Tag Archives: Toronto artists

20210619_135757 (3)

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)

Chillin' in Niagara on the Lake

ACTOR, ARTIST & POET PHILIP CAIRNS RELEASES BOOK OF POEMS ABOUT HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS….AND BED BUGS!!

Over the past five or six years, I’ve had the opportunity to promote plays, art shows or poetry readings by my friend and client PHILIP CAIRNS. He’s currently celebrating the release of his latest book HOLLYWOOD POEMS AND OTHER DIVERSIONS, now available from Amazon.ca. The first section of the book offers stream-of-consciousness narrative poems about Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Jayne Mansfield, Lee Grant, Anita Ekberg, Gloria Grahame and Canada’s own Jackie Burroughs. The author weaves biographical tidbits about these women into each poem, and includes snippets about his own life growing up as a gender-questioning, queer boy in Scarborough, then living as a struggling artist in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. The second half, “Bedbugs and Cockroaches” features satirical, comical stories and poems in which these itchy-scratchy critters come to life. They are like truth-telling cartoon characters, forcing the protagonist in each piece to face reality. The first half is mostly serious in tone and confessional while the second half will make you laugh out loud!coverPhilip has already garnered glowing kudos and thumbs-up from fellow writers and literary media, and I recently spoke with him and asked him to share his thoughts on completing the book during this past year of Covid.

What was the inspiration for your new book of poetry & prose, Hollywood Poems and Other Diversions?  It was David Bateman, my editor, who suggested the concept. He’s very familiar with my work through my public readings. We’ve also co-written short plays that were performed at various festivals. This book is 12 years’ worth of poems, written on the theme of the Golden Age of Hollywood, though not by any means the only poems I wrote during that period. I’ve been a movie freak since I was 9 years old. I was sleep-deprived all through my adolescence because I stayed up half the night watching classic films on the late show. As a teenager, I once saw 4 movies in one day with my best friend. I always identified with the actresses. I loved to get lost in a different world in the dark. I would often sit through a movie more than once. I once saw a double bill of a Robert Altman film and a Jane Fonda movie and I sat through both of them twice…8 hours of movies. I was in my late teens and seeing Bonnie and Clyde was a turning point for me; I came out of the theatre wanting to have sex with Warren Beatty and wanting to be Faye Dunaway. That was scary for a 14 year old. Many of the poems in my book are loving biographies of movie stars I love like Anita Ekberg, Gloria Grahame, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. And Canadian icons like Mary Pickford and someone who was supportive of my work, Jackie Burroughs. But interwoven in many of the narratives, there are incidents from my life growing up as a queer, gender-questioning person in Scarborough. The second section of the book is pure fun, the Bedbugs and Cockroaches chapter. These critters come to life and do tasks like raiding a jewellery box and hiding pills, and they comment on the action with razor sharp accuracy. They are satirical and fun pieces and mostly fictional. They usually get laughs – I used to perform these works live a fair amount. I love to hear an audience laugh. Bringing laughter into people’s lives is manna from heaven. This is such a challenging planet to live on. Economically, it’s like being a hamster on a wheel.IMG_4161Have you spent time in Hollywood and visited any of the homes of those legends about which you write?  I’ve never been to L.A. It seems kind of scary with all those back streets full of pup tents close to movie star mansions. I’ve been outside of Brad and Angelina’s former place in the French Quarter and I did go to the Cannes Film Festival a few years ago where I starred in a short film that played at the Short Film Corner. I went to lots of cocktail parties and met filmmakers from all over the world. It was surreal. I went to one queer party in a tent on the beach but that said, No Celebrities Allowed although it was hosted by a queer celebrity. When I left the party, there were fireworks over the water. We’d been to a screening of our movie that day as well. I think it was the happiest day of my life. I felt like Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief without her jewels and fine gowns.

