Tag Archives: Toronto art galleries

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A VISIT TO ARTUSIASM ART GALLERY, TORONTO

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 Amin pictured below.  Their current show, Life in the City, runs until May 1st.

Photo courtesy Linda Langerak

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).20170421_201952 18011082_1918219125130778_2553514075971526526_nOwner Tanzina is also quite the talent with a paintbrush – I really like her colourful exotic portraits (below)20170421_202542 20170421_202751 20170421_203648Another 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!20170421_203558 20170421_202434 20170421_202444…even Linda started snapping away at all the work by fellow artists (below)20170421_203605I managed to round up several artists for a photo call…look at all those happy smiling faces!20170421_202518 20170421_20313520170421_203624The 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.20170421_203306Another lovely painting I discovered was “Don’t Tell Me to Smile” by Helena Napal, pictured below with her work.20170421_202346There were a couple of really fine cityscapes featuring the iconic CN Tower…20170421_201930 20170421_202057…and lots of familiar street scenes and abstracts, too.20170421_202015 20170421_202028 20170421_203518So 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!20170421_202954Congratulations to Tanzina, Carlos and all the artists for a wonderful opening!  Check their website for details: www.artusiasm.com20170421_211419

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TV CELEBS & FELLOW ARTISTS HELP LOLA KERECKI CELEBRATE OPENING OF HER STOCKYARDS GALLERY IN TORONTO!

Congratulations to artist and gallery founder LOLA KERECKI who opened her brand new art gallery, STOCKYARDS GALLERY, in Toronto this past Saturday night. And what a star-studded soiree it was! Several leading local artists as well as media celebrities joined the throng of friends, family and art aficionados who came to support Lola in her exciting new venture. TV’s Colin and Justin (“Cabin Pressure”) are pictured above with Lola, and I captured their “red carpet” entrance as they yelled “no pictures, no pictures..” in fun!20170401_195559I’ll let Lola tell you about her work and her brand new commercial art gallery located inside the Rebarn showroom at 1611 Dupont St in Toronto.

Her painting of “Super Justin” – our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – caused quite the stir! Wonder if he would like it himself…?20170401_214622One of the first guests to arrive was Erik Chong, an innovative established Toronto artist who has already enjoyed a number of solo shows around town. Erik and his wife Jeannette are pictured below with Lola.20170401_190823

One of the artists Lola was presenting in her first show, Fool For Art, is ROBERT McAFFEE…

And leading Canadian artist BRIGITTE GRANTON‘s work is also featured….

Toronto 80’s pop-culture icon ALEX “RUNT” CURRIE has 2 canvases in the show, the largest of which was sold on opening night – congrats to Al and to Lola!20170401_190841Here’s Alex with fellow artist Morgan Sheardown (below)…20170401_210153…and with Lola (below)20170401_204944As the guests kept filing in, I was kept busy snapping away – here’s the talented young artist Priscilla Koopman (below with her beau)…20170401_195330…and here’s actor/artist Philip Cairns (below L) with award-winning theatre director Dan Spurgeon (below R)20170401_213807…and here’s Philip again, this time with award-winning theatre producer Drew Blakeman (below R)IMG_4661Lola was in great demand for photo opps with her guests, all of whom were thrilled to be a part of the occasion.20170401_214720 20170401_204912 20170401_213755Popular blogger and activist Georgina Bencsik (below L) was there to lend her support to Lola’s  gallery launch…20170401_201433Both Robert and Brigitte were pleased with the turnout and interest in their works.IMG_4660Here’s Jenny Huddy (my sister) visiting from Australia (below L), with her Toronto friends Marianne Sawchuk & Bruno Verdoni. You may recognize Bruno from his TV appearances on Reign, Damien, NCIS: Los Angeles, X-Files….20170401_205156My dear friend and artist, Nancy Bennett (below centre) enjoyed chatting with Robert and Brigitte – I’m sure they’re comparing notes on painting technique and themes!20170401_200640The refreshments kept flowing as people kept pouring in …..and the smiles were infectious!20170401_203938IMG_4668 IMG_4663Supporting Lola throughout this whole new venture is husband and furniture designer extraordinaire, Mark Livingston (below with Lola). Mark owns Rebarn, Toronto’s premier handcrafted furniture store featuring bespoke artisanal furnishings, salvaged antique lumber/timbers, custom barn doors, and one-of-a-kind artwork.  www.rebarn.caIMG_4666Lola and Mark are fast becoming the “power couple” of Toronto interior design and decorating!

