Each year, URBAN GALLERY in Toronto hosts a 10-day exhibition of works from the first year students of the Centennial College Studio Arts program, and this year’s show is titled “Wait, What?”. Not what you would normally expect from a group of ambitious emerging artists – layered universes of double meaning, hope, despair, humour, longing, madness, genius, and skillful virtuosity. All contained within innocuous 18″ square shadow boxes. You will leave the show thinking “wait, what?”… Fairchild Chinese TV news was on hand to record the opening reception and interview the artists and the dept. head…. One of the mature students, F. Mehtap Mertdogan, was there with her family and proudly posed in front of her stunning 3D mosaic titled “Enough!” (below) The 23 artworks on show offered subjects, mediums and colour palettes to suit every taste and pocketbook – prices range from $200 to $450 – a very affordable way to start collecting your favourite emerging Canadian artists. Congratulations to all the artists: Mattheas Gabber, Yogin Patel, Kumar Ayyappa, Fiona Wei, Lilian Jang, Lucas Thomas, Arnold Farrell, CL Fisher, Bee Fawn, Alexandria A. Allen-Papadopoylos, Jancy Sivanantham, Lexx Willis, Takanya Marsh, Titar Awua-Imande, Danielle Nothmann, Sharon Zhang, Atheena Sureshmohan, Gabriella Berdugo, Hyewon Kim, Natalie Plociennik, Wayne Wu, Kai Hart and F. Mehtap Mertdogan.“Wait, What?” runs until Saturday March 24th (5pm) at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen st East, Toronto. Check the website for times & more details: www.urbangallery.ca
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli has been an artist all his life but only recently has he decided to share his creativity with the world. As he prepares for his first solo exhibition later this year at Urban Gallery in Toronto, Ozzie’s been reviewing his past work and assessing his latest for inclusion. From spectacular bronze sculptures and freestanding wire pieces that will stop you in your tracks, to imaginative 3D wall art comprised of cellphone and computer components, his work provokes conversation, inspiration and adoration! One of my favourite pieces is titled “Bliss” (see below) and is a piece that Ozzie holds dear to his heart….and we can see why. I recently joined Ozzie for a photo shoot at his Richmond Hill studio of his latest works to add to his website (see end of story for link) and I asked him a few questions about his life, his inspiration and his art.
What first inspired you to paint and sculpt? As a child I was fascinated by the wonders and colors of carnival season in Uruguay. I used to carve and paint masks from palm tree branches and my friend and I wore them mimicking the dancers and performers at the parades in my neighborhood. [that early influence is clearly reflected in his current work – below] Who was your sculpting mentor/teacher and how did he impact what you create now? My mentor and friend was Canadian artist, writer and philosopher Sorel Etrog, best known as a sculptor. He taught me to see subtleties between strengths and weaknesses of composition and content. He also encouraged me to always approach art from my heart with clarity and vision. You work predominantly in wire, creating stunning human-like characters and fantastical creatures – how do you come up with such ideas? My ideas come mainly from real life stories and situations that we all find ourselves in as part of our everyday life….but with an added touch of fantasy and whimsy. I interpret the mystical and esoteric aspects of people and incorporate those into most of my work.
You also incorporate components from cellphones and computers in freestanding and 3D wall art – where do you find these bits’n’bobs? Surely you don’t smash your own phones?! I rely on the generosity of family, friends and neighbors to supply me with their recyclable e-trash; they are more than happy to donate to my stockpile and at the same time, get rid of their unwanted electronics.
You have numerous pieces done in bronze – how difficult is it to cast and where do you undertake that task? I form the original work in sculptor’s plasticine or wax and then take it to the foundry to be put through a rigorous process where a rubber and plaster mold is made to create a wax-like figure which is then coated with a compound called ceramic. That is then melted afterwards to produce a new mold that can handle the molten bronze…et voila! The sculpture is done and ready to be colored by a process called patina. The whole procedure could take up to three months before its completion. Whew!