As a young man, were you a big movie fan and if so, who was your favourite star and what was your favourite film?  Probably from 8 or 9 years old, I’ve loved movies. I was precocious. I was reading newspaper reviews of foreign films when I was 9 or 10. I wanted to be on TV from the age of 4 or 5. My favourites as a child were Hayley Mills and Annette Funicello. As a teenager, it was Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. In high school, I once asked my mother if she would write me a note for the office saying I had a dentist appointment. I told her I wanted to see a Marilyn Monroe movie on TV. You know what her response was? “Okay. You’ve been working hard at school and I know how much you like her so I’ll do it.” Wasn’t that cool? She and I didn’t always get along that well but that’s another story. My favourite film is The Wizard of Oz. Number two is 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Cabaret with Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, is on my Top Ten list of fave movies. Judy Garland is my fave singer and her record, Judy at Carnegie Hall, is my favourite album. My second favourite album would be Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Notice a theme here? And of course, All About Eve is on my Top Ten list, as well. I think I have about 25 films on my top ten list. I love many of Robert Altman’s films. Watching James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden on the late show when I was 16 was a turning point. I sobbed in my bedroom the whole next day. I love Brando, Montgomery Clift, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, Lee Grant, Bette Davis. The list goes on. I work as a background performer in film and TV – I feel lucky that I get to be on set with famous actors and watch them work and be well paid to do it. My family isn’t impressed because being a background performer is the lowliest position on a film set. It was worse back in the 1970s when I started out. I’ve been at this a long time, plugging away in the underground trying to be heard. I don’t go to a lot of auditions these days. I would love a really juicy part in a film. The character would be someone who questions their gender. I lived the life of a gay male for decades, and now I don’t identify as male or female. For me, gender is totally irrelevant. What I have between my legs serves as a function and gives pleasure but does not define who I am. What difference does it make what gender I am? At the same time, I wish to be considered for male roles in film, TV and theatre.  Below, Philip performing poetry readings around Toronto.1799986_10151999725607129_1737786910_o readingsIn the second part of the book, you’ve written about bedbugs – those stories are so funny and biting (pun intended!) – what motivated you to explore those themes?  I suppose it was losing my bed to bedbugs. They kept spraying and spraying but they wouldn’t go away so I threw out my mattress and box spring. It was the only one I had ever bought as an adult. I have been sleeping on the floor every since. They are really horrid little creatures. I don’t know what made me give them voices. Weed, maybe? I can’t for the life of me recall. I love writing those pieces because the bedbugs and cockroaches can say things that people normally are too polite to say…like a little devil sitting on your shoulder. It’s almost like those pieces write themselves. I am just the channel or conduit. I think they work because audiences laugh and even request them.

Philip, you’re quite the renaissance man – a fine artist, a writer, poet and an actor for both film and theatre…what do you find more challenging or fulfilling?  I think I do all these things because I don’t like to be bored and I bore easily. What I found hardest was making a living. I always had to have another part time job to get by, and I would have to juggle things. Sometimes the Universe is kind. I was rehearsing a play and I got 2 TV commercials which shot at night so it meant not much sleep but I could still attend rehearsals. And then finding time to paint, write, draw. I’m pretty driven but I also need down time to recharge. Often, it’s marketing time that goes out the window. I’d rather get out the drawing book and coloured pencils than start submitting myself for film roles or my work to publications. I think I find painting the most relaxing even though I feel it is not my strongest talent or skill. Reading my poetry in public or sitting in the audience watching one of my plays is exhilarating and fulfilling when you really connect with an audience. You can feel it in the air. Total silence. No snoring. Ha!! Hearing a big, big belly laugh from an audience is indescribably wonderful.  I suffer from stage fright these days. I have a terror of forgetting my lines. But if I’m reading one of my poems, I’m fine. I have it right in front of me. I’ve been studying with the most wonderful acting teacher, Alan C. Peterson, which has taught me to tune out everything on a film set or on stage, and just focus on what is happening in a scene. That is all that is happening.  Below, Philip running lines as Julius Caesar and as a glammed up blonde for a recent indie filmRoadrunner Commercial Durango Miller’s Abortion is FunHas the isolation and quarantining throughout this past year of Covid affected your writing or ability to earn a living?   My income from film and TV has dropped considerably but then my expenses have dropped, too. I used to spend a fortune going out with friends and colleagues. Now, I make all my meals at home. But it has afforded me the time to assemble the book and edit and rewrite it which is much harder than the initial writing of a poem or story.  It’s a great feeling when you’re in the zone and it’s flowing out of you onto the page or screen. That usually happens with the first draft. Since the first lockdown, I’ve written a lot and done a lot of drawing and painting. I don’t like to watch more than one movie or TV show per day, if that. It’s been a time of deep, deep reflection. What is awful is that all the dumb, stupid things I’ve done in my life have come bubbling up to haunt me, perhaps to teach me a lesson or something. It has helped me to grow but has been quite painful to behold.head shot (2)

