Posts Tagged ‘painting’

506 is the number of the Carlton streetcar which runs from High Park in the west to Main Street subway station in the east.  The older cars still run on this route and one advantage of these older streetcars is that they have windows that open.  This makes it easy to take pictures while travelling; yesterday I went eastward from Yonge as far as Coxwell, sometimes on the streetcar and sometimes on foot.

below: Pointing the camera out the window, D & J Mart Convenience store at the corner of Gerrard & Sackville.

picture taken out the window of a streetcar on Gerrard, an older 2 storey brick building with retail on the lower level, two large old wood hydro poles

below: A new curvy building rises up on the corner of Carlton and Church.  The older building on the left with the R U on the top is the old Maple Leaf Gardens, now part of Ryerson University as well as a large Loblaws.

new highrise building under construction beside the old brick building that was Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton street.

below: People, striped hoardings, and closed sidewalks.

people walking past painted hoardings in front of a construction site, painted in stripes

below: Waiting outside Jenny’s at the corner of Parliament and Gerrard where the streetcar makes another turn.

a young man stands beside a stroller outside Jenny's Convenience store on Parliament street, large red and white sign with kit kat logo on it twice - once at each end

below: Another convenience store on a corner on Gerrard.  This time there is also a construction site in the picture!  Are there more construction sites than variety stores or vice versa in this city?

from the streetcar window, a food mart on the corner and construction across the street from it.

people sitting on a TTC street car, three people, two women and a man.

below: Looking south on Broadview at Gerrard.

Broadview looking south from Gerrard with utility poles and lots of wires, people crossing the street, some traffic, the clears with the sign with a red cross on it

below:  The 506 streetcar passes through Chinatown East (the area around Broadview & Gerrard) where many of the old houses are also businesses.

older houses turned into businesses on the ground floor, two semis with Chinese businesses, one is Ly Ly beauty salon

below: The southeast corner of Broadview and Gerrard now has an A & W restaurant which seems like an intruder in an otherwise Chinese/Asian section of town.

looking at the southeast corner of Broadview and Gerrard with a large A and W restaurant on the corner. Beyond that, the other stores and restaurants are Chinese

below: At the intersection of Gerrard and Carlaw, where the railway passes over the roads, the walls have been freshly painted.  The north wall is a series of abstract shapes and colours like this.

a person in an electric wheelchair, or motorized scooter, passes by a wall that is covered with street art, traveling on the sidewalk

below: The new painting incorporates the older art that was there. In the center of the newly painted rectangles are two grey shapes, these are originals.  They are part of a 1996 installation by Dereck Revington called ‘Blue Fire’.  There is still a plaque that describes these aluminum pieces as “a constellation of five paired aluminum fragments etched with traces of a poem by Robin Blaser and suspended from the entrances to the underpass”.   Strange grey shapes (flames?) on dirty white concrete.  Regardless of what you think of the concept, the reality is that it was drab.

part of a railway overpass has been painted with street art

below: Lead artist Kirsten McCrea (also known as Hello Kirsten) and her assistants, Victoria Day & Julian Palma, have certainly brightened up the space!  The south wall is a series of frames pictures of hands holding flowers.   As seen from across the street ….

railway underpass street art, seen throughthe supporting concrete arches, paintings of hands holding flowers, framed

below: … and from close up

a dark brown hand holding a sprig of small light purple flowers

below: And lastly, the end support wall of the overpass where the flowers and the stylized shapes come together.

painting on a concrete pillar of a railway overpass, a rose with leaves, stem, and thornes, a collage of abstract shapes and

below: Store signs near Pape including the bilingual Italy Hair Design – but not in Italian!

store fronts on Gerrard including one that is painted bright green, signs over the doors including the Italy hair design store with sign in English and Chinese

below: With remnants of the past such as string of pennants faded to grey….

old three storey brick building with big bay windows on the upper two floors. Ground floor is a store or restaurant with bright red door and yellow metal bars over the windows

below: … or an old street sign still attached to the building.

side of an old brick building with stone features, an old street sign on the building Gerrard Street, now a law office with signs in the windows

below: After Greenwood, the 506 streetcar passes through Little India before it turns north on Coxwell.

food and containers on a table outside a store, with pink and green floral table cloth

below:  In the late afternoon and evening, Little India is much more lively.  Many shops sell food on the street – roasted corn on the cob (a pile is ready to cook on the green table here) as well as south Asian foods.   To the right of the corn is a bundle of sugar cane.

