Category Archives: Art

20210619_135757 (3)

Local artists form the special group “131 Collective” and open pop-up gallery in Toronto’s chic Yorkville neighbourhood!

It was so exciting to walk through the doors of the brand new pop-up art gallery located at 131 Bloor St West…just a few doors East of Avenue Road, opposite the Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Burberry fancy-schmancy boutiques along what is affectionately referred to as Toronto’s mink mile. A group of talented fine artists came together when the opportunity to take over a vacant store space came their way and had only 4 days to hang their works and quickly promote themselves as the 131 Collective. The featured artists include Mark Gleberzon @mjggallery Morgan Jones @morganjonesart Todd Monk @toddmonkart Jeff Turner & Jane Pike @jandj_photo_art Vanessa Drew @vanessaracheldrew_art Adrienne Jackson @crushwrks and Huy Lam @_huylam_20210619_135210 (3) 20210619_134706 (2)Lots of large canvases hang in a space that offers great viewing perspectives and allows for several people to be inside at once, dutifully face-masked and socially distanced. The gallery provides hand sanitizer and follows all Covid safety protocols.

If you don’t have a lot of wall-space to collect and display large pieces of art, the group offers a number of smalls that would fit anyone’s loft, condo or cottage. See below…20210619_134908 (2)I spoke with Jane Pike who, along with her partner, Jeff Turner (of J&J Photographic Art) have been working hard to get the pop-up ready for this weekend’s launch and she said….

Check out these stunning floral pieces by Vanessa Drew…20210619_135305 (2)…and my long-time friend Mark Gleberzon is showcasing his beautiful chair series along with their real-life inspirations (below)20210619_135104 (2) 20210619_135249 (2)

So many exquisite paintings and wood/metal sculptures on show – you MUST visit in person to truly appreciate all the work created by Toronto’s leading local artists. 20210619_134743 (2) 20210619_134824 (2) 20210619_135004 (2) 20210619_135242 (3)20210619_141113 (2) 20210619_134807 (2) 20210619_135203 (2)20210619_135832 (2)20210619_135042 (2)Gallery hours: Monday thru Wednesdays 11am to 6pm, Thursdays thru Saturdays 11am to 8pm and Sundays 12noon to 5pm
Address: 131 Bloor St West (just west of the Colonnade)20210619_135149Just look for this stunning artwork in the window (below) and please follow each of the artists on IG (their indiv. handles were included in opening paragraph). Thank you for supporting Canadian artists.20210619_141922 (2)

Screen+Shot+2020-03-08+at+10.11.05+PM

MEET FINE ARTIST DONNA WISE WHOSE “MAPPING THE INFINITE” SOLO SHOW HEADS TO TORONTO’S PROPELLER GALLERY APRIL 7TH

A few years back, when things were “normal”, I had the pleasure of promoting DONNA WISE‘s fabulous contemporary abstract art as part of a group show at Urban Gallery which has sadly closed its doors due to Covid.  Fortunately Propeller Art Gallery has survived and they are presenting their first in-person show (with limited capacity) April 7 through 25 featuring Donna’s latest works titled MAPPING THE INFINITE. (signature canvas pictured below)Mapping the InfiniteABOUT THE ARTIST: Donna Wise is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited in Canada and the United States. Her versatile acrylic paintings are large, bold, fluid and full of energetic confidence.  For a number of years, Donna was a Docent at both The Art Gallery of Ontario and The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. By invitation, she has participated in art auctions for The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet, The Royal Ontario Museum and Baycrest Hospital. Her work can be found in the Boardroom of the Parliament Buildings at Queen’s Park Toronto, and the lobby of the famed Elgin Theatre, Toronto. Her paintings can be found in many corporate collections including the Four Seasons Hotel, Baycrest Hospital and Equitable Trust, among others, and are also in private collections in Toronto, Montreal, Miami and Tel Aviv.IMG_1911ARTIST’S STATEMENT:  For me, painting is a visual language that ignites both my curiosity and imagination; I am determined to live my life full of wonder. This perspective at the moment has shifted because the world feels broken and so many of us are searching for a beacon, but I believe wonder is the way.  Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness. These large abstract paintings with bold colour-saturated strokes fuse together both geometric forms and textures. The paintings are my voice and a reflection of my inner world – they allow me to map the infinity of my surroundings and enhance the environment with feelings of pleasure, beauty and optimism, providing an element of drama for the viewer.