Below is a selection of Philip’s paintings that have been exhibited in Toronto galleries…Crystals on my Kitchen Table Terra_Multi-Gender Being From Another Solar SystemAbout the author: Philip Cairns writes poetry, performance-pieces, plays and short stories. His work has been published in Labour of Love, Resistance Poetry 2, Excalibur Monthly, Xtra! and The Body Politic. In Toronto, Philip has performed his own writing at “Plasticine Poetry” at The Central, A Space, The Art Bar, the Black Swan, the Gladstone Hotel, Glad Day Bookshop & the Theatre Centre. He was one of the organizers, and a frequent host for The Beautiful and the Damned Poetry Cabaret at The Central. He was MC for “Sexy Words” at Lula Lounge and “Bent Expressions” and “Smash Words” at Press Club. He performed in “Hard and Able #2” at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, on the TV series “William Shatner’s Weird or What” and in “The Judy Monologues” at the Toronto Fringe Festival and in a province-wide tour (winning the Best Actor award at the London One Act Festival). Philip has exhibited his acrylic paintings, watercolours and coloured pencil drawings in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Toronto and Edmonton, most recently at Urban Gallery, the Parliament Street Library and at Arcadia Art Gallery in Toronto.

Philip has a number of interviews coming up in May, including CIUT-FM radio’s Howl! show as well as on the Art Bar online poetry show May 11. Follow Philip on Facebook for all the news… Facebook.com/philip.cairns.16

HOLLYWOOD POEMS AND OTHER DIVERSIONS
By Philip Cairns
Purple Poet Press (April, 2021)
$17.89 – Soft-cover, 186 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8701703214
Available from Amazon.ca

IMG-1032

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

Invitation image FACADE by Osvaldo Napoli

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “FACADE”, THE FIRST SOLO SHOW BY OSVALDO NAPOLI

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.  Ozzie was 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

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 Napoli20181006_142319 20181006_142936Ozzie welcomed many art loving friends and was interviewed by KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (pictured below with Ozzie).20181006_142855 20181006_142328Ozzie 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….20181006_150836 20181006_142235 20181006_152543…here are a few in close-up. 20181006_144813 20181006_144536 20181006_144804 20181006_144824 20181006_153659….. 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:20181006_144657 20181006_144708 20181006_142245 20181006_143448 20181006_143455And even more free-standing figures (below)…plus one of the gallery visitors looking eye-to-eye with one mysterious metallic creature:20181006_142254 20181006_14244920181006_153407Not only did gallery visitors love looking at all the artwork, they were also thrilled to pose with the artist!20181006_150845 20181006_153302(0) 20181006_150703Below, Ozzie’s wife, France (below, centre) with family friends who dropped in to cheer on Ozzie at his first ever solo show.20181006_15324620181006_154300 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 atUG-Letterhead-BCAnd here is Ozzie’s tribute in bronze to his long-time friend and mentor, Sorel Etrog:20181006_142239

20180609_145944

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “PROUD ART” GROUP SHOW CELEBRATING 2018’s PRIDE MONTH!