FOOL FOR ART, featuring Lola’s work and that of Robert McAffee, Brigitte Granton & Alex Currie runs through to April 29th. For gallery hours and directions, please visit www.stockyardsgallery.ca

CONGRATULATIONS, LOLA! We look forward to more great shows at Stockyards Gallery.IMG_4664

 

 

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS ANNUAL CENTENNIAL COLLEGE ART SHOW FOR 1ST YR “STUDIO ARTS” PROGRAM STUDENTS

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.20170325_140117Under 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.  20170325_132850 20170325_132839 20170325_13294720170325_140615 20170325_133112 20170325_133128Here’s Prof. McClyment (below L) with some of his student artists…20170325_14054920170325_145227The 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)20170325_142837

20170325_133048 20170325_133053Here’s Matthew Oakes who proudly posed alongside his work….20170325_140325Another favourite was this unique double sided painting and clay sculpture self-portrait of Joy who attracted a lot of camera attention…20170325_132918 20170325_141531 20170325_14393220170325_143905And so many more wonderful artworks to view….20170325_140034 20170325_141102(0)Urban Gallery’s curator Allen Shugar (below R) chatted with the students….20170325_140059…and gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below R) greeted artists and their guests at the front door…20170325_140449The reception was catered by the adjoining UrbanSource Catering…oooh yummm!20170325_140409Congratulations to Prof. McClyment and his students on a great show…20170325_150158 20170325_140112You have until April 1st to visit and support these emerging stars of the Canadian art world. For gallery hours, visit:  www.urbangallery.caFever Image CENTENNIAL COLLEGE March 2017

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.UNREFINED ILLUSIONS Dara Collins -sold

 

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Contemporary artist, LOLA KERECKI, to open new indie gallery in Toronto

In 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be printing off the guest list and getting ready for the official grand opening of my friend, LOLA KERECKI‘s exciting new artistic endeavour – Toronto’s latest addition to the indie art scene: STOCKYARDS GALLERY! Lola is a very busy lady who not only paints stunning large canvases (mostly abstract portraits), but is currently undertaking an intense project management course that will add even more skills to her business portfolio. And now Lola (below) has become the Founder and curator of a great new space for Canadian artists to showcase their works. www.stockyardsgallery.ca As a successful and much sought after artist herself, her generosity in supporting fellow artists through this new undertaking may seem daunting to others but not to Lola – she is a bundle of energy, always quick with a smile and constantly exudes positive energy. She paints and does business under the name of “JustLola” – she is fast becoming a brand unto herself. So I recently asked her about her life, her career(s) and the new gallery and here’s what she told me:

As an artist with your own creative demands, what inspired you to open a gallery that showcases other artists’ work? And how do you balance your own work with marketing other artists’ works?  It was a very natural and organic development that just made sense to us. I had some artwork installed in Rebarn, the site for Stockyards Gallery, and it was selling well but it was becoming a challenge to keep up with the demand. We are very proud to offer 100% Canadian products both in furniture and now art. I think as a team of artists, we cross-promote and it benefits all of us because we all have different subject matters. I’ve chosen these current artists for the Fool For Art opening show because they are like-minded in that capacity.17265222_403390500030010_4024633169228926769_n16508936_386382941730766_1395139833557463211_nWhich other artists are showcasing during your opening month show, Fool For Art? And why did you select them?  I’ve chosen Robert McAffee and Brigitte Granton, both well-known Canadian landscape artists. I’ve also included a number of my own large-format paintings with a focus on portraits, pop art and collage. All these combined pieces will showcase a full spectrum of styles for the grand opening.Updated exhibition info for stockyards month long eventWith the Stockyards Gallery opening fast approaching, have you completed your own works for exhibition?  No, I often work best under pressure so I’m still creating; we will see what I will present for the show, and it will be a surprise for me as well….LOL! I have 5 canvases going at the same time. [Below are some of Lola’s current canvases]Smoking Lady Lola Kerecki  36x48 Oil on Canvas $2400 (1) Lip Ring Kerecki 30x36 Oil on Canvas $1600 Marilyn in pieces Lola Kerecki Mixed Media collage acrylic 36x48  $3500Being housed inside the Rebarn showroom, do you anticipate those clients finding the perfect artwork from the Stockyards selection displayed on the walls to go with their custom Rebarn woodwork furniture and accessories? Yes, and this is done purposefully. We have a specific kind of clientele who enjoys original custom furniture so now we can offer original art as well. We are a diversified destination point, so potential clients may be coming in for furniture but then they surprisingly find themselves gravitating towards the artwork. We also have a lot of foot traffic so those who have never heard of Rebarn (and now Stockyards Gallery) will be pleasantly surprised when they come in to browse.15337474_351115995257461_1086669202748960040_n 15267990_353068255062235_2638192854096319862_n

