Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

A return to St. Helens Avenue and the galleries there.

A few galleries devoted to contemporary art can be found on St. Helens Ave.  I know that I have mentioned some of their past exhibits in previous blog posts.  Exhibits change and so back we go.   The three exhibits that I saw today have little in common with each other.  Three artists with different views; three men trying to turn their thoughts and ideas into something visual.  The first gallery that I visited today is the Clint Roenisch Gallery where the exhibit is “Hot Takes, No Sax”, by Torontonian Niall McClelland.   It will be there until 21st April.

From Wiktionary: “Noun[edit]. hot take (plural hot takes). A bold, broad, and subjective moral generalization on a situation, with little or no original analysis or insight, especially by a journalist.”   Something written quickly and without much thought put into it.   Although some people associate it with journalism, you could also apply it to a lot of things online – think about the comments section after a news article, or something on your facebook or twitter feed.   Sometimes I think that that expression applies well to contemporary art – thrown together to provoke but not much actually went into it.

below: Running diagonally across the room is a line of trunks and metal cases that are covered with bumper stickers.  On the wall are 4 images, each with a black and white background.  The frames are covered with more bumper stickers.  This is only part of the exhibit.

room in an art gallery, a line of trunks runs diagonally across the room, they are covered with bumper stickers.

below: These are the three images on the wall in the photo above.  The frame on one side of the image on the left has the names of four American politicians from the not so recent past – Nixon, Goldwater, McGovern, and Carter.  Some of the images may be familiar to you as well.

three pictures on a gallery wall, in black and white checkerboard backgrounds, blue images on that. Artist is Niall McClelland

below: More of the stickers.  Is there a theme to them?  How do these relate to hot takes?   Which side is the artist on?  “Urban farmer”, “When you sit down for dinner, thank a farmer”, “Impeach Trump”, “Give a hoot”, “The times they are a changin”, “Be green”, “Bio fuels: no war required”, “Who’s your farmer?”, “I’d rather be gardening”, “Nasty woman”, “Break the chains, shop at independent stores”,  “Saving seed is a basic human need”, “Localvore”,  “Whatever happens to the water, happens to the people”, “What is the proper way to fold an anarchist flag?”

sticker covered metal cases on the floor of an art gallery with a picture on the wall behind, the work of Niall McClelland at the Clint Roenisch gallery

Next is Douglas Coupland’s “Tsunami” at Daniel Faria Gallery, until 28th April.  Trashy in a certain way.  Coupland has collected, cleaned and painted various plastic containers and other disposable items he found along the shore in British Columbia.  A number of the items probably crossed the Pacific Ocean after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Trash on display?  We’ve all heard the expression “reduce, reuse, recycle” which may be facetious here?  Is it too pretty to be a statement about the environmental impact of plastics?

plastic containers and other items found washed up on the shore of British Columbia, cleaned up and painted and put in sealed clear plastic boxes, art gallery exhibit, artis is Douglas Coupland

below: The large gold piece is a collection of more debris that Coupland has amassed and painted.  Another one,  all in black, is on a different wall (not shown here).

plastic containers and other items found washed up on the shore of British Columbia, cleaned up and painted and put in sealed clear plastic boxes, art gallery exhibit, artis is Douglas Coupland, with large structure behind made of gold painted containers and other items

This spring, Coupland will transform the Vancouver Aquarium into a vision of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by filling aquarium tanks with some of the trash that Coupland has collected – by some I mean 20 tons of it.  Twenty tons of found rubbish.  Twenty tons of plastic and other debris.   Jet streams will simulate ocean currents and the garbage will “float, bounce, disperse and gather along the tank, fragments flowing into one another like an overwhelming and exhausted assemblage”.

below: Tucked away in the back room of the gallery are four paintings like this, also by Douglas Coupland.

part of a Douglas Coupland painting, with a black and white picture of a man's face in the center of swirls of colours. Apainting by Douglas Coupland

 

Part three is the exhibit “Raw War” by Bruce Eves that is on at the Robert Kananaj Gallery until 21st April. Eves was just given one of the 2018 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

“taps into a zeitgeist fraught with peril”

below: Part of Work #901 by Bruce Eves.  There are seven panels in total.  Every hour for a week in February 2014 he took his heart rate.  The numbers in the squares are his heart rate.  It’s difficult to see in this picture, but each square also has the date and time.  In addition, each panel is a day.   Something happened on Friday February 14th at 16:00 to elevate his heart rate to 123 beats/minute!

