Posts Tagged ‘light’

Sunny September days make good walking in the alleys days.   Here are some of the walls I saw and the compositions that they make.  The textures of wood and metal, bright colours as well as subdued ones, the effects of light and shadow, as well as shapes and patterns – these are some of the things that catch my eye and make me stop.  Throw a little nature into the mix and the following photos are the result.

part of an old wood door that is part dark turquoise and part blue, with a rusted latch holding the two doors together and closed

a vine with two red leaves hangs in front of a grey wall, sunny day so there are shadows on the wall fromother plants that aren't in the picture

three small windows in a wall, the top part of the wall is brick and the bottom is plaster that has been painted white

old rusty downspout with part of a wire coat hanger wrapped around ut, in front of a grey shingle covered wall that has been partially covered with purple spray paint

trunks of three trees growing in front of an old white building with a green door. windows in door are covered with plywod and a piece of plywood is nailed over parts of the lower half of the doors to keep them closed.

a bashed up grey metal door with splotches of light and shadow

part of a bright red double metal door in a brick building

a bright turquoise door in a building that has been painted white - some of the old brick shows throw the peeling paint.

part of a brick wall that has old windows bricked over in a different brick, an old window with old wood frame, unpainted, some graffiti on the wall

corrugated plastic panels on angle in front of concrete block wall with window covered with plywood

white drips of paint on a wood garage door, metal door handle

chainlink fence in front of rows of construction equipment

a grey plaster attempt to patch a broken rusted metal panel on the side of a garage - rust in shades of yellow and brown, a painted green stripe

red, white, and blue spray paint on three wood slats of a fence, tied together with string, some nails sticking out

paste up of a man's face over a wood door, door and wall have blue and red splotchy spray paint on them

Early Saturday morning was cold but beautiful –
brilliant blue overhead with the sun still low in the sky.

below: Striped grass

low sun rays shining through a fence made of vertical metal bars, so that the shadows on the grass make the grass looked striped

below:  This is the Bell building from the Simcoe Street side.  The blue glass, vertical lines in the concrete, blue sky and strong tree shapes made for an interesting few minutes while I experimented with different angles and views.

looking up a building with strong vertical lines made by concrete shapes on theglass is reflecting strong blue colour exterior of the building,

looking up a building with strong vertical lines made by concrete shapes on theglass is reflecting strong blue colour

below: The ghostly look of reflected light

light reflecting off a glass building and landing on a black wall on the building beside it

looking up a tall building that is black on the exterior and has light reflected from a glass building beside it.

below: A single pole and its shadow, alone on a wall.

sun shining on a wall, one post with a sign on it is in the picture, along with its shadow

sun shining on a wall, one post with a sign on it is in the picture, along with its shadow

below: Three reflected windows reserved for the president.

beige wall with greenish covering over a window, light reflected from the building beside it makes it look like a row of windows along the wall

below: A half house, a fun find.  Once this was a semi-divided house where the shared wall created the peak at the front of the house.  With its partner gone, the remaining house looks incomplete.

a semi divided house, where the house on one side has been demolished leaving half a peaked roof.

below:  A tree in silhouette seems to dance in front of the other buildings.

tree in silhouette in the foreground, buildings in light in the background,also blue sky

below: Phantom balconies, mirages on the concrete.

light reflecting from balconies along with shadows make phantom balconies on the building beside it

me a visitor, a looker, and and a skeptic.

I happened upon a gallery yesterday, the Robert Kananaj Gallery, on the second last day of a show by Oscar Figueroa called ‘me a talker’.    As I type this, the show should be wrapping up.  So you’ve missed it.  I’m not sure what you’ve missed.

below: The paper that is half on the floor and half propped up by the wall has the words “Think Less With Me” written on it.  This summarizes a lot of Figueroa’s work in that it is a rejection of the verbose and often jargon filled ‘artist statements’ found in contemporary art and especially conceptual art where the words on the wall are more important than the technical or visual aspects of the work.   The gallery website says this: “What if instead of a logical artist statement we decided to write thoughts, or sentences, that go through our heads when making art. This is not poetry per se, this is a form of idea communication, just as the conventional artist statement was intended.”  Does it make you wonder?