I’m pleased to welcome Donna to the Fordham PR client family, and I recently spoke with her during a visit to her studio where she is often kept company by her two gorgeous standard poodles (see photo above).

Donna, as a professional artist, how has the Covid quarantine affected your productivity?   Actually, Covid was a blessing in disguise as I had unlimited, uninterrupted time in studio. As far as exhibitions in galleries, everything was in lockdown which meant galleries had to scramble to make on-line virtual shows accessible to both artists and collectors.

Your latest collection of paintings going on show at Propeller Gallery (“Mapping the Infinite” April 7-25) feature so many beautiful colours – soft pastels, vibrant reds and strong blacks. What was your inspiration for this series of large canvases?  I felt that this project needed to be hopeful. There is no political or social statement in my artwork. Strong, bold colours full of confidence and energy are what you see. These colours had to create an emotional, personal response unique to the viewer.

Magic Hours 30x36 acrylic on canvas20210310_121904You also have smaller works in the upcoming Colour & Form Society’s show in Niagara Falls (March 30-Apr. 24) – being so used to large format works, how was it scaling down your work for this 2’x2’ show?  It took me a while to adjust my methodology and rhythm to create such small canvases; in the end I was successful with the challenge. Old dogs can learn new tricks – all part of the journey.20210310_123451 (2)Many of the galleries that survived this past year by presenting online “virtual” exhibitions, are now opening up for live in-person shows (granted, with limited access) – are you looking forward to getting back in front of potential collectors and fans?  I’m very excited about being able to actually hang the art work in the gallery setting. It’s extremely hard to get the full exposure and feel of the work on-line. There is still some uncertainty about what “open” means – how many people can come in at one time, can artists host catered receptions, etc.Moon Night Warriors 36x48 acrylic on canvasYou use a very specific acrylic paint brand for your work, Golden Acrylics, and apparently you use one that is very old indeed. Can you tell us about your preferred paint supplies and just how old that red one is?   I have found Golden’s heavy acrylic paints to be my product of choice. I actually have several jars that are over 30 years old (see 2nd picture below). 20210310_123400

 

20210310_123343Any advice for young artists looking to carve out a long-term career such as yours? Any specific strategies or marketing thoughts?   Hang in there. There are going to be a lot of disappointments & rejections but that is all part of the journey. Learn how to challenge yourself through these tough times. Most of all, stop doubting yourself, work at what you do best. Maybe you will have to deviate for a short time, learn a new technique… but stay true to yourself. And most of all, keep doing what you love doing. Creativity is magic so don’t examine it too closely.
20210310_121828Donna, if there’s anything else you’d like to share about the art market or the need for beauty in our current dark times?This has been a very trying time for everyone, some more than others. The world seems to be very unsettled at the moment so we’re all looking for a beacon of hope. I choose to live my life in a world of wonder – I believe that art is the way. Art, I believe, is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness and everyday we need a little magic!  Who better to say this then Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli: “Here on the edge of what we know, in contrast with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world and it is BREATHTAKING!!”

