Category Archives: Design and decor

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ALLEN SHUGAR OPENS HIS SOLO SHOW AT URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Usually the curator for other artists’ shows, ALLEN SHUGAR was proud to present his own work at Urban Gallery (400 Queen East, Toronto) last night for the opening of his month-long show titled SHIFTING LIGHT. Allen is joined here by gallery director, Calvin Hambrook (below L) in front of his title artwork (lower photo)20170907_164910(0) AllenShugar_SHIFTING_LIGHT400Each stunning piece illustrates how light shifts when viewing from different vantage points and I particularly liked the play of light on leaves in this painting (below) appropriately titled “Goldleaf”.20170907_164502In fact, lots of gallery visitors loved these works – within half an hour of opening the gallery doors, the room was packed with Allen’s friends, family and fans.20170907_180622 20170907_175316I managed to grab Allen for a quick interview before the party was in full swing and asked him about his show….

As you can tell, Allen is very passionate about art, the painter’s process and working as the curator for Urban Gallery. Below, Allen greeted many friends who came out to support him…20170907_19082220170907_173655….and several fellow artists dropped by including Grace Dam (below) whose shows Allen has previously curated…20170907_182305…and Romi Samuels (below) who hopes to bring a show of her work to the gallery in the near future.20170907_184401Here’s award-winning artist Erik Chong (below with his wife, Jeannette) whose shows Allen has also curated over the past few years.20170907_191308Allen showcased 3 smaller framed pieces (reverse painting on glass) and my favourite one was quickly snapped up by this lovely lady.20170907_191204 20170907_164314So many gorgeous pieces…you must visit the gallery to see for yourself!20170907_184325 20170907_170622 20170907_171732And of course, the refreshments were works of art, too, courtesy of Urban Source Catering20170907_164657 20170907_165202(0)

Artist statement:
Colour, light, the cycles of nature (so extreme in our climate), the beauty of the human form – these are the subjects that inspire my paintings. Naturalistic representation has never much interested me. I take, rather, a transformative approach that seeks to capture a purely subjective experience, a state of mind, an evanescent thought. In this respect, my work owes as much to musical and literary influences as it does to visual stimuli. My aim is to suggest the extraordinary that lies just beneath the surface of the ordinary.  – Allen Shugar

SHIFTING LIGHT – Paintings by Allen Shugar
Exhibition dates: September 7 to September 30, 2017
Gallery hours & directions:   www.UrbanGallery.caSTILLNESS oil on canvas Allen Shugar

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MEET HANNA KOSTANSKI, URBAN GALLERY’S ARTIST OF THE MONTH!

Last night, Toronto’s coolest indie art venue, URBAN GALLERY, hosted the opening reception for HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work is inspired by vintage photographs of our city from years gone by, found in the City of Toronto Archives.  With permission from the Archives, Hanna has recreated well-known intersections and streetscapes from the early 1900’s through to the 1980’s, adding colour and movement to the imagery, bringing the scenes to life.  Her show, 20th Century Toronto: Intersections & Interactions, runs until August 26th at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) and I strongly recommend you visit in person to see if you recognize each of the locations she’s painted. Betcha you’ll be amazed to see how our city has changed!

About the artist:  Hanna was born in Szczecin, Poland, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2007 and currently resides in Hamilton and works in Toronto. Her work can be found in dozens of private and public collections in both cities.Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on board(Above) Yonge and Dundas, 1978 Acrylic on Wood 30″ x 60″ by Hanna Kostanski
From City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 92, Item 49 • Original Photograph by Harvey R. Naylor

Artist Statement:   For nearly a decade my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton and Detroit. I have always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist.

My current body of work continues to explore the connection between people and their environment, but with a focus on historical representations of that relationship.  To that end, I have been working on a series of paintings based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and are nostalgic of the city as it used to be. They celebrate the many past incarnations of Toronto, the vibrant intersections of the city and the interactions of its people.  Hanna Kostanski (2017)

The gallery was quickly crowded with fans of Hanna’s work which has recently garnered some exciting media attention – even Toronto Mayor John Tory has weighed in on Twitter about Hanna’s ability to capture a sense of time and place with her large format paintings.20170803_18202620170803_17482220170803_17564020170803_16431220170803_164228Two of Hanna’s BFF’s came to support her and found a familiar sight in this painting (below) of Yonge Street between Queen & Dundas! 20170803_171702 20170803_173123I think this fellow (above) must work on Bay Street – he appears to be looking for the location where his office now sits and explaining the old geography to his lovely companion.20170803_173228 20170803_180704Hanna welcome many of her friends and fans (above), all of whom seemed eager to see her newest paintings.

Fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) looks like she’s calling a cab from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas…LOL20170803_172148Amidst the hub-bub of the busy gallery, I managed to grab Hanna for a quick chat about her work…

Hanna is also offering fine prints for those who don’t have the space for the original BIG paintings…here’s a happy art-lovin’ family who purchased 2 prints of their favourite paintings….20170803_173528(0)Here’s Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (they always present the most deelish treats for gallery openings!!) with KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca, a Toronto-centric e-newspaper who really liked Hanna’s work.20170803_173304If you would like to come and play “spot the street” with Hanna’s work, please visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions.  You can also follow Hanna on social media via her own website: www.hannakostanski.com

 

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Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!

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NANCY BENNETT TELLS HOW SHE WALKED AWAY FROM THE 9 TO 5 LIFE TO EMBRACE HER INNER ARTIST

When I first came to Toronto in the late 70’s, I fulfilled my parents’ dream of a safe and secure life with an office job (dull…urgh!) which, thankfully, I walked away from in ’79 for a life in showbiz when I landed my first audition, the role of Magenta in the Toronto theatrical production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! which obviously became my parents’ nightmare…LOL!  I had been doing my 9 to 5 work at a renowned investment house called Wood Gundy, where I first met Nancy Bennett who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was also struggling with her own office vs. arts dilemma.

Skip ahead a few decades and one day I encounter the same Nancy Bennett at an art show exhibiting her fabulous vibrant work – we’ve been playing catch up ever since.

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto's Riverdale Artwalk

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto’s Riverdale Artwalk

I was thrilled to hear of her journey since I last saw her when we used to share office gossip at our favourite after-work cocktail lounge; she has since left her busy career in the financial sector to devote her life to creating art full-time.  After securing her house, buying a dog and having a baby (whew, I’m exhausted even listing those), Nancy turned to her first love, painting, in 2008 when global finances took a very hard knock, impacting her career as well as most of those working on Bay Street.  As Nancy tells it….“I first started collecting works by local artists as an antidote to my work life which had become increasingly toxic…then I began painting again.”

After being laid-off from her day job in 2013, Nancy immediately began painting full-time; her first show “Kiss the Sky” at the Women’s Art Association of Canada, featured paintings of skyscapes using a knife, brush and rollers on canvas and wood, in both large and small formats. It took a couple of years and a deep “Group of Seven” phase for her to cultivate a style that feels natural – layered knife paintings on large wood panels. I recently visited Nancy’s studio and saw this new piece (below) that’s still in the early stages – she showed me how she layers her work… 20170721_105045

“My paintings combine skyscapes, which are universal, and landscapes, which are specific to each location. I’m passionate about sharing the appreciation for my urban home setting and emphasizing that we’re all under the same sky – a commonality that helps us talk and create art together. The sky is a constant in all our lives and is a source of unity, calm and wonder as well a source of endless variety. Through my work I encourage people to look up and know they are not alone.”

Nancy continues….”I paint with oil paints on wood. Through these materials, I feel a connection to the history of my craft. In the current world of social media, the relationships and communication are real but have a fairy-like quality, flitting around the edge of “real life” and fading away completely if not nurtured. All the new media art tools today have evolved through the work of artists over centuries. The textures of different paints are an inspiration for the hundreds of filters available on Instagram. My passion with oil painting is a homage to traditional creation and its interaction in the digital space is my acceptance to our technological evolution.”20170721_105005

In 2015, Nancy co-founded the Four Corners Studio Collective, a Toronto based group of four emerging artists working together, learning from each other’s skills and experiences and supporting growth in their respective careers.  That same year, she curated #TwitterFirstFriday, a monthly art show conducted on the social media platform.  The goals were to encourage networking between artists around the world and promote art through sharing across multiple networks. Throughout 2015, on the first Friday of each month Nancy gathered works posted by artists, evaluated them for suitability and adherence to the show’s rules and shared with an online community.

