Tag Archives: Canadian paintings

Summer Sumach

ARTIST ALLEN SHUGAR UNVEILS MAGNIFICENT COMMISSIONED INSTALLATION IN TORONTO

This past Wednesday, artist and curator for Urban Gallery ALLEN SHUGAR unveiled his stunning “Summer Sumachs” painting installed in the new luxury Chartwell retirement residence called The Sumach located on…Sumach Street (of course!) in downtown Toronto.20190717_145310Located inside the entrance foyer, the 3 x 3 panel painting overlooks the reception desk where residents and visitors can enjoy viewing Allen’s interpretation of the native sumach tree in full bloom – perfect for brightening up those grey winter days. I took the opportunity to briefly interview the artist about this work……

Allen, congratulations on your recently unveiled installation at the new Chartwell retirement residence in downtown Toronto. Being on Sumach Street, your painting featuring the colourful sumach tree on multiple panels fits perfectly into the space – tell us how you were contacted for this commissioned work.   At Urban Gallery, we occasionally receive requests from companies (in this case Daniels Corporation) for artists to submit proposals for commissioned art works. In the past, we have passed these requests on to artists who have exhibited in the gallery and whose work we felt was particularly suited to the project – resulting in some successful and lucrative commissions for those artists! I myself had never responded to one of these requests before, but this one really sounded like it was right in line with the type of work I like to do, so I thought, why not! 

How long did this magnificent work take to complete, and in what medium did you work?   The painting is oil-on-canvas. I was on a very strict schedule in order to meet a pre-established installation date. I had just slightly over 2 months to complete the work and this had to include enough drying time (oil paint is slow to dry) so that the pieces could be handled safely for installation. It was a very tight timeline for a painting of this scale and I really had to work furiously in order to meet the deadline! 

Did the client give you certain parameters or directions as to content and style of your work?   A lot of my paintings are nature studies and it was some of those that I sent off as examples of the type of work I was proposing. The client was particularly interested in a painting of mine called TRANSITORY FOREST which is painted on 9 panels and totals 6 feet square in size. They requested a painting of the same size and format but they wanted Sumach, in full summer bloom, as the subject matter. This made perfect sense with the new building being called The Sumach Building, located on Sumach Street in downtown Toronto and it suited me just fine, because I’ve always admired Sumach trees and this gave me the opportunity to paint them. 

As the curator of Urban Gallery (since it opened in 2012) who is responsible for working directly with the individual guest artists organizing the hanging of each month’s shows, how does it feel to see your own work presented in such a fashion?   I’m very pleased to have this work installed in a public location. It’s on a scale that would make it unlikely to find a home in a private residence and here, in the lobby of The Sumach Building, it can be enjoyed by all the residents and their guests throughout the year. I think it might be particularly appreciated in the winter when it can almost stand in for that much missed glimpse of green from a window.20190717_145314Any other commissions on the horizon, and how about any upcoming shows of your work at the gallery?   I did complete another commission just before starting on this one. It was a smaller work painted on 3 panels for a residential installation. It was also a nature study entitled “Morning Mist” (pictured below) and depicted a branch of a Ginkgo tree in Autumn colour. At the moment, I am busy working on a number of paintings with a wide variety of subjects – nature, figurative and abstract – which I hope will become part of my next show at Urban Gallery.  Morning MistThanks to hosts Katrina (Lifestyle & Programs Mgr) and Margaret (Gen’l Manager for the building) for arranging the visit and hosting an artist talk with a group of residents who were interested in the art hanging in the various community rooms in the building. Here, Allen engages with his very enthusiastic audience…20190717_160459 20190717_161409We were also given a tour of this new residence by Katrina and oh my, the attention to detail in the fixtures and fittings…wow! They have a small cinema, a reading room, a games room, a well-appointed gym, a large rooftop patio and a fabulous full-service dining room; there are several layouts & sizes for the rental units all with washer/dryers, dishwashers…all the mod cons. The Sumach offers a selection of personal services for those needing a little extra care, too. Definitely worth checking out if you are planning for retirement. www.thesumachbychartwell.com

To learn about Allen, visit his website www.allenshugar.com to see past and current artworks, and feel free to drop into Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, to view works he’s curated for other artists. urbangallery.ca 

20170907_164330Above, Allen poses in front of his previous multi-panel installation at Urban Gallery for his 2017 solo show

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URBAN GALLERY UNVEILS “LAND ON FIRE” – NOVEMBER’S SOLO SHOW BY MARY LYNNE ATKINSON

This past Saturday, Urban Gallery (www.urbangallery.ca) in Toronto launched their solo art show for November, LAND ON FIRE, featuring stunning abstract landscape paintings by MARY LYNNE ATKINSON, pictured below with her “Night Sky” 36×48 acrylic on panel painting. The show runs through to November 25th.

20171104_142315Mary Lynne was thrilled to greet friends & family, and within minutes of the doors being open, one of her smaller pieces sold (the one to the right of the group below, titled “Solitude” with the little red dot on the name tag). That was one of my favourite pieces and I had my eye on it myself. But as the saying goes – you snooze, you lose!20171104_140115 20171104_141705Above, Mary Lynne chats with a gallery visitor about the two pieces to the right, “Wind” (upper) and “Firedance” (lower) both of which are 19×19 oil & resin on 16 gauge steel. Look at the close-up details of these two (below)…I love the texture.20171104_134400 20171104_134355I spoke briefly with Mary Lynne before the gallery got crowded – here’s what she had to say about her inspirations for these works….

ARTIST STATEMENT:   Land on Fire is inspired by waves as patterns in time and space. Formations that look like ocean waves in their immensity, silence and immutability draw me in. My paintings are rooted in the ‘tangible’ of the physical world. They are also inspired by questions surrounding our human relationship to Earth. My challenge as an artist is to draw the connections between both the tangible and the intangible.

By moving into a landscape through colour and gesture, painting becomes a meditation on space expanding and time evolving. The vast, silent, unforgiving spaces challenge me to express my ideas and emotions of timelessness. Each painting has its own silence. ~ Mary Lynne Atkinson 

ABOUT THE ARTIST:   Mary Lynne Atkinson is a mid-career visual artist living in Midhurst, Ontario. She holds a B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University and a graduate diploma in Studio Process Advancement from the Haliburton School of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely in Europe, notably in the Carousel du Louvre, Paris, 2012 and 2013. She was awarded a Bronze Medal, Paris, June 2014, by the Societé des Arts, Lettres, Sciences. Her paintings have been exhibited in numerous curated shows including the Miami Art Basel and S Space Gallery, New York, NY.  Atkinson continues to exhibit extensively in Ontario, and her paintings are collected nationally and internationally.

Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeannette dropped in to view Mary Lynne’s work (below)…20171104_142117(0)…as did so many other fans of great Canadian art (below)20171104_142248 20171104_142332Here are some other fine examples of her work on display at Urban Gallery…20171104_131244 20171104_131239 20171104_131204 20171104_131157…and this 8×10 framed mixed media on panel titled “Amethyst Mountain” (pictured below) has also peaked my interest. Maybe I should add this to my Santa list?20171104_131133Land on Fire runs throughout the month of November at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in downtown Toronto. For gallery hours and directions: www.urbangallery.ca

And congratulations to Urban Gallery for being named runner-up in the Best Independent Art Gallery category in this year’s NOW Readers’ Choice Awards!!  Nominated 2 years in a row, bravo Urban!Readers choice_runner up

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