Lola with Rebarn's Mark Livingston

Lola with Rebarn’s Mark Livingston

As the curator of Stockyards Gallery, what are you looking for in theme or style from future artist exhibitors?  I’m looking for original artwork that compliments our furniture and is distinctly Canadian, and works that feature Toronto cityscapes. I think our clients are looking for something unique to connect with emotionally. [Below, samples of Robert McAffee’s and Brigitte Granton’s landscapes in Fool For Art]Nipigon Sunset Robert McAffee Oil on canvas $6800 Neddies Bay Brigitte Granton 30x40 Oil on canvas $3400Any other comments you’d like to share?  We support anything Canadian, everything we do is custom-made and we have mastered recycling to a whole other level. In my artwork alone, I have used old wood remnants to create something new and now I have a series of collages recycling magazines into one-of-a-kind art pieces. It is impossible to replicate so its completely original and conventional magazines will one day go out of print.logo 2

1611 Dupont Street, Toronto  T: 416-903-0117

Good luck, Just Lola!  I know Stockyards Gallery will become a popular destination for art lovers & artists alike!

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INTRODUCING CANADIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA

I recently met contemporary Canadian artist JOHNY DELUNA (below) whose colourful large acrylic-on-canvas paintings both inspire and intrigue me. He has a solo exhibition this summer (June 5-19) at the Art Square Gallery (opposite the AGO) in Toronto, and I wanted to give art fans an early heads-up so they do’t miss his extraordinary work. xxheadshotjohn1jpgI recently had the pleasure of chatting with Johny over a coffee, viewing his portfolio of mostly 3′ x 4′  canvases, each portraying deeper, darker stories beneath the exterior of bright, joyful images.  Every masterwork has been thoroughly thought out, exploring abstract themes in Johny’s riotous palette of primary colours.  I asked him a few questions about his work, his inspirations and the upcoming summer solo show….

You came late to painting professionally – what was your previous career focus and how did that inform your work?  I always loved painting, but couldn’t make a living at it – I needed a decent job to pay the bills.  The urge to paint never left me, but the responsibilities of looking after a family etc. took precedence.  I didn’t return to painting for over 25 years.  Whenever possible I took on projects that had a significant creative component.  I worked on a wide variety of projects including scientific film production, script writing, advertising , marketing and digital product development. However the need to paint was always lurking close to the surface.  I was always a closet painter.

I actually started painting as a child and worked actively on artistic experimentation and exploration until I was about 25. I was untrained so I tried all sorts of things – found materials, melted and painted plastics, wood burning (pyrography), wire sculptures, stone sculptures and acrylic paints. I mostly painted large semi-abstract canvases. I liked the expanses of color and motion.Collateral Damage MARCHWhat has been the main inspiration for your style and colour palette?  The main inspiration for my work is observing the human condition. I try to say things about, happiness, sadness confusion, hypocrisy, ignorance, cruelty, indifference and self delusion. I never put myself above these frailties – but I laugh at my own weaknesses more than I laugh at others. I try to embed my stories deep enough in the paintings so that each viewer can experience them in their own way.art squI was never a great admirer of pointillism; my style of painting was the result of experiments just to get myself painting again. I simply love bright colors – there are no bad ones. They are like kids in a park – laughing, running and playing together.

Dancing in the Dark

Dancing in the Dark

Upon initial viewing, your paintings are full of humour and lightness, however, behind each work there seems to be a darker meaning. Can you explain your artistic interpretations and share one such story from a particular painting?  As I said, my paintings are mostly observations, parables or vignettes. These are the catalysts for the paintings.  I try to present ideas obliquely. This gives me more freedom of expression and a wider visual lexicon to play with.  It also gives the viewer more freedom of interpretation.