Part of a set of 7 paintings by Bruce Eves on a gallery wall, each painting is squares with numbers in them. The numbers are Eves' heart rate taken every hour for a week.

Eves has also painted a sequence of numbers that are actually nine blood pressure readings.  It was after he learned that he had a heart condition that Eves started using his health (and the monitoring thereof) as subject matter.   A self-portrait based on data about oneself, so to speak.  How his doctor sees him.

A few things to think about?

(P.S. My apologies for the title)

 

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

I thought that I would see if I could find door pictures today.  When I first stepped outside, I wasn’t sure what that meant.   I just knew that it was a beautiful day and that I would find an answer to my doorish quest.   “Que sera sera” as Doris Day once sang.

Well, what is a door?

door: nounA hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard.

doorway: noun. An entrance to a room or building through a door.

Well duh, I think most of us know what a door is, at least in the literal sense.   As an image just a door on its own is often blah, B O R I N G.   There are exceptions of course, but if that was all I was looking for today, I wouldn’t be taking many pictures.

an ornate double door with windows in both doors, red brick house, stairs to the doors. closed.

I also think that most of us realize that “door” is so much more.   We find them intriguing. Door metaphors abound.  Open doors are opportunities and invitations, think “My door is always open”, or  “When one door closes, another one opens”.  Closed doors are mysteries, obstacles, or dead ends.   We talk about not knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

below: Closed for good. No mystery here, just a dead end.
With a smile for being upside down.

the front door of a small apartment complex that is about to be demolished. There is a blue metal fence in front of it with a danger due to demolition sign on it. The sign is upside down.

A closing door has a slightly different imagery – “slam the door in his face”, or “show someone the door”, or “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.   Can you picture the scene in a movie where the hero walks into a strange room only to have the door close behind him.  Can you see the look on his face when he hears it being locked from the other side?

Doors, and their cousins gates, are both entrances and exits.    Entrances to buildings and rooms.  Entrances to other worlds such as “at death’s door”.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to illustrate ‘entrances to other worlds’.  

below: But maybe this entranceway leads to something exotic?    That’s a better explanation than ‘someone went to Home Depot and bought lots of cheap corrugated plastic’.   It juts out like a sore thumb from an otherwise well maintained, nice looking house.

an old brick house painted turquoise with green trim. wrought iron fence in front. A corrugated plastic covering has been made to cover the entrance to the basement door. the covering comes out from the house to beyond the fence, all the way to the sidewalk

Doors are associated with privacy, protection, and control.   We feel more secure when we lock our doors.   Closed doors, especially locked ones, can keep things in or keep things out.  Closed doors separate, open doors connect.

below: Waiting at the door.   I can’t decide if he’s patient or impatient.  Perhaps bored?

a white metal door on a white concrete wall. A bright ornage line drawing of a man standing in front of the door with his arms crossed.

 

Back doors are private, hidden from view.  The expression “through the back door” suggests sneaking around.  Front doors are part of the face that we show the world.   They can be welcoming or not, a lot like the people who live behind them. 

below: Or they can just be a long way up.  How are your knees feeling today?

a small narrow one storey house. Many steps to get up the hill to the front door. The incline has been covered with patio stones.

side yard and side entrance to a wood clapboard house with one window on the side at ground level.

below: A bright red chair brightens the picture.   I wonder who usually sits there?

a bright red chair sits on the sidewalk beside the entrance to a building. The door has a large window which is covered by a curtain on the inside

below: Another bit of cheerful red.

a small house painted blue with white trim, a bright red door.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

crooked concrete steps and metal railing lead to a front door.

below: Another closed door waiting for demolition.
How many people have passed through those doors since 1913?

blog_blue_church_door_1913

below: I’ve always been fascinated by the sign above this door.

an older woman in a bright red jacket stands on a corner waiting for a green light. On the other side of the street is the Emerald Isle Seniors Society

below: This door seemed to be out of place on the Danforth… it’s an entrance to the apartment above, not to the hair salon on the left.   I like to think that she keeps watch over the doorway.

