Throughout June, Toronto celebrates its LGBTQ community and each year URBAN GALLERY hosts an art exhibition as part of the city’s PRIDE festivities.
This year, hyper-realist portrait artist BRIAN GIBSON is launching his ongoing project ICONS featuring legends from Hollywood and the music industry. This past Saturday, the gallery was filled with Brian’s family, friends and fans, along with a DJ spinning tunes by some of his artistic subjects. Brian (below left) and his partner, Danny (below right) enjoyed sharing stories behind each portrait and how each star has impacted Brian’s work in this special ongoing series of paintings. Portraiture has been a historic representation of society and the continuing similarities found in the human experience. Hair & clothing styles may change but we are fundamentally the same throughout time. ~ Brian Gibson.
Gallery curator Allen Shugar (below R) really enjoyed hanging this show and being surrounded by such famous faces…as did gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below L)Even a young Sophia Loren made an appearance alongside Judy Garland (below)The guests were enthralled by the uncanny likenesses……and Brian was happy to chat with everyone and pose for photos…The whole gallery was a-buzz with people sharing memories of concerts attended or movies they watched starring these “icons”…
ICONS runs until June 29th so we look forward to introducing you to Cher, Marilyn, Doris, Rock and Prince! URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto www.urbangallery.ca
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 DamMy 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
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.
Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall
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!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
Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of visiting a charming new storefront gallery along St. Clair West in Toronto – ARTUSIASM GALLERY – owned by Carlos Sa Rodrigues and his talented artist wife, Tanzina Aminpictured below. Their current show, Life in the City, runs until May 1st.
Photo courtesy Linda Langerak
Accomplished photographer and artist Linda Langerak invited me to the opening soiree and I was so pleased I accepted – what an exciting array of art from established and emerging local artists, and I was thrilled to find a number of pieces by a favourite painter friend, Kirk Sutherland (below).Owner Tanzina is also quite the talent with a paintbrush – I really like her colourful exotic portraits (below)Another artist friend, Aisha Chiguichon, was also exhibiting there with 2 pieces, and she was having fun posing for friends just like a red carpet veteran!…even Linda started snapping away at all the work by fellow artists (below)I managed to round up several artists for a photo call…look at all those happy smiling faces!The general consensus from the artists was that they all felt respected and well cared for by Carlos and Tanzina who even built a special access ramp for wheelchair-bound artist H. Jordyn Taylor, pictured below with her painting “Below the Stains of Time”. The usually shy Jordyn had a blast meeting lots of new fans of her work.Another lovely painting I discovered was “Don’t Tell Me to Smile” by Helena Napal, pictured below with her work.There were a couple of really fine cityscapes featuring the iconic CN Tower……and lots of familiar street scenes and abstracts, too.So many local Toronto artists are showcased in this show and I strongly recommend you drop by Artusiasm Gallery located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto before the show closes on May 1. You can’t miss the gallery – just look for this stunning streetcar painting in the window!Congratulations to Tanzina, Carlos and all the artists for a wonderful opening! Check their website for details: www.artusiasm.com
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.