I had the pleasure of attending yesterday’s launch of artist and galley owner TANZINA AMIN‘s end-of-year solo show My Eclectic Potpourriat Artusiasm Gallery on St Clair Ave West in Toronto. What a riot of colour and energy welcomed me when I walked through the doors….so many vibrant colours and bold brush strokes!Since first putting paint brush to canvas, Tanzina’s style has changed dramatically and she included several pieces from earlier years to illustrate her journey as an artist. Just look at these stunning classic landscapes…And then came this abstract expressionist landscape….…and finally she blossomed into an exciting abstract portrait artist resulting in these commanding faces:Tanzina expresses her sense of humour freely with this super fun doggy portrait. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted by this happy face every day…let’s go walkies?
Meet the artist:
Tanzina is a Bangladeshi-Canadian artist in Toronto. Art has always been her passion as well as her retreat from the demands of everyday life. Having graduated in Architecture, Tanzina is drawn towards visual composition and balance. She is fascinated and inspired by colourful ethnic cultures and traditions. She loves forms which are powerful in their simplicity and embrace an abstract style. Until three years ago, Tanzina had never shown her art in public. She began drawing and sketching on her own as a teenager, and eventually took two years of formal training in traditional oil painting with a renowned Bangladeshi artist in the mid 1980s. Eventually she had no more time for art as she focused on her education, family and career. She started painting again after a 23+ year break and found herself moving away from realism and traditional styles. She began exploring abstract expressionism, including taking a few courses. As Tanzina continued to study and learn, she became more and more intrigued with the versatility of abstract art, and how it can evoke impulse in the viewer to find their own path to interpretation.
Tanzina teaches art and conducts workshops and paint parties. She loves to create fun and innovative art workshops such as expressionist style pet portraiture and self portraits. Besides her busy career, her art, and her teaching, Tanzina also co-owns Artusiasm Gallery with her husband and biggest fan Carlos Rodrigues (pictured below at an earlier show).To Tanzina, painting is meditative, therapeutic and expressive. It helps her be in the moment. She is continually modifying her style and techniques to find new ways of expressing herself. She loves to explore the realms of colour, texture and form. Tanzina hopes her art makes a personal connection with the viewer. (courtesy of www.tanzina.ca)
I loved this particular series of glamorous ladies (below)… …and was incredibly moved when Tanzina presented me with my favourite piece (the one on the left) as a thank you for support given to Artusiasm’s shows over the past couple of years. I so related to this lady in the picture, ignoring the fab party going on behind her, just gazing out across the ocean, wineglass in hand with thoughts of future adventures and romances (I’m sure). Thank you so much, Tanzina, I am extremely honoured.So if you’re looking for an inspiring and fun experience over the month of December, visit Artusiasm Gallery, 1684 St Clair Ave West, Toronto. For gallery hours and directions: www.artusiasm.com
URBAN GALLERY‘s artist for December 2018 offers up a whole herd of colourful, vibrant horses galloping across the gallery walls: VANESSA CUARTAS presents lively abstract equine portraits in her solo show BRIO that runs now until December 29th….a glorious exhibition on which to end the year!
Of Colombian heritage, Vanessa is originally from Miami, and now resides in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida with an emphasis on graphic design, later receiving an Art Direction Diploma from the Miami Ad School. Throughout her school years and any personal time, Vanessa always found time to paint as much as she could, and rode her family’s horses regularly. She became passionate about the Puerto Rican Paso Fino breed and if you look carefully at her paintings, you can see their influence in the conformation (stance) of each subject.We spoke with Vanessa just before the gallery doors were opened and here is what she shared…
A designer by day and artist by night, her passion for painting has grown stronger in recent years. When she first moved to Toronto, she was without an established circle of friends and struggling to find an artistic focus so Vanessa decided to do what she loved most: paint horses. Her unique contemporary style has found an appreciative audience and her circle of friends has grown exponentially, many of whom attended the gallery on Vanessa’s opening day, Saturday Dec. 8th (below).Her bold colorful BRIO series conveys movement and a lot of positive energy that attracts attention, even from the littlest art fans….Joining Vanessa at the opening were her husband, Mario (below R) and brother JP (below (L)And gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) joined Vanessa to celebrate her opening.If you love horses, you will LOVE this exhibition….…and within the first half-hour of her opening reception, Vanessa had already sold one piece, titled “The Journey”(below)
If you missed the opening reception, you can come meet the artist Saturday Dec.15th (2pm to 4pm) and you can also visit the gallery weekdays and Saturdays throughout the month of December. Log on to www.UrbanGallery.ca for hours and directions – located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto.
