Posts Tagged ‘art’

Two Canadian First Nations women, Jane Ash Poitras and Rebecca Belmore,  have their art on display at the moment.  Both women are concerned about the effects of history on their culture and heritage.  Both mix politics into their art.   How do you rise out of oppression while preserving your heritage?  What are the issues surrounding acculturation and do you deal with them?   But as you can see, they approach their art in very different ways.

At the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are four paintings by Jane Ash Poitras (b. Fort Chipeywan Alberta 1951).   Poitras is Cree.  She was orphaned at the age of 6 and raised by a Catholic German woman in Edmonton.  Before turning to art, she earned a BSc in microbiology.

below: ‘Buffalo Seed’, mixed media, 2004.  Old black and white photos are used in this collage along with sunflower petals and fabulous colours of oil paint.

colourful collage and painting by Jane Ash Poitras. Uses old black and white photos

below: “Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101”,  Placed side by side, these two large works serve to contrast traditional indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants with the teachings imposed on indigenous youth by the residential school system.

2 large assemblages, collages, by Jane Ash Poitras, called Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum

below: There is a lot of detail in the two boards that get lost in a photo like the one above so here is a closer look at some of the photos in the collage above

collection of old black and white photos of First Nations kids in schools

text of a quote by Rebecca Belmore that says "for decades I have been working amongst my people, calling to the past, witnessing the present, standing forward, facing the monumental

 

“Facing the Monumental” is the title of the Rebecca Belmore exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It covers three decades of her work and includes photographs, sculptures, and videos of her performance art.   Her art is more conceptual.

Belmore is an Anishinaabe woman from the Lac Seul First Nation.  She spent her childhood in northwestern Ontario with her maternal grandparents where she spoke Ojibwa.  For high school, she boarded with a white family in Thunder Bay.  Many First Nations communities are too small to support a high school so students are sent to live elsewhere while they complete their education.  It is a system with many problems.  It’s probably fair to say that the whole “system” is problematic.

below: ‘Sister’ 2001.  An ambiguous image – why does the woman have her arms stretched out?  What is happening here?

Sisters, art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO from 2001

below: “Tower”, 2018.  A condo tower of shopping carts around a clay core – the carts symbolize the homeless.

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: “Mixed Blessing”, 2011.  Two cultures.  Blending?  Fighting each other?  Hiding in embarrassment?

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: And last, “Fringe” 2007.  Like two of the three artworks above, Belmore uses the body to address violence against First Nations people, especially women.   The image draws you in and repels you at the same time.   You don’t want it to be real but there is the possibility that it is.   If it makes you feel better, the diagonal scar is created using make-up and what looks like blood are strings of beads.

fringe, by Rebecca Belmore, a photo of a woman's back as she's lying down, scar and beads

Jane Ash Poitras is at the ROM until April 2020.

Rebecca Belmore is the AGO until 21 October 2018.

woman in a bright pink dress, holding a bouquet of flowers poses beside a brain artwork at Nathan Phillips Square while a man in a blue suit takes her picture

The brains are back!  Close to 50 brains decorated by different artists can be seen in about a dozen locations around this city throughout the summer.

This year they are 2-dimensional, not three.  They are much flatter.  Above, making an interesting companion to the fabulous pink dress is “Enigmatic Glitter” by Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio at Baycrest.  When we picture art together it lights a spark and evokes a glitter of hope.

 

below: At Nathan Phillips Square, from left to right:  “Pop Art” by Mary Ann Grainger,  “No Brainer #Repainthistory” by Andrea Bolley,  “Neon Future” by Steve Aoki, “Get Me Out! by Hate Copy (aka Maria Qamar), “Mental Vacation ” by Birdo, and “My Mind is Swimming” by Gina Godfrey.

two young woman are standing beside a row of artwork, brain shaped, each in a plexiglass container, standing in the water of the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, 7 brain sculptures, all decorated by different artists, part of the brain project in support of Baycrest

 

below:  “Power in Growth” by Amy Jeffreys in the Distillery District.  Persevere and grow.  Every human is capable of harnessing strength from their weaknesses.  In this piece, the tangled roots represent the inner struggles and complexity of one’s thoughts.

off-white artwork in the shape of a brain, covered with cords and leaves, or maybe leaves and stems

below: “Memory” by Colin Nun at Nathan Phillips Square.  “This type-based piece represents disconnect, dead ends, and memories lost to brain disease.  It is inspired by the loss of the artist’s grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease and was created as a tribute to his memory.  Take a close look to find a hidden word in the piece.  What do you see?”

