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Stephen Bulger Gallery is negotiating the delicate matter of who owns Vivian Maier’s iconic art

Posted By AIPAD, Friday, July 22, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Under other circumstances, the exhibition of about 40 photographs by the late Vivian Maier, opening Saturday at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery, would be as close to a slam-dunk in terms of public appeal, critical approbation and commercial success as you can get in the art world.


This time, though, the exhibition Bulger is calling Vivian Maier: Meaning Without Context isn’t going to earn the highly respected commercial gallery the proverbial one thin dime, even as its proprietor/founder, Stephen Bulger, 52, has been fielding calls from dozens of collectors eager to buy. In fact, while Meaning Without Context is going to be Bulger’s longest-running exhibition of 2016 (it closes Sept. 10), none of its photographs, which span the years 1949 through 1974, is for sale – a first in the gallery’s 22-year history.


Read more here.

Tags:  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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Stephen Bulger Gallery Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Group Exhibition Celebrating 20 Years


Exhibition Dates: March 24 – April 25, 2015

Stephen Bulger Gallery celebrates 20 years with an anniversary exhibition.  Since the gallery opened it has represented numerous international photographers; mounted 130 solo and 40 group shows; published books and hosted book launches; held screenings and other special events; and participated in art fairs in North American and Europe.  Stephen Bulger Gallery’s anniversary exhibition promises a look back at gallery achievements by featuring an image by each artist who has ever exhibited in a solo show.


Director, Stephen Bulger first engaged in photography as a hobby.   He studied at the Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts, became interested in the history of the media, and began organizing exhibitions.  Bulger was founding director of the Ryerson Gallery where he served on the exhibition review committee and managed exhibitions.   He went onto open his own gallery in 1995.


Bulger has notable affiliations and accomplishments outside his gallery walls, and has always remained a steward for the media.  Bulger has served as President of the Board for the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD); is a member of the Canadian Cultural Property Review Board; and co-founder of CONTACT, a photo festival held in Toronto.


Congratulations to Stephen Bulger Gallery on this milestone and wishing many more prosperous years.




Learn more about the exhibition or the gallery, its history, and program at Stephen Bulger Gallery.

Tags:  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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On the Right Track: Subway at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Group Show

Exhibition Dates: January 24 – March 14, 2015



Ever conscious of the social climate, Stephen Bulger Gallery responds to the dialogue on the Toronto subway system with an exhibition on the subject.  Just days ago Toronto Mayor, John Tory, and Transit Chair, Josh Colle, announced a massive investment of $95 million to expand and improve the public service.   This exhibition reflects on the historic and current import of the systems as part of modernization, daily life, and urbanism.  These images are familiar and strange subterranean expressways where all sorts rub elbows. 


Subway is a group show of vintage and contemporary works by unknown and famed artists.   Early images are dark and gritty and reveal the early portions of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit lines in New York.  These images are accompanied by a Vid Ingelevics’ shot of the Museum Station in Toronto with its iconic yellow tiles, since replaced by station remodel that reflects the above-ground proximity to the Royal Ontario Museum.  Other notable inclusions are Bruce Davidson’s color environmental portraits made in 1980 and published as SUBWAY; Michael Wolf’s celebrated portraits of commuters called “Tokyo Compression;” film stills from The Warriors, directed by Walter Hill; and a  salon wall, which includes images by Dave Heath, André Kertész, William Klein, Luis Mallo, Jamel Shabazz, Kazuo Sumida and Alexey Titarenko, among others. 


Learn more about this exhibition at Stephen Bulger Gallery 



Related programming:  FREE Saturday Afternoon Screenings at CAMERA

January 24 at 3:00 PM

Dir. Larry Peerce (USA: 1967), 107 min.

The Incident is a story of two youths who hold passengers in the car of a New York subway train hostage late one night. 

Tags:  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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Review: Duane Michals at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 10, 2014

Duane Michals

An Exhibition 


through October 18


This exhibition is Duane Michals first at Stephen Bulger Gallery.  Works included were drawn from his nearly 50-year career.  Though Michals describes himself as self-taught, he did have on and off training in the arts as a teenager at the Carnegie Institute in watercolor, and as a young man at Parsons School of Design in graphic design.  His studies were neither formal nor complete, but it is likely they spurred his interest and aptitude in the arts.


Michals is known for challenging the photographic media, its construction, means, and nature.  The images on view with Bulger belong to two main groups: portraits or actions accompanied by text, some in sequence, and found-images embellished with oil paint.  Both veins of work let interior qualities out and encourage us to wonder on deeper levels about the image that confronts us.  Many of the text-accompanied images are of famous artists.  We find the subjects at home or in the studio; in either case they are in their element, and we are allowed an intimate view of a perhaps otherwise untouchable art-history icon.  The works are humanizing and honest.  They can be almost uncomfortably revealing; its as if we are able through Michals' frames to enter the subject's soul.  In an image of Willem de Kooning (1985)  we find the artist before his canvas, contemplating his next stroke.  We are positioned watchfully over his shoulder, and can feel the tension and pressure of the creative process at work.  Andy Warhol is a reoccurring figure in this exhibition, and in a vertical triple-portrait Andy Warhol (1972) we again sense the torment that bubbles up in the artist's soul.  The first portrait is solum and straight-on; the two accompanying shots are blurred by motion as Michals snaps the frames while Andy shakes his head from side to side and his visage distorts.  


In the latter string of images, the found-frames with oil paint, we find Michals' simple geometric additions to be playful and encouraging of open-ended narratives. The works elevate beyond the portrait and simple shapes may allude to games, desires, struggles, or dreams.  It is the viewer who decides how to apply meaning to a grid, a ladder, a dot-pattern, and so on.  Michals works remind us that viewing is subjective; that the "museum image" need not be "neat;" and that the artist's hand can make the work both approachable and expansive. 


For more information on this exhibition, or to view the works online, please visit Stephen Bulger Gallery.

Tags:  Duane Michals  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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Artist's Opening Reception: Sarah Anne Johnson at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 24, 2014



Exhibition Dates:  March 1 - March 29, 2014


Artist's Opening Reception:

Saturday, March 1 

2:00 - 5:00 pm


Sarah Anne Johnson began this work out of a desire to broach a new more challenging subject.  What started out as a letting-in of the artist to private intimate moments evolved into a project that makes the internal nature of sexual intimacy external.  Even the basics of human engagement are more than meets the eye; sensations, emotions, and feelings bubble under the surface of our skin and in Wonderlust Johnson makes these sentiments visible.  We experience images that depict ecstasy and emotional connection, desire for romance, boredom, self doubt and personal disappointment.  Initial studies began through the photographing friends in their homes during the day, including nudes.  Some couples trusted Johnson to let her in further and share their private interactions, including sexual activity.  With consent, she documented their exchanges and then worked back into the prints at times scratching, painting, collaging, and retouching them.  Each image is both obscured and heightened through the modifications post-production.  The images evolve into more true reflections on human emotional desire, need, longing and fulfillment. 


for more information on the exhibition, please visit Stephen Bulger Gallery


Image Information:

Sarah Anne Johnson

Puzzle Pieces, 2013

Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery


Tags:  Sarah Anne Johnson  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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