Nancy is a member of The Artists’ Network, CARFAC and the Akin Collective, and in 2017, she began volunteering at Art Heart, an arts program for vulnerable adults.

“I’m a social artist. I thrive in a community, share studio space and have an active online following on social media. Through my paintings, I bring the extended community into my world and transfer my physical space into their digital one. I share my views, interpretations and feelings as I work through a piece. I encourage my online community to observe their own surroundings with an artist’s eye and get involved in my work. I appreciate when they send me photos of scenes that inspire them or remind them of my work. Through this give-and-take, my audience is with me throughout as an active component of my process in addition to being a passive audience to the final piece.”17634397_1444251605608964_2311017889669336969_nUPCOMING SHOWS
August 2017 – Solo exhibit, Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto
August 18- 20 2017 –  ArtWalk in the Square at Shops @ Don Mills, Booth #24.
February 2018 – The Artist Project, Exhibition Place, Toronto

You can follow Nancy on Facebook.com/NancyBennettArts or visit her website: www.nancybennett.ca14390924_1241314049236055_5450160895757346700_nAnd if you see Nancy at any of her upcoming shows, stop in to her booth, say hi and learn more about this multi-talented woman who (finally) got to follow her dreams….

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TORONTO’S SANDRA AINSLEY GALLERY IS AN ART-GLASS LOVERS’ HAVEN!

I was visiting my artist friend Nancy Bennett’s studio this morning and noticed that one of the art gallery’s I’ve been meaning to visit was in the same building. Over the past few years, I’ve developed a passion for colourful contemporary art glass, fueled mainly by the stunning works of Dale Chihuly (you can read my blog about his exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum last year) but also my love of mid-century modern Scandinavian glass which I collected myself back in the 70’s. But today, I entered art glass heaven when I walked through the door of the SANDRA AINSLEY GALLERY located near Bermondsey and Victoria Park. My jaw literally dropped open as my eyes slowly focused on the massive space displaying some of the most incredible glass sculptures I’d ever seen.20170721_112305 20170721_110847 20170721_111022Where do I start? Well first off, the giant Chihuly sculptures suspended from the 22ft high ceilings were awe-inspiring…20170721_110722 20170721_110823…some of his giant “bowls” were so tactile, it took all my strength of character (and good manners) NOT to reach out and touch ’em!20170721_11074620170721_11113020170721_110756But it was the work of legendary Murano glass master LINO TAGLIAPIETRA that particularly grabbed my eyes and my soul! And here’s why….20170721_110836 20170721_110925 20170721_110949 20170721_112734Charming and knowledgeable gallery assistant, Daniel, kindly gave me Maestro Lino’s background that I’d like to share with you here:

Lino Tagliapietra’s career is defined by a dedication to workmanship, innovation, and collaboration. Born in 1934 on the renowned glass-blowing island of Murano, Italy, Tagliapietra began his apprenticeship at age 11 with Muranese master Archimede Seguso from whom Tagliapietra achieved the status of Maestro Vetraio by the age of 21. For over forty-two years, Lino worked in various for-profit Murano factories including Vetreria Galliano Ferro, Venini & Co., and finally as the Artistic and Technical Director of Effetre International (1976-1989). Tagliapietra has been an independent artist since 1989, exhibiting in museums around the globe, receiving countless honors, openly sharing his far-reaching knowledge of the medium and his skill as one of its finest practitioners, and helping to create a new renaissance in studio glassmaking. As James Yood, adjunct professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and regular contributor to GLASS magazine wrote, “there are probably no two words more respected and honored in the history of modern sculpture in glass than ‘Lino Tagliapietra’; he is the living bridge, the crucial link between the august history of Venetian glass and the ceaseless wonders of what today we call the modern Studio Glass Movement”.Lino Tagliapietra Working ImageOf the influences on Lino Tagliapietra glass art work, one of the most profound was his participation in La Scuola Internazionale del Vetro symposia, held in Murano in the 1970s, which brought the finest Muranese masters together with artists from other disciplines around the world. Today, Lino Tagliapietra has established himself as one of the greatest glass artists of all time. Tagliapietra-blown glass works are in the collections of many major glass museums throughout the world and are sought after avidly by collectors of glass art. Some of the public collections which include Lino Tagliapietra blown glass sculpture are the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, the Corning Museum in New York, the Hokkaido Museum of Moder Art in Japan; The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, The Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Tokyo National Modern Art Museum and the Victora and Albert Museum in London.

