Category Archives: Art

20181215_154219

ARTIST & ARTUSIASM GALLERY OWNER TANZINA AMIN SHOWCASES HER PAINTINGS IN “MY ECLECTIC POTPOURRI” SOLO SHOW

I had the pleasure of attending yesterday’s launch of artist and galley owner TANZINA AMIN‘s end-of-year solo show My Eclectic Potpourri at Artusiasm Gallery on St Clair Ave West in Toronto. What a riot of colour and energy welcomed me when I walked through the doors….so many vibrant colours and bold brush strokes!20181215_154334 20181215_154614Since first putting paint brush to canvas, Tanzina’s style has changed dramatically and she included several pieces from earlier years to illustrate her journey as an artist. Just look at these stunning classic landscapes…20181215_154429 20181215_154437And then came this abstract expressionist landscape….20181215_154629…and finally she blossomed into an exciting abstract portrait artist resulting in these commanding faces:20181215_154322Tanzina expresses her sense of humour freely with this super fun doggy portrait. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted by this happy face every day…let’s go walkies?20181215_154451(0)

Meet the artist:

Tanzina is a Bangladeshi-Canadian artist in Toronto. Art has always been her passion as well as her retreat from the demands of everyday life. Having graduated in Architecture, Tanzina is drawn towards visual composition and balance. She is fascinated and inspired by colourful ethnic cultures and traditions. She loves forms which are powerful in their simplicity and embrace an abstract style. 20170616_194138Until three years ago, Tanzina had never shown her art in public. She began drawing and sketching on her own as a teenager, and eventually took two years of formal training in traditional oil painting with a renowned Bangladeshi artist in the mid 1980s. Eventually she had no more time for art as she focused on her education, family and career. She started painting again after a 23+ year break and found herself moving away from realism and traditional styles. She began exploring abstract expressionism, including taking a few courses. As Tanzina continued to study and learn, she became more and more intrigued with the versatility of abstract art, and how it can evoke impulse in the viewer to find their own path to interpretation.

Tanzina teaches art and conducts workshops and paint parties. She loves to create fun and innovative art workshops such as expressionist style pet portraiture and self portraits. Besides her busy career, her art, and her teaching, Tanzina also co-owns Artusiasm Gallery with her husband and biggest fan Carlos Rodrigues (pictured below at an earlier show).18056993_1918219221797435_3490818180837130716_nTo Tanzina, painting is meditative, therapeutic and expressive. It helps her be in the moment. She is continually modifying her style and techniques to find new ways of expressing herself. She loves to explore the realms of colour, texture and form. Tanzina hopes her art makes a personal connection with the viewer. (courtesy of www.tanzina.ca)

I loved this particular series of glamorous ladies (below)…20181215_154538 …and was incredibly moved when Tanzina presented me with my favourite piece (the one on the left) as a thank you for support given to Artusiasm’s shows over the past couple of years. I so related to this lady in the picture, ignoring the fab party going on behind her, just gazing out across the ocean, wineglass in hand with thoughts of future adventures and romances (I’m sure). Thank you so much, Tanzina, I am extremely honoured.20181215_155818So if you’re looking for an inspiring and fun experience over the month of December, visit Artusiasm Gallery, 1684 St Clair Ave West, Toronto. For gallery hours and directions:  www.artusiasm.com  48361603_10155820581946881_4886027977877356544_n

 

 

 

20181208_132350

VANESSA CUARTAS’ COLOURFUL HORSE PAINTINGS STAMPEDE INTO URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

URBAN GALLERY‘s artist for December 2018 offers up a whole herd of colourful, vibrant horses galloping across the gallery walls: VANESSA CUARTAS presents lively abstract equine portraits in her solo show BRIO that runs now until December 29th….a glorious exhibition on which to end the year!