Mumbai Paan shop on Gerrard Street in Little India with a barbeque on the sidewalk, a bucket of corn and a pile of sugar cane

These few kilometres on a streetcar route have opened a small but fairly typical cross section of the city starting with the newer, taller, shinier center.  There’s quite a bit of multiculturalism, some history, and some colourful new art.   It’s a story that plays out all over the city in many similar yet different forms.  Familiar but unique.

 

below: Searching for a story? 😇

three people looking into the sun. Two are shielding their eyes with their hands, wearing sunglases, looking slightly upwards as if searching for something.

 

‘Women in Focus’ is the name of a photography exhibit on at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) at the moment.  I want to talk about that exhibit in this blog post but I also want to expand the post to include a few other women at the AGO that caught my eye the other day when I was there.

below: A woman’s portrait by Modigliani and a sculpture of a female form in the room beyond. The latter is “The Leaf”, 1948, by Germaine Richier.  She’s a forlorn figure, standing naked and all alone.

a painting of a woman's head by Modigliano on a gallery wall in a fancy gold frame and a sculpture of a woman in the room beyond

***

The ‘Women in Focus, 1920s – 1940s,’ exhibit is fascinating. The history, not only of photography but also of the subject matter, is wonderful. The world was changing. Photography was there to be a part of that change as well as document it. Cameras and processing techniques advanced. Magazines flourished. The way that we looked at the world and at ourselves evolved. Photography became an artform.

below: ‘Hanja Holm with dance group, New York’, around 1938, by Lotte Jacobi. Gelatin Silver print. The photo is actually sepia toned and not as ‘black and white’ as shown here. Hanja/Hanya Holm (1893-1992) was the stage name of a German born choreographer and dancer; she was Johanna Kuntze (nee Eckert) but considered her name “too heavy” for a dancer. She is also considered one of the founders of American modern dance.

photograph from 1938 by Lotte Jacobi, of women dancing, light and shadows on the back wall

below: ‘St. Moritz, Frau Wernod-Gtoffel with a modern film camera’, 1932, by Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995). Eisenstaedt began his career in 1929 with the Associated Press in Germany. Because of the war he emigrated to the USA in 1935 where he became a photographer for ‘Life’ magazine. I love the old camera… and what’s that in her mouth?

old sepia tone photo of a person with an old fashioned movie camera

below: ‘Bewegungsstudie’ (‘Movement Study’) 1926 by Rudolph Koppitz (Austrian, 1884-1936), bromoil print. Koppitz was a leading avant-garde photographer of his time. Bromoil prints are slightly fuzzier than other photographs as the image is produced with an oil based paint.

vintage sepia toned photo of four women moving together, 3 are dressed in long plain dresses and they are close together and supporting a naked woman who has her back arched while she walks (with her head looking backwards)

below: ‘Sea of Ice (Genevieve)’, 1935, by Ilse Bing (1899-1998). Bing was born in Frankfurt Germany. She spent the early part of her career in Paris before moving to the USA in 1941. The exhibit at the AGO includes more of her work (and it’s all good).

anold photo by Ilse Bing of a woman standing on a rock high upon a mountian. She's looking down over the valley below

below: “Good Night Marie’, 1932, by Herbert Bayer (1900-1985). It looks very contrived, doesn’t it? The study of the nude as a photographic skill – getting the skin tones right and all that. Or is it just soft porn?

old photo of a man's hand on a door handle as he opens the door to expose the backside of a nude woman

below: On the left is ‘Colette’, 1939, by Giselle Freund (1908-2000). Colette (1873-1954) was a French author and in this picture she is writing in bed. Her best known book was ‘Gigi’. She was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. The other picture is a portrait of Virginia Woolf, also a writer, by Man Ray (1890-1976).

