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).Grace 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. One 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 Dam My 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….Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering was artful and very much in keeping with Grace’s work. I encourage you to visit the gallery in person to enjoy the provocative figurative canvases as well as the boldly coloured abstracts….. The exhibition runs until September 29th – details, gallery hours & directions: www.urbangallery.ca
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.Dorothy 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 big CONGRATULATIONS as one of Wally Jay’s photos was the first to be sold at yesterday’s opening reception!! Digital & 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) The 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. There 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… …even Erin and Dorothy exchanged artistic visions (below)KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (below left) checked in at the door with gallery hostess Kelly…yes, you’re on the guest list!“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
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli has been an artist all his life but only recently has he decided to share his creativity with the world. As he prepares for his first solo exhibition later this year at Urban Gallery in Toronto, Ozzie’s been reviewing his past work and assessing his latest for inclusion. From spectacular bronze sculptures and freestanding wire pieces that will stop you in your tracks, to imaginative 3D wall art comprised of cellphone and computer components, his work provokes conversation, inspiration and adoration! One of my favourite pieces is titled “Bliss” (see below) and is a piece that Ozzie holds dear to his heart….and we can see why. I recently joined Ozzie for a photo shoot at his Richmond Hill studio of his latest works to add to his website (see end of story for link) and I asked him a few questions about his life, his inspiration and his art.
What first inspired you to paint and sculpt? As a child I was fascinated by the wonders and colors of carnival season in Uruguay. I used to carve and paint masks from palm tree branches and my friend and I wore them mimicking the dancers and performers at the parades in my neighborhood. [that early influence is clearly reflected in his current work – below] Who was your sculpting mentor/teacher and how did he impact what you create now? My mentor and friend was Canadian artist, writer and philosopher Sorel Etrog, best known as a sculptor. He taught me to see subtleties between strengths and weaknesses of composition and content. He also encouraged me to always approach art from my heart with clarity and vision. You work predominantly in wire, creating stunning human-like characters and fantastical creatures – how do you come up with such ideas? My ideas come mainly from real life stories and situations that we all find ourselves in as part of our everyday life….but with an added touch of fantasy and whimsy. I interpret the mystical and esoteric aspects of people and incorporate those into most of my work.
You also incorporate components from cellphones and computers in freestanding and 3D wall art – where do you find these bits’n’bobs? Surely you don’t smash your own phones?! I rely on the generosity of family, friends and neighbors to supply me with their recyclable e-trash; they are more than happy to donate to my stockpile and at the same time, get rid of their unwanted electronics.
You have numerous pieces done in bronze – how difficult is it to cast and where do you undertake that task? I form the original work in sculptor’s plasticine or wax and then take it to the foundry to be put through a rigorous process where a rubber and plaster mold is made to create a wax-like figure which is then coated with a compound called ceramic. That is then melted afterwards to produce a new mold that can handle the molten bronze…et voila! The sculpture is done and ready to be colored by a process called patina. The whole procedure could take up to three months before its completion. Whew!
You are now starting to exhibit your work as a mature artist – has waiting this long to share your work with the public been beneficial to you as an artist? Yes, because I now have the confidence to create with conviction and sound craftsmanship. I felt that I needed that time to create a vast collection of work which I am now ready to share with the world.
In the fall, you have your first solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto – what are your expectations? I’m excited to show my collections to the public and meet art lovers who come out to support the launch of my month-long show. I’m also hoping to receive a good response to my work and gain attention from art critics and collectors. I would love for my works to go out into the world to inspire, provoke, entertain and enhance people’s understanding of the creative process.Yes, I’m excited, too, to see Ozzie’s work in a gallery and see/hear how people relate and react to each piece. I myself was particular drawn to this caged heart (below) …a perfect metaphor for my Valentine’s this year…LOL!! You can find more photos of Ozzie’s work and learn about his artistic approach to each subject at: www.artbyozz.com and keep the month of October free to visit his solo show at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.
ast night, I joined 100+ guests of artist and gallery owner LOLA LIVINGSTON as she unveiled her 2nd group show, I ♥ CANADA, at the new STOCKYARDS GALLERY located at 1611 Dupont St, Toronto (inside the fabulous Rebarn showroom). Featuring multiple artists working in various mediums, the show will run throughout the month of July…although several pieces were sold on the spot last night!
