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October 10, 2013

Autumn is the artworld’s peak performance period–here are a trio of shows I visited recently:

Over the weekend I had a chance to head up to North Bay to visit a couple of shows. Two artists included in the Wiki Show over the summer at Station Gallery were on display. On Saturday, Susan Farquhar’s show “Northern Currents” opened at the Joan Ferneyhough Gallery. Her richly textured works depict a Boreal beauty of another time. Originally from North Bay, Susan’s show fittingly celebrates her homecoming to the “Gateway to the North.” It was terrific revisiting works that were in the Wiki mix and seeing Susan’s creative process in her broader studio practice.

Erin Finley’s solo show was winding down at Line Gallery. Here too were some of Erin’s offerings from the Wiki Show, plus some intricate newer pieces. Finley’s finely-crafted figurative works pack quite a punch. I enjoy the push and pull of Erin’s subject matter–it simultaneously attracts and repels the viewer. Her illustrative drawings and mannerist distortions are flexible, even pliant. Anything can happen on her paper.

David Blackwood’s “Revelation” recently opened at Abbozzo Gallery at Toronto’s 401 Richmond complex. The artist was present at yesterday’s packed reception. This show adds new dimension and breadth to the understanding of Blackwood’s creative output. Widely known for his masterful printmaking, this show expands beyond serial production to include constructions with encaustic flourishes, paintings, drawings and watercolours. “Revelation” is a complex essay weaving Blackwood’s sustained motifs such as Ephraim Kelloway’s door, Maritime lore and nautical symbolism into a cohesive whole. Show continues until November 2 — not to be missed. Happy Thanksgiving!

David Blackwood and O

David Blackwood and O

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!