I try to entice the viewer into the work through color, energy, humor and curious or bizarre imagery.  Behind all that is the story – the viewer is free to go as deep as they want. I hope everyone see’s the works differently.One of the more oblique works is about learning to accept people for who they are – not who we think they should be. My painting called  I’d Love You If You Were Someone Else (below) for instance, is an argument between a table and a chair.chairYou paint in a contemporary pointillism style in large format – how detailed and time-consuming is this compared with the bold brushstrokes of other artists?  Each artist approaches their work differently. If an artist can create a stunning piece in ten minutes – that’s great. The piece works or it doesn’t no matter how long you labor over it.  My paintings take about 3-5 weeks to complete. I don’t use a brush – I use a simple calligraphy pen and liquid ink. I can only work a few hours at a time – because I can’t focus any more.

Detail from "The Kiss"

Detail from “The Kiss”

Your upcoming solo exhibition is called Spontaneous Levitation – what inspired this title?  Well – Spontaneous Levitation is a bit of a play on the word levity – humour. I hope the show feels fresh, free, and energizing.  img420

At my last show, I met a painter from Brazil. He showed me some photos of his large canvases. They were wonderful. He had injured his shoulder badly in a car accident and had not painted for a number of years. He wandered around the show for about half an hour. On the way out he smiled and shook my hand…“Obrigado,” he said “your work makes me hungry to paint again”.

1457016348What advice would you give to aspiring artists looking to create a life as a professional painter? The only advice I can offer aspiring artists is

  1. Get a day job so you can afford to paint what you want.
  2. Try to be honest and express your inner voice – it’s scary but do it
  3. Open yourself to the unknown – the otherness
  4. Never give up.
"April in New York"

“April in New York”

"Fear of Flying"

“Fear of Flying”

I can’t wait to see Johny’s work in person, hanging on the walls of Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto (directly opp. the Art Gallery of Ontario) between June 5 – 19, 2017.  I’ll be posting more details on the show closer to the date so stay tuned.  In the interim, you can follow Johny on Twtr @johnydeluna or visit his website: www.johnydeluna.comThe Usual Suspects

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“THE ARTIST PROJECT” SHOWCASES CANADIAN ARTISTS THIS WEEKEND IN TORONTO

Thanks to local artist and friend, MARK GLEBERZON, I was able to visit this year’s ARTIST PROJECT taking place over the weekend at the Better Living Centre in the CNE grounds where I met lots of exciting new artists as well as catching up with old friends whose work I love and cherish. So walk the aisles with me now as I check out the displays of extraordinary colour, design, texture and wonder!

First, let’s meet up with Mark who kindly comp’ed me in – I love his work which always makes me smile. www.mjggallery.com/225-2/

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Mark celebrates a potential sale!

Mark celebrates a potential sale!