Of Colombian heritage, Vanessa is originally from Miami, and now resides in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida with an emphasis on graphic design, later receiving an Art Direction Diploma from the Miami Ad School.  Throughout her school years and any personal time, Vanessa always found time to paint as much as she could, and rode her family’s horses regularly. She became passionate about the Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed and if you look carefully at her paintings, you can see their influence in the  conformation (stance) of each subject.20181208_132318 20181208_132234We spoke with Vanessa just before the gallery doors were opened and here is what she shared…

A designer by day and artist by night, her passion for painting has grown stronger in recent years. When she first moved to Toronto, she was without an established circle of friends and struggling to find an artistic focus so Vanessa decided to do what she loved most: paint horses. Her unique contemporary style has found an appreciative audience and her circle of friends has grown exponentially, many of whom attended the gallery on Vanessa’s opening day, Saturday Dec. 8th (below).20181208_15345720181208_145619 20181208_145604Her bold colorful BRIO series conveys movement and a lot of positive energy that attracts attention, even from the littlest art fans….20181208_152742Joining Vanessa at the opening were her husband, Mario (below R) and brother JP (below (L)20181208_132939And gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) joined Vanessa to celebrate her opening.20181208_135152If you love horses, you will LOVE this exhibition….20181208_132332 20181208_132959 20181208_141302_001…and within the first half-hour of her opening reception, Vanessa had already sold one piece, titled “The Journey”(below)20181208_142046

20181208_132149 20181208_132114 20181208_135547 20181208_135803If you missed the opening reception, you can come meet the artist Saturday Dec.15th (2pm to 4pm) and you can also visit the gallery weekdays and Saturdays throughout the month of December. Log on to www.UrbanGallery.ca for hours and directions – located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto.IMG_3165

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20181110_132645

TORONTO ARTIST JUDITH McKAY UNVEILS SOLO SHOW “HIRAETH” @ URBAN GALLERY

Running throughout the month of November, Hiraeth is thesolo show featuring stunning and colourful contemporary landscapes and “tree portraits” presented by JUDITH McKAY at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in downtown Toronto.20181110_132357The Toronto artist explores fantasy as a means of finding peace in a frenetic world. Trees are her allegory for the endless pursuits of modern life: rooted, yet branching out to reach the sky.20181110_132237

20181110_132301Largely self-taught, Judith’s style is free-flowing. She uses both thick impasto and fluid colour to achieve movement and boldness. Fearless about colour, she uses a vibrant palette, applying interference and iridescent paints to achieve surrealistic effects. Her style is constantly evolving via frequent participation in workshops and exhibitions, as well as studying the techniques of other artists.

Judith (below L) was joined by her husband Rob Sylvester (below R), and her daughter Shannon (below C) came in all the way from New Jersey to celebrate the big opening reception!20181110_134458The gallery looked bright and welcoming on such a grey Saturday – and soon the guests started pouring in, admiring all the canvases….20181110_144400 20181110_142700 20181110_141442

20181110_132308 20181110_132620 20181110_145817ARTIST’s STATEMENT: Hiraeth (here-eye-th) is a Celtic word that means a wistful longing for a place to where you cannot return. A place that perhaps never was. The desire for a sense of peace and belonging are emotions I seek to capture in my work. Such desire can often turn to frustration when the real world doesn’t live up to fantasy, and so I depict trees, firmly rooted yet dancing in the wind, to symbolize resiliency as we continue to seek our true home, despite adversity. For this exhibition, I chose a vibrant palette and the use of high gloss medium and reflective paints to create an ethereal effect, as if awakening from a beautiful dream that quickly evaporates and eludes us. The pieces selected for display are meant to truly express what Hiraeth means to me.   ~ Judith McKay

I had the opportunity of chatting briefly with Judith prior to opening the doors of the gallery and she kindly shared with me her process and inspirations, especially for this collection….

