Posts Tagged ‘black and white’

I’ve decided to put together two exhibits that are on at the moment in one blog post.  The first is ‘Same Dream’ by Omar Ba at the Power Plant Gallery and the second is ‘Reflections of Love’ by a group of photographers next door at one of the  Harbourfront galleries   The two exhibits don’t have a lot in common except the close proximity of the two galleries and the fact that I saw them on the same afternoon last week.

First, Omar Ba was born in 1977 in Dakar Senegal.   He studied art in Dakar and then in Geneva where he now spends part of his time.

below: The large work in the middle of the gallery was painted in place.  That is Jesus on the cross.  The center figure has the word”Horus” painted beside it.  Horus was an Egyptian God who was usually depicted with a falcon’s head on a human body.   The painting depicts “a recurrent motif of birth, death and reincarnation across different cultures today” according to the description of the exhibit on Power Plant’s website .

gallery at Power Plant Contemporary, show of works by Omar Ba, large painting of Jesus and Horus in the middle of the room, a man sitting on a wood bench looking at some of the paintings on the wall

below: ‘Naufrage’ 2014.  Dictators, despots, and authority figures can be seen in many of his paintings, often mixed in with scenes of plants and/or animals.

Naufrage, a painting by African artist Omar Ba on display at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, a black man in uniform peaking out from behind a lot of plants and their stems

below: Similar to the one above, except hear the plants are based on fairly realistic human hearts with black aortas and yellow blood vessels.

Omar Ba painting of a man behind plants with human hearts on top of them

below: Ba’s paintings are full of small details as can be seen in this close-up of part of ‘Autopsie de nos consciences 2’, 2018.   Name the flags?

detail from an Omar Ba pinting, a black man holding an automatic rifle. The butt of the gun is covered with small flags from different countries

below: More details but from a different painting.

close up of a painting by Omar Ba of a boy's face in grey dots, wearing a patterned shirt

***

‘Reflections of Love’ is a photography exhibit on at Harbourfront for the month of February that features the work of five artists.

As you enter the gallery, the words on the wall say, “In honor of Black History Month, this thoughtful photography exhibit explores the many forms of love found within our black communities through reflections of self, identity and acceptance. Power within vulnerability and healing can only come through togetherness and conversation. This is a true celebration of exemplified strength in people with deep roots and heritage.”

below: On the back wall, a series of images by Stella Fakiyesi.  Fakiyesi was born in Nigeria and raised in Toronto.

part of art gallery at Harbourfront, wood floors, black bench in the middle, some photos on the two side walls, four large photos on the back wall, a series of four photos by Stella of the same black woman in a number of poses.

part of a photo by Stella Fakiyesi of a black woman, two images superimposed on one another

below: Photo by Sean Brown

photo by Sean Brown of a black woman wearing a green turban, a number of hands are tugging at her ears.

below: Photo by Jah Grey

black and white photo by Jah Grey of a black man holding a large round mirror over his head and in front of his face

below: Two photographs by Quil Lemons

two portraits by Quil Lemons, on the left is a black woman and on the right, three black girls

below: A closer look at the one on the right shows a wonderful tangle of three girls.

a close up of portrait of three girls by Quil Lemons

 

below: Three portraits by Yannick Anton

three photos by Yannick Anton hanging on a gallery wall. All three are portraits of black people with bright yellow backgrounds, one is a father and young son, one is a young girls and one is a young child with parents.

***

Happy Valentines Day!

smiley heart on pink wall with red spray paint lines around

the backs of two people, a man and a woman, as they look at framed photographs hanging on a wall at the Ryerson Image Centre

On display at the Ryerson Image Centre at the moment is a collection of more than 200 photographs called “True to the Eyes”.  These photos were part of a collection amassed by Howard and Carole Tanenbaum over the past forty or so years.  The images span the history of photography.  There is a bit more information on the Ryerson Image Centre website.

 

below: An old tintype of three hunters and their dogs.   The process was developed in 1853 and was popular during the 1860s and 1870s.  Tintypes were printed directly on metal (but not actually on tin)- a photographic emulsion was applied to a metal plate.

an old tintype photo of three male hunters in sepia tones, framed in an elaborate picture frame and hanging on a dark grey gallery wall

Two women are looking at a wall covered with framed black and white photos at the Ryerson Image Centre

below: Two wonderful portraits by Rafael Goldchain

two colour portraits by Rafael Goldchain on a gallery wall.

people looking at framed photographs being exhibited at Ryerson Image Centre

below: New York City, 1947, a black and white photo by Louis Faurer (1916-2001, American).  Faurer did a lot of fashion photography for magazines of the day but he is best known for his street photography in New York City and in Philadelphia.

black and white photo from New York City in 1947, by Louis Faurer, hanging on the wall at the Ryerson Image Centre - part of the Howard and Carole Tanenbaum collection.

below: Also on display at the Ryerson Image Centre is a small collection of photos and items from the history of Kodak in Toronto.  The exhibit was organized by Ryerson students.

photo of a large billboard advertising the new home of Kodak in Kodak Heights, Keele Street, Toronto, back when it was being built.