framed photographs on a gallery wall

***

Vija Celmins was born in Latvia just before the Soviets invaded during WW2.  She emigrated to the USA and settled first in California and then in New York City.  ‘To Fix the Image in Memory‘ is a retrospective of her work at the AGO (until 5th August).  Most of her work is in very muted tones if not shades of grey.

a man in an art gallery is looking closely at a pencil drawing that is hanging on the wall

below:   Five of a series of drawings (there are 6 in the series) of water done in graphite (i.e. pencil).  One is the original and five are copies of it.  These photos are small but I think that you can see that they are of the same waves.   A lot of her work was intense – detailed drawings of water and the desert floor.  She also did a series of drawings and paintings of stars in the sky.

five similar drawings of water

below: A spider web painted in oils on linen. Celmins experimented with pictures of spider webs done in different media on different surfaces.  This was my favorite – muted and slightly blurry.

a painting of a spider web in shades of grey

below: I’ve cheated a bit here…. this is a screenshot of the top part of the results of a google image search on Celmins’ name.  It gives you a much better sense of her work that I can convey.

screenshot of images of artwork by Vija Celmins

***

As I was walking towards the exit of the AGO I was still thinking about how women are portrayed in art. I found myself in the ‘religious art’ section of the gallery, from a time in history when the church was a major patron of the arts in Western culture. Apparently, it wasn’t a good time for women. There are plenty of Mary’s either in her virgin mother role or seen weeping at the foot of the cross, but there is a dearth of other women. Ponder that for a while but try not to get too depressed. And while you ponder, here is a photo of a small white statue bathed in light coming through a stained glass window. Mary’s watching over you.

a small white statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus, lit by light coming through a stained glass window behind it

I’m still playing catch up as I go through photos that I took back in the fall. Late in October I went west on St. Clair to visit Feel Good Lane. The lane was officially named in 2016 in memory of Barry Lukensberg. He was a rapper, part of the 512 Crew, who was born and raised in the neighbourhood. He went by the name FeelGood. In 2014 he died in a motorcycle accident in Vietnam.

Just prior to my walk down Feel Good Lane, it had been the canvas for more than 30 street artists. This is what I saw that day. … Back before the snow!

below: The title mural, by SPUDBomb

street art on a brick wall in a lane, text, cursive that says Fell Good Lane, painted in blues, white and pink by Spud bomb .

below: by monicaonthemoon

monica on the moon mural painted on a garage door. Bright colour flash of paint with stencils of girls leap frogging over objects

colourful abstract mural of three birds

below: by Oriah Scott

mural on a garage door in Feel Good Lane by Oriah Scott

behind trees, in the autumn, murals on the sides of garages, TTC streetcar, orange flower, green abstract,

below: This is the front of the same garage in the above photo (with the streetcar). Both were painted Elly Dowson

colourful mural covering all of the front of a building that is a garage, abstract sun in top right corner, blue sky, green hill,

below: Dog mural by @Dr_Roameo

alley with murals painted on garages and on the sides of walls, large grey dog painted on a wall, trash cans and recycling bins in the alley too

below: Raccoons all over the place! A mural by Emily May Rose and Rage Williams.

mural on a garage in an alley, Feel Good Lane, by Emily May Rose and of a white van with lots of green raccoons around it, on top of it, and in the drivers seat

below: The blue landscape is a painting by Leyland Adams

3 murals in Feel Good Lane, one abstract rectangles and bars of colour, one a realistic painting,

below: by Bomi (Bomino San Grantes)

bars, dots, and stripes of colour on a black background, mural in a lane

below: by Cruz1

stylized painting of a womans head, blue skin, white hair, pink background

below: Butterfly face and curly hair – Frannie Potts

painting by Frannie Potts, a street art face on a garage, woman, with large curly afro style hair in pale colours, with a butterfly painted covering her eyes and cheeks.