You are now starting to exhibit your work as a mature artist – has waiting this long to share your work with the public been beneficial to you as an artist? Yes, because I now have the confidence to create with conviction and sound craftsmanship. I felt that I needed that time to create a vast collection of work which I am now ready to share with the world.
In the fall, you have your first solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto – what are your expectations? I’m excited to show my collections to the public and meet art lovers who come out to support the launch of my month-long show. I’m also hoping to receive a good response to my work and gain attention from art critics and collectors. I would love for my works to go out into the world to inspire, provoke, entertain and enhance people’s understanding of the creative process.Yes, I’m excited, too, to see Ozzie’s work in a gallery and see/hear how people relate and react to each piece. I myself was particular drawn to this caged heart (below) …a perfect metaphor for my Valentine’s this year…LOL!! You can find more photos of Ozzie’s work and learn about his artistic approach to each subject at: www.artbyozz.com and keep the month of October free to visit his solo show at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.
I spent a second day surrounded by beautiful artwork, this time at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen st East, Toronto) where accomplished painter DONNA WISE (pictured below) launched her solo show, FLIGHTS OF FANCY, which runs until Dec. 30th, 2017. Amid the excitement of the launch, Donna shared with me the fact that a local (and very gracious) fashion designer, Annie Thompson, reached out to her with an offer to outfit her for the launch today so here’s Donna wearing one of Annie’s outfits also called “Flight of Fancy” which perfectly matches her paintings and style (www.anniethompson.ca). Here’s Donna describing her show and talking about her inspirations….
Here are a few of the pieces gracing the gallery walls… Fine arts blogger Mark Hasan of KQEK.com stopped by for an interview with the artist (below) then enjoyed viewing her work along with the crowd of friends and family who started filing in… A friend and long-time collector of Donna’s (below L) put the first “red dot” of the day beside one of the stunning paintings, purchasing one of my personal favourites: this delicate image of what, to me, looks like a Japanese geisha. What do you think?Donna’s husband (below L) posed with another family friend in front of this giant pastel hued canvas…..
…and here are more gallery guests enjoying Donna’s work and the fine catering courtesy of www.UrbanCatering.com If you can’t make it down to the gallery in person, here’s a quick virtual trip around one section of the gallery…
Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, just E of Parliament, in Toronto. Visit the website for directions and gallery hours: www.UrbanGallery.ca
This past Saturday, Urban Gallery (www.urbangallery.ca) in Toronto launched their solo art show for November, LAND ON FIRE, featuring stunning abstract landscape paintings by MARY LYNNE ATKINSON, pictured below with her “Night Sky” 36×48 acrylic on panel painting. The show runs through to November 25th.
Mary Lynne was thrilled to greet friends & family, and within minutes of the doors being open, one of her smaller pieces sold (the one to the right of the group below, titled “Solitude” with the little red dot on the name tag). That was one of my favourite pieces and I had my eye on it myself. But as the saying goes – you snooze, you lose! Above, Mary Lynne chats with a gallery visitor about the two pieces to the right, “Wind” (upper) and “Firedance” (lower) both of which are 19×19 oil & resin on 16 gauge steel. Look at the close-up details of these two (below)…I love the texture. I spoke briefly with Mary Lynne before the gallery got crowded – here’s what she had to say about her inspirations for these works….
ARTIST STATEMENT: Land on Fire is inspired by waves as patterns in time and space. Formations that look like ocean waves in their immensity, silence and immutability draw me in. My paintings are rooted in the ‘tangible’ of the physical world. They are also inspired by questions surrounding our human relationship to Earth. My challenge as an artist is to draw the connections between both the tangible and the intangible.