You can view Donna’s “Mapping the Infinite” solo show online at www.propellerartgallery.ca from April 7 thru 25th, or in-person at the gallery located at 30 Abell Street (off Queen West,  just a few blocks east of Dufferin). Call ahead or email for gallery hours and capacity restrictions: 416-504-7142  |  info@propellerartgallery.ca   And to learn more about Donna, visit her at:  www.DonnaWiseArt.com

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!Chantilly Lace 60x60 acrylic on canvasIMG_1915

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30"
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

TORONTO’S SANDRA AINSLEY GALLERY INTRODUCES DALE CHIHULY’s STUNNING NEW GLASS EXHIBITION OCT. 24

Back in 2016, I was thrilled to see the exquisite glass masterpieces of famed artist DALE CHIHULY at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; I walked around gasping at each stunning, delicate piece, marveling at Chihuly’s skill and imagination. Huge colourful chandeliers & installations stood alongside elegant vases and festive orbs (see my pics below)…so much to see…but dare not touch! 20161227_140807 20161227_135446Four years later, I am once again thrilled to view the upcoming Chihuly exhibition at the famed Sandra Ainsley Gallery when I attend their virtual launch this coming Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24th. Here’s what I’ll be seeing (and you can, too, until January 24, 2021)

CHIHULY, an exhibition by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly, marks the gallery’s seventh exhibition with the artist. It will feature a selection of work that represents the breadth of the artist’s career in the thirty years since he met Sandra Ainsley, including Aquamarine Icicle Chandelier and Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (pictured below), two new works created specifically for the Sandra Ainsley Gallery. For the  first time in Canada, CHIHULY will exhibit his Light Drawings—vibrant compositions on acrylic panels which are intensified by interior illumination.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020 © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

This carefully curated exhibition will present pieces from the artist’s best-known series such as Baskets, which Chihuly started in 1977 as an experiment testing fire, gravity and centrifugal force; Chandeliers, reflective sculptures designed to mass and control colour on a grand scale; Persians, featured in many of Chihuly’s most dramatic and well-known installations; and Ikebana, assemblages of long stemmed flowers and leaves of glass set within large-scale vessels. Works from some of Chihuly’s most technically challenging series will also be included such as Jerusalem Cylinders, vessels adorned with large glass crystals which Chihuly created for his landmark exhibition Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, and Rotolo, dense coils of glass fused to a solid base that Chihuly developed in 2013.

CHIHULY will bring the viewer into the artist’s process and personal reflection through his Drawings (Works on Paper), Light Drawings, and the rarely shown Pilchuck Stumps. Drawings open a small window into the artistic process as Chihuly expresses his creative ideas on paper; Light Drawings are a reflection of Chihuly’s travels through Europe as a young man who marveled at the beauty of stained-glass windows and the power of natural light moving through them; and Pilchuck Stumps, glass vessels that were blown into wood and bark molds in 1992 and named for the Pilchuck Glass School which Chihuly co-founded in 1971.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

CHIHULY will open to the public with scheduled viewings due to anticipated public demand. Sandra Ainsley Gallery is following all the recommended Covid-19 protocols and restrictions. Follow the Sandra Ainsley Gallery website or social channels for the latest information. To schedule an opening day appointment or private viewing please contact Sandra Ainsley Gallery at 416-214-9490.

Sandra Ainsley Gallery is the only art gallery in Canada to represent Chihuly’s work. Visit sandraainsleygallery.com for the complete virtual exhibition. Lots of parking and easy to reach via TTC, I highly recommend an in-person visit to experience this master artist’s unique craft…just stand and look, take it all in and feel the emotions each artwork evokes.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

METAMORPHOSIS IMAGE FINAL

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS CENTENNIAL COLLEGE’s ANNUAL STUDENT SHOWCASE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Each year, Toronto’s Urban Gallery hosts Centennial College Studio Arts program’s 1st year students exhibition and with the current Covid-19 crisis hitting all the galleries and public art installation locations so hard, Urban decided to upload a Facebook “gallery” show for the students (follow them on Facebook.com/UrbanGalleryTO)  The works are hung on the gallery walls for anyone wishing a private viewing – contact them via www.UrbanGallery.cagallery gallery3Thanks to Lisa Binnie, MFA, FAS Program Coordinator and Professor in the Fine Arts Studio & Photography Programs, the students were able to organize this year’s show so that their works can be showcased online, building support for their future careers.  Metamorphosis is the theme of this year’s Fine Arts Studio student exhibition, and it will change the way you look at art!  Metamorphosis is not only the theme, but also describes the transformation these emerging artists will experience during the Centennial College fine art program, and continue throughout their lives. Below is a selection of the works on show (installation runs until March 28) so please visit the gallery’s Facebook page frequently to view the various paintings and multi-media works uploaded daily.RavenMaducdoc-Facade-2020 gallery5 CarreraChung_Coda-2020 copy LuZhang-Glow-2020 gallery6 gallery10 ChristaBellewang_Saprophyte-2020

