Friday, December 17, 2010
This is the second piece in a new series called In The Garden Of... It is rather new for me in that I am not just digging into the plywood with my router but I am also adding to the surface. The figure is water colour on 300lb water colour paper. Again it is on the larger side at 36" x 48"
Friday, June 25, 2010
Bearing Witness: Totems Of Communication, Propeller Centre For The Visual Arts
There are many visual objects in our daily lives that simply blend in to the background without jolting our consciousness at all. It is one of these objects that are so adeptly expressed in this exhibit. The hydro pole, not the newer very slick concrete poles that are now used, but the old wooden poles of days gone by. You know, the poles that still occupy much of the urban landscape, often plastered with announcement bills stapled to their coarsely hewn skins. In fact it is the random peppering of these staples that occupies much of the aesthetic of Pat's tableaus. She uses a mixed media photo process which lends itself well to her subject matter.With a little tongue in cheek she has taken the poles out of the urban setting and placed them in Group Of 7 and Emily Carr settings. Her pictorial representations show them not only as a functioning hanger to carry electricity, but also as a place of rest for natural phenomena, birds, snow and ice. She depicts them as objects of romantic beauty standing stoically in the softness of a moonlit evening. What really steals the show though is an actual, cleverly placed, section of one of these totems to urban function.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
The microcosm of things have always intrigued me, and that's what is envisioned in the works of this Artist. That close examination of things to a point where they are no longer forms but dots of colour and light. These representations of things as they are bring to mind the later works of Monet. His broken vision of his garden in Giverney.
Henna works in layers and not just with the paint but in the very birth of her process. She starts with these preassembled frames of plywood on a wood frame. Then she laminates it with Korean paper. If it is anything like Japanese Washi paper I know how delicate a surface she is working with, having recently experimented with Washi myself. Of course then the painting begins deftly applied in layers of pure light. This si where I believe Georges Surat did not complete his process as he mathematically arranged dots in juxtaposition to each other to create an illusion. There is no illusion here the dots are layered as one would actually see splashes of light on the surface of the water right at ones feet.
This exhibit was at AWOL at 78 Ossington Ave.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Francois X Chamberlain
Propeller Centre For the Arts
There is something very refreshing about sifting through the work of our senior statesmen. Francois comes to us from La belle Province and born in 1931. The walls of the north gallery are adorned or should I say ladened with his metal constructions. Formed perhaps like collage, I really would prefer to refer to them as rusted paintings. He has indeed built these hanging compositions from found metal junk, but at the same time they feel very painterly. As perhaps Riopelle would have built up layers of paint in formless abstraction, Francois has given abstract form to objects that his keen eye has culled from objects rejected by a society tired of them. It is not a new tool he has employed, as found object as artefact hails back to the early modernists. He has made it fresh and new. Nothing that he has done is at all trite or folksy.
He has taken modernist values and placed them boldly into the palette of the post modernist, a no holds barred non movement. His cubist/minimalist approach to arranging objects on the plane could very well be an early painting by Braque or Picasso. What I find most endearing is the warmth of his palette. He had very generously explained how one of the pieces was about the sinking of Catherine's naval pride the Potemkin . All the while I'm looking at a very carefully arranged composition that drew me into a flattened cubist winter scene, but I felt warmed by the fire of an Artist.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I spent the day, a rather blustery and cold one, gallery hopping along Queen St. West with one disappointment after another. Everything I saw held a pretension towards style. There seems to be a move towards cartoonish depictions of childlike darkness. I was about to give up when I decided I need a coffee, so I trudged into the Great Hall Cafe & Gallery. In the gallery room there was an exhibit of photo based work that intrigued me, but still it was not enough to take out my pen. So into the cafe, and there it was the only work I saw that had a from the gut honesty about it.
Here was a collection of figurative based mixed media Drawing/Painting, Collages. I found myself looking at each piece with the same eyes, but each struck me differently. I asked the young lady serving behind the counter if she knew anything about the work to find she is also the Artist. So out came the camera and my pen.
There are 2 distinct bodies of work in the show, one smaller the other larger pieces on canvas. It was those that really caught my mind. Upon inquiring I found out she draws the figures with charcoal on vellum, adheres them to them to the canvas then works over them with ink and acrylic paint.
The figures are disjointed and posed as though executed as surgical illustrations. Though there is an ephemeral nature that causes me to ponder about the connection of these disjointed poses with choices between mind and body. The relationship is clear. They can be united in cause but disjointed in effect. Cause and effect, motion and stillness, action and thought.
Katrina seems to be on the path of solution, and has just begun asking the questions. With one year of OCAD behind her these drawings have a maturity beyond her years.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I have been ruminating on this topic for sometime, and what has prevented me from broaching the topic is not my continued interest, but how to approach it without shooting myself in the foot. As an Artist myself who enjoys a reputation for continually exhibiting, there are gallery owners who may find my criticisms somewhat objectionable.
Once upon a time a gallery owner/art dealer would take responsibility for representing their Artists both on the wall and off. They were business people who would take a keen interest in which Artists they would take under there wing. Once you were selected there would be a contract settled on which would allow the gallery to take a commission on sales. However the relationship wouldn’t just end there. The Artist and the dealer had a close relationship which would include studio visits to discuss the direction of new work. The dealer had a clientele whom would also be included in the dealer’s regular business and social circles. Yes once upon a time gallery owners actually worked for the Artist because they were motivated by the commission arrangement.
Well folks things have changed. Now galleries are walls that we rent. There is at times more to it than just that, but more often than not what you get for what is often more than $1,000.00/week are the walls, and an ad in one or more free local tabloids next to the escort ads. They may even send out emails to their contact list. It is with regret that I inform you – that is where the relationship ends. Almost never will you get a prepaid reception. Never expect them to market you beyond your exhibit. If you want any marketing done over and above it is on your tab, invite cards included. Unless the Artist is actually sitting the exhibit it is rare that whoever is attending will even feign interest in potential purchasers who walk in the door. There are also a number of other trivial matters that I think go to a lack of professional standards, but I won’t rant forever.
In conclusion I think that we as Artist have got too either bite the bullet and learn how to be our own marketing agents, or start making the gallery owners aware that our interest in exhibiting is an extension of our career as Artists, and to that end gallery owners should start taking more responsibility for marketing the Art on the walls.