Here’s Lola cutting the celebratory cake that carries a copy of her painting Super Justin (a portrait of our popular Prime Minister)Here are the stunning landscape paintings by LEE MUNN who attended with his charming wife (pictured below with a royal “special guest”)…. JOHNY DELUNA has 2 pieces featured in this show -here he is (at left) schmoozing with fellow artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER and his wife.And here’s Johny chatting with glass sculptor LAYNE VERBEEK about his featured pieces of hand-carved cast glass.Layne sold 2 beautiful pieces of art glass to casting director and art lover, RON LEACH (below with his prized new artworks)Here’s award-winning fine artist ERIK CHONG with Lola…Erik brought his wife Jeanette to help celebrate Canada’s anniversary with the other artists, including ANGEL TORRES (bottom pic) Watch out Erik, the Mounties are after their man!One of Toronto’s happiest artists must be SHAWN SKEIR who was always ready for a photo opp. Here he is (far left) arriving with friends….then hanging with AL “RUNT” CURRIE who also had a couple of works in the show…and sold one last night, too. I was pleased to meet film industry professional and photographic artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER (below) for whom this was his debut showcase. Robert has a great eye for everyday objects and places, making them appear quite mythic in his photographs. Unfortunately, due to lighting reflections, I wasn’t able to capture a true image of his work so best to go visit in person to see what I mean. There’s an awesome photo of a giant ship’s propeller complete with rusty patina – I think that will have my name on it before the end of the show! Lola was such a busy lady, welcoming so many of her friends, family and art lovers to her unique indie gallery….and the deelish spread attracted lots of hungry patrons! Lola’s husband, Mark, helped man the bar (below) – he owns Rebarn, designing and handcrafting custom wood furniture, doors and home accessories.Enjoy a couple more photos from last night’s festivities…. I ♥ CANADA runs until July 29th at Stockyards Gallery, 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto. Check the website for hours and directions: www.stockyardsgallery.ca
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. I 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! I 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. I 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.
…..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!Tanzina and Carlos always make sure gallery visitors are well fed and watered at their opening events….the home-made samosas are deelishArtist and gallery regular Linda Deramaix strikes a pose (below) underneath her own artwork titled “Resilience”. Nice to see you again, Linda!So many difference pieces to stimulate your artistic senses…. …and lots of artwork to provoke conversation….Summerfest 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.com
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. He even had a 4-legged art fan drop by…Fellow artist, Nancy Bennett (below), brought some of her friends to admire the intricate and detailed work. Media maven Georgina Bencsik grabbed Johny for a selfie (below)
Johny’s elegant partner, Katrina (below), was also a work of art herself as she helped host the soiree…..and I was thrilled to welcome some guests visiting from Australia who fell in love with Johny’s work. Sandy, 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?Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so please come on down and meet the artist who will be on-site most days.
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.com I 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.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! Dear Rea Kelly…she always greets me with open arms and a warm hug! Love her big, bold and bright florals (below) www.reakelly.comAnother 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. And 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. Julia 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.mcneelyChristopher 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 Margaret 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!And 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.comIan 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.comW. 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.comJamie 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 I 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 Sheila 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 Elena 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.comSo 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 Another 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.comAlso 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.com
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. For more information about this show and other upcoming events, visit www.artistsnetwork.ca
Another wonderful afternoon of celebrating emerging Canadian artists took place at Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY as students from the Centennial College Studio Arts program opened their 2 week exhibition of multi-media works. FEVER showcases 25 emerging artists who explore the frontiers deeply submerged within the box.Under the guidance of Program Coordinator Prof. David McClyment, the 1st year students enjoyed their first professional gallery experience including meeting media and schmoozing with art fans, friends and family who came out to support them. Here’s Prof. McClyment (below L) with some of his student artists…The unique and provocative work by Priscilla Koopman attracted many new fans, including Jenny Huddy, a visitor from Australia who is pictured (below R) with Priscilla (L)
Here’s Matthew Oakes who proudly posed alongside his work….Another favourite was this unique double sided painting and clay sculpture self-portrait of Joy who attracted a lot of camera attention… And so many more wonderful artworks to view…. Urban Gallery’s curator Allen Shugar (below R) chatted with the students….…and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) greeted artists and their guests at the front door…The reception was catered by the adjoining UrbanSource Catering…oooh yummm!Congratulations to Prof. McClyment and his students on a great show… You have until April 1st to visit and support these emerging stars of the Canadian art world. For gallery hours, visit: www.urbangallery.ca
POST SCRIPT: There was big excitement for one young artist – Dara Collins – when her beautiful mixed-media (with tiny twinkling lights) of a mountain scene called “Unrefined Illusions” was sold at the end of the opening reception. The buyer was art lover David Currah from Fife House. Bravo and congratulations to Dara – pictured below with her artwork.
