Tag Archives: fine art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

URBAN GALLERY OPENS “HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY” GROUP SHOW, RUNS UNTIL AUG.31ST

Yesterday, the gallery was hopping with art lovers, friends and family of the seven featured artists in the August show HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY which runs all month at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.20190810_144320 20190810_141319 20190810_140508The talented artists whose work covers the gallery walls are: Kris Bovenizer, Kirk Sutherland, Aisha Chiguichon, Moses Salihou, Michelle Hudson, Liliana Vera and Andres Valencia Zava, most of whom were present yesterday at the official launch reception.
Below, contemporary artist Moses Salihou, (originally from Cameroon, now living in Toronto) and his lovely wife Catherine pose in front of 2 of his 3 canvases…Moses & Catherineand below, gallery regular Kirk Sutherland whose work is represented in more than 15 int’l galleries, proudly showed off his “Metropolitan Panorama”20190810_142315…and here’s self-taught contemporary artist Michelle Hudson with her 3 colourful pieces painted on Yupo paper:Michelle Hudson with her artworksKris Bovenizer, who has previously exhibited at the gallery, also teaches traditional print-making, showed off 2 of her hand-pulled relief prints…20190810_144209Aisha Chiguichon came to the gallery ready to party and shared a toast with one of the gallery’s photographers. She’s self-taught and her colour palette has been inspired by her childhood in the Caribbean. Cheers, Aisha!Aisha Chiguichon with her artworks-1Unfortunately, I was not able to stay to meet up with Liliana or Andres but their works were exciting and stimulating, and very evocative of their own personal summer experiences. Their works are below, in order as mentioned: IMG-1027 (1) IMG-1031

The show runs until the end of August so if you’d like to enjoy viewing these paintings in air conditioned comfort, visit the gallery’s website for hours and directions: www.UrbanGallery.ca

And if you’d like to learn more about the artists, here are some weblinks or social media addresses for you to peruse:
@moses_salihou (IG)
www.kirksutherland.com
www.michellehudsonart.ca
www.krismadethis.com
@thecatintherain (IG – Liliana Vera)
www.capturethesoulcreations.com   (Aisha Chiguichon)
www.facebook.com/Andres-Valencia-ZavaIMG_5574

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS NICOLAS PEARSON’S SOLO SHOW “IMAGINARY NONSENSE” FOR MONTH OF JULY, 2019

The first thing you notice when entering Urban Gallery this month is the riot of colour! Big, bold and full of energy, each canvas offers stunning graphics, mixed media and just simply….joy. Local artist NICOLAS PEARSON delivers an exciting solo show in Imaginary Nonsense: A kaleidoscopic journey of abstraction through painting which runs through July 31st at Toronto’s leading non-commission gallery located at 400 Queen Street East…and it’s well air-conditioned for those who find the heat and humidity unbearable (like this writer). Here’s Nicolas to tell you about his art and his inspirations….

My work is primarily abstract oil and acrylic paintings. I produce my work in a subconscious manner where I start with an idea and jump into the painting, changing my vision as I go through the process as inspiration hits me. Inspiration comes from my fascination for the natural world and random mundane items I encounter in my daily life that enthuse me. Anything can be a visual stimulant and can be incorporated in my art, the idea that anything and everything can become art gives me motivation. I started this fascination when I experimented with mixed media collage using everyday buttons off a dress shirt or jacket. These items, which would normally just form a practical purpose, are now being used to create an artistic expression. I also use twine, cheesecloth and impasto painting techniques to create texture and areas of interest in my work. – Nicolas Pearson

Born and raised in Toronto Canada, Nicolas attended the McMichael Art Gallery summer camp for art where he would later work for a few years. He studied fine art and art history at the University of Toronto’s joint program with Sheridan Collage, graduating in summer 2012. During university, he also participated in a summer study abroad program for Modern Art History, with a focus on Italian Art in Siena, Italy, in 2010.  He was also involved in several group shows including the Chancellors Exhibition at the University of Toronto 3 years in a row, and a one-day pop-up show at the Gladstone Hotel.