This past Saturday, Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY proudly introduced a new artist – OSVALDO (Ozzie) NAPOLI – whose solo show FAÇADE caused quite the stir with stunning wire sculptures and paintings. Ozziewas born in Montevideo, Uruguay, migrated to Toronto in 1975 and now resides in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He attended the Ontario College of Art & design (OCAD) in the 80’s and took courses in the Art Department at Central Technical School; he was also mentored by long-time friend and legendary Canadian bronze sculptor, Sorel Etrog.
Ozzie (R) with gallery curator Allen Shugar
I’ll let Ozzie tell you about his work in his own words…
Artist’s Statement: I am mainly self-taught and I express myself through sculpture and painting, and a combination of both disciplines. I’m taken by the three-dimensional world and the beauty of the human form and social condition. The inspiration behind all of my work is people in general and the intricacies of social behaviour. I am fascinated by the complexity of the human mind and the mysteries about how we all perceive reality. I’m particularly interested in the superficialities that can be presented and at the same time considering what else might be there beyond appearances. I use art as a platform to communicate with the world and examine the humanity within us. ~ Osvaldo NapoliOzzie welcomed many art loving friends and was interviewed by KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (pictured below with Ozzie).Ozzie presented several large pieces and free standing sculptures as well as a series of smaller artworks comprised of wire, acrylic paint, modelling wax and other mediums that caught many an eye….…here are a few in close-up. ….. more examples of Ozzie’s unique and intricate metal work and molding – so much to see in each piece and each has a story behind it:And even more free-standing figures (below)…plus one of the gallery visitors looking eye-to-eye with one mysterious metallic creature:Not only did gallery visitors love looking at all the artwork, they were also thrilled to pose with the artist!Below, Ozzie’s wife, France (below, centre) with family friends who dropped in to cheer on Ozzie at his first ever solo show. If you’re weren’t able to attend the opening reception, Ozzie will be present in the gallery on 3 additional dates: Meet the artist: Saturday Oct. 13 • 2pm to 4pm 2nd Reception: Saturday Oct. 20 • 3pm to 6pm Meet the artist Pt II: Saturday Oct. 27 • 2pm to 4pm
FAÇADE, Solo exhibition by OSVALDO NAPOLI runs October 4 to October 27, 2018 atAnd here is Ozzie’s tribute in bronze to his long-time friend and mentor, Sorel Etrog:
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
Be prepared to leave hungry when you visit URBAN GALLERY‘s yummy “ART OF FOOD” group show that runs throughout August. The paintings are simply delicious with works featuring both sweet and savory images and some that are even thought-provoking such as Judy Sherman‘s collection of farmyard beasties striking back against their potential farm-to-plate future (below)
Anushka Deshpande‘s art is called “quilling” which is sculpting and rolling paper to create stunning representations of her subjects, like these (I love the tropical cocktail).Anushka is pictured above (centre) with (L to R) her husband, a friend, Calvin Hambrook (gallery director) and Allen Shugar (gallery curator).
Lisa Hemeon is best known for her evocative seascapes and you can imagine all the fishies swimming just under the surface, waiting for lines to be cast with big juicy baits. Look closely and imagine dinner just below Lisa’s waves…
Aisha Chiguichon brought wine…or at least a lovely painting of wine…to go with the colourful forks skewering treats for gallery visitors! Aisha is a self-taught visual artist and it’s obvious she delights in her inspirations for this show.URBAN SOURCE CATERING partnered with the gallery to present some real “art” of food – just look at this delicious spread for gallery visitors to enjoy and admire, prepared by executive chef Lyndon Wiebe.One of Urban Catering’s previous employees, Valerie J. McMurray, is also an artist of some note. Here is her triptych titled “Spanish Lemons” – you can almost smell the fragrance emanating from her juicy, ripe fruit.Janna Kroupko has previously exhibited at Urban Gallery, both in group and solo shows. Here, her delightful “Cherries” sits elegantly above the buffet table. She’s also an accomplished textile artist and weaver.Urban Catering’s chef, Lyndon Wiebe, loves photography as well as food and has previously exhibited his photos from tours around the world (Lyndon is one of the chefs featured in the tv series “Chefs Run Wild”). Here he shares a couple of his storefront photos…Popular Toronto artist Kirk Sutherland brought three distinctly different artworks to the show, all featuring his signature colourful imaginative energy. With titles such as Theatre of Saccharine and Confectionery Planetarium, Kirk’s work fits perfectly into this group show.Even NEWZ4U editor KJ Mullins was entranced by Kirk’s work! (below)Gallery visitors enjoyed the art, the food and the chance to meet and chat with so many artists…ART OF FOOD runs until August 31st at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto (1 block E of Parliament). For directions and gallery hours visit: www.urbangallery.ca
Yesterday, Saturday July 7, URBAN GALLERY 400 Queen St East in Toronto was packed with guests to celebrate the opening of their month-long group show, Wild in the City. Featured artists include Erik Chong, Libby Sims and Osvaldo Napoli who were in attendance, plus works from Lindsey MacKay who was unable to attend in person – she resides in Fredericton, NB. Take a virtual walk thru the gallery with me now…