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto, and is one of the city’s leading independent galleries offering artists catered opening and “meet the artist” receptions. If you have any questions or if you’d like booking information, please contact gallery director, Calvin Hambrook, at info@urbangallery.ca  Until social distancing or self-isolation concludes, Urban Gallery will continue running online gallery events for your safety and convenience.AnneKim_YouAreMore-2020 MYMYMY_Acceptance-OldSkin-2020 AleksandraRodneva-ThereStillWillBeLife-2020 RobertStephenson_Decisions-2020 SidiaAtabales-Schnitzler-Grandma-2020 WeijiaSu_HeartRebirth-2020 YuJunOh-MyInnerSide-2020Thank you for supporting Canada’s emerging artists!

20200206_155923

DORIS WAI, our lady of letters, launches solo show at URBAN GALLERY

BOTTLED FEELINGS is a project by artist Doris Wai to collect brief statements of personal feelings submitted online and anonymously from people around the world. These private thoughts are about life, parenthood, and secrets often too difficult to share. The artist then transcribes each feeling directly onto individual bottles with elements of calligraphy and hand lettering. Hosted at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East in Toronto, the show runs throughout February, closing on the 29th – yes, it’s a Leap Year!  Doris hosted a VIP reception last night, welcoming her family and friends as well as supporters who helped make her dream of a gallery show a reality.20200206_164234 20200206_164316(0) 20200206_160027

 

Doris Wai was born and raised in Toronto, and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design in illustration, but what she loves to draw most is letters. In 2014, she started her own business dedicated to the beauty of hand lettering, and has worked extensively in the wedding and event industry, design/branding/print work and has been featured on numerous magazines including Wedluxe, Mingle, and Uppercase. Her work has also been featured on TV shows like Cityline and The Social. She became a published author in 2017 with her book Extraordinary Hand Lettering teaching readers the tips, tricks and mindset behind lettering beyond paper, and has started a YouTube channel called The Lettering Lifestyle. thumbnail (2)As you enter the gallery, Doris has placed a thank-you notice to all who have supported her and helped finance this show (what a classy lady!) and as you walk around the gallery, you might just recognize feelings you yourself have experienced, or are an ongoing mental meme!20200206_160128 20200206_160614 20200206_160631One of the bottles carries a funny message…

Doris is hosting a special “meet the artist” reception on Saturday Feb. 22nd (2-5pm) and she looks forward to welcoming you to Urban Gallery…and to share some of your own “bottled feelings” with her. RSVP to attend: info@urbangallery.ca

invitation Feb 22

fansonstage-2

EXQUISITE EXHIBITION OF KABUKI & NOH FANS @ JAPAN FOUNDATION

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan lover and am never caught without my own beautifully designed fan to keep cool. My prized fan possession is one that Canada’s Grammy-nominated flutist, Ron Korb, brought back for me from Hiroshima where he performed at a memorial concert. It was so beautiful, covered with tiny origami cranes, that I had it framed (below).20200110_154553I couldn’t believe that I forgot to attend the spectacular exhibition of theatrical fans from Japan’s Noh and Kabuki theatre worlds at Toronto’s Japan Foundation located at 1 Bloor East (Royal Bank bldg) but after a reminder email, I dashed in today for a visit and boy, am I happy I did. Fans Onstage closes tomorrow Saturday Jan 11 so hurry hurry hurry!  Admission to the Foundation’s gallery is FREE.20200110_121738 20200110_121843 20200110_121804To quote the information found on their website:  Japan’s association with fans can be traced back to the Nara period (8th century) with the cypress fans made of wooden hinged strips, followed by the invention of paper folded fans in the Heian period (9th century).  As early as the late 10th century the paper folded fans, which differed from flat unfoldable fans, were exported from Japan to the Korean peninsula and China as luxury imports.  In the West, in ancient Egypt and Greece, there were records of folded fans, but the tradition of using fans died out during the Middle Ages.  Whereas in the East the new technique of making fans – the application of paper on both sides of the fan ribs – was brought from China to Japan at the beginning of the Muromachi period (early 14th century).  This new method of manufacture revolutionized the production and export of fans.  Through Portuguese and Dutch traders folding fans were spread out from Japan to the global market and other cultures.20200110_122019 20200110_122028 20200110_121724Paper folded fans have been widely used in people’s daily lives in Japan, but also in the ceremonies of religions and politics, and particularly most effectively in the performing arts.