2 dimensional brain, artwork, designed with orange and white lines, beside water at Nathan Phillips Square, 3D toronto sign behind it

below: “The Mind’s Eye” by Dave Bagley at Yonge and St. Clair.  Concentric rings of birds, fish, and diamonds radiate from the center.

a brain from the brain project at yonge and St. Clair, in a plexiglass display case, minds eye by David Bagley

below: Close up of the above, clearly showing the two seahorses in the center as well as the repeating yellow fish and blue birds.   According to the artist, “I believe all of humankind share an organic Wi-fi that connects everyone, all we need to do is turn on the switch… is yours on?”

close up of painting on brain shaped sculpture, called Mids Eye by David Bagley, circular pattern of fish and seahorses

below: “Puzzled” by Harm Huibers on Grist Mill Lane in the Distillery District.  The design of the brain is complex and intricate; when it’s complete, it’s a beautiful puzzle.  Diseases like Alzheimers take pieces out of the puzzle.

a plain brown puzzle in the shape of a brain, eight of the pieces are either missing or only partially in place

The project is sponsored by Yogen Fruz and Pinkberry and is in support of the Baycrest Foundation.  Baycrest, a leader in research into brain health and aging, is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.

You can find pictures of all of the 2018 brains online at the brainproject.ca as well as descriptions of the brains and the artists behind their creation.

What are words?   How do we use them?

below: “Excuses injurieuses” 2007, by June Clark.  One of her “Wine and Tea” pieces.  It consists of the words Invective and Apology written over and over again starting from the top left corner and moving inwards toward the center.  Instead of a spiral it is a pyramid shape.  Perhaps it rises upwards, or perhaps it sinks down.  It’s only 40cm x 40 cm so the words are tiny.  I’d love to know how many words there are but I think that I’d be screaming profanities before I finished counting.  What I can tell you is that the pair of words ‘invective apology’ is written 32 times on the outer square.  If  invective is a noun that means, expletive, or abusive language, what does ‘invective apology’ mean and is that the same as the french title, ‘Excuses injurieuses’?

close up artwork of words written over and over again, invective apology, in smaller and smaller circles.

June Clark was born in Harlem NY but moved to Toronto in 1968.   At the moment, the AGO is featuring some of her work.  For whatever reason, I was more attracted to the pieces with words.

below: More of Clark’s “Wine and Tea” series, 2007.  Each one is a 40cm x 40 cm square and they are made with wine, tea and paper except for the one on the top left.  It is “Poubelle Lune” and the circle is a rusted lid that fits in a circle that has been cut out of the canvas.

a grid of 8 square artworks by June Clark on a gallery wall

below: Close up of another of the eight squares, a collage of sorts, the silhouettes of two people (men?) in front of flags, one American and one ? Titled: “All Some Many”.  If you look closely, you can see small words cut out of newspapers or magazines, some, all.

close up of an artwork, ink and collage. Brown squares in checkerboard shapes, with one shape being a photo, 4 small words from a newspaper, all (twice) and some (twice).

below: The next two photos are panels from “Formative Triptych” 1989/1990.  The first one says “I always imagine that I never received anything as a child, but I do remember being disappointed that the chocolate Easter Bunny was hollow and then of course there was the red broom and dustpan set.”

old black and white photo of a black girl, smiling, in dress, with words beside that say "

below: The words say “I decided that I must become so famous and so recognizable so the they could never let me die in an emergency room.”

picture of the head and shoulders of a middle aged black woman, old black and white photo, with words beside that say "

below: More collage and more words, this time it’s “Homecominghome”, words on paper towel.   Words like proactive, dulled integrity, impotent, hostage, elation, victim, underwhelmed, illusion, and satisfied surface desires.   These are only some, there were many more, each in their own little black frame.  Paper towel, that stuff we use once and then throw away.  Can we throw away the words?  Or what is behind the words?  Do we want to?