If you would like to see Judith’s gorgeous, lush paintings, visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions, and follow Judith on her Instagram account: @judithmckayart

Hiraeth runs now until Nov. 30th at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!20181110_132455

 

20181012_110746

EXPRESSIONS OF CHINA exhibition marks 48th Anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations

Today, October 13th, marks the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. Yesterday, I was honoured to attend the opening of a one-week cultural exhibition of contemporary paintings illustrating the famed 300 poems from the Tang Dynasty at the Robarts Library, Uni. of Toronto, thanks to the kind invitation from Justin Poy (The Justin Poy Agency), one of organizers along with the Inst. of Traditional Chinese Painting Creation & Research. 20181012_115950ABOVE LtoR: Jack Leong, Andre Schmid, Consul Jingjing Sai, Larry Alford, Justin Poy, Jerry Shi, Binghuang Shi

Justin, along with local dignitaries and visiting Chinese representatives, introduced the special celebratory installation of stunning traditional watercolour and ink illustrations created by 130 of China’s leading contemporary artists including Xiang Li, Hong Biao Liu, Hui Zhong Ren and Dong Fang Wang.20181012_110916 20181012_110906 20181012_110920The poems of romance, longing & passion were written in an ancient language and are extremely difficult to translate into English, something Justin, along with his Chinese collaborators, is trying to remedy with an upcoming book, perhaps in time for the 49th anniversary next year.  The beauty of the scrolls is undeniable and regardless of my lack of understanding of the language, the subjects exuded the thoughts and feelings behind each poem. 20181012_111101 20181012_111042 20181012_111623 20181012_111344(0)This delicate painting (below) in the softest of pastels and pinks caught my eye and I returned to it over and over again. I would love to know the meaning of the poem it illustrates as it obviously resonated with me on a subliminal level.20181012_111540_001So many beautiful scrolls decorated the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library on the 8th Floor so I hope you can visit over the next week and see for yourself.20181012_121122 20181012_121132 20181012_111412 20181012_111530EXPRESSIONS OF CHINA runs Oct. 12-19 at the Robarts Library (U of Toronto), 130 St George Street. Supported by the Art Committee of Chinese Artists Association.  For more information contact: 647-821-7050.20181012_111702

 

Invitation image FACADE by Osvaldo Napoli

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “FACADE”, THE FIRST SOLO SHOW BY OSVALDO NAPOLI

This past Saturday, Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY proudly introduced a new artist – OSVALDO (Ozzie) NAPOLI – whose solo show FAÇADE caused quite the stir with stunning wire sculptures and paintings.  Ozzie was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, migrated to Toronto in 1975 and now resides in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  He attended the Ontario College of Art & design (OCAD) in the 80’s and took courses in the Art Department at Central Technical School; he was also mentored by long-time friend and legendary Canadian bronze sculptor, Sorel Etrog.

Ozzie (R) with gallery curator Allen Shugar

Ozzie (R) with gallery curator Allen Shugar

I’ll let Ozzie tell you about his work in his own words…

Artist’s Statement: I am mainly self-taught and I express myself through sculpture and painting, and a combination of both disciplines. I’m taken by the three-dimensional world and the beauty of the human form and social condition. The inspiration behind all of my work is people in general and the intricacies of social behaviour. I am fascinated by the complexity of the human mind and the mysteries about how we all perceive reality.  I’m particularly interested in the superficialities that can be presented and at the same time considering what else might be there beyond appearances.  I use art as a platform to communicate with the world and examine the humanity within us. ~ Osvaldo Napoli20181006_142319 20181006_142936Ozzie welcomed many art loving friends and was interviewed by KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (pictured below with Ozzie).20181006_142855 20181006_142328Ozzie presented several large pieces and free standing sculptures as well as a series of smaller artworks comprised of wire, acrylic paint, modelling wax and other mediums that caught many an eye….20181006_150836 20181006_142235 20181006_152543…here are a few in close-up. 20181006_144813 20181006_144536 20181006_144804 20181006_144824 20181006_153659….. more examples of Ozzie’s unique and intricate metal work and molding – so much to see in each piece and each has a story behind it:20181006_144657 20181006_144708 20181006_142245 20181006_143448 20181006_143455And even more free-standing figures (below)…plus one of the gallery visitors looking eye-to-eye with one mysterious metallic creature:20181006_142254 20181006_14244920181006_153407Not only did gallery visitors love looking at all the artwork, they were also thrilled to pose with the artist!20181006_150845 20181006_153302(0) 20181006_150703Below, Ozzie’s wife, France (below, centre) with family friends who dropped in to cheer on Ozzie at his first ever solo show.20181006_15324620181006_154300 If you’re weren’t able to attend the opening reception, Ozzie will be present in the gallery on 3 additional dates:
Meet the artist: Saturday Oct. 13 • 2pm to 4pm
2nd Reception: Saturday Oct. 20 • 3pm to 6pm
Meet the artist Pt II: Saturday Oct. 27 • 2pm to 4pm