If you are interested in the history of photography or in vintage photos, part 2 of the exhibit of photos from the WW1 era is on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

four people sitting on a bench in a gallery looking at a large video screen that is showing images of world war one era stereoscope pictures.

part of an old sepia tone photo of a young man in a soldier's uniform, holding a small dog, World War 1 era, hanging on a wall at the Art Gallery of Ontario

“True to the Eyes” ends 7th April 2019
Part 2 of Photography: First World War ends 14th April 2019,

From the monochrome past to the coloured present – there’s a new mural on the corner of St. Clair West and Spring Grove painted by Christiano De Araujo.    Old black and white photos of the area and its people provide the background for a group of ten very modern and diverse people.

looking diagonally across the intersection of St. Clair West and Spring Grove Rd to a new mural that has just been finished on the side a building, painted by Christiano De Araujo.

painting of two young women, one blond and one withshort curly bright red hair, on top of painting of black and white vintage photos

painting of a black and white photo from 1930 of a woman holding a baby

below: The top photo is 1732 St. Clair West in 1911.

painting, in colour, of a group of people standing in front of paintings of some old monochrome historical pictures of the St. Clair area

below: On the top, very left corner, the black and white photo is a street scene – It’s St Clair Ave looking east from Prescott Avenue, under the railway bridge and beyond.  The bridge was built in 1931 and the photo was taken shortly after that.

new mural on the side of a 2 storey building, a series of vintage black and white photos of the area and people, with paintings of 8 modern people in colour

This is a StART (StreetARToronto) project

There are a group of photography exhibits now showing at the Ryerson Image Centre.  Two of them showcase older photos of Canada.  The largest exhibit is ‘Faraway Nearby’ and it consists of photographs of Canada from the New York Times photo archive…   25,000 vintage photos of Canada taken over the past 100 years have been gifted to Ryerson by Chris Bratty in honour of his father Rudolph (Rudy), a property developer in the GTA.   ‘Faraway Nearby’ is a wonderful selection of them covering a wide cross section of subjects.

vintage black and white photo of people in bath suits standing on diving boards beside a lake

below: There is a section devoted to tourist type photos that you would find in the travel section of a newspaper.  Yes, that’s an RCMP officer standing beside the car, a convertible with California plates.  I’d say it was kitschy to have the RCMP guy there but even today the red uniform of the RCMP is iconic; they are featured on many postcards and souvenirs.   Tourists still take photos with them I’m sure.

photo in an exhibit of a group of tourists in a convertible car with California plates parked beside the road and overlooking a mountain lake. An RCMP officer stands beside the car.

below:  Oh dear, Highland dancers and Native Americans all dressed up.   Is that the Banff Springs Hotel?  The exhibit taken as a whole is a fascinating look at Canadian history; how far we’ve come in some respects and how we haven’t really changed in others.

vintage black and white photo of a highland dancer with a line of native Americans in traditional dress behind her. Some teepees in the background, also a hotel.

below:  Loggers clearing their way through a sea of timber that is being guided into a newsprint mill in Hull Quebec, about 1946.  Unknown photographer.  (Almost all the photos are by ‘unknown’).

vintage black and white photo of two shirtless men on legs with poles as the move logs and timber by river to a newsprint paper mill on the other shore.

Being a newspaper, a large number of the subjects were political such as this photo of Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada from June 1979 to March 1980, on a visit to Cameroon  in the summer of 1979.

black and white photo from 1979 of Joe Clark, then Prime Minister of Canada, riding in a motorcade with the President of Cameroon, in Cameroon.

below: Prime Minister Trudeau (the first one) meeting President Nixon, “Tricky Dick”, of the USA.  Love the sunglasses! (or is that just a trick of the lighting?).

vintage photo of Richard Nixon, President of the United States, greeting Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

below: While on the topic of the Trudeau’s, here’s Margaret with Fidel Castro.  Castro is holding Margaret’s youngest son Michel.  The photo was taken in Havana in 1976 when the Trudeau’s were in Cuba on a 4 day state visit.

vintage black and white photo of Margaret Trudeau and Fidel Castro. Castro is holding one of the Trudeau sons.