Noh theatre, which originated in the 15th century, uses fans in the same symbolic way as its masks.  Noh actors are aiming on stage for some kind of unification of their souls with the spiritual being they find in the masks and fans.  Therefore, the treatment of the objects is as rigid as the actors’ own bodies in order to achieve internal energy flow.  The faces are covered by masks and the hands are often invisible, covered by the costume.  One can see the fans as the replacement of hands, but the performers keep their wrists immobile to create concentrated, abstract movements.  On the contrary, in Kabuki theatre – founded in the early 17th century – the actors’ wrists and arms are freely moving their fans.  In Kabuki, the external effects are established by fans, reflecting commoners’ aesthetics.  This is the opposite of the Noh theatre aesthetic which reflects Samurai warriors’ philosophy.  In Kabuki dance, performers turn their fans from front to back quickly, or create swaying waves, maneuvering their fans with their arms and wrists.  They even toss fans into the air and catch them.20200110_12210920200110_12210120200110_122138The difference of the internal versus external use of fans in Noh and Kabuki is physically evident in the proportion of the fans.  Noh theatre fans have a silhouette almost like an upside-down equilateral triangle, whereas Kabuki fans are wider horizontally.  In spite of these physical differences, one thing is common: they are all beautifully handcrafted.  In both Noh and Kabuki, fans are far beyond decoration or props.  They are the handheld splendours which can conjure universal imagery in the theatrical experience.20200110_12215620200110_122204For directions and times, visit the Japan Foundation’s website: www.jftor.org and remember – only 1 day left to see these magnificent works of art.20200110_122545

20191216_135553

Adventures in Scottsdale Old Town – Pt.I

Having had such a wonderful time there last spring, I decided to again visit the friendly Old Town Scottsdale as a Christmas/birthday gift to myself – and it was the bestest gift ever! Last time I stayed with my old Aussie mate, AJ, with whom I worked at a Toronto TV station back in 1999; this time I booked myself into the Holiday Inn Express Suites (pictured below) located close to all the tourist action and very affordable for an 8-day stay.20191218_113254 20191218_113219I took a late night flight out of Toronto and arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around midnight and after a 15 minute cab ride, checked in and slept until dawn, and this is what I saw when I pulled the drapes back in the morning…..sunshine,palm trees and the pool!!20191213_162438After a quick breakfast, my Day One adventures commenced…the hotel offers a courtesy van that takes you to and from whatever destination you request within a 3 mile radius and my first trip was straight into the touristy hub where I dropped in to say hello to Diana at the Scottsdale Jewels store where I previously purchased some great bling…I wonder if she would remember me?20191212_110646You betcha she remembered! What joy to be welcomed back with a big hug. Diana showed me lots of new fine pieces, native American handcrafted silver and gems and yes, I did quite a bit of shopping there including rings, earrings and even some mini Kachina dolls (currently sitting on my kitchen island bar, waiting to be located somewhere special along with some Navajo “fetishes” I picked up at the Gilbert Ortega Gallery).20191221_175325There’s so much to see, try on and buy at Scottsdale Jewels and Diana is always happy to give shoppers a tour of the turquoise, silver, coral, spiny oyster and even introduce you to the bears!20191212_110609 20191212_11115220191212_11061820191212_110604 20191212_111200Check out their website: www.scottsdalejewels.com and if you visit, tell Diana (and the bears) I said hi!