below: Another Cruz1 creation with a small painting by Bkez in the background

gnarly monster face painted on the side of a small wall, bllue, with big yellow teeth and small red eyes

below: by Mska

mural of a deer with birch trees painted on a garage

below: A mural for the 512 Crew,

red and white mural of a man (cartoon like) beside a TTC 512 St. Clair street car, in Feel Good Lane

below: In the back, a mural by Odinamaad (turningwind). In the foreground is the work of Desko Zima

two murals on garage doors in Feel Good Lane, one a green halloween-like scene with silhouettes of bats the other is a marine scene

below: A face in blue and orange by Anya Mielniczek

a mural of a woman's face by Anya Mielniczek

below: On the right, a small piece by Andrew Castro

two murals in Feel Good Lane, face, lines

below: A fox head by Ed Hamer

street art painting of a fox head in profile by Ed Hamer, realistic

below: Three pieces. Chris Perez mural on the left (blocked by a parked car), in the middle and one of a few swirls painted by Flip

murals in Feel Good Lane, including one by Chris Perez in which a car is parked in front of.

below: The white chair is in front of a jellyfish and heart by Psyblimation

white plastic chair outside in alley in front of a mural of a jellyfish and a heart

The project was organized by Julian Back and Kim Lesperance with the help of Team SPUDBomb. Financial support was provided by
StreetARToronto (StART). In addition, $5000 was raised from the community to help finance the project.

below: ‘The Encompassing’ by street artist Javid (aka JAH) stands in one of the reflecting pools between the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum.   This is one of a number of pieces on display.  Each is painted on reclaimed corrugated metal.  They are an examination of the geometry in Islamic patterns and architecture.  His work will remain on display until the 31st of October.

a painting called The Encompassing stands in a reflecting pool in front of the Aga Khan Museum.

below: On the other side of the above painting, is this one – “Beyond”, also by Javid.  The Ismaili Centre is in the background with its large pale blue dome over the prayer room.

A painting in blue, pink, and purple, of stars, by Jacid Jah, in a reflecting pool with the Ismaili Centre behind it

 below: The large wood beams that cover the entrance to the Ismaili Centre were being re-stained this morning.

a pick up truck and a lift in front of the entrance to the Ismaili Centre, workmen are re-staining the large wood beams that support the glass roof.

The Toronto Ismaili Centre is one of 6 around the world.  It was designed by Indian architect Charles Correa and opened in 2014.  If you go on the tour of the inside of the Ismaili Centre, you will see a building that is filled with natural light, as well as natural woods and stone.

below: A calligraphy based medallion made of stone is on a white wall.  The Arabic word ‘allah’ is in the center and surrounding it are the ninety nine attributes of God, written in Arabic.

chairs and sofa in a large room, on grey carpet, most of floor is polished stone, medallion of stone on the white wall.

below: A closer look at the wall.  It took two men, a father and son, fourteen months to carve the design into this wall and a matching wall on the other side of the room.  They worked six days a week .  The arabesque design was penciled on using a stencil and then carved by hand.

carved white wall, plaster

below: A second medallion is on a wall across the room from the one above (on the other wall that was carved).

medallion of stone, calligraphy, arabic, on a white wall

Crossing back past the reflecting pools to the Aga Khan Museum….

below: Another Javid Jah painting, this time “The Manifest”.   (To the left, you can see a metal sculpture called “Big Heech” ).   Like all of Jah’s paintings here, this one is based on geometry.  The basic shape here is a pentagon (sacral chakra) and it is seen on the floor.  This type of archway is called a muqarna and it is unique to muslim architecture.  Here the shape of the indentations in the muqarna are based on the pentagon.

a painting called The Encompassment stands in a reflecting pool in front of the Aga Khan Museum.  Painted by Javid Jah, blue arch over red entranceway

The “Big Heech” is the work of Parviz Tanavoli, made from stainless steel in 2014.   It is derived from the Persian word for “nothingness” and it is an important word in Perian Sufism.