By moving into a landscape through colour and gesture, painting becomes a meditation on space expanding and time evolving. The vast, silent, unforgiving spaces challenge me to express my ideas and emotions of timelessness. Each painting has its own silence. ~ Mary Lynne Atkinson
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Mary Lynne Atkinson is a mid-career visual artist living in Midhurst, Ontario. She holds a B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University and a graduate diploma in Studio Process Advancement from the Haliburton School of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely in Europe, notably in the Carousel du Louvre, Paris, 2012 and 2013. She was awarded a Bronze Medal, Paris, June 2014, by the Societé des Arts, Lettres, Sciences. Her paintings have been exhibited in numerous curated shows including the Miami Art Basel and S Space Gallery, New York, NY. Atkinson continues to exhibit extensively in Ontario, and her paintings are collected nationally and internationally.
Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeannette dropped in to view Mary Lynne’s work (below)……as did so many other fans of great Canadian art (below) Here are some other fine examples of her work on display at Urban Gallery… …and this 8×10 framed mixed media on panel titled “Amethyst Mountain” (pictured below) has also peaked my interest. Maybe I should add this to my Santa list?Land on Fire runs throughout the month of November at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in downtown Toronto. For gallery hours and directions: www.urbangallery.ca
URBAN GALLERY hosted the opening reception for artist CHRIS MARIN’s solo exhibition “PASSAGES” last night and Chris welcomed family and friends as she unveiled a series of intuitive paintings that are both intriguing and powerful. Her works utilize a bold colour palette and viewers can interpret their own vision as to each painting’s subject or meaning – it was interesting to hear several gallery guests air vastly differing interpretations of one particular painting! Anyway, let’s ask Chris to us about about her work herself…
Artist’s Statement: One brush stroke leads to the next. When I begin a non-objective painting, I do not know where I will go. It’s a liberating, intuitive way to paint and to live. In “Passages” I invite the viewer to take his or her own steps through the paintings. Chris Marin, 2017.Chris became intrigued by art after learning intuitive watercolour painting from Dorothy Clarke McClure in 1993. Over time, Chris expanded her interests to include collage, printmaking, acrylic painting and applying transparent underglazes to her pottery. One of her paintings is on the cover of “What About My Kids?” a book written to help families coping with breast cancer. Chris’s painting “Home Again” is the image in the Port Medway Lighthouse calendar for February 2018, and “My Favourite Things” was used for the IWK children’s hospital fundraising raffle this year. She contributes regularly to the IWK and Elderdog shows, and her paintings can be seen at the Riverbank, Mill Village, and Port Grocer, Port Medway, Nova Scotia. They also hang in law offices and private collections.
Chris’s story, The Edge of Risk is included in the book, Outside of Ordinary: Women’s Travel Stories. And her Nova Scotia treetops studio was featured in the Spring 2009 issue of Studio Magazine. The majority of Chris’s paintings arise from the subconscious, whether she is pouring watercolours or sitting at her easel applying paint, simply responding to what she has just done with no end result in mind.
Here are just a few of Chris’s paintings that caused a stir with gallery visitors… And as the guests arrived, Chris was eager to greet them and show them around… Chris gave an interview to arts journalist Mark Hasan of KQEQ.com (below)…and here she is (below) with gallery curator and fellow artist, Allen Shugar…..…and with her friends (below)Below, Drew from Snap’d newspaper came out to take photos, too.Chris’s guests thoroughly enjoyed the reception and Urban Gallery hopes to see red dots going up alongside a number of paintings that created quite the buzz with the opening night crowd. Gallery owner, Calvin Hambrook (below L) was also busy welcoming guests… …and this sumptuous and artful refreshments spread was courtesy of UrbanSource Catering (urbancatering.com) Chris’s show runs throughout the month of October (closes Sat. Oct. 28) so please visit and support another talented Canadian artist. Directions and gallery hours: www.urbangallery.ca
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) Each 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”.In 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. I 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…….and several fellow artists dropped by including Grace Dam (below) whose shows Allen has previously curated……and Romi Samuels (below) who hopes to bring a show of her work to the gallery in the near future.Here’s award-winning artist Erik Chong (below with his wife, Jeannette) whose shows Allen has also curated over the past few years.Allen showcased 3 smaller framed pieces (reverse painting on glass) and my favourite one was quickly snapped up by this lovely lady. So many gorgeous pieces…you must visit the gallery to see for yourself! And of course, the refreshments were works of art, too, courtesy of Urban Source Catering…
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
Last night, Toronto’s coolest indie art venue, URBAN GALLERY, hosted the opening reception for HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work is inspired by vintage photographs of our city from years gone by, found in the City of Toronto Archives. With permission from the Archives, Hanna has recreated well-known intersections and streetscapes from the early 1900’s through to the 1980’s, adding colour and movement to the imagery, bringing the scenes to life. Her show, 20th Century Toronto: Intersections & Interactions, runs until August 26th at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) and I strongly recommend you visit in person to see if you recognize each of the locations she’s painted. Betcha you’ll be amazed to see how our city has changed!