Today, his latest works were admired by gallery visitors and friends…20190713_14180720190713_141652 20190713_141917 20190713_142012Here is the artist with gallery curator Allen Shugar (below), and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (lower)20190713_14193620190713_141640(0)..and sharing the camera with one of his energy-filled paintings (below)20190713_134946Here are some exquisite close-ups/details from some of his work….20190713_131155 20190713_131202 20190713_142156 20190713_142335The show runs throughout the month of July, closing on the 31st, with another opportunity to meet the artist on Sat. July 27th (2-4pm) so we hope you will join us to celebrate this talented Canadian artist.  Space is limited so kindly RSVP to: info@urbangallery.ca20190713_144330

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East (just E of Parliament)
www.UrbanGallery.ca

ARTIST HANNA KOSTANSKI PAINTS THE PAST & ILLUSTRATES THE BEAUTY OF ABANDONED BUILDINGS

I have the pleasure of introducing you to my new client, artist HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work I first discovered in 2017 when she presented her solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto (below)20170803_174822 20170803_173123She was born in Szczecin, Poland, and in the 80’s her family emigrated to Hamilton, Ontario, where she grew up and first discovered her love of painting. Hanna attended the Ontario College of Art & Design where she obtained her BFA in 2007. She still resides in Hamilton with her husband and two rescue dogs and a black cat who really runs the house! Hanna’s work can be found in dozens of private and public collections, including a hospital, several law offices and hotels in both Toronto and Hamilton.

Her most recent series of paintings are based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and show a nostalgic view of the city as it once was. They celebrate the past while showing the development of Toronto and the ways in which people helped shape it.  In contrast to Hanna’s previous collections which embody the loneliness of an environment in the absence of human touch, this series celebrates the vibrancy of people interacting with the streets and neighbourhoods.

Bay & Adelaide Streets circa 1940s

Bay & Adelaide Streets circa 1940s

I’ll let Hanna tell you herself about her passion for vintage views and recreating mid-century street scenes…

For over 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, Detroit and more recently, Toronto. I’ve always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist. – Hanna Kostanski

It was wonderful visiting Hanna in her home studio, seeing where and how she works…20190329_121929 20190329_122119 20190329_121832… and discovering new works currently being undertaken (below)20190329_121841 20190329_125311We’re currently researching showcase opportunities at this year’s DOORS OPEN TORONTO, a weekend in May where the public can visit historic buildings and venues. Hanna’s brilliant painting of the Yonge & Dundas intersection, circa 1978, would be the perfect illustration of Toronto’s past so I’m busy pounding the pavements and visiting building management offices to secure a spot for this incredibly detailed view of the busiest spot in Toronto!Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on boardHanna is also in high demand for commissioned work and she’s currently working on a number of pieces for birthday and retirement gifts so some very special paintings will soon be going to some equally special homes. If you would like to learn more about Hanna and get in touch for your own commissioned slice of the past, visit her website and follow her on social media: http://www.hannakostanski.com  Watch my social media (Fcbk, Twtr, IG) over the coming weeks for more video interviews with this talented artist.

A Parisian street scene, given the Kostanski touch!

A Parisian street scene, given the Kostanski touch!

The heavy industrial side of Hamilton, ON, also gets the Kostanski treatment

The heavy industrial side of Hamilton, ON, also gets the Kostanski treatment

Exciting solo show by Dutch-born Artist PRISCILLA KOOPMAN runs to April 15th

I had the pleasure of meeting PRISCILLA KOOPMAN last year when she was part of the group show by Centennial College Studio Arts Program (1st yr students) hosted at Urban Gallery, Toronto. Although she herself is soft-spoken and humble, her work did all the talking for her….intense, intricate and provocative! Here she is pictured below at left, with my sister, Jennifer, who was visiting from Australia – Jenny was very taken with Priscilla’s work.20170325_142837Last week I visited Priscilla’s solo exhibition “Femme Empiricism” in The Corridor Gallery at the Story Arts Centre (2nd floor) located at 951 Carlaw in Toronto. Wow, what a difference a year makes – more intense details and deeper stories behind each piece and each tiny detail featured on each.20180405_143523 20180405_140034Each artwork illustrates graphic abuse and the sexualization of women as a whole, and of childhood incidents experienced personally by the artist. Speaking with Priscilla, it’s obvious that painting has been her salvation; the perfect healing therapy to calm her demons and allow her to grow artistically and spiritually from the darker, earlier works shown at the beginning of the show to the colourful lightness of her more recent works – sky blues, various hues of pinks, greens and golds.
20180405_14024420180405_140235 20180405_140202 20180405_140423 20180405_140447

Here’s Priscilla to tell you about her art….

I particularly love her fishies…happy little multi-coloured koi swimming across the open waters…20180405_14075320180405_140058Priscilla is planning on returning to The Netherlands this summer so hurry to see her show which runs to April 15th. You can even make an appointment to view the show with the artist herself – details on her Instagram: @allicsirpart20180405_143418

CENTENNIAL COLLEGE STUDIO ARTS 1ST YR STUDENTS PRESENT “WAIT, WHAT?”