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.20180609_150750I 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 ….20180609_134030

20180609_133958 20180609_134104Sailors Delight Morning H BlondeauI then spoke with Jean Fode who discovered art and her creativity later in life and who is now enjoying the art of collage.20180609_134401

20180609_151003 20180609_134411Jeffrey Mason has a unique take on the world and his humorous portraits of politi-cats definitely provoke conversation as well as laughs!20180609_145927

FourHousecatsApocalypse Holy Ghost Machine20180609_135535(0)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….20180609_133704 20180609_151251 4_Sunrise 6_MagnoliaOther 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”.20180609_145814Sculptor 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.20180609_145852Gallery 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….20180609_15384520180609_15505820180609_135607 20180609_150742 20180609_145913 20180609_145930

UG-Letterhead-BC

PROUD ART runs until June 30th.  Visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours

20180405_140125

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

20170907_164330

ALLEN SHUGAR OPENS HIS SOLO SHOW AT URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Usually the curator for other artists’ shows, ALLEN SHUGAR was proud to present his own work at Urban Gallery (400 Queen East, Toronto) last night for the opening of his month-long show titled SHIFTING LIGHT. Allen is joined here by gallery director, Calvin Hambrook (below L) in front of his title artwork (lower photo)20170907_164910(0) AllenShugar_SHIFTING_LIGHT400Each stunning piece illustrates how light shifts when viewing from different vantage points and I particularly liked the play of light on leaves in this painting (below) appropriately titled “Goldleaf”.20170907_164502In fact, lots of gallery visitors loved these works – within half an hour of opening the gallery doors, the room was packed with Allen’s friends, family and fans.20170907_180622 20170907_175316I managed to grab Allen for a quick interview before the party was in full swing and asked him about his show….

As you can tell, Allen is very passionate about art, the painter’s process and working as the curator for Urban Gallery. Below, Allen greeted many friends who came out to support him…20170907_19082220170907_173655….and several fellow artists dropped by including Grace Dam (below) whose shows Allen has previously curated…20170907_182305…and Romi Samuels (below) who hopes to bring a show of her work to the gallery in the near future.20170907_184401Here’s award-winning artist Erik Chong (below with his wife, Jeannette) whose shows Allen has also curated over the past few years.20170907_191308Allen showcased 3 smaller framed pieces (reverse painting on glass) and my favourite one was quickly snapped up by this lovely lady.20170907_191204 20170907_164314So many gorgeous pieces…you must visit the gallery to see for yourself!20170907_184325 20170907_170622 20170907_171732And of course, the refreshments were works of art, too, courtesy of Urban Source Catering20170907_164657 20170907_165202(0)

Artist statement:
Colour, light, the cycles of nature (so extreme in our climate), the beauty of the human form – these are the subjects that inspire my paintings. Naturalistic representation has never much interested me. I take, rather, a transformative approach that seeks to capture a purely subjective experience, a state of mind, an evanescent thought. In this respect, my work owes as much to musical and literary influences as it does to visual stimuli. My aim is to suggest the extraordinary that lies just beneath the surface of the ordinary.  – Allen Shugar

SHIFTING LIGHT – Paintings by Allen Shugar
Exhibition dates: September 7 to September 30, 2017
Gallery hours & directions:   www.UrbanGallery.caSTILLNESS oil on canvas Allen Shugar

UG-Logo-url

URBAN GALLERY CELEBRATES CANADA150 WITH STUNNING GROUP SHOW “O CANADA”

Yesterday, URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) opened the doors to officially launch their summer group show O CANADA (runs until July 29), featuring 17 Canadian artists with diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic styles whose individual visions of Canada celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary. Come take a virtual walk with me thru the gallery….

