoing barter between the solitary, individual pleasure of reading and the blunt, passionless facades presented by words in our public environment.

Too Many Words is a world of the diaries and public pronouncements, branding irons and famous books, household items and newspapers, haiku, textual performance and language systems; it is an exhibition about the pleasures and pitfalls of the literary, and literate, imagination.

Donna Akrey is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living in Montreal. She received a BFA from Concordia University in 1998 and a MFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002. Her work has been shown throughout Canada in both gallery and public settings. She writes: “I think of some of my sculptures and installations as gigantic understatements, ruminations on the spectacle of the unspectacular.”

Blair Brennan was born in Edmonton where he continues to live. He received a B.F.A. from the University of Alberta in 1981. His work has been twice featured in the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art and in recent thematic group exhibitions including Wordsmiths (Cambridge Art Gallery, 2006) and Making it Like a Man (Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, 2004). His most recent solo exhibition, Sacra Privata, was shown at SNAP Gallery (Edmonton) in the summer of 2007.

Graham Gillmore graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver in 1985. His work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, group exhibitions and art fairs internationally, including at the Helen Pitt Gallery in 1986. He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver and Toronto, and by Mary Boone Gallery in New York.

Jason de Haan lives in Calgary. His work has been shown in solo and group exhibition in Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as recent exhibitions in Canada at Stride Gallery (Calgary), Third Space (Saint John), Trap/Door (Lethbridge), eyelevelgallery (Halifax) and Modern Fuel (Kingston).

Colleen Heslin is a Vancouver-based painter, photographer and illustrator. Her work has been recently at Access Gallery and Antisocial in Vancouver, Hotcake Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in the publications Ripe, Only and the Vancouver Review.

Ibghy & Lemmens have worked collaboratively since 1999. Their projects have been shown extensively across Canada, as well as in Spain, Hungary and Estonia. Ibghy (b. 1964, Montreal) studied philosophy at Concordia University and economics at École des Hautes Études Commerciales. Lemmens (B. 1976, Ascot Corner, Quebec) received her MFA from the University of British Columbia in 2007. They live in Vancouver.

Laurie Ljubojevic (b. 1976, Victoria, British Columbia) studied at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) and at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, before completing a Master’s in Visual Art and Theology from the University of British Columbia in 2006. She has had recent solo exhibition at the Other Gallery (Banff, AB) and at CAP House (Kobe, Japan), and has participated in group exhibitions at eyelevelgallery (Halifax), Dalhousie University, Imagine Gallery (Beijing), Truck (Calgary), Gallery Koyanagi (Tokyo) and the Basel Art Fair.

Joshua Lovelace is a Canadian writer and artist living in New York. His work has been shown at SOIL Gallery (Seattle) and 5433 (Montreal) as well in the publications Surf and Manual for Advanced, both published by Intrepid Tourist Press.

Michael Maranda graduated from the University of Rochester with a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies. His work has been shown at Art Metropole, YYZ and Akau Inc. in Toronto, as well as at the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), Axe Neo-7 (Hull, QC), Galerie B-312 (Montreal), the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, and the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina). He is the founder of Parasitic Ventures Press and lives in Toronto.

Sherwin Tjia is a Montreal-based artist. He has written four books and illustrated two.