Each year, URBAN GALLERY in Toronto hosts a 10-day exhibition of works from the first year students of the Centennial College Studio Arts program, and this year’s show is titled “Wait, What?”.  Not what you would normally expect from a group of ambitious emerging artists – layered universes of double meaning, hope, despair, humour, longing, madness, genius, and skillful virtuosity. All contained within innocuous 18″ square shadow boxes. You will leave the show thinking “wait, what?”…20180317_134011 20180317_134109 20180317_134039Fairchild Chinese TV news was on hand to record the opening reception and interview the artists and the dept. head….20180317_133944 20180317_135027One of the mature students, F. Mehtap Mertdogan, was there with her family and proudly posed in front of her stunning 3D mosaic titled “Enough!” (below)20180317_135137 20180317_142125(0)The 23 artworks on show offered subjects, mediums and colour palettes to suit every taste and pocketbook – prices range from $200 to $450 – a very affordable way to start collecting your favourite emerging Canadian artists. 20180317_13400320180317_13403320180317_13395520180317_13404520180317_13413820180317_134129Congratulations to all the artists: Mattheas Gabber, Yogin Patel, Kumar Ayyappa, Fiona Wei, Lilian Jang, Lucas Thomas, Arnold Farrell, CL Fisher, Bee Fawn, Alexandria A. Allen-Papadopoylos, Jancy Sivanantham, Lexx Willis, Takanya Marsh, Titar Awua-Imande, Danielle Nothmann, Sharon Zhang, Atheena Sureshmohan, Gabriella Berdugo, Hyewon Kim, Natalie Plociennik, Wayne Wu, Kai Hart and F. Mehtap Mertdogan.wait what“Wait, What?” runs until Saturday March 24th (5pm) at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen st East, Toronto. Check the website for times & more details: www.urbangallery.caUG-Logo-url

Meet artist & sculptor Osvaldo Napoli, an overnight success 50yrs in the making!!

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.20180129_123307 20180129_123440(0)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.

Chris Chung photographing Ozzie's work

Chris Chung photographing Ozzie’s work

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]20180129_124126 20180129_124836Who 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.20180129_134932 20180129_135137You 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.    20180129_122409

Photo courtesy Chris Chung

Photo courtesy Chris Chung

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.DSC_0029 (1)

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

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!

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

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.

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

Photo courtesy of Chris Chung

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.20180129_13013020180129_130330Yes, 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!!20180129_132039 20180129_131921You 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.20180129_121136(0) 20180129_131431 20180129_125447 20180129_130856

 

DONNA WISE TAKES US FOR “FLIGHTS OF FANCY” @ URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

I spent a second day surrounded by beautiful artwork, this time at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen st East, Toronto) where accomplished painter DONNA WISE (pictured below) launched her solo show, FLIGHTS OF FANCY, which runs until Dec. 30th, 2017.  20171202_135335Amid the excitement of the launch, Donna shared with me the fact that a local (and very gracious) fashion designer, Annie Thompson, reached out to her with an offer to outfit her for the launch today so here’s Donna wearing one of Annie’s outfits also called “Flight of Fancy” which perfectly matches her paintings and style (www.anniethompson.ca). Here’s Donna describing her show and talking about her inspirations….

Here are a few of the pieces gracing the gallery walls…20171129_134921 20171129_135028 20171129_134821 20171129_13494320171129_135014 20171129_135039Fine arts blogger Mark Hasan of KQEK.com stopped by for an interview with the artist (below) then enjoyed viewing her work along with the crowd of friends and family who started filing in…20171202_142548 20171202_141704A friend and long-time collector of Donna’s (below L) put the first “red dot” of the day beside one of the stunning paintings, purchasing one of my personal favourites: this delicate image of what, to me, looks like a Japanese geisha. What do you think?20171202_142520Donna’s husband (below L) posed with another family friend in front of this giant pastel hued canvas…..
20171202_141618(0)…and here are more gallery guests enjoying Donna’s work and the fine catering courtesy of www.UrbanCatering.com20171202_140427 20171202_141647 20171202_140244 20171202_140253If you can’t make it down to the gallery in person, here’s a quick virtual trip around one section of the gallery…

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, just E of Parliament, in Toronto. Visit the website for directions and gallery hours:  www.UrbanGallery.caUG-Logo-url