Over the past few months, I’ve found myself discussing legendary Group of Seven Canadian artist Tom Thomson – first with northern Ontario artist Pauline Langmaid, then with author and Thomson expert Barry Brodie. This evening, I think I topped it all off by attending Arta Gallery‘s new exhibition titled “Untamed Things” which features stunning Thomson-inspired paintings by 11 acclaimed painters from across Ontario who retraced Thomson’s footsteps through Algonquin Park as inspiration for their own artistic explorations.Here are some examples of their work which remains on display until Sept. 19th.I introduced myself to several of the artists who were on hand to meet-n-greet the appreciative gallery guests…. here’s Peter Taylor (below) www.petertaylorpaintings.com..and here’s the very jovial Paul Nabuurs (below)www.paulnabuurs.comI then met Andrew Peycha (below)….www.andrewpeycha.com….along with Mark Berens (below)….www.markberensart.comand Bryan Wall (below) whose work really resonated with me. Wish I’d had lots of moolah on me as I would have loved to grab one of his smaller pieces (2nd pic) www.bryanwall.caSo many beautiful paintings of all sizes suitable for any downtown loft, condo, home or corporate office.I definitely recommend you visit Arta Gallery , 14 Distillery Lane (in the historic Distillery District) downtown Toronto. Visit their website for hours and directions: www.artagallery.ca
Over the long weekend, my bestie, Erena, and I made a quick visit to the annual ArtFest crafts and fine arts market in the Distillery District of downtown Toronto. We also visited some of the established art galleries located in the enclave of 19th & early 20th century warehouses and cellars. It was so crowded that it was hard just to get in to some of the tents so Erena and I focused on just a few.
Our very first stop was at Joseph Calleja‘s handcrafted silk & cotton scarf display The Toronto-based photographer & artist incorporates many of his own photos into the unique and beautiful prints in multiple colours, shapes and sizes. Some are pure silk, others a cotton/silk blend as well as long wraps in the softest of cotton. Erena purchased 2, one a vibrant pink and the other…the blue one she’s modelling below. www.callejascarves.comI then noticed a very talented sculptor, Chaka Chikodzi, who hails from Kingston, ON, which has become quite the artists’ colony thanks to the great light quality in that area (about 3hrs east of Toronto, on Lake Ontario). This one charming piece of carved Springstone is a a guinea fowl and it really called to me. Perhaps next time he comes to Toronto, I will have the $s to make it mine! www.chakachikodzi.comErena and I wandered around some more trying not to trip over the cobblestones (hint: NEVER wear your Manolo Blahniks to the Distillery District!!) and saw lots of returning exhibitors from last year which I previously covered in my blog, so we sought refuge from the hot sun inside the Thompson Landry Gallery and discovered all sorts of amazing artists we’d never previously seen, for example Tommy Zen from Montreal. He is descended from several generations of Venetian cabinet makers and artisans, eventually discovering his own love for clay and ceramics. The gallery (there are actually 2 amazing Thompson Landry Galleries on-site, opposite each other) proudly displays his giant ceramics, each gilded with sparkling gold and vibrant colours. Below are 2 of my favourite pieces, each well over 6ft tall!! www.thompsonlandry.comMany more artists are showcased there including this massive 10′ x 6′ canvas of a raging bull (titled Turbo) by Dominic Besner (below). This was Erena’s fave.I also liked these pieces…what do you think?We then walked over to artagallery where I found some more gorgeous works of art that really resonated with me. I really liked these two: below left is P. Colbert’s “Dream Creek” oil on canvas (36″x48″) and below right is I. Stoyanov’s “Yellow #18″ mixed media on canvas (68″x48″) You can find out more at www.artagallery.caI also found these florals engaging…and happy!….and Erena made a bee-line for the playful pieces featuring wildlife!artagallery offers some unique display settings, too – I really liked this rusted old boiler plating (below)The next Artfest takes place over the labour day long weekend (Sept. 2-5) in the same venue; if you’d like to check out the shopping, dining and sight-seeing opportunities at Toronto’s Distillery District, visit their website for hours & directions: www.thedistillerydistrict.com