below: There are also some photos taken during various Royal visits.  Here are a group of men by Lake Nipigon in 1919.  The man holding the dead duck (3rd from the left) is Edward, Prince of Wales (b.1894 – d.1972).   He was 25 years old in this picture.   On 20 January 1936 he became King Edward VIII but he abdicated the throne in December of the same year after reigning for only 326 days.

a vintage black and white photo of a group of men in northern Ontario, by a lake, one is holding a duck that has been shot

below: A photo by an unknown photographer for the Canadian War Records Office and the American Press Association, Vimy, France, April 1917.  The description of the photo reads: “Giving Fritz some of his own pills.  Canadians firing a German 4.2 on the retreating Boche.  Some of the guns left behind by the retreating Germans were in excellent condition, and the Canadians at once  undertook to return some of the shells to their former owners in the most effective manner.”

vintage world war one photo

below: A slightly lighter look at war, this time WW2.  Photograph by Nat Turofsky (d. 1956) for Alexandra Studio.  Distributed by the Star Newspaper Service and the New York Times.  Location unknown. 1939.  Nat and his brother Lou were well known Toronto photographers in their day. Back in 2009, The Torontoist published an excellent story about them and the Alexandra Studio which they owned.

The description of the photo reads: “Shouldering guns instead of hockey sticks.  Member of the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team, led by Bob Davidson, Goalie “Turk” Broda, and “Sweeney Shriner, marching into the trenches at a machine gun target range during a military training session.  The team is in constant training so that they will be ready for duty if called to the colors.”

vintage photo of men in Maple Leafs hockey sweaters walking through war trenches

***

The second, and smaller, exhibit is ‘The Notman Studio:  1858-1915’.  William Notman was a photographer based in Montreal who traveled across Canada documenting what he saw.   He was also a studio photographer who took hundreds of portraits.   This is a small sample of his work.

below:  ‘Ice Castle’ about 1857, Montreal Quebec, Albumen print.

old photo of a large ice castle

below: ‘Esquimalt Dry Dock’, 1887, Victoria B.C. Albumen print.   You’ll have to pardon the reflections in the pictures.  The glass in the frames acts like a mirror and although I have tried to minimize the amount of reflection, getting rid of it entirely was not always possible.

vintage photo, 1887 ship being built, wood, in Victoria B.C.

below: Standing outside his teepee with his rifle and his horse.

vintage photo of a native American man in traditional clothes holding a rifle and a horse and a lead. Standing outside a teepee

below: There were a series of Cariboo Hunting photos.  They were small and all focused on the two men.   Especially considering their age, they are in excellent condition and beautiful to look at.

vintage photo of two men hunting caribou. Resting with their rifles.

below: ‘Little Champlain Street’  1890, Quebec City.   I looked for photos of Toronto in the collection that was on display but there weren’t any.

vintage albumen print photo, 1890, Little Champlain street in Quebec City. row houses, kids in the street

below: There is an incredible amount of detail in the above picture so I cropped it quite a bit to highlight some of the details.   The shabby brick and plaster row houses, the solitary street light, the planks that form the narrow road, and the kids wearing hats as they keep an eye on the photographer.  Although it is Quebec City, I can imagine parts of Toronto looking quite similar at the time.

details of a vintage photo, street scene, kids, row houses,

In case you were wondering, albumen prints refers to a process whereby the photographic paper that is used to print the images from a negative was made using egg whites.  The main constituent of egg whites is the protein albumen.  It is sticky and forms a glossy finish when it dries.  The stickiness of the albumen is used to bind salt (sodium chloride, your basic table salt, or ammonium chloride) to the paper.  Once the paper dries, it is dipped into a solution of silver nitrate thereby making the paper sensitive to UV light.   This method was developed in 1847 and was the first commercially viable method of producing photographic paper.  It remained in use until the 20th century.

By the entrance to the Notman exhibit is this wonderful, and still relevant, quote attributed to William Notman: “To consider Photography a mere mechanical art, is a great mistake.  The too prevalent desire for cheapness, and the ease with which a little may be done in Photography, has induced many to embrace the profession lacking the necessary qualifications…”

Both exhibits continue until 10 Dec 2017.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a number of new pasteups of people – or at least they are new to me.  The first three are ones that I spotted in Graffiti Alley yesterday.   I am not sure if they are portraits of actual people.  You can see more of her work here on instagram.

poster street art of a black woman's head and shoulders. She is wearing a head scarf that is striped fabric wound round her head. The words on the poster say Diversity is Hope

poster street art of a black woman's head and shoulders, 3/4 angle. She is wearing a head scarf that is patterned fabric wound round her head. The words on the poster say Diversity is Hope

poster street art of a black woman's head and shoulders, 3/4 angle. She is wearing dreadlocks. The words on the poster say Diversity is Hope