Actually there was a story about why paper towels were used – “…was made during a residency in New York City.  I had been cleaning the space so it was empty aside from paper towels.  It was a way of dealing with my emotions around how I felt living back in Harlem.  Cutting out the words, I felt like I was captive but free – a sort of ransom situation, of calls for help and demands for responsibility. ”  Quote taken from the words on the wall at the exhibit.

a grid of 8 square artworks by June Clark on a gallery wall - black frames around pieces of paper towel with words on them formed from cut outs from newspapers,

Words are fascinating.

June Clark’s work is on exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario until December 2018.

 

And while we’re on the subject of words and the AGO, there is a whole room of panels like the one below.  This is “Jack and the Jack Paintings: Jack Goldstein and Ron Terada”

Goldstein was an artist who published his memoirs in 2003, just before he committed suicide.  Terada has taken words from the book and made them into 14 panels, sorry, I mean test-based paintings.  They are Goldstein’s words? Or are they now Terada’s words?  Whose story are they telling?

below: A large painting by Jack Goldstein (lightning) and four of the panels by Ron Terada.

The Jack exhibit continues until 16 September.

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair 2018,
Nathan Phillips Square

three men, in two different booths, side by side, looking at paintings, Nathan Phillips Square, outdoor art fair

three men looking at paintings, Nathan Phillips Square, outdoor art fair

two small paintings on wood, hanging on a metal grid

reflections in a framed artwork, people passing by, outdoor art fair

woman in a brown hat starts to pack up her paintings of people's faces at the end of an outdoor art fair in Toronto

two paintings in a booth at an outdoor art fair, one is yellow, there is a table in front of it, with a flower and and a hat on it, a man walks past

three little glass sculptures of little robot like creatures with rectangular heads and one large antenna

a woman walks past a painting of a cat head in blues and greys,

old rusty hand saws with wood handles, blades have been cut in intricate designs, one in maple leaves and the other with oak leaves

a couple looks at a painting at an outdoor art fair

a man, with back to the camera, stands beside a painting of a topless woman, their faces are close together

a woman carries a large painting, passes by another large painting of a black man with a white beard

a woman in a large brimmed pink hat is talking to another woman in front of some paintings at an outdoor art fair

five black and white photos are attached to a string with wooden clothes pegs

square artworks arranged in a grid on a metal mesh wall, hanging at an outdoor art fair.

sqaure artwork, mainly yellow, person body with large clock head , fish swimming around, letters and numbers on the edges

two muslim women in head scarves walk past some glass sculptures at an outdoor art fair

Tinirrusiangit is an Inuktitut word that means “their gifts” or “what they gave”.   It is the name of the latest exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario features the work of two Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) and her nephew Tim Pitsiulak (1967-2016).   Ashevak (1927-2013) was born in southern Baffin Island although she grew up on the land in the traditional, semi-nomadic hunting lifestyle, living in igloos and skin tents.

In the 1950’s she developed TB and ended up, against her will, in a hospital in Quebec City  This was not a happy time in her life.  She had just given birth when she was forcibly transferred; the baby was adopted by a neighbouring family. Several of Kenojuak’s children died while she was in the hospital.   One of the ways of passing time at the hospital was making arts and crafts such as beading and doll making.

When she returned to Kinngait Nunavut (previously Cape Dorset), she learned printmaking.  She was also one of the early members of the West Baffin Eskimo Collective which became Kinngait Studios.

Ashevak was the first internationally known Inuit artist.  Her most famous piece, ‘The Enchanted Owl’ 1960, was used on a Canadian postage stamp in 1970 in honour of the Northwest Territories centennial.   Owls were one of her favorite subjects.