As Daniel told me, although he’s not physically blowing the glass himself anymore, the master oversees all the work done in his studio and continues to create exquisite glass masterworks that should be collected NOW.

Another gorgeous installation is this one (below) by Philip Baldwin & Monica Guggisberg. I really liked their muted colour palette and sensual shapes. Again, I had to force myself to keep my hands by my side!! Being an Aussie, of course I fell in love with this massive cockatoo painting (below). Back home in the outback, cockatoos and budgies fly in huge flocks of thousands of birds so this piece made me a little homesick.20170721_111420I really liked these unusual glass bowls (below + header photo) by Shay Salehi20170721_111949…and also the clay sculptures (below) by current featured exhibitor Susan Collette whose show runs until July 29th. 20170721_110540 20170721_110618 20170721_110632There are so many more astounding pieces that you can look at, walk around, stand in front of and stare in wonder at…..20170721_113032 20170721_112806 20170721_112645 20170721_111141 20170721_111223 20170721_111236…that you’ll need to take a packed lunch as you’ll want to spend a long long time absorbing the colours, the textures, the shapes.

You can learn more about the current exhibitions and the talented artists regularly represented by visiting: www.sandraainsleygallery.com  But of course, visiting the gallery in person is so much better.WhiteSAGLogoAlignedHighQuality20170721_111542 20170721_111716 20170721_111731

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URBAN GALLERY CELEBRATES CANADA150 WITH STUNNING GROUP SHOW “O CANADA”

Yesterday, URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) opened the doors to officially launch their summer group show O CANADA (runs until July 29), featuring 17 Canadian artists with diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic styles whose individual visions of Canada celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary. Come take a virtual walk with me thru the gallery….