About the artist: Hanna was born in Szczecin, Poland, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2007 and currently resides in Hamilton and works in Toronto. Her work can be found in dozens of private and public collections in both cities.(Above) Yonge and Dundas, 1978 Acrylic on Wood 30″ x 60″ by Hanna Kostanski
From City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 92, Item 49 • Original Photograph by Harvey R. Naylor
Artist Statement: For nearly a decade my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton and Detroit. I have always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist.
My current body of work continues to explore the connection between people and their environment, but with a focus on historical representations of that relationship. To that end, I have been working on a series of paintings based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and are nostalgic of the city as it used to be. They celebrate the many past incarnations of Toronto, the vibrant intersections of the city and the interactions of its people. Hanna Kostanski (2017)
The gallery was quickly crowded with fans of Hanna’s work which has recently garnered some exciting media attention – even Toronto Mayor John Tory has weighed in on Twitter about Hanna’s ability to capture a sense of time and place with her large format paintings.Two of Hanna’s BFF’s came to support her and found a familiar sight in this painting (below) of Yonge Street between Queen & Dundas! I think this fellow (above) must work on Bay Street – he appears to be looking for the location where his office now sits and explaining the old geography to his lovely companion. Hanna welcome many of her friends and fans (above), all of whom seemed eager to see her newest paintings.
Fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) looks like she’s calling a cab from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas…LOLAmidst the hub-bub of the busy gallery, I managed to grab Hanna for a quick chat about her work…
Hanna is also offering fine prints for those who don’t have the space for the original BIG paintings…here’s a happy art-lovin’ family who purchased 2 prints of their favourite paintings….Here’s Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (they always present the most deelish treats for gallery openings!!) with KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca, a Toronto-centric e-newspaper who really liked Hanna’s work.If you would like to come and play “spot the street” with Hanna’s work, please visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions. You can also follow Hanna on social media via her own website: www.hannakostanski.com
Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!
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)Celebrated wildlife photographer Linda Langerak has 3 gorgeous photos of BC creatures in the show (below) – I love the bald eagles…Kirk Sutherland created the frame around his “Terra Nova” painting from found architectural salvage featuring maple leaf designs. How clever is that?Caught this cool shot and realized afterwards that it was all about the stripes….LOL!Pauline Langmaid (below) drove in all the way from Bracebridge to showcase her glorious abstract landscapes…or should I say “lake-scapes”? Pauline’s two paintings proved very popular with gallery visitors… Another 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. Film 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!Kris 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. And Kris posed with fellow artist Kirk Sutherland and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below)Manije 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!Kent 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. Ronald 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”. …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…LOLGallery curator Allen Shugar and poet/artist Brenda Clews also met under Ronald’s work….…while Linda Langerak snapped away with Kirk (below)The delicious food was catered by Urban Source Catering and the platters were themselves works of art. Colin 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.caIn fact, a lot of guests remarked on the uniqueness of Colin’s oil-on-canvas typographical and topographical view of the country.Snapd newspaper photographer Gianmarco dropped by to cover the event and got busy snapping the artists… I 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.Several 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)…. ..and Aisha Chiguichon was represented by this provocative acrylic on canvas titled “Stereotypes”Victoria 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).The 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.
Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto www.urbangallery.ca
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.