blog_etched_glass_beauty_salon

below: These two doors (especially the green one) caught my eye as I walked along the Danforth.   On my first pass I had the wrong lens on my camera.  After changing lenses, I doubled back.   Just as I was getting ready to take a picture of the two doors together, the one on the right opened.  Dilemma – to shoot or not to shoot.  I’m not brazen enough to shoot someone in the face so to speak; this over the shoulder and hope it works shot is only second rate (or third!).   I only include here so I can briefly go off on a tangent and mention my #1 problem with door shots.  People.   Pointing my camera at someone’s house often makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no desire to have any kind of confrontation, even a friendly one.

two doors, one faded green and one greyish black . a man with a rather large stomach is standing in front of the latter.

below: What to do with leftover tiles.

a door with 1242 on it, brownish colour, green door frame, the wall on one side is covered with small mosaic tiles in squares

below: A contrast in colours.  The door is in the picture but it’s become just an element in the composition.

a green door is beside a large store window. The interior wall is painted yellow, the sun is shining in the window and the blinds are partially open and partially down

below: This is the last of the Danforth door photos that I took today.   Again, the doors are just elements; the mailboxes provide the focus and the interest.

three black mailboxes with mail in them, between a white door and a black door.

below: Doors are part of a building.   What you can do with a door is often limited by the structure of the house.

a small white house with a large tree in front of it, winter, but no snow

Having said that,  if you walk around the city there is a lot of variety.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through all the permutations and combinations that I saw today!  I’ll limit myself to a few (sometimes I can do that!).

below: A few stone steps lead to a simple white entrance.

a red brick house with a white rectangular doorway. driveway beside the house leads to a garage with a white door.

below: A study in compare and contrast – the wonderful result of semis where next door neighbours with dissimilar tastes, habits, and decorating ideas share a common wall.

a semi divided house, on the left, a bright yellow door. On the right, an open porch with lots of clutter.

Many steps and many hours later I find myself nearing the end of this post.  It’s been a bit of a ramble, both in the route that I walked today and in the thought processes that helped create this post.    I hope that I have entertained you at least a little bit.    And with one final photo I will close the door on this post.    Last one out turns out the lights.  Adios.

looking down a street to an T-intersection. Two houses across the intersection with a large truck parked in front of them. A man is sitting in the truck and looking at the camera

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”  John Barrymore

 

 Two empty chairs sitting in the sun.  This photo is only a half truth; it suggests that the beach was sunny but empty yesterday when I took the photo.    Sunny yes, empty no.

two empty muskoka chairs on the beach beside Lake Ontario on a sunny February day

Back in the winter of 2015, I discovered the first “Winter Stations” event on a day when the temperature was -20C.  There weren’t many people there that year!   In contrast, yesterday was a beautiful and unseasonably warm February Sunday.  Temperatures hit the double digits and lots of people come out to take advantage of the weather.  It was also the first weekend of the 2017 version of ‘Winter Stations’.  Although the installations officially opened today, all but one of them were completed and ready for the public yesterday.

below: One of the installations is “North” which was designed by studio PERCH in Montreal.   Yes, it’s Christmas trees hung upside down.  They are prickling to walk between.  This year there seems to be a recycling and reusing theme in a lot of the installations.   At least I hope these trees weren’t cut down specifically for this project.

on the beach, people in winter jackets stand around looking at an art installation that consists of evergreen trees, Christmas trees, hung upside down.

below: Another installation is “Collective Memory” designed by Mario Garcia (Barcelona Spain) and Andrea Govi (Milan Italy).   People are encouraged to leave messages in the bottles.

an art installation on the beach, people in winter clothes, two parallel walls about 10 feet high made of a layer of horizontally arranged empty plastic bottles with the opening facing in, people are writing on paper and then putting the messages in the bottles.

below: Paper is provided as are the bottles.  The walls are constructed of horizontal empty plastic water bottles with the openings all on the inside of the structure.

a boy is rolling up a piece of paper in inserting it in the opening of an empty plastic bottle.

below: The sun shining through the plastic bottles makes for some interesting effects.

sunlight shines through a wall of plastic bottles, some people walking in front of it. Collective Memory installation at Winter Stations 2017 on Toronto's waterfront.

below: Like most of the installations, “Collective Memory” encloses a lifeguard station.

an art installation on the beach, people in winter clothes, two parallel walls about 10 feet high made of a layer of horizontally arranged empty plastic bottles with the opening facing in, people are writing on paper and then putting the messages in the bottles. view form one end, the walls enclose a lifeguard station, 4 kids are on the lifeguard platform

below: The installation that wasn’t ready yet is “The Beacon” designed by Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva (Porto Portugal).

a woman pokes her head inside a hole in a tall wood structure on the beach, other art installations are in the background, lots of people, some people sitting on chairs.