The stunning image by Erik Chong features the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem in all three official languages and Erik posed proudly in front of his painting, “Beautiful Day” (below)20170708_141459Celebrated wildlife photographer Linda Langerak has 3 gorgeous photos of BC creatures in the show (below) – I love the bald eagles…20170708_141140Kirk Sutherland created the frame around his “Terra Nova” painting from found architectural salvage featuring maple leaf designs. How clever is that?20170708_150459Caught this cool shot and realized afterwards that it was all about the stripes….LOL!20170708_150006Pauline Langmaid (below) drove in all the way from Bracebridge to showcase her glorious abstract landscapes…or should I say “lake-scapes”? 20170708_142055Pauline’s two paintings proved very popular with gallery visitors…20170708_160719 20170708_145939Another popular image was celebrity chef & photographer Lyndon Wiebe‘s photo of a windswept view of Port Hope (below). Lyndon brought out an extended print showing more of the scene – located to the west of the town where housing development meets grassland.  20170708_144818(0) 20170708_161500Film industry professional and accomplished photographic artist Karen Silver chose a chilly winter scene of a Toronto park and a lonely bicycle. Now that’s one seat I would not like to sit on…LOL!20170708_142229Kris Bovenizer (below centre) talks with a guest about her two acrylic on canvas works…the sea-faring image on the left is now a label on bottles of a limited edition maple syrup bottled for a Canadian business leader (as Canada150 corporate gifts for his clients). How cool..and congrats to Kris. 20170708_151736And Kris posed with fellow artist Kirk Sutherland and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below)20170708_144136Manije Sabet Sarvestani (below) brought two oil-on-canvas works: “Canada Day in Quebec City” (on left) and “Thornhill Festival” (on right). The soft-spoken artist let her work do all the talking and these certainly announced her talent loudly!20170708_145703Kent Bridges was the first artist to score a “red dot” (a sale) for his “Life in a Northern Town”. Here he is (below left in red) with purchaser and fan David Currah of Toronto’s Fife House. Congrats to Kent who was all smiles as he celebrated the sale.20170708_140935 20170708_145308Ronald Regamey uses a technique known as “quilling” to create beautiful 3 dimensional paper & glue artwork. Here’s Ronald being snapped by Calvin in front of his latest piece titled “Alive”.20170708_145416(0) 20170708_145438…Ronald had a number of family and friends congratulating him on his gallery appearance – they were so animated and excited it was hard to get them all to stand still for a photo…LOL20170708_150035Gallery curator Allen Shugar and poet/artist Brenda Clews also met under Ronald’s work….20170708_150050…while Linda Langerak snapped away with Kirk (below)20170708_150521The delicious food was catered by Urban Source Catering and the platters were themselves works of art.20170708_141011 20170708_140959Colin Nun (below left) who recently had his own successful solo show at Urban Gallery, shares his thoughts on his work “Canada” with KJ Mullins (below R) editor of NEWZ4U.ca20170708_152712In fact, a lot of guests remarked on the uniqueness of Colin’s oil-on-canvas typographical and topographical view of the country.20170708_141116Snapd newspaper photographer Gianmarco dropped by to cover the event and got busy snapping the artists…20170708_153729 20170708_153539I managed to grab a quick pic of Joan Andal Romano with her “True North” mixed media on canvas. So many intricate details to view, it must have taken her many hours to create.20170708_15425920170708_140749Several artists were unable to attend, 3 delivered beautiful Canadian landscapes – Stacey Kinder‘s “Light” featuring a stand of trees in the fall, Christine Marin‘s “On Bear Trap Road” (2nd pic) and Grace Dam‘s snowy “Canmore” (3rd pic)….20170708_140802 20170708_145552Dam CANADIAN ICONS -CANMORE ALBERTA 48w x 60h oil on canvas..and Aisha Chiguichon was represented by this provocative acrylic on canvas titled “Stereotypes”CHIGUICHON StereotypesVictoria General attended but the shy artist preferred to let her work take centre stage and declined a photo. Victoria works in charcoal on paper – here are “We Need a Bit More Sand, I Think” (upper) and “I’ll Have to Call You Back” (lower).20170708_151807The reception drew many art lovers and more red dots should be appearing alongside these Canada150 artful tributes. I hope you get a chance to visit in person and support the talented artists at Urban Gallery.20170708_144203 20170708_150135 20170708_150423

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca20170708_155624

Urban Gallery is also available for rental if you wish to host your corporate or private party, reception or even a sit-down dinner with delicious food & refreshments courtesy of Urban Source Catering. Visit the website for details.

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ARTUSIASM ART GALLERY OPENS “SUMMERFEST 2017″ GROUP SHOW IN TORONTO

How nice to walk into an art gallery and be met with such warmth and welcoming hospitality – artist Tanzina Amin and her husband Carlos Sa Rodrigues of ARTUSIASM GALLERY located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto, were the perfect hosts last night as they opened their “Summerfest 2017″ group show featuring works by local artists in multiple mediums.20170616_192040 20170616_192439 20170616_191829I was pleased to introduce fellow gallery owner and artist Lola Livingston of Stockyards Gallery to Tanzina and Carlos, who welcomed the opportunity of sharing “stories from the trenches” of operating an art gallery in the city. Here’s Lola (pictured below L) with Tanzina and Carlos…all smiles as they celebrate another successful opening!20170616_192609 20170616_192552I love Tanzina’s bold abstract portraits…she works with a bright and colourful palette and I would love to add one of these stunning paintings to my own modest collection.20170616_194138 20170616_194151 20170616_194156I spied so many more exciting works….there was a style and technique for every taste and I hope to see lots of “red dots” denoting sales when I visit again. Check out these delicate watercolours (below) and the florals, too.20170616_192017

Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall

Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall

Peach Coloured Rose by Lowell Lo

Peach Coloured Rose by Lowell Lo

…..and these Aspen trees by Leah Dockrill kept drawing me back. It was as if they were alive and I could almost hear the rustling of their leaves!20170616_193855Tanzina and Carlos always make sure gallery visitors are well fed and watered at their opening events….the home-made samosas are deelish20170616_191850Artist and gallery regular Linda Deramaix strikes a pose (below) underneath her own artwork titled “Resilience”. Nice to see you again, Linda!20170616_191951So many difference pieces to stimulate your artistic senses….20170616_193843 20170616_194057 20170616_192020…and lots of artwork to provoke conversation….20170616_194543Summerfest 2017 runs to the end of this month (June) and I recommend you drop in on Tanzina and Carlos to enjoy all the beautiful works (all of which are affordable and are looking for new forever homes!) by talented local artists. Artusiasm Gallery is located at 1684 St Clair Ave West and you can learn more about their services, hours & artists at:  www.artusiasm.com20170616_194820

 

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES ITS ANNUAL PRIDE GROUP SHOW IN TORONTO

What a wonderful showcase of multi-media artworks from four talented Toronto-based artists from the LGBT community!!  Congratulations to URBAN GALLERY and its curator Allen Shugar, for presenting an outstanding exhibition of paintings, text-based graphics, digital and acrylic on canvas art celebrating this year’s annual PRIDE month.  I got there nice and early and had the gallery to myself to record a quick video walk-around:

The first artist to arrive at the gallery was the charming Eugene Nam whose striking large format acrylic-on-canvas works were both powerful and beautiful. The textural quality of his work was such that I wanted to reach out and touch the brushstrokes…..but I resisted!20170610_135912 20170610_134428 20170610_134503 20170610_134610Eugene came to Toronto a few years ago from S. Korea, via San Francisco. I asked him why he left the city by the bay to come all the way to Toronto and he told me….  In South Korea, our sexual identity must be kept hidden – homosexuality is not openly tolerated. As soon as I could, I left and went to the U.S. to pursue my passion for painting but once I heard of Toronto’s attitude of acceptance and inclusion, I knew that’s where I belonged. Since arriving, I have felt such freedom to live, love and create. I’m so happy to participate in Urban Gallery’s showcase so I can share my feelings with you all through my work.  20170610_135902(0)The next artist to arrive was TV and commercial producer Barbara Zumer whose love of creative writing and words she now showcases in her art.20170610_134402 20170610_140527One of Barbara’s pieces is actually printed on a mirror so I had a bit of fun with it…just so happens I recently had my hair done so the message is very appropriate, don’t you think?  LOL20170610_134358I was definitely pulled towards the digital anime-like images created by the very tall Jeffrey Mason (below).20170610_140557(0)His whimsical and wild illustrations of cat-like pop culture icons created quite the stir – people chuckled as they gazed at the instantly recognizable references…20170610_13410020170610_134111_001 Jeffrey also published a book of his work and copies were quickly snapped up by gallery visitors.20170610_140616Former digital producer and part-time teacher at Centennial College, Hank Blondeau (below) is exhibiting some pretty striking images….20170610_14184220170610_134133…below is Hank’s pair of huge digital art prints titled Lightimage Left and Lightimage Right20170610_134203 20170610_141830Do these stripes make me look thin?20170610_144201There was something for every taste in art and I must say, it’s one of my favourite shows in recent months.20170610_140814 20170610_141723 20170610_140824 20170610_140958 20170610_141649Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering, looked like works of art…and it all tasted simply delicious!20170610_135023 20170610_135027 20170610_135032 20170610_135038 20170610_135043 20170610_135055(0) 20170610_135101 20170610_135113(0)The PROUD ART show runs until June 30th and I encourage you to visit in person to view all of the above and more.  URBAN GALLERY is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto – just East of Parliament St.  www.urbangallery.ca

But hurry…the art is selling quickly. Jeffrey’s Bunny Sushi already has a red dot on it!!20170610_141958

 

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GREAT OPENING NIGHT FOR JOHNY DELUNA’S “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” ART SHOW

Congratulations to Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA on a great opening reception for his solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation” at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opposite the Art Gallery of Ontario) in Toronto. Last night, Johny greeted friends, family, art collectors and other gallery curators to his colourful, provocative show.20170608_181006 20170608_182959 20170608_183042 20170608_18330520170608_200348(0)He even had a 4-legged art fan drop by…20170608_184734Fellow artist, Nancy Bennett (below), brought some of her friends to admire the intricate and detailed work.20170608_182229 20170608_181034Media maven Georgina Bencsik grabbed Johny for a selfie (below)20170608_182928