“Emperors and Jewels: Treasures of the Indian Court from the Al-Sabah Collection in Kuwait”, is a temporary exhibit at the Aga Khan Museum featuring artworks and historical objects from the treasuries of Mughal emperors.  The Mughal Empire ruled most of present day Pakistan and India in the 16th and 17th centuries.   The Mughals were Muslim but the majority of the population were Hindu.

below: Part of a larger picture depicting a hunting scene, reproduced and enlarged especially for the exhibit.

part of a painting at the Aga Khan museum of a moghul ruler on a horse in a hunting scene

below: Three glass bottles

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, 3 glass bottles, rounded bottoms and narrow tops, one is marroon, one is teal and the last is royal blue

below: Two fish joined to make a circle, a standard.  From India, late 18th century.   Made from silver.  There are many myths and symbols that feature fish.  In Hindu tradition, the fish was associated with Brahma and Manu, a progenitor of mankind.  In addition, one myth is that a fish was believed to hold up the globe.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, two fish joined in a circle, a standard, for the top of a pole

below: A portrait of Nawab Bairam Khan, painted around 1710-40, watercolour and gold on paper.  He is pictured in profile, sitting alone in his peaceful garden.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, a painting, portrait of Nawab Bairam Khan, painted around 1710 to 1840, watercolour and gold on paper, scene is a man sitting on a carpet, under a tent roof, leaning on a large pink pillow

below: Knife with jade handle carved in the shape of a horse head and neck.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, a metal knife iwth a jade handle that is carved into the shape of a horse head and neack, decorated with gold bridle

There’s a new mural in one of the Kensington alleys!  It was painted recently by Dave Setrakian.  It is also too long, and the alley too narrow, to get a good picture of the whole mural.

 

mural by Dave Setrakian in a Kensing alley

below: A parrot, an airplane and some Italian.

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, some passport stamps

below: An Immigration Canada stamp from the 29th of May 1986 beside an Italian flag just out of reach.

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, a hand holding a small flag, a blue passport stamp from Lester Pearson airport with the date 1986.05.29

below: Inspector Gadget appears on TV – a kids’ cartoon produced in the 1980’s.

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, a television set showing Ispector Gadget, a cartoon character from a 1990's kids program

below: A little yellow car with an Armenian flag in the back passenger window.

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, a large yellow car

below: A large palm tree grows here, along with a Kuwaiti passport stamp and Kuwaiti flag

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, a palm tree and a flag

part of a mural in a narrow alley in Kensington by Dave Setrakian, a parrot on a perch and an airplane, a blue and white scooter, motorbike, is parked beside the mural

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.

A new mural in town,
Equilibrium, by Okuda San Miguel, aka Okudart

below: As seen from Sherbourne street.  It’s tall!  23 storeys tall in fact.  Not just a new mural but also a new landmark.

a man walks up Sherbourne street, on the sidewalk, past a vacant lot, in the background is the back of some older brick buildings and beyond that is a tall building with a mural on it, equilibrium by okudart

below: As seen from Allan Gardens.

Allan Gardens conservatory with its glass dome roof in the foreground, tall buildings in the background. The side of one of the background buildings has a colourful mural on it with a rainbow striped background

below: It’s painted on the side of the Parkside student residence (once the Primrose Hotel) on the SW corner of Jarvis and Carlton streets.   It looks finished although the ropes and lifts are still in place.  No one was painting when I walked past this afternoon.  The artist, Okudart, has already signed the piece.

car stopped at street light at Carlton and Jarvis. Behind the car is a very tall mural, bright colours, geometric shapes, some human like figures too, with blue conical noses, equilibrium by okudart

below: The very top portion.  A blue conical beak and feathery wings on a female human like figure who is sitting on three large heads.

very top part of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: Just a bit lower on the mural – more beaks but this time they look like carrots.  A black and white globe with a mouth in Africa.  One blue eye in the Atlantic Ocean and one orange eye in Asia.   Is that a man on the left?

middle section of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: Under the globe another female figure with a blue nose.  Nude but discreetly so.

lower portion of equilibrium by okudart

The background of the mural consists of large rainbow coloured stripes on top and black on the bottom.  These were painted by local artists before Okudart finished the piece.

below: Street level

street level part of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: The church across the street does not have stained glass windows.  The colours are reflections from the mural.

part of mural, equilibrium by okudart, reflected in church windows across the street from it

part of mural, equilibrium by okudart, reflected in church windows across the street from it

The mural was part of the STEPS Initiative Program and it also involved StART (StreetARToronto), the owners of the residence, and a number of other partners.