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May 8, 2013
I’m very excited with the new possibilities available to visual art researchers. Sky’s the limit and sometimes Rebel Angels fall from it!
Here’s this weekend’s scenario: I was preparing a presentation on a beloved topic of mine, drawing. I was sourcing images for Belgian artist Jan Fabre. His massive ball-point pen drawings on silk made a huge impact when I first saw them in Prato, Italy (outside of Florence) back in 1994. Found some stunning documentation of a similar installation in Vienna. Here’s a glimpse:
Curiousity kicked in. I began to wonder what the amazing painting on the far wall was–click on the image to see it better.
Not that long ago, if you wanted to find these sorts of things you’d spend hours upon hours researching, asking around, combing through art books, chasing red herrings… Nowadays, plug it into Google Image search and it’s all you need.
I took an isolated screen shot of the large painting in the background. “A Rubens no doubt,” I thought. Went to Google Image, clicked the camera icon, uploaded the small thumbnail. Viola! Instantly a grid of the exact image appeared. This was it:
Turns out it’s a famous painting by the late Baroque master, Luca Giordano titled “Fall of the Rebel Angels” dated 1666. Rubens hypothesis challenged–new artist discovered.
What will we do with all the research time we now save?
April 26, 2013
For the sixth year in a row, Durham College (DC) art and design students showed their year’s output at Station Gallery (SG). Every spring, I personally look forward to this dynamic, engaging exhibition. Nothing else looks like it. A huge range of material and conceptual investigations come together under the gallery roof, on the gallery walls. Along with one of this year’s jurors, Elizabeth Sweeney (Robert McLaughlin Gallery), Professor Sean McQuay presented over 30 awards to his students involved in the annual juried exhibition.
This year was bigger and better than ever. For the first time, all gallery spaces are devoted exclusively to Durham College projects. We may have even broken a gallery record for number of works in the house: well over 200 projects on display!
And of course there was the ceremonial “exchanging of the ties”. This ancient and arcane ritual has a deep history dating back to 2008. Every year since, Prof. McQuay and I have exchanged skinny, vintage neckties — a symbolic gesture representing the vital ties between the college and the gallery (thanks for the pic, Steven!). The show continues through to this Sunday…
April 7, 2013
It’s never too early to get up to cottage country—particularly if there’s a splendid exhibition pairing up north. Yesterday was my first encounter with Minden, Ontario. The town had a quaint northern familiarity—a familiarity that extended to the works of two established artists who opened their exhibitions at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery.
Liz Menard and Robert Achtemichuk individually spoke about their respective studio practices, giving engaging background to their works. Menard’s print-based works have a ghostly, residual quality. The print matrix is an ideal medium to convey this duplicity. Many of her prints are generated at Open Studio in Toronto.
Robert too had a long career as a printmaker and association with Open Studio as a former Executive Director of the artist-run centre. I first met Robert on Nathan Phillips Square during this summer’s outdoor show. His discrete gouache paintings on silk were stand-out pieces for which he was awarded the Board of Directors Award. His paintings are meditative gems mined from an exact locus: latitude 43.456193 and longitude -80.500507 (aka his home in Kitchener). Robert’s streetscapes are dreamy, nocturnal passages through lived experience–true counterpoints in the age of Google Streetview.
Both shows are worth the scenic trip up Highway 35… they continue until May 11.
March 22, 2013
“If something’s worth doing once, it’s worth doing again.” Here’s a little taste of yesterday evening. The Canadian-born artist Sheena Mcrae fits well in the context of my repeat Art & Cinema presentation last night at Station Gallery. Video credits go to Steven–he’s ever-present every-where. Thanks for documenting, SF…
Click on the image to make it move…
March 22, 2013
The hottest ticket in town has just sold out. This year’s gallery fundraiser is going to be an outstanding event with well-over 100 quality artworks to choose from for lucky ticket-holders. Next week we’ll start hanging and setting up the in-gallery preview. In the meantime, check out the on-line preview here. Now imagine: it’s April 11th. The big night. Drawing for Art emcee and CKDO radio personality, Terry Johnson draws your ticket from the drum. You’ve got first choice! Whose artwork would you choose?