20170608_183217 20170608_191556Johny’s elegant partner, Katrina (below), was also a work of art herself as she helped host the soiree…20170608_184804..and I was thrilled to welcome some guests visiting from Australia who fell in love with Johny’s work.20170608_200334 20170608_201323 20170608_202027Sandy, above with Johny, actually runs a community arts program back home in Queensland, Australia, so she was excited to chat with him about his work….and maybe an invitation to visit Down Under in the future?20170608_191609Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so please come on down and meet the artist who will be on-site most days.20170608_181013

 

 

 

 

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TORONTO ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA READY TO LAUNCH SOLO SHOW “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” THIS THURSDAY

With a final few brushstrokes left and the selection of which painting goes where on the gallery walls, Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is just a few days away from launching his exciting new solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation”, at the Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opp. the AGO).

I caught up with Johny over the weekend and asked him to share some last-minute thoughts on his new show….

As your solo show, Spontaneous Levitation, draws closer, how many new works of art will be represented at the show?  I will be showing about 10 new works from this year and about 15 works from prior years.img442From where have you drawn inspiration for these new canvases?  The genesis of most paintings starts with one small event or observation My inspirations come from observations of the human condition.  I try to depict the fragility of our lives, the unusual effects of random events, the consequences of our behavior.  It seems that issues rarely disappear they simply re-emerge in a modified form. I want to articulate these ideas in a new and fresh way, so I let the work express itself intuitively. Sometimes I don’t recognize the finished piece as mine. (No Free Lunch, below).No Free Lunch 36x48Can you share the story behind one or two of these new masterworks? The piece titled Eating Spaghetti With Scissors (below) is based on our need to add unnecessary complexity to our lives. Perhaps this complexity gives us comfort, the feeling that our life is richer and better.  I think we mistake motion with progress and quantity with quality.  When we can’t answer an important question with a straight answer, we fake it with circuitous logic. We vigorously defend this opinion with a mind numbing jumble of half baked ‘truths’, opinions, rumors and petty biases. We end up ‘going to the wall’ defending these opinions; opinions that that we don’t fully understand ourselves.Eating Spaghetti With Scissors acrylic on canvas 34 x 48What would you like gallery visitors to come away with after viewing your work?  I hope people will find the show to be very fresh, humorous and thought-provoking.  I hope the works will speak to each person in their own way. I hope visitors will encourage their friends to visit the show as well.art squCome meet Johny at his opening reception and view his provocative large-format paintings (acrylic on canvas) this Thursday June 8th (6-9pm) at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto. Show runs until June 19th.

 