When I first entered the massive showroom, I was immediately struck by the sassy, saucy paintings of Alexis Fraser, a.k.a. Lipstick Lex!  Her work features fabulous “kisses” from famous (and not-so-famous) lips. www.lipsticklex.com20170224_120224 20170224_115925I then met the charming Margarethe Vanderpas (below) who shared her exquisite landscapes with me. She’s based in Stratford, Ontario, and welcomes studio visit by appointment. www.margarethe-vanderpas.com20170224_120556I love meeting happy artists, those who enjoy meeting new fans at art expos like this one…and Eleanor Lowden is one such artist. Her work is full of life, joy and colour. Check out her work at www.eleanorlowden.com20170224_120922Show me pictures of horses and I’ll stop in my tracks. Ellen Cameron is showcasing her stunning equine photography, including printing some horsey portraits on aluminium sheets (2nd pic below). I met Ellen a couple of years ago at an equestrian show and I was thrilled she remembered me.  www.ellencameron.com 20170224_121205 20170224_121224 20170224_121238The work of Mary McLorn Valle so took my breath away, I forgot to take a photo of her – I just stared at the giant flowers and the colour grids. Check out her portfolio at www.marymv.com 20170224_121542FormFlow_06FormFlow_01Noella Noel (below) is based in Prince Edward County, just East of Toronto – the new hot spot for artists, vineyards and great artisinal foods. Here she is in front of her “Heart of Gold” acrylic on canvas.  www.bayhausgallery.com 20170224_122532Now here’s a new artist with a unique point of view – her name is Natasha Miller and she lives on a tiny island in the Bay of Fundy. Her website carries some awesome images so I hope you’ll check her out: www.nrmiller.com/20170224_122735 20170224_122628 20170224_122744Visiting from Israel is Orit Fuchs whose work reflects her gregarious personality and sense of fun!  Drop by her booth and say welcome to Canada….. www.oritfuchs.com/20170224_123112Cute and bubbly Mary Ann Slater brought a sense of wonder and fun to the show with her bright images of everyday items from way back when (she had my life summed up in just a few pictures!!). You can view more of her acrylic realism on her website: www.maryannslater.com 20170224_123202 20170224_123233Here’s the talented Cdn/Nigerian artist Benny Bing whose big, bold images of friends and celebrities caught many visitors’ attention. The striking paintings of African and Indigenous American women were quite breathtaking in person. www.bennybing.com20170224_123602 20170224_123720Insert the theme from Jaws here…Zoe Lefort reminded me why I don’t go in to the water any more with her giant portrait of a great white shark. Aaaaargh!  But she did have lots more less lethal paintings on display – LOL!   www.zoelefort.com20170224_124026(0)I love it when I discover a new artist whose work really resonates with me. Sometimes it’s a landscape, sometimes it’s a contemporary abstract, and sometimes it’s a….raining cow! Yes, that’s what local artist Morgan Sheardown called his display and I fell in love with one little picture that has now found a home on my walls…scroll down to the bottom of the blog to see which one.  www.morgansheardown.com20170224_124634 20170224_124639Now here’s a brand new spin on the “big eyes” trend, thanks to the brilliant mind of Michelle Vella.  Her vision (no pun intended) of comic portraiture will make you smile. www.michellevella.com20170224_125212 20170224_125240Joanna Bell paints dynamic landscapes with spectacular horizons..talk about vast spaces!  Incredibly subtle skies add an exciting energy to the detailed lower sections of each photographic artwork. Loved the red-roofed barn below…so atmospheric that I thought I was standing right there in the field! www.joannabell.com  20170224_125337 20170224_125409Here’s the fun and fabulous Linda DeLuca whose western-themed paintings are a favourite of mine. www.lindadeluca77.com   In a previous Artist Project blog, I featured one of her paintings and a friend saw it online and immediately asked me to connect her with Linda and she purchased it – a big red horse’s head. Hopefully I’ll make another art “love connection” for Linda with these current pieces….20170224_125705 20170224_125716 20170224_125722Kari Serrao creates images of wild wee beasties in Elizabethan costumes. Sounds a bit wacky but, boy, do these paintings look awesome in person! One of these portraits would look great in your home library or office. Check ’em out here: www.kariserrao.com  Kari’s work will blow your mind!20170224_125950 20170224_125932 20170224_130054Hello, Kate Taylor! I’ve been following Kate’s work for a number of years – I love her use of colour in her abstract mixed media acrylics. She’s also involved with the annual Riverdale Art Walk each summer so look for her booth there on Queen St East later this year.  www.katetaylorstudio.com

20170224_130306 20170224_130311Richard Ahnert always has a busy booth. Over the years, I’ve photographed Richard’s work in outdoor art shows, galleries and the annual Artist Project, and he always surprises me with his Anthropomorphic Musings in Oil. Visit his site to see for yourself: www.mycanvas.ca20170224_130540Colombian-born artist Carolina Vargas Reis offered a very unique large-format painting – a giant bouquet of red roses…but look carefully. There is only one stem! Carolina posted the story behind her work (see below) that is both intriguing and amusing.  www.vargasreis.com20170224_130751 20170224_130907Ramona Nordal has created paintings that remind me of the pop graphic-meets-Beardsley style of the mid to late 60’s. I swear that’s a blue Twiggy!  www.ramonanordal.com 20170224_132115Ottawa-based Gordon Harrison (below) offers sumptuous Canadian landscapes in his booth, very appropriate for this year’s Canada150 anniversary celebrations. www.gordonharrisongallery.com 20170224_132652 20170224_132704Henry Ho was another artist new to me – again, anything with horses and I’m there! Integrating ancient Chinese calligraphy with his Tai Chi skills, Henry’s created beautiful, delicate images on X’uan paper, invoking a spiritual quality to his work.  www.isartgallerycom   20170224_132949 20170224_133108Below, I caught Jamie MacLean mid-munch as he grabbed a quick lunch in his booth. But he still had time to strike a pose as he showcased his landscapes, some of which are on aluminium sheets. A late-comer to the art world, Jamie holds an engineering degree but finally turned his attention to his painting in 2004. We’re glad he did – just look at these gorgeous works…   www.jamiemacleanfineart.bigcartel.com  20170224_133355 20170224_133323 20170224_133334I was getting a bit tired walking on the hard concrete floors when all of a sudden I spied these huge oil-on-canvas images of Thai Buddhist monks painted by Agata Wisniewski. What a gentle calming influence they had on me, as did the artist herself. www.indigo4evr.com 