The stunning image by Erik Chong features the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem in all three official languages and Erik posed proudly in front of his painting, “Beautiful Day” (below)20170708_141459Celebrated wildlife photographer Linda Langerak has 3 gorgeous photos of BC creatures in the show (below) – I love the bald eagles…20170708_141140Kirk Sutherland created the frame around his “Terra Nova” painting from found architectural salvage featuring maple leaf designs. How clever is that?20170708_150459Caught this cool shot and realized afterwards that it was all about the stripes….LOL!20170708_150006Pauline Langmaid (below) drove in all the way from Bracebridge to showcase her glorious abstract landscapes…or should I say “lake-scapes”? 20170708_142055Pauline’s two paintings proved very popular with gallery visitors…20170708_160719 20170708_145939Another popular image was celebrity chef & photographer Lyndon Wiebe‘s photo of a windswept view of Port Hope (below). Lyndon brought out an extended print showing more of the scene – located to the west of the town where housing development meets grassland.  20170708_144818(0) 20170708_161500Film industry professional and accomplished photographic artist Karen Silver chose a chilly winter scene of a Toronto park and a lonely bicycle. Now that’s one seat I would not like to sit on…LOL!20170708_142229Kris Bovenizer (below centre) talks with a guest about her two acrylic on canvas works…the sea-faring image on the left is now a label on bottles of a limited edition maple syrup bottled for a Canadian business leader (as Canada150 corporate gifts for his clients). How cool..and congrats to Kris. 20170708_151736And Kris posed with fellow artist Kirk Sutherland and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below)20170708_144136Manije Sabet Sarvestani (below) brought two oil-on-canvas works: “Canada Day in Quebec City” (on left) and “Thornhill Festival” (on right). The soft-spoken artist let her work do all the talking and these certainly announced her talent loudly!20170708_145703Kent Bridges was the first artist to score a “red dot” (a sale) for his “Life in a Northern Town”. Here he is (below left in red) with purchaser and fan David Currah of Toronto’s Fife House. Congrats to Kent who was all smiles as he celebrated the sale.20170708_140935 20170708_145308Ronald Regamey uses a technique known as “quilling” to create beautiful 3 dimensional paper & glue artwork. Here’s Ronald being snapped by Calvin in front of his latest piece titled “Alive”.20170708_145416(0) 20170708_145438…Ronald had a number of family and friends congratulating him on his gallery appearance – they were so animated and excited it was hard to get them all to stand still for a photo…LOL20170708_150035Gallery curator Allen Shugar and poet/artist Brenda Clews also met under Ronald’s work….20170708_150050…while Linda Langerak snapped away with Kirk (below)20170708_150521The delicious food was catered by Urban Source Catering and the platters were themselves works of art.20170708_141011 20170708_140959Colin Nun (below left) who recently had his own successful solo show at Urban Gallery, shares his thoughts on his work “Canada” with KJ Mullins (below R) editor of NEWZ4U.ca20170708_152712In fact, a lot of guests remarked on the uniqueness of Colin’s oil-on-canvas typographical and topographical view of the country.20170708_141116Snapd newspaper photographer Gianmarco dropped by to cover the event and got busy snapping the artists…20170708_153729 20170708_153539I managed to grab a quick pic of Joan Andal Romano with her “True North” mixed media on canvas. So many intricate details to view, it must have taken her many hours to create.20170708_15425920170708_140749Several artists were unable to attend, 3 delivered beautiful Canadian landscapes – Stacey Kinder‘s “Light” featuring a stand of trees in the fall, Christine Marin‘s “On Bear Trap Road” (2nd pic) and Grace Dam‘s snowy “Canmore” (3rd pic)….20170708_140802 20170708_145552Dam CANADIAN ICONS -CANMORE ALBERTA 48w x 60h oil on canvas..and Aisha Chiguichon was represented by this provocative acrylic on canvas titled “Stereotypes”CHIGUICHON StereotypesVictoria General attended but the shy artist preferred to let her work take centre stage and declined a photo. Victoria works in charcoal on paper – here are “We Need a Bit More Sand, I Think” (upper) and “I’ll Have to Call You Back” (lower).20170708_151807The reception drew many art lovers and more red dots should be appearing alongside these Canada150 artful tributes. I hope you get a chance to visit in person and support the talented artists at Urban Gallery.20170708_144203 20170708_150135 20170708_150423

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca20170708_155624

Urban Gallery is also available for rental if you wish to host your corporate or private party, reception or even a sit-down dinner with delicious food & refreshments courtesy of Urban Source Catering. Visit the website for details.