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I VISIT THE ANNUAL RIVERDALE ARTWALK IN TORONTO

So nice to catch up with old artist friends and check out their new works when I dropped by the annual RIVERDALE ARTWALK at Jimmy Simpson Park along Queen St East today. I was also pleased to discover some exciting new painters I’d never seen before, several of whom came in from Mississauga – is there a secret arts community out there we don’t know about? Boy, are they ever talented out west!! For instance, Neerja Trehan (below) whose bright canvases drew me in to the first booth I encountered upon arriving.  www.NeerjaTrehan.com20170603_122048 20170603_122213I then turned the corner and wandered down the second aisle and who did I find? The amazing Mark J. Gleberzon www.mjggallery.com who was happy to pose with his customized skateboard. Always a joy to see Mark and his work…one day I hope to acquire a piece for my own modest art collection.20170603_122406(0)Here’s Kate Taylor who just got back from various art shows around the world.  www.katetaylorstudio.com  She brought some of her well-traveled art pieces to the show today…again, another artist I hope to include in my personal collection one day!20170603_122540 20170603_122549Dear Rea Kelly…she always greets me with open arms and a warm hug! Love her big, bold and bright florals (below) www.reakelly.com20170603_122752Another exciting new discovery for me was Josee Duranleau (below) who uses found images and photographs from bygone eras then applies her own paint and vision to them. www.joseeduranleau.com   Her stunning “Queen of the Catwalk” (3rd pic below) glittered and shimmered in today’s sunlight.20170603_123114(0)20170603_123325 20170603_123420And I found Laird McMurray‘s exquisite tiny fishing flies with illustrations charming and innovative (below) and perfect for Dad’s Day gifting. He was busy greeting clients and art fans (bottom pic, left) so hopefully he won’t have too much to pack up and take home on Sunday! Just wish he had a dedicated website to share more of his work.20170603_123708 20170603_123729Julia McNeely posed proudly with her wee beasties (below) …don’t you just love the big chicken? You can find more of her work on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/julia.mcneely20170603_123943Christopher Masoure is another of the Mississauga contingent – here he is with potential buyers (below).  His stark large-format paintings are stunning in close-up. Check out his work for yourself at www.studiomasoure.com 20170603_124209 20170603_124513Margaret Horvat‘s paintings of beautiful blooms were such a lovely surprise…and she also hails from out west, too…..well, Burlington, at least! www.margarethorvat.com  Here she is (below) in her garden of art!20170603_124343And here’s the always-smiling Morgan Jones who offered such a lovely warm welcome to his booth. He has a number of new “travelling gnomes” pieces…so cute! You can view his gnomes and many other images on his website: www.morganjonesart.com20170603_124552(0)Cape-Cod-150x150Ian Busher always surprises me and here he is (below) with a whole new series of colourful geometric paintings. I’m a proud owner of one of his woodland creature artworks so I’m a little biased about this artist – I think he’s fab! www.studiobusher.com20170603_124640W. Stephen Cooper (below) is always makes me feel so welcome at his booth. His photographic artwork of abandoned old junkers always pleases the eye. His work inspired me to snap the various old trucks down at the Distillery District. www.wstephencooper.com20170603_125051Jamie MacLean was busy with customers so I didn’t disturb him, but I did check out his latest works. I first met him earlier this year at The Artist Project. Next week, he’ll be up at the Rosedale Art Fair so you can see his stunning tree paintings in person. jamiemacleanfineart.bigcartel.com 20170603_12524920170603_125342I just love young Robert Strickland‘s bold florals (below).  Big peonies, delicate roses and other glorious buds and blooms painted in the old-school tradition but with a definite edge. Keep an eye on this artist… www.robertstricklandart.com 20170603_125909 20170603_125918Sheila Thompson (below, in white) is another artist whose work intrigues me…she works in felt & fibre and adds special touches to each piece, like a porcupine quill. As her business cards say…”warm your walls”!  www.sheilathompson.ca 20170603_13013320170603_13021620170603_130251Elena Balkos showed off her large format photography of exotic beaches, and of course I headed straight for the one behind her to the right – it’s of the Algarve region of Portugal which I consider my “spiritual home”. Bravo, Elena – they’re all gorgeous, esp. those of your own home, Greece.  www.elenabalkos.com20170603_131141(0)So here she is….the one and only Nancy Bennett! Nancy and I worked together waaaay back in the late 70’s and it’s been so nice to reconnect and see what each of us has been up to since then. Nancy’s created quite the wonderful artistic life for herself and here she is (below) entertaining more old friends from her school days!  www.nancybennett.ca  20170603_131649(0) 20170603_131744Another new artist for me, Nadia Lassman (below) showed off her cool, calming impressionist-inspired works inside the park’s adjoining community centre. A former lawyer, Nadia is now a full-time artist showcasing her work here, in Miami, Scottsdale and New York. Bravo, Nadia, I love your work!  www.nadialassmanart.com20170603_132114(0)Also inside the community centre, I found Rob Croxford and his humourous Toronto-centric critter posters, as well as lots of fun word-play smalls, robots and vintage pin-up girl pieces. Rob was making lots of sales so I had to wait several minutes to grab him for this quick pic….congrats on another successful show, Rob!  www.robcroxford.com20170603_132813 20170603_132933 20170603_132534 20170603_132926

Riverdale Artwalk is open again tomorrow (Sunday June 4) but it looks like rain so take your umbrellas. The artists will all be there so come out and support them and take home a little framed memory, too. 20170603_130918For more information about this show and other upcoming events, visit www.artistsnetwork.ca20170603_130746