Congratulations to Bruce K. Lawes who has just launched a gorgeous new website via the US-based Fine Art Studio Online (FASO), artists’ web template company. http://bklawesart.com/
I’ve worked with Bruce over the past 2 years and have witnessed his portfolio expand with commissioned portraits of beloved horses, commemorative Civil War scenes and historic re-imagining, canvases capturing African endangered species, stunning fall and winter landscapes….but this little cowgirl is always pulled towards his horses – the shaggy mustangs, the fancy dressage steeds, and the craggy rugged western range themes.
I asked Bruce to share his experience using FASO to launch his new website with my readers as I know there are a lot of painters and sculptors out there whose own sites need a serious upgrade in order to compete in the highly volatile art markets around the world, and here is what he said…..
Your new site looks absolutely stunning, Bruce – can you tell me about FASO and how easy it was to use/upload (as a non-tech person)? I’m very pleased with the new website as I feel it’s easy to navigate and shows the art in my portfolio very well, and it offers e-commerce for my prints. FASO is dedicated to artists’ websites and truly assists the artist to showcase an exceptional representation of their work with ease and at a very reasonable price. The initial setup is a long process of uploading image after image, however, the individual process is made so easy to upload and place in each collection. If you have any problems FASO’s superb customer service techs are not only prompt, knowledgeable and courteous, they are available almost 24/7!How important is it for artists to have a site that looks current and “responsive” (readable on smartphones & tablets as well as computers) and offers interactive elements like sales and newsletters? For any artist, their website is paramount to their success. The ability to carry around your portfolio on your cell phone is invaluable. I’ve had many situations in casual settings where an opportunity to show potential collectors/buyers your work presents itself and out comes the cell phone. You never know who may be interested at any time. For those who know my work, the ability the website has to send out my monthly newsletter allows me to share my journey with my collectors on a more personal level. In fact, if you sign up to receive my e-newsletter “Bruce’s Monthly Palette”, you could be eligible to win a Limited Edition print of your choice valued at US$195.00. Each month, I will randomly pick a name from the list of subscribers and that lucky person will receive a print as a special thank you for joining my online gallery. Below are just a few of the Limited Edition prints from which you may choose.Since uploading all the pictures and text content, how much more can you do with your new site than before? The new site not only allows me to do all that I’ve already mentioned but also the ability to merge with my Facebook and other social media networks plus enter monthly FASO art contests where winners are introduced to FASO’s email list of over 50,000 art enthusiasts! Overall I could not be happier.
As Bruce says, FASO is a great website creation & promotional service for artists of any level and having worked with Bruce on his new website, I, too, can recommend their ease of use and their patient, caring customer service (great for non-techies like myself). So if you’re an artist looking to create a more competitive sexy site, you MUST visit http://faso.com/
And don’t forget to visit Bruce’s website and sign up for his monthly e-newsletter…you could be the next WINNER of a Limited Edition print. FYI: Bruce does not share your contact info with 3rd parties.
There was such a crush of art aficionados at the VIP/media preview last night at the LOVE ART FAIR http://www.loveartfair.com/toronto/ taking place this weekend in the Heritage Court of the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto.
One of the first booths that stopped me in my tracks was The Art Shop, a Dutch gallery representing a variety of artists whose work encompasses several mediums and styles (pictured below) http://theartshop.nl/en
I enjoyed meeting the lovely senorita who managed the Galeria Standarte (Madrid) booth. She was so enthusiastic about her artists showcased here in Toronto, her joy was infectious. Aren’t these fabulous? http://galeriastandarte.com/
akasha art projects inc. is a great gallery and framing studio located at 511 Church Street in Toronto. Mark Gleberzon had previously told me about them and after meeting the ladies at the show and seeing their framing work, I must say, this is a must for all art collectors looking for unique framing. http://akashaart.com/
I really liked the work of Peter A. Barelkowski and Frances Patella (pictured below) who proudly showcased their work….so nice to speak directly with individual artists like these. Please check out their portfolios at www.peterbarelkowski.com and www.francespatella.com
The Workman Collective booth http://www.workmancollective.com/ hosted three handsome artists (below) – Joe Sampson, Adam Colangelo and Michael Toole. The gallery is located at 1655 Dupont in Toronto so I definitely recommend a visit there to see their stunning works in person if you can’t make it out to the LoveArtFair.
So many cool artists are represented here…I wish I had lots of $s and a ton of wall space! I really recommend you visit this show and I thank you for supporting the Canadian and international artists!