FAÇADE, Solo exhibition by OSVALDO NAPOLI runs October 4 to October 27, 2018 atUG-Letterhead-BCAnd here is Ozzie’s tribute in bronze to his long-time friend and mentor, Sorel Etrog:20181006_142239

20180906_165643

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS OPENING RECEPTION FOR GRACE DAM’s SOLO SHOW “SEX LOVE LIES”

Toronto-based artist GRACE DAM (pictured below) has been a frequent exhibitor at URBAN GALLERY – her landscapes have garnered high praise in a number of previous group & solo shows, and in SEX LOVE LIES, Grace explores her figurative as well as abstract inspirations with a series of large canvases on show at the gallery until September 29th (400 Queen St East, Toronto).20180906_165439Grace graduated from Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto with a degree in Fine Arts, minor in Photography. Her time is split between Toronto, where she researches and produces works, and the rugged Rocky Mountains in Western Canada where gigantic peaks, serene lakes and wildlife provide refuge and inspiration to her.  She paints everything and anything that moves her; most of her works convey messages, be they personal, social or political, her views imply quietly.   20180906_16400820180906_164059One of the most complex things in life is the interaction or connection to others around us. Something we can observe but never quite control. My figurative works reflect aspects of the complication in the communication between human beings. Certain looks, even a smile or a passing raising of the eyebrows can imprint in our memory that precise moment like a never fading recorded tape. ~ Grace DamTHE COMFORTABLE SOFA oil on canvas by Grace Dam 20180906_164048My personal favourite has to be “The Paper” 48″ x 48″ oil on canvas (pictured below with the artist) illustrating the angst and pain felt by the man upon reading the message on the paper. Grace’s treatment of the sweater and pants fabrics is quite wonderful…you can almost reach out and feel the textures….20180906_165424Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering was artful and very much in keeping with Grace’s work.20180906_165747 20180906_165811I encourage you to visit the gallery in person to enjoy the provocative figurative canvases as well as the boldly coloured abstracts…..20180906_164328 20180906_164845 20180906_165933_001The exhibition runs until September 29th – details, gallery hours & directions: www.urbangallery.ca20180906_165615

20180811_140020

URBAN GALLERY OPENS THEIR DELICIOUS “ART OF FOOD” GROUP SHOW

Be prepared to leave hungry when you visit URBAN GALLERY‘s yummy “ART OF FOOD” group show that runs throughout August. The paintings are simply delicious with works featuring both sweet and savory images and some that are even thought-provoking such as Judy Sherman‘s collection of farmyard beasties striking back against their potential farm-to-plate future (below)20180811_134718

20180811_142825Anushka Deshpande‘s art is called “quilling” which is sculpting and rolling paper to create stunning representations of her subjects, like these (I love the tropical cocktail).20180811_135307 20180811_140336 20180811_140257Anushka is pictured above (centre) with (L to R) her husband, a friend, Calvin Hambrook (gallery director) and Allen Shugar (gallery curator).

Lisa Hemeon is best known for her evocative seascapes and you can imagine all the fishies swimming just under the surface, waiting for lines to be cast with big juicy baits. Look closely and imagine dinner just below Lisa’s waves…20180811_134803

