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December 2, 2011

Lines are pointing north as a new drawing gallery recently opened in North Bay, Ontario. I had the great pleasure of being part of Line Gallery’s inaugural show a few weeks ago. The gallery’s mandate focuses on discourses around Canadian drawing. Here’s an excerpt from a discussion that’s just begun…

Line Gallery–Why drawing? Why do you think you came to focus on drawing as opposed to another medium?

Olexander Wlasenko–Drawing is eternal. It’s ancient. When one thinks of the earliest forms of visual communication, thoughts turn to lines drawn in the sand or other kinds of mark-making. When I participate in drawing, I feel as though I’m in touch with something primordial. I feel I’m in commune with the infinite. It’s a contemporary feeling.   

LGAre there any artists or experiences that have shaped/influenced your practice? 

OW–I’ve been fully immersed in art and artists’ experience my entire life. My earliest memories of visual art were at home. My father was an untrained artist and many of his pictures were on the walls at home. It was sort of “do-it-yourself” decor for my immigrant parents. I suppose that had a profound impact from an early age. 

Galleries, museums, art history classes followed for decades… My instructors at the post-secondary schools had a big impact. Teachers like Natalka Husar and Cathy Daly at the Ontario College of Art still resonate with me. Margaret Priest at the University of Guelph and Sheila Butler at theUniversity of Western Ontario had a conceptual influence on my studio practice. Then there’s the vast numbers of artists that one is exposed to at school ranging from Gerhard Richter, Jan Fabre, Joseph Beuys and Vija Celmins to Titian and Degas. There’s a world of art.    

For complete interview click here

Artist talk at Nipissing University, 11/11/11!

Last night Drawing 2011 opened at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto. This is the twelfth year the event is held at the downtown venue. I had the good fortune of participating in this annual showcase of Canadian drawing. I’m honoured to be in a show alongside some of my favorite drawers like Amanda Burk of North Bay, Amanda Schoppel and Tom Hendry both based in Toronto. The show acquainted me with the many approaches to the drawn medium.

Me and "The Waiting" on view until March 4

This year’s jurors based their final selection of 34 works from a total of 208 images submitted by 112 artists. Each artist submitted works digitally, on a disc. As someone who is involved with organizing a similar juried show at year’s end here at Station Gallery, I began to wonder if digital submissions are the way to go. Some of the pros include:

  • getting broader exposure from artists outside the region—let’s call it “casting a broader net”
  • a more economical and stream-lined use of resources, gallery staffing, etc.
  • less chance for artwork to get damaged from over-handling
  • less gas to transport the works back and forth equals a smaller carbon footprint

And on the other side, the more traditional approach of adjudicating from original artworks has its good points too:

  •  jurors get a better sense of the scale, texture, intent, etc…
  • the final exhibition design can be stronger (i.e., themes and grouping are more apparent)
  •  the artist/gallery relationship is more organic, more personal
  • doesn’t handicap artists who don’t have access to digital equipment

It’s a dilemma. So I put it to you, the blogosphere; what are your thoughts on submitting to juried shows? Digital or Tangible; what works best?