walls of a n art gallery with some of the work of Oscar Figueroa. A projection of a woman's chest in a bikini top, a piece of brown cardboard with the words 'Make me wonder' and a piece of paper, large white paper, half on the floor and half propped up on the wall that says

I want to cheer him on for trying to reject the overthought concept behind art these days.  I appreciate the fact that he does not confront me with an essay that bears no relationship to the artwork.  But all is not well.  He wants us to think that his art is special because he rejects the mainstream thinking. Too bad it also rejects all attempts at, well, everything.  The gallery looks like a space that someone has just moved out of but neglected to take their garbage with them.

a piece of paper with a happy face drawn on it, with ampersands for eyes, and a single red light bulb hangng from the ceiling and stopping just above the paper.

below: A yellow rubber glove taped to the wall, a happy rock on floor.  Does it talk to you?

a black happy face scrawled on a piece of paper, a yellow rubber gloved taped to the wall that is holding the paper. A small rock on the floor with a happy face painted on it.

I found it all rather depressing.   There could be more to it than this.  No, make that: there should be more to it.

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below:  him: “Be a sidewalk or be a balloon, there’s no fucking difference.”
me: Be a piece of art or a piece of garbage, there’s no fucking difference.

4 pieces of art in a gallery. a white happy face on black paper, a shiny piece of paper with a corner ripped off with the word picturesque written on it.

As you may know, every few months I wander down Rush Lane and all the other lanes that make up Graffiti Alley on the south side of Queen West.  There is usually something new on the walls and hydro poles and there are often people watching opportunities as well.   Wednesday’s walk did not disappoint.   Here is the photographic evidence – some street art that I saw for the first time and some worth a second look… and even a person or two.

mural of a large face with paint brush by the mouth, wearing glasses, mural seems to be looking at a car that is parked in front of it, with reflections of the mural in the car window

below: Taking selfies is an artform in itself.

two young women pose in front of a colourful mural in an alley, while around the corner of the building a young man is looking at his phone,

below: Making a video in one of the side alleys.

making a music video in front of the street art in an alley, a young man in white t shirt is dancing to the music (and lip synching too I think) while another man, bald, is filming him and recording him.

below:  A home for hundreds of stickers, all nicely frames together

The words noo ideal painted above a window in an alley. The window is covered with a metal grille as well as hundreds of stickers

below: This poser bunny takes the spotlight.

a poser bunny painted on the side of a building, spotlighted by the afternoon sun, the wall behind him is in shadow

below: A new piece, with some older poser bunnies in the background.

street art on a wall in an alley, text starting with G, two yellow eyes as well

below: When I first saw this piece (by elicser?) I thought that he had his heart in his hands.  As I look at it more, I’m not so sure.   Any ideas?  Also, “How long do we have?”  An open question, an incomplete question, a mysterious question, or a question of philosophy.  You see, one question leads to another.

street art and graffiti in an alley, on a wall and in a doorway. On the wall is a headless man holding a pink blob in his hands, on the doorway is a lot of graffiti and tags along with the words, How long do we have?

below: This one isn’t new and isn’t particularly outstanding, but the way the sun was shining on it caught my eye.  A bit of a silly comment – I’ll assume that W C doesn’t stand for water closet!

wood double garage door, center opening, with a large street art W and C painted on it.

a large orange text graffiti across a large door and on the wall on both sides, all in orange, with three orange traffic cones in front of it.

below: Donald Trump and the lovebot share a pole.  Poor lovebot  😦

two stickers on a pole. The top one is a lovebot sticker and the bottom one is Donald Trump's head on a naked man's body.

below: Street art by gems

text graffiti by street artist gems, words spells gems in oranges and blues.

below: One more new street art piece

street art text painting in blue

below: Talking trash says “She’s bound to put a blanket on my bed”.

trash bins outside a restaurant. One of them has had words written on it,

below: A small blue airplane and another little blue thing, all that remains of a larger mural painted long ago.

very small street art painting of a blue airplane amongst tags

below: Apparently he doesn’t miss us?