Aisha Chiguichon brought wine…or at least a lovely painting of wine…to go with the colourful forks skewering treats for gallery visitors! Aisha is a self-taught visual artist and it’s obvious she delights in her inspirations for this show.20180811_134505URBAN SOURCE CATERING partnered with the gallery to present some real “art” of food – just look at this delicious spread for gallery visitors to enjoy and admire, prepared by executive chef Lyndon Wiebe.20180811_135017 20180811_135035 20180811_13504920180811_135029One of Urban Catering’s previous employees, Valerie J. McMurray, is also an artist of some note. Here is her triptych titled “Spanish Lemons” – you can almost smell the fragrance emanating from her juicy, ripe fruit.20180811_134559Janna Kroupko has previously exhibited at Urban Gallery, both in group and solo shows. Here, her delightful “Cherries” sits elegantly above the buffet table. She’s also an accomplished textile artist and weaver.20180811_134631 CHERRIES 12_ x 12_ oil on canvas by Janna KroupkoUrban Catering’s chef, Lyndon Wiebe, loves photography as well as food and has previously exhibited his photos from tours around the world (Lyndon is one of the chefs featured in the tv series “Chefs Run Wild”). Here he shares a couple of his storefront photos…20180811_134642Popular Toronto artist Kirk Sutherland brought three distinctly different artworks to the show, all featuring his signature colourful imaginative energy.  With titles such as Theatre of Saccharine and Confectionery Planetarium, Kirk’s work fits perfectly into this group show.20180811_134651 20180811_152632Even NEWZ4U editor KJ Mullins was entranced by Kirk’s work! (below)20180811_134709Gallery visitors enjoyed the art, the food and the chance to meet and chat with so many artists…20180811_135621 20180811_145430 20180811_140038ART OF FOOD runs until August 31st at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto (1 block E of Parliament). For directions and gallery hours visit:  www.urbangallery.ca

20180707_142424

GO WILD! Toronto’s Urban Gallery unveils July’s group show “Wild in the City”

Yesterday, Saturday July 7, URBAN GALLERY 400 Queen St East in Toronto was packed with guests to celebrate the opening of their month-long group show, Wild in the City. Featured artists include Erik Chong, Libby Sims and Osvaldo Napoli who were in attendance, plus works from Lindsey MacKay who was unable to attend in person – she resides in Fredericton, NB. Take a virtual walk thru the gallery with me now…

The gallery filled up quickly once the doors opened at 2pm and lots of ooo’s and aaah’s were heard as visitors discovered the stunning and provocative paintings and sculptures.  Erick Chong (below) has exhibited at Urban several times over the past 4 or 5 years and for this show, he brought a whole new style and theme to the show.20180707_133652Erik has several videos showcasing his unique style and technique – get to know this artist here:

I’ve followed Libby Sims‘ work for sometime – she creates beautiful abstract florals in bold colours and strokes, along with other subjects and shapes. A mature artist, Libby has studied abroad and has developed her distinct style that is instantly recognizable. 20180707_134058 20180707_131749Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli (below) is another mature artist although he is relatively new to the mainstream Toronto arts scene.  His wire sculptures and large format multi-medium artworks create quite the statement and Ozzie’s fans turned out in force to see his latest work.20180707_13374520180707_131707The fourth artist feature in Wild in the CityLindsey MacKay, was unable to attend in person – she resides on the East Coast. But her art spoke loudly for her, featuring people, places and activities found around the city. I personally love the wild eyed seagull featured in her “You Lookin’ at Me?” painting (below).20180707_131836And I like Lindsey’s “In the Moment” painting (below) – reminds me of Toronto’s “Salsa on St Clair” – this weekend’s annual street fair of dancing and Latin culture.20180707_131840So many interesting and thought-provoking images to enjoy, I hope you get a chance to drop by Urban Gallery this month to see Wild in the City yourself.  For gallery hours and directions, visit:  www.urbangallery.ca

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “PROUD ART” GROUP SHOW CELEBRATING 2018’s PRIDE MONTH!