 

below: Ravens and Owl, 1979, stonecut and stencil on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

a picture of an Inuit artwork, Ravens and Owl, stonecut and stencil on paper, 1979, by Kenojuak Ashevak

below: Happy Little Owl, 1969, stonecut on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

a picture of an Inuit artwork, Happy Little Owl, stonecut on paper, 1969, by Kenojuak Ashevak

below: Untitled, 2004-5, pencil and felt tip marker on paper, by Kenojuak Ashevak

woman in an art gallery looking at two pictures on the wall, both by Kenojuak Ashevak

Tim Pitsiulak, born in Kimmirut Nunavut,  was a hunter and a painter.  He started drawing as a young boy and although he tried carving and jewelry making, most of his artwork centers around depicting everyday life in drawings and paintings.

below: GoPro Hydrophone, 2016, pastel on black paper, by Tim Pitsiulak.  Here, the artist (the hunter) throws a GoPro camera into the water to record the sounds and images of the animals in the water.

gopro hydrophone, a painting by Tim Pitsiulak at the art gallery of Ontario

“What more could I ask for, than for people to notice what we have up here? This is the best thing about being and artist and a hunter.” Tim Pitsiulak quote on the wall at the AGO.

below: Swimming with Giants, 2015, by Tim Pitsiulak.  Beluga whales swimming with a bowhead whale.

two people sitting on a black sofa, looking at a large painting by Tim Pitsiulak called Swimming with Giants, lots of fish and whales swimming in the water

 

The exhibit continues until 12 August 2018

… and vicinity

The Bentway is a new park being built under the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst and Strachan.  I walked it almost two years ago when the park was only in the planning stages.   I thought that I’d take a look at it again the other day.  Originally, it was supposed to be ready last summer so it’s a bit behind schedule.  Surprised?

Walking south on Strachan from King, and whoa, there are changes happening here too.  Cranes everywhere.  Holes in the ground.   How many people are employed in the construction industry in Toronto?  in the GTA?

below: Looking eastward from Strachan Avenue, immediately south of King Street.

looking east from Strachan, immediately south of King, past older brick buildings to the CN Tower and city skyline

below: The view from a few metres farther south on Strachan.  The metal grid covers the railway tracks and supports the retaining walls on either side.  It also makes an interesting pattern.  These tracks turn northward – they are used by the UP Express to the airport and GO trains to places like Georgetown and Barrie.   There’s the CN Tower again – just in case you’re a CN Tower junkie like me.  I can’t resist taking pictures of it, especially when I find new angles, new foregrounds.

looing over the railway tracks to city skyline and CN Tower, construction of new building on the right

below: Immediately south of the train tracks is Ordnance Street.  Until recently it was a sleepy little dead end street of light industrials.

cement truck on street in front of construction site, cranes, fences, building about 20 storeys high

below: Ouch! Look at all those transformers on the poles.

 

white crane in the background, many hydro utility poles, with large grey cylindrical transformers on each of them

below: The east end of Ordnance Street is at Strachan.   It doesn’t actually end there, but continues on the west side as East Liberty Street.  This is the eastern edge of Liberty Village.

the NW corner of Strachan Ave and East Liberty Street, construction site with fence and hoardings.

Sorry, we haven’t got to the Bentway yet.  If you are a Torontonian you should now have your bearings and know at least approximately where you are.  Not far to go now.  It’s a beautiful day and we’re walking slow!

The Ordnance Street development is on a triangle of land with one side as Strachan Avenue and the other two sides as railway lines.

below: You’ll have to take my word for it that the construction on Ordnance Street is just behind the bushes on the left.   These are the tracks that run to the west and the bridge over the tracks is at Bathurst Street.  By this time, the two sets of tracks have come together as they approach Union Station.

railway tracks and CN Tower

below: One of the first views of the Bentway.  More construction.  I was standing on Strachan when I took this picture.  This is the beginnings of a new entrance to the Bentway – a large staircase down the hill from the street.  The steps are wide to allow for multiple uses – a place to gather, a place for entertainment.

construction under the elevated Gardiner Expressway, making a large set of stairs down from Strachan Ave to Grenadier Common near Fort York

below: This end of the Bentway parallels Garrison Common.  The Ordnance Street development can still be seen but there is also another structure being built on Garrison Common side of the railway tracks.

construction of an elevated ramp beside a park from a distance, with condo building going on behind it

below: A closer look.  It appears to be a ramp to a pedestrian/cycle bridge that will cross the tracks and join Ordnance Street to the Bentway, Fort York, and the streets/paths to the south.  I also really like the billboards – one with graffiti and the other is empty.