20170608_180820

GREAT OPENING NIGHT FOR JOHNY DELUNA’S “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” ART SHOW

Congratulations to Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA on a great opening reception for his solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation” at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opposite the Art Gallery of Ontario) in Toronto. Last night, Johny greeted friends, family, art collectors and other gallery curators to his colourful, provocative show.20170608_181006 20170608_182959 20170608_183042 20170608_18330520170608_200348(0)He even had a 4-legged art fan drop by…20170608_184734Fellow artist, Nancy Bennett (below), brought some of her friends to admire the intricate and detailed work.20170608_182229 20170608_181034Media maven Georgina Bencsik grabbed Johny for a selfie (below)20170608_182928

20170608_183217 20170608_191556Johny’s elegant partner, Katrina (below), was also a work of art herself as she helped host the soiree…20170608_184804..and I was thrilled to welcome some guests visiting from Australia who fell in love with Johny’s work.20170608_200334 20170608_201323 20170608_202027Sandy, above with Johny, actually runs a community arts program back home in Queensland, Australia, so she was excited to chat with him about his work….and maybe an invitation to visit Down Under in the future?20170608_191609Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so please come on down and meet the artist who will be on-site most days.20170608_181013

 

 

 

 

John painting closeup

TORONTO ARTIST JOHNY DELUNA READY TO LAUNCH SOLO SHOW “SPONTANEOUS LEVITATION” THIS THURSDAY

With a final few brushstrokes left and the selection of which painting goes where on the gallery walls, Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is just a few days away from launching his exciting new solo show, “Spontaneous Levitation”, at the Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West (opp. the AGO).

I caught up with Johny over the weekend and asked him to share some last-minute thoughts on his new show….

As your solo show, Spontaneous Levitation, draws closer, how many new works of art will be represented at the show?  I will be showing about 10 new works from this year and about 15 works from prior years.img442From where have you drawn inspiration for these new canvases?  The genesis of most paintings starts with one small event or observation My inspirations come from observations of the human condition.  I try to depict the fragility of our lives, the unusual effects of random events, the consequences of our behavior.  It seems that issues rarely disappear they simply re-emerge in a modified form. I want to articulate these ideas in a new and fresh way, so I let the work express itself intuitively. Sometimes I don’t recognize the finished piece as mine. (No Free Lunch, below).No Free Lunch 36x48Can you share the story behind one or two of these new masterworks? The piece titled Eating Spaghetti With Scissors (below) is based on our need to add unnecessary complexity to our lives. Perhaps this complexity gives us comfort, the feeling that our life is richer and better.  I think we mistake motion with progress and quantity with quality.  When we can’t answer an important question with a straight answer, we fake it with circuitous logic. We vigorously defend this opinion with a mind numbing jumble of half baked ‘truths’, opinions, rumors and petty biases. We end up ‘going to the wall’ defending these opinions; opinions that that we don’t fully understand ourselves.Eating Spaghetti With Scissors acrylic on canvas 34 x 48What would you like gallery visitors to come away with after viewing your work?  I hope people will find the show to be very fresh, humorous and thought-provoking.  I hope the works will speak to each person in their own way. I hope visitors will encourage their friends to visit the show as well.art squCome meet Johny at his opening reception and view his provocative large-format paintings (acrylic on canvas) this Thursday June 8th (6-9pm) at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto. Show runs until June 19th.