This past Saturday (June 9), Toronto’s leading indie gallery, URBAN GALLERY, launched their annual Pride group show celebrating the talented artists, friends and families from the local LGBTQ community.  Featuring the works of Hank Blondeau, Jean Fode, Jeffrey Mason and Vanessa Storoniak, the gallery soon filled with enthusiastic visitors and art collectors.20180609_150750I had the opportunity of chatting with the artists who shared their own stories of artistic inspiration with me via video interviews. First up is Hank Blondeau ….20180609_134030

20180609_133958 20180609_134104Sailors Delight Morning H BlondeauI then spoke with Jean Fode who discovered art and her creativity later in life and who is now enjoying the art of collage.20180609_134401

20180609_151003 20180609_134411Jeffrey Mason has a unique take on the world and his humorous portraits of politi-cats definitely provoke conversation as well as laughs!20180609_145927

FourHousecatsApocalypse Holy Ghost Machine20180609_135535(0)Vanessa Storoniak (below) brought in her large acrylic-on-canvas geometric abstracts which, to me, look like glorious flowers in a series of beautiful colour palettes. Vanessa was a little shy about a video interview but she certainly had lots of fans loving her work….20180609_133704 20180609_151251 4_Sunrise 6_MagnoliaOther artists came out to support our “fab four” including Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below). Erik will be featured in next month’s group show “Wild in the City”.20180609_145814Sculptor Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli and his wife France (pictured below with gallery director Calvin Hambrook – at right) also popped in to say hello. Ozzie, too, will be featured in July’s “Wild in the City” group show.20180609_145852Gallery visitors enjoyed the schmoozing and there were lots of engaged conversations as each artist talked about their work. Congratulations to all four artists and we’re sure there will soon be lots of red dots (sales) popping up over the next few weeks! See below for gallery directions & show info….20180609_15384520180609_15505820180609_135607 20180609_150742 20180609_145913 20180609_145930

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PROUD ART runs until June 30th.  Visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “WOMEN AT WORK” SHOW FOR SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY has become known for showcasing exciting and unique multi-media artworks in their monthly exhibitions, and for May, they present 4 outstanding photographers as part of this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.  In their “Women at Work” show, Urban features images of women going about their work-a-day lives, be it as horse grooms, boxers, ballerinas, mothers, fashionistas….and the photos are simply gorgeous.20180505_141503Dorothy Chiotti (below) is a horse-lover as well as photographer and her images of barn life illustrate the exhausting round-the-clock life of caring for our 4-legged friends. Apart from simply exhibiting her work here, Dorothy is donating 10% from sales of her work to Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue of Hagarsville so please choose your fave photo and know that your purchase will help support the great work Whispering Hearts does for abused and abandoned equines. Bravo, Dorothy!

And here are some of Dorothy’s photos…Chiotta 2 Chiotti 4 Chiotti 6I next spoke with Wally Jay Parker – this is her very first time exhibiting her work publicly and she was so excited!

…and big CONGRATULATIONS as one of Wally Jay’s photos was the first to be sold at yesterday’s opening reception!! 20180505_135247_001 _MG_0424 THE-PLACE-MY-VOICE-IS-HEARD-by-WJ-Parker-at-URBAN-GALLERY.-975x650Digital & analogue photographer and collage artist Erin McGean joined me next for a quick chat…

…and two of her works were next to sell at the opening party. Congrats, Erin. Her family was there, too, and showed off their favourite picture of mum’s (bottom)BE FEMININE by Erin McGean20180505_135110 20180505_142251The only male photographer in the show, Lyndon Wiebe, is a well traveled photographer as well as celebrity chef. Lyndon and 2 of his chef pals traveled the world for the popular “Chefs Run Wild” tv show. Lyndon is also the executive chef for Urban Source Catering (the gallery’s yummy caterer for all their opening receptions). Lyndon is bashful when it comes to video interviews but I managed to grab a few quick photos of him (below), including one of him with the subject of his charming ballerina photos.20180505_14201720180505_14050120180505_140455 20180505_140514 20180505_142500 20180505_140523There were lots of family and friends who came out to show support for the artists and the gallery was humming with positive comments and kudos from all…20180505_141450 20180505_144543…even Erin and Dorothy exchanged artistic visions (below)20180505_142326KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (below left) checked in at the door with gallery hostess Kellyyes, you’re on the guest list!20180505_141847“Women at Work” runs throughout May as part of the city-wide CONTACT fest so do come down and support your local photographic artists.  Check the gallery’s website for hours & directions:  www.urbangallery.ca CONTACT May