20170224_133534 20170224_133608Paula White-Diamond (below) displayed beautiful floral miniatures as well as large-format canvases. Another “peaceful” feeling booth where I felt welcome, surrounded by her delicate paintings.  www.pwdartist.com  20170224_133625Hey, there’s Bullwinkle! Loved these ceramic “horny mooses” by Caroline Leoncini Roux. These would look perfect in a man-cave or in your cottage up north! Check out her Instagram for more images: @bycestelle 20170224_140323 20170224_140504My Facebook friend, Florian Holzinger, had a very colourful booth featuring high impact graphic art in unusual linear shapes. His work hangs in some of the best collections in town! www.florianholzinger.com – or follow him on Fcbk.20170224_140610 20170224_140614 20170224_140714Another new artist for me was Erin Brekke Conn whose work included some very tactile paintings (see close-up of the mountain goat’s horn in 3rd pic). Her landscape and wildlife paintings utilize the pointillism style – thousands of tiny dots, some of which are raised, giving a multi-dimensional appearance to her work.  www.erinbrekkeconn.com 20170224_141426 20170224_141434 20170224_141441Talk about “flashback Friday”!! Here’s my old friend Nancy Bennett with whom I used to work back in the late 70’s at Woody Gundy (investment brokers). Nancy cut the cord from her 9 to 5 office life and became co-founder of the Four Corners Studio in Riverdale/Leslieville. No wonder she’s smiling and looking relaxed and stress-free. No more Bay Street for her! www.nancybennett.ca20170224_141735

I felt the presence of Audrey Hepburn in this booth. Andrea Stajan-Ferkul, another Fcbk friend of mine, invoked the spirit of the 50’s movie ingenue and fashionista with these elegant dress portraits. Just lovely…  www.andreastajanferkul.com 20170224_142846 20170224_142953Sculptor Derya Ozparlak recently arrived in Toronto with her husband from her home country of Turkey and she brought her impactful and slightly naughty balloon and metal sculptures to the Artist Project.  www.deryaozparlak.com 20170224_143252 20170224_143257Young artist Adam Giroux was a stand-out with his portraits featuring themes of restrain, growth, identity and obsession. Adam articulated his process with such maturity, I can’t wait to see where he goes with his boundary-pushing work in the coming years. His work will be showcased March 4 to April 1/17 at www.galleryhouse.ca20170224_143855(0) 20170224_143902I got the chance to chat with the winner of last year’s Artist Project art competition, Joel Martimbeault. Based in Montreal, his haunting portraits mesmerize the viewer.  www.martimbo.com20170224_144322Why not let Joel tell you himself about his journey as an artist…

So after 3 hours of schlepping up and down the aisles, I was exhausted but so inspired by the work on show. The Artist Project is on now and runs all weekend (Feb 24-26) and I strongly recommend you visit and check out all the artists on show.   www.theartistproject.com/20170224_142725 20170224_124443And here’s my special acquisition from this year’s Artist Project – my little “raining cows” from Morgan Sheardown. Hope you like it, too.20170224_145255

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS IN MAGAZINE’S END-OF-YEAR BASH!

Last Friday (Dec.16/16) friends and sponsors of IN Magazine joined the publishing team for their annual end-of-year bash at URBAN GALLERY located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto (www.urbangallery.ca).

With delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served by sister company Urban Source Catering, the guests enjoyed a fabulous night celebrating another successful year of publishing for the glossy magazine targeting Toronto’s LGBT community.  www.inmagazine.ca/20161216_180758The current show by local artist Meghan Thomas provided the perfect edgy backdrop for the festivities (below)20161216_174229 20161216_182237Publisher Patricia Salib is pictured above right with guests, as is Dir. of  Marketing Woodrow Monteiro (below, right).20161216_180817 20161216_181614The guests really enjoyed the specialty cocktails, especially the refreshing & highly potent Tipsy Elf (above/below)20161216_183359Charming server Melissa (below) kept everyone well-fed…20161216_181641…while bartender Mischa (pictured below) kept everyone well-lubricated!!20161216_174719The holiday spread was quite spectacular – my favourite is this amazing brie (below) with its crispy, crunchy, sugary crust…mmmm, yum!20161216_17472920161216_18063920161216_18074620161216_174750

Urban Gallery provides the perfect space for smaller corporate events (up to 80 cap.) or private functions so please visit their website for rental details www.urbangallery.ca. Likewise, UrbanSource Catering offers a selection of menus for cocktail parties, gala dinners or buffets or smaller family occasions. For menu selections, visit www.urbancatering.com

Gallery and catering company owners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell (pictured below, L to R) wish all their clients and artists the happiest of holidays.20161216_181141

 

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TORONTO’S URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES DUAL ARTIST SHOW FOR OCTOBER

Throughout October, URBAN GALLERY is pleased to showcase two Toronto artists whose journeys into distant landscapes where light and shadow ignite the senses allow the viewer to experience life with heightened awareness and inspiration. This wonderment helps to reveal the genuine beauty of living life in the moment.  Last night, the gallery hosted an opening party where both artists welcomed friends, family and potential new art collectors to their show.  VISTA TRAILS and THE GEOGRAPHY OF LIGHTruns from October 6 to October 29, 2016, featuring Annie Mandlsohn (Painting, Sculpture & Mixed Media) and Robert J. Brodey (Photography)20161006_174000 20161006_182228For over 30 years, Annie Mandlsohn (pictured below with a gallery visitor) has exhibited her artwork across Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (B.F.A.) from Concordia University in Montreal specializing in visual arts and music, and also holds a Master in Environmental Studies Degree (M.E.S.) from York University in Toronto.20161006_173911Annie has lived and worked in urban, rural and remote areas of the country, and has travelled across Canada, USA, Europe and Japan. Her love of faraway places, often where tourists do not go, leads her to experience various cultures and adventures she encounters, finding unique journeys guided by an inner compass. The beauty of nature and the spirit and power of landscapes are reflected in her work (samples of which are pictured below)20161006_173806 20161006_173427 20161006_174131 20161006_174015VISTA TRAIL framed Pastel 19x16 MOUNTAIN LAKE Collage Indian and Nepalese paper abalone beads 24X34 MandlsohnI got a chance to chat briefly with Annie before losing her to a crowd of art fans!

Robert Brodey is a Toronto-based writer and photographer whose longing for new places has sent him travelling around the world, writing and shooting for the likes of Street Kids International, Outpost Magazine, The Toronto Star, and The Houston Chronicle. Below are a few of Robert’s stunning portraits and landscapes featured in this current show…20161006_17103620161006_171045 20161006_171139I have always been attracted to movement and change.  I love the element of surprise, the contrasts, and the rush that comes when all the senses light up. For me, what is distant holds a degree of mystery and stokes the fire of imagination and curiosity. I need to experience it.  In that way, travelling is a conscious seeking — for different cultures, different landscapes, and, yes, sometimes even different light.     Robert J. Brodey

Here, let Robert tell you more about his work himself……

Artist, actor and poet Philip Cairns in front of Annie's artwork

Artist, actor and poet Philip Cairns posed in front of Annie’s artwork

Gallery curator Allen Shugar (R) talks with Annie's fans/collectors

Gallery curator Allen Shugar (R) talks with Annie’s fans/collectors

Gallery assistant Kelly chats with performance artist and art lover David Roche

Gallery assistant Kelly chats with performance artist and art lover David Roche

There are always scrumptious treats at Urban Gallery's artist receptions!

There are always scrumptious treats at Urban Gallery’s artist receptions!