small line drawing graffiti of a person with a word bubble that says I don't miss you

below: Oh no! Stikman is behind bars and lovebot’s been restrained.

a stikman is on a wall behind a metal grille and lovebot is on a metal pole to which a metal strap has been placed, over top of lovebot

below: A seat and a smoke at break time. Maybe he’s texting his girlfriend about the weirdos he sees in the alley. Or maybe he took my picture and he’s adding it to his instagram collection of strangers in the lane! 🙂

a man is sitting on a small orange plastic stool in an alley. He has a yellow apron on. He has a cell phone and a cigarette in his hands.

below: A protest piece.  A play on the national anthem. Oh Canada our home on native land.

street art on a wall in an alley, Canadian flag with background colours changed to Native flag colours, and words that say Oh Canada Our Home On Native Land. Honour our treaties.

 

below: One word of warning if you plan to walk this alley in the late afternoon, you may be dodging cars that are trying to avoid Queen Street traffic.

close up of the side of a car as it drives past in an alley

below: But you’ll also be entertained by those who get stuck.  It’s especially amusing when it’s the more aggressive drivers who are thwarted.   It is a working alley, not a street, after all.

cars trying to go in two different directions as they pass a truck parked in an alley

The word Chihuly in the title refers to Dale Chihuly, an American artist who has been working in glass since the mid 1960’s.   At the moment there is a special exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) of some of the sculptural work produced by him and his team.

detail of a glass sculpture showing ripples and waves of colour, ornages, greys and yellows

I’ve now wandered through this exhibit three times.   The first time, I found it a bit overwhelming and I wasn’t sure how to photograph it.  The second time I went I just looked.  Yesterday I went back with my camera and tried again.  I’m reasonably happy with the photos but I know that I have only captured a small part of the art.  Perhaps it is enough to enable you to imagine more of it, or to refresh your memory if you have already seen the exhibit.

below:   Admirers looking at “Persian Ceiling”, 2012 .  Large cushions were provided for those who wanted to lie down to get a view of the ceiling in its entirety.  Of course, looking at the sections up close was also fascinating.  All the different shapes and colours overlap and produce new colours and textures.

people lying on the floor looking a ceiling that is made of different coloured glass pieces, back lit, also some people standing and pointing at different pieces

below:  Section of the “Persian Ceiling” installation.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

The round slight scalloped glass shapes that look a bit like flowers are called Persians.  At least that’s the name that Chihuly has given them as described in this quote that appears on the wall just outside the room.    “I just liked the name Persians.  It conjured up sort of Near-Eastern, Byzantine, Far East, Venice, all the trades, smells, sense… I don’t know, it was an exotic name to me, so I just called them Persians.”

below: A ray swims amongst the waves of colour.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

below: “Red Reeds”.  I thought of candles when I first saw this piece, red candles in a birch bark candle holder.  Then the  young girl standing beside me announced that it was a campfire and I changed my mind.  I think she’s right.  Marshmallows anyone?

The red tubes are hollow glass.  Metal rods have been inserted into the birch logs and the glass tubes sit over these rods.  You can see the darker sections at the bottom of the tubes where the metal rods are.

red glass tubes inserted into large birch logs, looks like a campfire with tall flames

below: “Blue and Purple Boat, 2006”.  Back in 1995 Chihuly floated some glass pieces on a river in Finland.   Local teenagers collected the pieces in their wooden boats and this provided the inspiration for a number of installations featuring glass in boats.  This is one of two on display at the ROM.  It is on a reflective surface, like a calm river.

a wooden boat on a black reflective surface. The boat is filled with blue and magenta pieces of sculpted glass

below: “Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds” constructed from factory made neon tubes that have been heated and bent into organic shapes.  The lighting is magenta in real life but blue in my photos.

two kids standing in front of an exhibit with blue neon lights twisted into tumbleweed shapes, backs to the camera

below: The next few photos are of a large and elaborate installation called “Laguna Torcello”,  named after a lagoon island in Venice.  It is a garden of fantasy in glass.  Parts seem to be aquatic, growing under water.

aquarium like structures, water plants, and large shells, made of glass, on a black glass reflective surface

As an aside, I suspect that the logistics and cost of transporting and installing these pieces is not minor.  Like the red tubes above, this garden is made of hollow glass pieces that are arranged on, and supported by, rods.  The whole thing sits on a flat, dark, and reflective surface which adds another dimension to the artwork.

green glass and silver metallic horn shaped pieces on a black reflective surface, part of a large glass art installation by Chihuly at the ROM

different shaped glass sculptures that look like stylized underqater scene, aquatic plants

curly pieces of glass in different shade of amber, look a bit like curly seaweed growing under water

The exhibit continues until the end of 2016.