The gallery filled up quickly once the doors opened at 2pm and lots of ooo’s and aaah’s were heard as visitors discovered the stunning and provocative paintings and sculptures. Erick Chong (below) has exhibited at Urban several times over the past 4 or 5 years and for this show, he brought a whole new style and theme to the show.Erik has several videos showcasing his unique style and technique – get to know this artist here:
I’ve followed Libby Sims‘ work for sometime – she creates beautiful abstract florals in bold colours and strokes, along with other subjects and shapes. A mature artist, Libby has studied abroad and has developed her distinct style that is instantly recognizable. Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli (below) is another mature artist although he is relatively new to the mainstream Toronto arts scene. His wire sculptures and large format multi-medium artworks create quite the statement and Ozzie’s fans turned out in force to see his latest work.The fourth artist feature in Wild in the City, Lindsey MacKay, was unable to attend in person – she resides on the East Coast. But her art spoke loudly for her, featuring people, places and activities found around the city. I personally love the wild eyed seagull featured in her “You Lookin’ at Me?” painting (below).And I like Lindsey’s “In the Moment” painting (below) – reminds me of Toronto’s “Salsa on St Clair” – this weekend’s annual street fair of dancing and Latin culture.So many interesting and thought-provoking images to enjoy, I hope you get a chance to drop by Urban Gallery this month to see Wild in the City yourself. For gallery hours and directions, visit: www.urbangallery.ca
This past Saturday (June 9), Toronto’s leading indie gallery, URBAN GALLERY,launched their annual Pride group show celebrating the talented artists, friends and families from the local LGBTQ community. Featuring the works of Hank Blondeau, Jean Fode, Jeffrey Mason and Vanessa Storoniak, the gallery soon filled with enthusiastic visitors and art collectors.I had the opportunity of chatting with the artists who shared their own stories of artistic inspiration with me via video interviews. First up is Hank Blondeau ….
I then spoke with Jean Fode who discovered art and her creativity later in life and who is now enjoying the art of collage.
Jeffrey Mason has a unique take on the world and his humorous portraits of politi-cats definitely provoke conversation as well as laughs!
Vanessa Storoniak (below) brought in her large acrylic-on-canvas geometric abstracts which, to me, look like glorious flowers in a series of beautiful colour palettes. Vanessa was a little shy about a video interview but she certainly had lots of fans loving her work….Other artists came out to support our “fab four” including Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below). Erik will be featured in next month’s group show “Wild in the City”.Sculptor Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli and his wife France (pictured below with gallery director Calvin Hambrook – at right) also popped in to say hello. Ozzie, too, will be featured in July’s “Wild in the City” group show.Gallery visitors enjoyed the schmoozing and there were lots of engaged conversations as each artist talked about their work. Congratulations to all four artists and we’re sure there will soon be lots of red dots (sales) popping up over the next few weeks! See below for gallery directions & show info….
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 here are some of Dorothy’s photos…I next spoke with Wally Jay Parker – this is her very first time exhibiting her work publicly and she was so excited!
…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
Last Saturday, it was a full house at URBAN GALLERY for the opening reception of ANDRE VITTORIO‘s “Abstractions on Metal”solo show of photographic art. running until April 28th, the show features stunning B&W architectural portraits from around the world (the Eiffel Tower looks magnificent)….….as well as a series of brightly coloured shots of the waters surrounding the Venetian island of Murano (below). In fact, the photos reminded me of the fine Murano glass work for which the artisans of the island became famous.Andre was thrilled with the turnout of family, friends and fans of his work…Snap’d newspaper photographer Kate McGartland dropped by to cover the show – here’s Andre showing her his Murano series which certainly captured her attention!And KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca also came by to cover the event, seen here below 2nd from left chatting with Wayne Abell (at left) of Urban Catering (who supplied the yummy refreshments).Gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below left) was on hand to welcome other artists, including Tunde Omotoye (far right) who may be participating in an upcoming group show at the gallery.Prior to the guests arriving, I managed to grab a few minutes to interview Andre ……
Congratulation, Andre, on a fantastic show…and the sales started early! I watched as the first of the Murano series sold to a very happy fan! I believe it was Murano #8.
“Abstractions on Metal” runs throughout the month of April so if you’d like to spend time with gorgeous, unique artwork, visit Urban Gallery at 400 Queen st East, Toronto – check their website for directions and gallery hours: www.UrbanGallery.ca
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.Last 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.Each 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.
Here’s Priscilla to tell you about her art….
I particularly love her fishies…happy little multi-coloured koi swimming across the open waters…Priscilla 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: @allicsirpart