Next, it was down a couple of doors to the wonderful Mexican Imports souvenir store…so much fun & soooo much to see. Picked up a few souvenirs and the lovely ladies there remembered me from my previous visit. They have very affordable trinkets and nic-nacs. You can see more on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MexicanImports20191212_134155

Time for a sit down and a latte and I was thrilled to discover Barista Brothers, a modest little cafe & gelato shop run by fellow Aussie, Chase. When Aussies connect, it’s time for a real chin-wag (chat) about back home, what we miss food-wise, etc. and he was kind enough to let me sit and upload pics & posts to my social media…thanks, mate.20191212_140039More wandering around, checking out all the touristy stuff, before finding somewhere for a late lunch…20191212_142607 20191212_143223 20191212_142632…and lunch was fabulous at the kitschy but deelish Sugar Bowl diner- a legend for frugal foodies!20191212_144603 20191212_144834I had the turkey dinner special with all the fixin’s, thanks to recommendations from fellow tourists I met outside. Looked like something out of Happy Days…all pink vinyl banquettes and kitchen chairs – I definitely recommend a visit. www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com/

Once my hunger was sated, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for “Art Walk” in the evening – every Thursday during the cooler months, the gallery district hosts open galleries and artist studios, welcoming art lovers  with wine & cheese soirees, live music on the street and all sorts of “meet the artist” events. Oh my, there must be at least 50 indie galleries in a 3 or 4 block area, all offering contemporary and native American paintings, sculptures and stunning hand-crafted jewellery and silver work. So much to see and photograph, although the dark night and modest illuminations made it difficult to really capture the colour and energy of the event…but here goes:
20191212_193751 20191212_194757 20191212_201652I started at the Wilde Meyer gallery (below) where I had already purchased a miniature I saw online a couple of months back (see last pic in this series) – they have lots of beautiful works on display so join me on a photographic tour of their gallery:20191212_19221920191212_19234220191212_19231220191212_19251320191212_19270320191212_19253420191212_19245620191212_193248Thanks, Laura, for greeting me and wrapping up my darling little saguaro cactus painting for a safe trip home.  www.wildemeyer.com

I also loved visiting the R.C. Gorman gallery featuring the work of the late artist of the same name. And I fell hard for the local Navajo fine jewellery – I just had to buy a beautiful ring that kept calling my name! www.rcgormannavajogallery.com20191215_13503120191215_13495620191215_13501520191218_150712I must have spent nearly 3 hours wandering the streets that night, stopping to enjoy the music from artists such as Mike Randall pictured below doing his best Buddy Holly, along with his lovely lady in the most beautiful red & white poodle skirt.  www.comebackbuddy.com
20191212_190645 20191212_194518 20191212_193903Thanks to all the gallery owners & curators, artists and entertainers – I had a blast meeting you and dropping a few $s into the local economy, too!  Back to the hotel for a well-earned rest, all set for the next day’s adventures….

20191205_165806(0)

FRENCH POP ARTIST VIKKA CELEBRATES 1st CANADIAN SOLO SHOW AT TORONTO’S URBAN GALLERY

Although he was suffering a little jet-lag, French artist VIKKA came straight from the airport and walked through the doors of Urban Gallery last night to see his latest art project hanging on the walls…and it all looked great!20191205_161952 20191205_162024 20191205_180037The multi-disciplinary self-taught artist is showcasing his pop-art paintings, sculptures and photography in his first ever Canadian month-long solo show titled “In Memory of Witold and Max” – a visual tribute to his beloved grandfathers, both of whom were talented artists, too. He was joined by his sister, Bénédicte, who also assisted with translations, when necessary.20191205_170331

His colourful, surreal street art style canvases attracted a lot of attention last night and visitors marveled at the details and intricacies of each painting – you can stand there for half an hour and still discover new little embedded characters and features! 20191205_175951(0) 20191205_18000520191205_161937 20191205_162045There are a trio of paintings dedicated to 3 of his art heroes, Warhol, Basquiat (pictured above) and Haring; here the artists talks about these pieces, mostly in French but his passion transcends language!