What a wonderful showcase of multi-media artworks from four talented Toronto-based artists from the LGBT community!! Congratulations to URBAN GALLERY and its curator Allen Shugar, for presenting an outstanding exhibition of paintings, text-based graphics, digital and acrylic on canvas art celebrating this year’s annual PRIDE month. I got there nice and early and had the gallery to myself to record a quick video walk-around:
The first artist to arrive at the gallery was the charming Eugene Nam whose striking large format acrylic-on-canvas works were both powerful and beautiful. The textural quality of his work was such that I wanted to reach out and touch the brushstrokes…..but I resisted! Eugene came to Toronto a few years ago from S. Korea, via San Francisco. I asked him why he left the city by the bay to come all the way to Toronto and he told me…. In South Korea, our sexual identity must be kept hidden – homosexuality is not openly tolerated. As soon as I could, I left and went to the U.S. to pursue my passion for painting but once I heard of Toronto’s attitude of acceptance and inclusion, I knew that’s where I belonged. Since arriving, I have felt such freedom to live, love and create. I’m so happy to participate in Urban Gallery’s showcase so I can share my feelings with you all through my work. The next artist to arrive was TV and commercial producer Barbara Zumer whose love of creative writing and words she now showcases in her art. One of Barbara’s pieces is actually printed on a mirror so I had a bit of fun with it…just so happens I recently had my hair done so the message is very appropriate, don’t you think? LOLI was definitely pulled towards the digital anime-like images created by the very tall Jeffrey Mason (below).His whimsical and wild illustrations of cat-like pop culture icons created quite the stir – people chuckled as they gazed at the instantly recognizable references… Jeffrey also published a book of his work and copies were quickly snapped up by gallery visitors.Former digital producer and part-time teacher at Centennial College, Hank Blondeau (below) is exhibiting some pretty striking images….…below is Hank’s pair of huge digital art prints titled Lightimage Left and Lightimage Right Do these stripes make me look thin?There was something for every taste in art and I must say, it’s one of my favourite shows in recent months. Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering, looked like works of art…and it all tasted simply delicious! The PROUD ART show runs until June 30th and I encourage you to visit in person to view all of the above and more. URBAN GALLERY is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto – just East of Parliament St. www.urbangallery.ca
My friends at URBAN SOURCE CATERING did themselves proud last night when they treated the sponsors and corporate partners of the Inside Out Film Festival to a medley of tasty treats and refreshing party cocktails and wines.Below, Urban Source Catering’s co-owner Wayne Abell welcomed the Festival’s newly appointed Exec. Director, Andria Wilson, to URBAN GALLERY…
…and Andria, in turn, welcomed Inside Out’s special guests to the pre-Festival launch party such as Kelly from RBC (below R with Brad Campbell, Dir. of Corp. Sales for the fest).Andria got busy with social media postings along with colleagues Clayton and Andrew (LtoR, below)Delicious bite-sized treats were served along with wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic bevvies by the catering staff below) Andria enjoyed a few nibblies with the guests……and enjoyed the festivities with colleagues Winnie Luk (below L), the Dir. of Operations & Events, and Andrew Murphy (below R) Dir. of Programming.Then it was time for the presentation and teaser trailer of upcoming festival films Congrats to Marketing & Outreach Mgr, Clayton Lee (below R) and tech assistant CJ (L) for helping present the video.Brad’s assistant, Nick (below R) posed for a quick snapshot with Festival Coordinator Jayne Schneider (L) in front of photographic art being featured in this year’s CONTACT show at Urban Gallery……and below, gallery owner Calvin Hambrook lined up the guests for even more photo opps.As many guests observed, the table decorations were elegant and colourful… If you’d like to learn more about the Inside Out Film Festival and see this year’s line-up of LGBTQ-focused films, please visit their website: www.insideout.ca
And if you’d like to learn more about the fabulous catering offered by Urban Source Catering and the exquisite adjoining venue available for corporate & private rentals, Urban Gallery, please visit their websites: www.urbancatering.com ~ www.urbangallery.ca