Posts Tagged ‘artists’

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.

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

Or more exactly, murals on Dundas West near Brock and Sheridan.

Starting with an old favourite – I had mentioned this mural in a prior post, Bloordale to Brockton, but at the time it wasn’t finished and it had no signature.  Now it is completed and signed, Jonny Cakes and sewp.

large colourful murals in pinks and blues of a cat reaching a paw out towards a mouse, in the background is antoher mural of a woman playing a guitar. Mural is by Jonny Cakes and sewp

In the background (on the other side of Brock Avenue) is a new mural by Tilay & Aner.

large mural by Tilay and Aner - a woman with flowers in her hair is playing a guitar, an owl in flight and some white daisies.

large mural by Tilay and Aner - an owl in flight, some white daisies

If you are familiar with the area, you will know that a very large Lovebot was on a wall here.  You’ll be happy to know that he’s still here, large than life, kitty-corner from the cat and mouse.

large lovebot, two storeys high, painted on the side of a building.

Tilay & Aner have also painted another mural nearby, one with a South American flavour.  It is on the side of building on Dundas West, but closer to Sheridan Ave.

a large mural by Tilay and Aner on Dundas WEst in toronto

part of a larger mural on a wall with a window, a large painting of a woman appears to be looking at the window, a melon or gourd is in the mural too

part of a larger mural by Tilay and Aner, two South American women with corn cobs in their hair and leaves around their neck

 

A comparison of sorts.  Two painters from two different time periods.  One looked north and the other looks south.  The north with its barren cold and blue in comparison to the south and its lush greenness.  A famous anglo Canadian painter who went searching for simplicity and a relatively new British painter with Jamaican roots who explores complexities.

Lawren Harris and Hurvin Anderson.  You should know which is which!

I didn’t purposely set out to compare them.  I saw the ‘The Idea of North’ exhibit that features the Steve Martin paintings of Lawren Harris first.  As much as I like the Group of Seven, Harris’s minimalist snow and ice paintings have never been my favorite.  Still, it was an interesting collection to see.  After I finished there, I headed up to the contemporary art floors.  The fifth floor is still closed (new installation opening later this week) but I discovered that the fourth floor is devoted to the works of Hurvin Anderson.  As I walked around the Anderson installation I kept thinking of similarities and differences between him and Lawren Harris.

many people in a room in an art gallery, standing around and looking at paintings.

below: Mountains in Snow: Rocky Mountain Paintings VII, 1929.  One of the many famous Lawren Harris snow and ice paintings.  Light, reflected light, shadows, and contrasts.  The elements reduced to their simplest form.   The landscape itself is almost secondary.  Or the landscape is the medium, not the message.

a Lawren Harris painting of a snow covered mountain, blue sky in the background.

below: The large painting on the right is ‘Pic Island’ painted about 1924.  Pic Island is an unpopulated island along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Today the island is part of Neys Provincial Park.

a woman walks through a gallery with paintings on the wall. She stops to look at one of them.

below: Two of Hurvin Anderson’s paintings from his Caribbean landscape collection.  On the left is ‘Beaded Curtain – Red Apples’, 2010.

three young women sitting on a couch with their backs to the camera, they are looking at two large paintings on a wall, by Hurvin Anderson.

below:  ‘Constructed View’, 2010.  Anderson’s Caribbean paintings have grilles incorporated into them.  These are the security features prevalent on houses and businesses in the Caribbean (and elsewhere in the world), metal fixtures over windows and doors to keep out the unwanted.  They contain what’s inside.  They are a barrier.  They intrude on the landscape and cut it up.  Again, the landscape is almost secondary.  The message, or emotion, is more important.  [aside – There is a grille in the painting above (right) but it’s more subtle.]

a landscape painting in shades of green with fragments of white grille overlayed, repeating pattern of 4 circles with a square

Lawren Harris painted his famous mountain pictures in the late 1920’s.  In 1930 he visited Baffin Island and a few paintings resulted from that trip.  I learned that although I associate Harris with icebergs and arctic scenery, most of his snow and ice paintings were from the north shore of Lake Superior or from the mountains around Banff Alberta.

The repetoire of both painters is not limited to landscapes.  Harris painted many houses and street scenes from downtown Toronto including houses and streets that were demolished years ago.  The examples of Anderson’s non-landscape work were interiors.  Both men used bold colours but Anderson tends to show more detail in his paintings.

below: ‘Welcome: Carib’  The Welcome sign of the bar in  juxtaposition with the red metal work covering the window.  The picture beckons to us but keeps us out.

a man in a straw fedora stands in front of a painting called Welcome: Carib by Hurvin anderson, it features a red star patterned grille over the painting, over the window that is in front of the interior scene.

below: One of the paintings from Anderson’s Barbershop collection, ‘Flat Top’ 2008.

two young women walk away from a large painting hanging on an art gallerywall.  two barber chairs in a barber shop, empty.  Bright pink wall with squares of colour.

below: A selection of colourful Toronto houses in winter painted by Harris in the 1920s.

two women look at a line Lawren Harris paintings of brightly coloured houses in winter on a wall in an art gallery

In the 1930’s Lawren Harris’s personal life went awry.  The words on the wall at the AGO says that he divorced, remarried and moved to the states.  That’s a bit of spin.  He didn’t divorce his wife because that would be messy, apparently.  Instead in 1934 he just married the wife of an old friend.   And of course that turned messy and the new couple left for the USA for a few years before eventually settling in Vancouver BC.   Harris’s post-1934 work is very abstract and was never as successful as his earlier paintings.

below:  You can see the influence of the mountain paintings in this,  ‘Painting No. 4’, about 1939, painted when he was a member of the Transcendental Painting Group.  This was a collective of artists in New Mexico that Harris help to found.

an abstract painting by Lawren Harris, circles and diamonds in an egg shape

below: Since I have no idea where the art of Hurvin Anderson is headed, I will leave you with one more of his present paintings (I’m not sure those two ideas actually go together!).  ‘Foska Foska’, the interior of a shop behind yellow bars and black mesh.

a painting by Hurvin Anderson called Foska Foska, shows the interior of a store with a yellow metal gate in front.  and a wire structure covering the ceiling too

 

The Idea of North – until 18 September

Hurvin Anderson – until 21 August

#HarrisAGO | #HurvinAndersonAGO

Landscape paintings depicting scenes from the top of North America to the tip of South America
are on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario until Sept 2015.   The collection centers on just over 100 works that were painted between the early 1800s and the eary 1900s.

7 or 8 people in an art gallery looking at paintings that are hanging on the walls

below:  part of a painting, ‘Montmorency Falls’ by Guido Carmignani (Parma Italy 1838-1909)
oil on canvas,  1869

close up of part of a painting - Montmorency Falls by Guido Carmignani 1869, Italian hunters at the base of the falls (even though they are in Quebec) in summer time.

below: Fall Plowing, by Grant Wood (b. and d. Iowa USA),  1931, oil on canvas

painting on a wall in an art gallery of fields being harvested by Grant Wood

 

A man is looking at a wall of paintings. The wall is painted red. It is in an art gallery

close up of part of a painting including part of the intricately carved frame.  THree men getting into a boat at the edge of a river

 below: part of “The Sidewheeler, the ‘City of St. Paul’ on the Mississippi River, Dubuque Iowa”
by Alfred Thompson Bricher (American), oil on canvas,  1872

close up of part of an oil painting showing an old paddle wheel steam boat on a river