Dale Chihuly website

An art exhibit in the Great Hall at Union Station, January 16 to January 23

I’m going to out on a limb a bit here and say like most contemporary or modern art, this exhibit was combination of  some shoddily thrown together nonsense and some well executed and interesting pieces.
One of the things that caught my attention was how people reacted and/or interacted with the different parts of the exhibit.  Union Station is not an art destination.  It’s a space that people walk through on their way to somewhere else.

A view of the Great Hall of Union Station with the provincial flags along one wall, the archway over the window at the end of the room, and an art exhibit in the main part of the hall.  Two woman are looking at sculptures on one side.  A video screen is showing a video about the exhibit - a man sitting in a chair is what is seen in this picture.

In the above photo, the women are using a computer monitor to learn about The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach, an installation by Iris Haussler.  In 2006 she turned a house on Robinson St. in Toronto into a ‘discovered’ home of a reclusive older man who had filled his house with over 100 sculptures that he had made.  At that time there was some controversy when people learned that there was no real Joseph Wagenbach, that his story was fiction.   There is a  Joseph Wagenbach Foundation with its own website.

A colletion of small sculptures of life like figures in grey and black.

Some of the Joseph Wagenbach sculptures.

A relief sculpture of a woman's head, on the ground.  In the background are people and some of the booths of Union Station.

 ***

A corner of a dimly lit white walled room. In the

‘Marbled Meanings’ by Navid Nuur. 
top right: ‘Broken Diamond’  made of neon, broken glass, argon neon blue light. 
center: ‘Threshold’ made of green florist foam blocks

With the above collection, I found that the light and shadows were more interesting than the green column.  I don’t know whether or not this was an intentional part of the exhibit.

Neon art piece on a wall.  It is shaped like a V, it's turquoise blue in colour and it is a bit bigger than the size of a hand.  It is mounted on a wall with the electrical wires visible.  It is shadow.

close up of ‘Broken Diamond’

 ***

part of a piece of art that is a pillar like structure cover with bits of colourful paper.  There is also a child's drawing in pencil on an 8 by 11 piece of paper.  Also a sign in blue letters that says .  In the background there are a couple of people walking past.

“I’m going to use the two hundred dollar artist fee from this project to pay my phone bill and with the money left over I’ll probably buy a pack of smokes and maybe order some Chinese food.” 
Is this a statement about the value of art?  Is this a f*ck you statement – if you, or society, don’t value art why should I (as the artist) care about my work?

 

A large translucent rectangular piece of fabric hangs from the ceiling.  It sort of has a face on it, yellow eyes and a small slit mouth.

Floating overhead and watching us with yellow eyes.

 

This photo was taken looking into a mirror.  A man in a long black winter coat and red scarf is taking a photo of some art on a wall.

reflections

 

Four people, two are standing together while one texts, and two others are walking past.  Four large square paintings (or photos?) are behind them on a white wall.

I know that art is subjective but I fail to see the appeal in large monochromatic pictures in an ugly shade of green.  They aren’t profound; they’re not making a statement; they elicit no emotion.

 

The projector is playing a loop of blank screen to a garbled soundtrack.

The projector is playing a loop of blank screen to a garbled soundtrack.

 

An art piece, a shiny silver coloured porta potty stands in the middle of the floor.  A trash container (real) is behind it.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the juxtaposition of the arty porta-potty and the real trash container behind it.  Someone tried to open the door of the potty but it was either locked or not real.  Note to artist: Why?

video art installations at an art exhibit.  The large clock and departures board of the train station are seen over the top of the temporary walls of the exhibit.