Sunday, June 30, 2013

West Queen West... an education

Yesterday, my husband and I played tourist in Toronto, and did the West Queen West Art tour with art writer and guide, Betty Ann Jordan. I worked at a graphics place in Parkdale many years ago... anyone familiar with Toronto will remember when that area was mostly low income rentals and filled with newcomers to the city. Not so anymore. From Liberty Village to West Queen West the area is being upscaled in a big way. Condos everywhere, cool little galleries and shops, trendy restaurants line the streets. As we drove to our designated meeting spot (I would normally have taken the TTC, but we were late and had to be home shortly after the tour was over) I wondered aloud how long this area would last as the city's artist haven... those condos would undoubtably cost way more than most artists could afford. And rents for the store fronts were surely climbing as the area gentrified... those small, independent boutiques and galleries would have their work cut out for them to stay afloat.

The Drake Hotel
Our first stop was the Gladstone Hotel, housed in a great old building from 1889 and features rotating exhibitions in the public spaces, along with artist designed rooms (which can be viewed on the website). Then it was down the road to the Drake, which I know as a live music venue and didn't realize that it was still functioning as a hotel. There was lots of interesting art here as well, including a mural on the rooftop patio that apparently changes every few months.

Sculptures in the stairway going up
to the patio
Out on the street we headed west, popping into a few smaller galleries close by. Katherine Mulherin has a couple galleries here, each featuring a different up and coming artist, one of which is "copy-cat" artist, Eric Doeringer. My husband was completely baffled by this work... basically he recreates projects by other artists and presents them as his "recreation". He had a wall of small sized canvases, basically knock-offs of well known works, like you would find knock-offs of designer handbags on a street corner in NY. This sparked a debate between the two of us on the nature of creativity, and what constitutes a creation... but nobody else on the tour seemed the slightest bit interested in participating.  We decided to hold off the discussion until we were done. 

Working west we hopped up Ossington a few blocks, noting that a couple stops on our tour were actually closed for the day. We did, however, stop in a fantastic shoe store, Gravity Pope, where I went back afterwards to buy a pair of brilliant orange sneakers. I'll take a picture of those later.  :)

Apparently there is an "artist flea market" in the area... it was on our list as a place we would visit, but we didn't actually stop and I don't even remember seeing it. At this point we were running pretty late... we had someone with mobility issues on the tour, which while easily accommodated, but meant we had to skip a few stops to meet our time deadline. 

Outside the gallery, Hubs spotted this
overlooking the courtyard. Can you see
him? Here's an enlargement...
Our final stop was at the MOCCA, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, where they are hosting an exhibit by Louise Bourgeois. Here's where things got a bit... interesting. My husband asked what I saw as a reasonable question... why was the Museum of Contemporary CANADIAN Art hosting an exhibit by a french woman who spent much of her life in the US, and what was her connection to Canada (there is none). The young man in the gallery got a bit defensive (hubs says more like snippy), stating we should be happy to have this exhibit ANYWHERE. While I enjoyed the art and can appreciate Ms. Bourgeois' place in art history, the conversation was a bit off-putting. 

overlooking the MOCCA... are they trying to say something?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Summer Sizzler

Opening of the "Summer Sizzler" juried show in London.
My piece is hanging in the window at the back.
So this weekend required a trek out to London for the opening of the "Summer Sizzler" juried show, at the Art Gallery of Lambeth. I was there early to help out... Not the norm since I live so far away, but I had the day off and leaving early meant missing that awful rush hour traffic. When I went to unlock the door, I was caught a bit off guard to see that there were actually people waiting out in the parking lot! I usually get there about an hour after the doors open, so this was something I've never witnessed. But it was a lovely evening, and what better way to spend it than looking at art, listening to music and having a little wine.

I did the initial rounds to say hello to people I had met before, (the London arts community is very supportive and many attend whatever event is going on) before getting out my camera. I only got to snap a few pics before the batteries in my camera died. I didn't even get a shot of my 3 dancer paintings that were hanging directly in front of the door. I'll have to be a bit more prepared next time and make sure I have my back-up batteries fully charged.  I believe the gallery is going to be posting photos of works juried into the show on their Facebook page over the next couple weeks. Interested? Head over to Facebook and check it out. And be sure to "like" them... that way you won't miss anything!

The entertainment, Ben Brown, gave the gallery goers an evening of nice acoustic music. By the
end it was a bit of a sing-a-long... not something I've ever seen at an art gallery. Fun. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Back at it

Room for both dogs and still a place for
me to stand. Amazing.
Finally!! Unpacked!

Well, kind of.


The main floor anyway, and most of the upper floor. Ok, the basement is still in boxes, but I used to have floor to ceiling, wall to wall built-in bookcases, which now I don't have, and I have a very large collection of books (I LOVE books) that I have nowhere to put. So they are still in boxes. And will be until I can figure out what to do with them.

Just the same, I am finally able to get back to work. My studio is organized... or as organized as it can be until I work in there for a while. I've been finding that even though I put things in what seemed to be a logical spot when I was unpacking, when I needed that particular item I had to hunt high and low for it. Still, for the most part I had a pretty productive day yesterday. Started a couple small canvases and one larger one. I had done a few journaling exercises last week to kind of get me back into the right space, and surprisingly it seemed to work. Having had issues with getting blocked after taking time off, it was nice to find things flowing somewhat easily. I did an exercise I've done before and quite enjoy from LK Ludwig's book "True Vision" called Found Poetry, and combined it with automatic writing. Here is my result:
I quite like the colour combinations here. I think I'll use this in a painting.