Gallery Director Calvin Hambrook (below L) and Curator Allen Shugar (below R) were thrilled with the artwork which was shipped direct from France and only arrived earlier this week.20191205_172138In Memory of Witold & Max runs in Toronto now until December 28th – for directions and gallery hours, visit: www.UrbanGallery.ca  and to learn more about Vikka’s work, follow him on IG @vikkaartist20191205_180037 20191205_162127

 

20191003_143531

OSVALDO “OZZIE” NAPOLI OPENS HIS 2ND SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY (runs throughout October 2019)

Yesterday, Sat. Oct 5th, multi-media artist Osvaldo Napoli launched his latest solo show E-POQUE at Toronto’s Urban Gallery.  I spoke with Ozzie earlier in the week and he shared his thoughts and inspirations for his current works…

We walked around the gallery together as Ozzie told me the stories behind each piece….20191003_140159 20191003_140226 20191003_140352Across one wall, Ozzie showed me his collection of “smalls” – each incorporating computer & tech salvage into the artwork to tell the story of humanity intersecting with technology.

20191003_140356 20191003_140405 20191003_140636 20191003_140759…and one piece in particular, Ozzie told me, focuses on the issue of cyber-bullying and how technology impacts the young via social media.

Ozzie will be in the gallery every Saturday during October between 3-6pm to meet with art lovers and share his unique perspectives on technology and the human condition.  URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto www.UrbanGallery.caIMG_215420191003_140217 20191003_140242 20191003_140327

20190905_161809

URBAN GALLERY PRESENTS VAYA’s FIRST TORONTO SOLO SHOW THROUGHOUT SEPTEMBER ’19

Swiss-born painter, photographer and performance artist VAYA has her first solo show in Toronto, CHILD OF ROCK, at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, throughout the month of September. The opening reception took place Thurs. Sept. 5th and gallery visitors were thrilled to meet the charming and engaging artist in person and viewing her unique artworks that included large format B&W fashion photographs and paintings built upon underlying photographic images of the artist herself. 20190905_165758Pictured above: Vaya, 2nd from L, is joined by her husband as well as gallery director, Calvin Hambrook (L) and curator Allen Shugar (R)

The show also features a stunning portrait of pop culture idol, Jim Morrison, in an acrylic and oil print on textile… Vaya created a huge canvas especially for this show that takes up much of the gallery’s rear wall!20190905_161642An incisive & provocative artist, VAYA explores, mixes, meets and transcribes the darkness in the angels’ voices. An energetic claw on each canvas, VAYA dances as she works and often by candlelight to be closer to the imperceptible. “It’s always a discovery the next day in daylight.”

She also employs a camera to share her creativity, “A way of getting out of yourself and becoming your own observer is fun and fascinating”.  VAYA has fun, dances, writes prayers on the souls of her music legend subjects.  “I like to pay tribute to those who have suffered so much, laying some particles of peace over their restless souls – isn’t that the artist’s role? Transfigure suffering into masterpieces? 20190905_16165120190905_164658In her own words….meet Vaya:

20190905_172710 20190905_161827Local artist Jennifer Hossein was welcomed to the gallery by Calvin… (below)20190905_173002…and Allen welcomed first time visitors Maryam and her budding artist daughter Ayda (below)20190905_180359(0)Of course, everyone wanted to check out Vaya’s exquisite footwear which were works of art themselves!20190905_183035If you’d like to learn more about this exciting new (to Toronto) artist, you can join Vaya at the gallery this coming Thursday Sept. 19 (6-7pm) for a special live performance of her music, dance and art. RSVP to attend: info@urbangallery.ca

CHILD OF ROCK runs until September 28th @ Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.UrbanGallery.ca 20190905_164710