billboard beside construction of an elevated ramp beside a park

below: The new rusty entrance to the Fort York Visitors Centerentrance to Fort York visitors centre, rusted metal panels on exterior walls and as covering over doorway

 

below: Just beyond the visitor’s center, the Bentway is closer to completion. There was a skating rink here this past winter.

concrete path winds under the bents and pillars of the Gardiner Expressway

below: Also here is an installation by Dana Claxton called ‘Forest of Canoes’.  Colourful images of canoes on the concrete pillars.  Light-wise, they are probably best seen in the morning but that’s not when I was there.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - grey canoe on black background

The Bentway follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario that existed before landfill was used to create a space for the railway lines.  Canoes were once an essential means of transport.  Now their images sit on concrete pillars that hold up the Gardiner Expressway where thousands of cars pass by every day.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - blue canoe

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - cedar strip canoe

below: In the bottom left corner of this picture is what looks like a bluish blob.  My apologies to the artist for calling it a blob but I’ll blame it on the lack of light and therefore, the lack of detail, in the photo.  This is another art piece.  It is ‘Future Snowmachine in Kinngait (Colossus)’ by Janice Qimirpik, Moe Kelly, Embassy of Imagination, and PA System.  Embassy of Imagination is a collaboration between PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka) and youth in the Cape Dorset community of Kinngait.  This sculpture started with small playdough models of snowmobiles made by Qimirpik and Kelly.  They were then scaled into a larger than life sculpture.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway

The next part of the Bentway is under construction and there is still no pedestrian crossing across Fort York Blvd and is passes diagonally under the Gardiner.   There is (was?) one in the plan.

below: This sculpture is on the corner of Fort York Blvd and Grand Magazine Street.  It is ‘Fountaingrove’ by Carlo Cesta and Nestor Kruger, 2014.  It sits above the Garrison Creek Culvert that carries the now buried creek to the lake.  Like the name states, it represents water in fountains.   Of course there is a white crane hiding behind it.

part of a metal twisty sculpture, condos behind, blue sky, sun spot

below: Just west of Bathurst Street

blue surface, window relief sculpture in it, other side is artifical rock, under the Gardiner Expressway, lock stone ground,

below: Getting cosy.  Condos rise up right beside the Gardiner Expressway.  If you’ve driven across the Gardiner, you’ll know just how close some of the buildings are to the traffic.   How useful is a balcony if it’s metres away from a highway and from all those cars and trucks?  They keep being built and people keep buying them.

below: I couldn’t resist all the yellow and orange bits and pieces!

yellow circular bike rack, bikes, condos,

below: On the east side of Bathurst is the construction of a new Loblaws.  It never ends does it?

construction site that is partially covered by the Gardiner Expressway

This blog may have been a bit heavier on construction photos than you were expecting, especially since the title was about canoes. There was just so much work going on in that area that it was hard to avoid.  The next time that I walk this area it will probably be totally different… unfortunately new buildings are a lot duller to look at than construction sites so there may not be many photos!

on grey construction hoardings, a sign tat says post no bills. Someone has added 4 stencils of different Bills, Bill Murray, Bill Clinton.

Dana Claxton canoe image at Bentway, Forest of Canoes, multicoloured, bright colours,

This little walk starts with the artwork of Marleen Sleeuwits and her ‘Not the Actual Site’ exhibit at Brookfield Place (Allan Lambert Galleria).

A short walk from Brookfield Place westward along King street towards Metro Hall….

where pictures from John Edmonds ‘Hoods’ series are on display (as are the people who walk past!).

Across the street from ‘Hoods’ is Caroline Monnet’s, ‘History shall speak for itself’.  These photos are the south and west wall of TIFF.

caroline Monnet's large mural on the side of TIFF building, King street, people walking past, bikes parked in front of the art.

Just a bit farther west (at Spadina) you can find a large purple hued image by Felicity Hammond on the north wall of 460 King St. West.

A few more smaller works by Felicity Hammond are in the Contact Gallery at 80 Spadina – the building immediately north of the parking lot where you can find the image above.    The gallery glowed in pink and purple light.

below: Object shapes are cut outs from a thin sheet of acrylic on which photos were printed.  These shapes are held up by clay blobs.

And that’s our tour for today!