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June 4, 2010

It’s been a hectic installation week both here at Station Gallery with Darlene Cole’s show, as well as a group show at the Visual Arts Centre that I’m showing in along with Jane Eccles and Chris Down. At this point, there are only finishing touches left for both exhibitions. Darlene’s show looks elegant. Earlier in the week, when she brought her canvases, the smell of the oil paintings made me long for those college years when I painted. There’s something about the sense of smell that elicits the past in such an immediate way. Oil painting is the perfect medium for conveying memory and Darlene’s show certainly does that very well.

The VAC show titled After Pictures is an initiative of Todd Tremeer who is the guest curator of the project and it explores the connection between hand-generated visual art with lens-based media, like movies and photos. I enjoyed Todd’s observation of how many artists today use photo sources much as artists in the past used preparatory sketches for larger works. His thesis is tested in After Pictures. Jane’s paintings are skilled representations which add a rich colour to the show. It’s been almost a decade since I saw Chris’s work at Western; his new drawings are edgy and visceral. To this mix, I’ve added some old and newer pieces sourced from Soviet photos and Italian films. I’m most excited about a new work in the third floor loft space. It’s a huge projection of burning drawings. I can’t wait for some feedback on this video. So, the stage is set–this Sunday will be the opening reception at the VAC–hope you can make it. 

burning drawing in latest video

February 27, 2010

Just as the Olympic torch was passed in Durham a few weeks back, so too will another torch pass on in the community. This evening will mark Richard Toms’s “Freedom 45” retirement party from the VAC (Visual Arts Centre) in Bowmanville as James Campbell takes on the Executive Directorship. Richard has made a significant and long-lasting impression on the arts in Durham. We are fortunate that this is where Richard burnished his expertise and know-how. He has been energetically involved in the Durham arts community for over twenty years. His expertise touched many facets in the area including visual arts instructor, print-shop technician, education co-ordinator, and of course the Executive Director of the Visual Arts Centre in Bowmanville since 2001. It’s true that he treated these responsibilities as an artform—with sustained concentration, robust engagement, levity and lots of good-humour. But his true passion and acumen lays in his own studio production. Relocating to Prince Edward Island, Richard will now strictly concentrate on his business and fine art pursuits. In the coming months Richard and his wife Stacey will be opening a sweet shop and art gallery in Georgetown, PEI called The Maroon Pig.

For many years, he was a great friend and resource to us at Station Gallery—whenever we had questions about the printmaking process, Mr. Toms was the expert. Richard has kindly donated an outstanding print to Station Gallery’s upcoming Drawing for Art fundraiser. I won’t be the only one who will have eyes for Richard’s lithograph on April 29th. We wish you happy trails and all the best with your new beginnings on the Island. Bon Voyage, Richard and Stacey!