Annie was interviewed by Mark Hasan of KQEK.com arts blog

Annie was interviewed by Mark Hasan of KQEK.com arts blog

20161006_182328VISTA TRAILS and THE GEOGRAPHY OF LIGHT2 runs from Oct.6 to Oct.29 at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  For gallery hours, visit: www.urbangallery.caUG-Letterhead-BC

 

 

 

 

 

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GRACE DAM OPENS HER SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY IN TORONTO

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY turned up the a/c for the launch of GRACE DAM‘s hot solo exhibition “The Artist Unmasked” which runs until October 1st.  Family and friends turned out on the sultry Saturday afternoon to celebrate her show and sale of paintings that reflects the complexity of life, the challenge of relationships –and the connections between earth and sky.20160910_144606“My approach combines figurative and abstract elements to explore the emotions and meaning inherent in my surroundings. My subject matter, sparked by the mood and politics of the day, is then researched and studied before I attempt to capture it on canvas. My message may appeal or it may provoke –my aim is to tempt the viewer to linger long enough to tease out the meaning.”    Grace Dam

20160910_14143620160910_14172620160910_141452Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below) arrived to show support…20160910_143352…as did good friend Linda Kaplan, shown below with Grace.20160910_143150Grace’s husband, Howie, admired her work…20160910_141635…as did her lovely daughter Hillary (below)20160910_141932Below, Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering and KJ Mullins, publisher of Newz4U.ca were happy to come out and celebrate Grace’s grand opening….20160910_142304

The Wait 48w x 36h Oil diptych Canadian Icons (Niagara Falls diptych) 48 x 60 oil on canvas Image THE MASK by Grace Dam -oil on canvasFor further information on Grace’s paintings and gallery hours, please visit: www.urbangallery.ca/20160910_144606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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URBAN GALLERY’S “VISIONS OF TORONTO” GROUP SHOW LAUNCHES TO A PACKED HOUSE!

Last night, I was thrilled to see so many art fans and collectors in attendance when URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, launched their annual group show. This year, the focus was on our own city – Visions of Toronto features paintings and photographic art showcasing the city’s stunning streetscapes, waterfront and familiar views interpreted in multiple mediums. Here’s gallery curator Allen Shugar to explain…..

I took a stroll around the gallery prior to the doors being opened so I could take some pics of the artwork….20160804_163906 20160804_163915 20160804_16420920160804_173909_001…then I ran into some of the artists arriving early.  Here’s Nik Buczok whose “View from a Mimico Balcony” photo features a sweeping view of the Toronto skyline from the west.20160804_165338 N. BUCZOK The View From A Mimico Balcony, black & white photographic print from film 20w x 16h $450 unframedAnd gallery favourite Erik Chong (below) brought his intricate view of the CN Tower titled “The Six Phenomenon 2016″20160804_165458 20160804_165507

Celebrity chef and photographer Lyndon Wiebe showed 2 photographs printed on linen. They looked like hyper-realistic paintings – I particularly liked the blustery harbourfront winter shot.20160804_164101Lindsey MacKay has 2 pieces in the show – below is her “Gooderham” painting (below)…most Torontonians will recognize this spot.20160804_17193820160804_172455Ian Strulovitch is pictured below with his “Passing By #2″ metallic print on plexiglass which shows a subway train in full flight! I watched as the gallery guests stood in front and shared their own interpretations of this piece. Exciting!20160804_181039One of the big hits of the show is “Union” an oil on canvas b&w graphic by Colin Nun (below). Is it an optical illusion or is it a name? Well, maybe both. It’s inspired by Union Station…see if you can read it.20160804_191109…many of the guests posed with Union including fellow artist Erik and famed blogger Vernon Chang a.k.a. MoVernie (bottom pic) who said it was his fave painting of the show.20160804_165741 Mo Vernie & Union'Urban Gallery was thrilled to welcome Larry Ostola, Director, Museums & Heritage Services and the Acting Director, Arts & Culture Services, Economic Development & Culture for the City of Toronto. Below, curator Allen shares his thoughts on the Toronto art scene with Larry and bottom, gallery owner Calvin tells Larry about the gallery’s commitment to supporting local artists.20160804_172726 20160804_173448

Let’s take a quick 360 degree walk-thru….

20160804_171705 20160804_171715 20160804_171919 It certainly was a night to remember for the participating artists20160804_171724 K. ALBERTSEN The Boardwalk And The Fog print on dibond 37w x 15h $700 K. McIntrye THE SUBWAY, mixed media on canvas 25w 21h $5000With prices ranging from $375 to $3,400, Visions of Toronto runs throughout the month of August – if you’d like to view the art in person (and maybe pick up a piece or two), check the website for hours:  www.urbangallery.ca

Congratulations to Calvin, Allen and Wayne for such a successful launch!13934738_10153575002506577_706519997170307398_n