The other series of portraits that I have seen are of musicians.  I do not know who the artist is.

below: Woody Guthrie with his fascist killing guitar.  He is on Queen West near Graffiti Alley.

black and white paste up of Woody Guthrie standing, holding onto his guitar that has the words This machine kills fascists, written on it.

below: Gord Downie outside number 28.  He is near Ossington and Dundas.

a black and white image of Gord Downie from Barenaked Ladies group, wearing his hat, outside a blue door at number 28

below: Joni Mitchell is also on Queen West.

a black and white pasteup of Joni Mitchell playing her guitar and singing

below: A younger Leonard Cohen

a black and white pasteup of an image of a male guitar player, young man, on a grey wall

The last person is just someone weird pasted onto a door.  I don’t think that he’s anyone in particular.   He seems to have a beard and a high collar but I could be wrong!

street art paste up of a man's head and shoulders, ugly, long beard, high collar, striped shirt

The next time you’re walking around downtown you can try people watching too!

 

 

I was away for most of the month of May so I missed a lot of the annual Contact Photography Festival.  In the few days that I had to catch up, I visited a few of the exhibits.  One of these was ‘Nous ne somme pas des heros’ (We are not heroes) by Valerie Blass at the Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place.

two large cubes constructed from pieces of photos of different people in different positions sit in the middle of Brookfield Place, under the glass arched roof.

Blass arranged people in sculpture-like poses and then photographed them from different angles.  The photographs were then cut into sections, glued on blocks,  and then the ‘sculptures’ were re-assembled.

a large stack of blocks with black and white photos of people on them by Valerie Blass.

The subjects of the sculptures are anonymous.  Their “bodies fold inward, their differences intertwine and merge into single entities” (source).

photographs of the back of a person with another person sitting on his shoulders, upper person is leaning forward with head down, the blocks on which the photos are printed are in the walkway at Brookfield Place

bottom part of photos by Valerie Blass on a block at Brookfield Place as part of Scotiabank Contact photography festival, feet. Also the feet of people walking past.

Running east from Christie subway station behind the stores on Bloor West is an alley.  There are a few murals there, either in the lane or visible from the lane.   Below are pictures of five of them, although the last one is more graffiti than mural.

The largest of these murals is ‘Under the Radar’, or at least those are the words painted on the mural.  It is on three sides of a building that backs onto the alley.

below: East side of the building

The side of a building is painted with a mural of birds sitting on a wire. Purple, black and blue are the colours in the mural.

part of a mural, blackbirds sitting on a wire, dark blue background, on a brick building in an alley

below: The back of the building

Under the Radar mural on the back of a building in an alley, featuring birds, with baseball caps, with colourful shoes and sitting on branches of a large tree

Under the Radar mural on the back of a building in an alley, featuring birds, with baseball caps, with colourful shoes and sitting on branches of a large tree

a blue and purple bird sings while standing on the branch of a tree, it's wearing a baseball cap. Part of a mural

part of a larger mural - a cat chases a bird, under a tree branch, tire rope swing on the tree in the picture too, the cat looks a bit like Felix the cat cartoon character

below: “Painting to the artist is like flight to the bird. Freedom”

part of mural, a dark blue bird sits in a tree. The words "Painting to the artist is like flight to the bird. freedom"

below: West side of the building

brick building in a laneway. At the top is an old sign that says IDA Hanin Drug Mart. Below, a large mural with birds.

below: White on black, a mural signed as @oskwong @release852 (2 photos)

mural on the side of a one storey building, black background, white line drawing, balance, good and evil, angel and devil, @oskwong, release852 as the signature on the mural

below: The central portion – it looks like the devil and maybe an angel? Good vs evil?

detail of a white drawing on black mural, ceter portion, devil and angel, by Oscar Kwong, release852

below: This mural is signed, ‘the Loft’ which is an acronym for Life Opportunities Food and Technology, a program run by the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre.

back of a row of stores, lane view, air conditioning unit, garbage bins, a mural of a man wearing a suit and hat. Sign on mural says The Loft, by

below: A bicycle riding alligator.

a wood fence with a graffiti painting of a black alligator or crocodile on it. in an alley

below: White fish bones contrast with a bright orange garage door.

graffiti, white spray paint line drawing of fish bones with head and tail, large, on an orange garage door in a laneway

below: It’s not very often I have to watch out for a Mercedes AND a Ferrari in the lane!

a red Ferrari and a beige Mercedes drive past each other beside a coin laundry in a lane.