March 12, 2013
With less than a month to go, this year’s signature fundraiser promises to be Station Gallery’s best. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Drawing for Art.
Yesterday evening I had a pleasure of documenting the submitted artworks along with photographer Leif Petersen, who kindly volunteered his expertise and time. At the end of the evening we counted over a hundred pieces ranging from paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings. Pictured below is my drawing inspired by the classic 60′s French movie, Lola. Heather and Bob at Imagine That Framing are the real pros of presentation. The white frame is absolutely exquisite.
With only 100 tickets available, they’re the hottest in town. We’ve sold 60% as of today–and that’s in advance of any selections preview! Having seen the works yesterday, this year’s artistic calibre is outstanding! You’ll see what I mean in a few days…
Stay tuned to the on-line preview this Friday.
February 23, 2013
When I worked with the Thomas Bouckley Collection of Historical Photographs, I was fascinated with the pictures of stores from a by-gone era. Much changed in Oshawa’s downtown core over the decades. The concentration of shops and boutiques shifted to the Oshawa Centre (OC).
Growing up in Oshawa during the eighties and early nineties meant you had a special place to hang out. Not only was the Centre a great place to shop, it was a social and recreational hub. It had many things that are no longer: bowling alleys, cinemas, a video arcade, concession stands, independent restaurants, department store cafeterias and (best of all) a pet store where you could cuddle kittens. Some other stores that came to mind:
Consumer’s Distributing, Bi-Way, L’il Bo Peep Restaurant, The Sabre Tavern, Marks & Spencer, Kmart Canada, Shops on Top, The Malt Shop, Classic Books…
Across town and now in our memories are:
Does anyone else recall any of the above? I’d love to hear your recollections… along the way to the comments section–a few vintage logos…
A penny for your thoughts.
As of last Monday, the value of thoughts in Canada has changed. The Canadian penny is no longer in circulation. This got me thinking–thinking specifically about conceptual art in Canada. One of the icons of conceptualism in this country is Gerald Ferguson’s piece One Million Pennies. How vivid! If you haven’t seen the actual piece in a gallery, you can certainly conjure an idea of it.
Ferguson’s aggregate of one million cents is sculpted by gravity into a low heap. It weighs six thousand pounds. One Million Pennies (1979) is owned by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. When the work isn’t on display, it’s allegedly stored off-site in a bank vault.
Now, what happens to the value of Ferguson’s work? As a whole, do the pennies still add up to $10,000 in basic economic terms? Does this value fluctuate in light of the coin’s recent end of circulation? Is the sculptural heap worth more now that the Canadian penny is going to be rarer or has its price depreciated? Some food for thought… here’s a penny for any.
February 1, 2013
Novelty items are amusing by their very nature. Look at them in a new light and you’ll notice something unexpected. I recently plugged-in an old lava lamp, wondering what would happen if it was cranked… to warp speed.
Here’s a little fast-motion video experiment with the lamp. It’s documented over four hours, then condensed into a vid just under six minutes.
In the sped-up video, the languid wax blobs are transformed into dancing, ebullient forms… cool to watch. It’s retro-fast-forward.
Click the image to enjoy:
January 24, 2013
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of presenting an illustrated talk on art and cinema called Synchronicities at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. It was really fun–thanks to everyone who came out. If you missed it–no worries–I’ll present Synchronicities Part II in Whitby on the third Thursday of March.
Since Saturday afternoon’s presentation I continue to find fascinating and relevant material that I could have included. I’d like to share my latest find that uses film as an inspiration. It’s a short film collage by the Dutch artist, Matthijs Vlot. He painstakingly sourced and pieced together various cinema snippets to recreate Lionel Ritchie’s ballad Hello.
It’s a clever project with the charm of a sentimental ransome note.
Click on the image below to play Vlot’s video. See how many of the 42 film sources you recognize. I’ve added film titles second time ’round…
Will I include this video in my next art & cinema presentation at Station Gallery on Thursday, March 21st at 7 PM? You bet!