The installation in the background in the above photograph is “BuoyBuoyBuoy” designed by Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani, and Julie Forand (Toronto Canada).

below: One of many photo ops!

three kids stand on top of a lifeguard station that is enclosed by an art installation that is construction of many oval shapes joined together. Some are white, some are clear and some are reflective. A mother is taking a picture of the kids.

below: Notched ovals made of wood and clear plastic were used to build this installation.  The wood pieces were either painted white or covered with silvery reflective material.

 close up photo of part of an artwork made of wooden oval shapes that are notched together.

kids climb up the center of an art installation called buoy buoy buoy, standing on the lifeguard station platform that is the middle of the artwork. Made of wooden oval shapes that are notched together.

below: More reflections, this time in “The Illusory” designed by a group from Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology.

a girl in a turquoise t-shirt is reflected many times in a wall of relfective material and several posts around the wall covered in the same material.

below:  Someone has already written on (scratched?) the surface.

three men are reflected in a shiny surface on an art installation. Someon has scratched the word LOVE into the surface

below: “The Illusory” in front, “Flotsam and “Jetsam” behind, and lots of people in between.

lots of people walking past and looking at two art installations on the beach as part of Winter Stations event

below: “Flotsam and Jetsam” was designed by a team from the University of Waterloo.  It consists of cubes made of wire cages.  The cages on the bottom are filled with empty plastic bottles of different colours and shapes.

people looking at an art installation on the beach made of wire cage cubes stacked on top of each other. The ones on the bottom are filled with empty plastic bottles of different colours and shapes. The upper cages are empty and they are joined together to look like the head of a creature.

two boys peer out from behind a wall of wire cages filled with empty plastic bottles. One of the cages is empty as looks like a window

sun shines through empty plastic bottles and looks like the bottles are lights

empty plastic bottles in a wire cage sits on the sand of the beach

a tower of plastic bottle filled wire cages stands in front of Lake Ontario

***

a father and daughter link fingers behind the mother's back, the women are in winter coats, father is in jeans and plaid long sleeved shirt

The Winter Stations will remain until the 27th of March.

Take one ordinary semi-detached house on an ordinary street in Leslieville…
and add a decoration or two…

the front yard of a semi detached house is full of toys and stuffed animals, signs and flags, and Christmas decorations,

The above photo was taken back in November whereas the one below was taken a couple days ago.  Many, many items are the same.  The biggest change is that there a few more Christmas decorations now large candy canes, another Santa Claus, a couple of angels and an elf or two.

a massive collection of dolls, toys, stuffed animals and decorations fill a front yard of a house

Call it cute. Call it creepy. Call it fun.  Call it fascinating. Call it a mess.

below: Some of the dolls and toys are attached to wooden stakes that stand upright in the yard.

a small smiling doll with her arms up is attached to a wooden stake in the front yard of a house

below: The fence is packed full with toys and dolls and the like, including this creepy clown and ghoulish green faced doll.   The pink Powerpuff girl (Blossom?) looks happy and even Elmo doesn’t seem to mind being behind bars.

peering between the metal bars of a fence is a creepy clown doll and a green faced zombie doll, a string of Christmas lights is across the bottom of the fence

a mickey mouse plastic figure is sitting on a wire fence, his chin is his hand and he's looking upwards, other toys out of focus behind him - circles with happy faces and a couple of frisbees

below: A red candle fence lines the entrance.

frontyard of a house is full of toys and decorations, the front walk is lined by large plastic red candles, the front door is in shadows.

below: The retaining wall is also covered.  Welcome to our Garden, Boston Bruins, more Mickey Mouse, Dora the Explorer, Season Greetings and a frisbee or two or three.

under a metal fence, a retaining wall that is covered with frisbees, plaques with words on them and other plastic bits

I wonder how it all started?  And where is it going?

Shrek is between two snowmen, all plastic toys and decorations, behind the metal bars of a fence, a lot of toys and dolls and stuffed animals behind them.

I wonder what the neighbours think.

a white plastic gnome and a Disney princess are among a large collection of toys in a front yard

a red plastic toy in the foreground, a doll in a purple dress in the background

a plastic Santa Claus, a plastic angel and a pokemon

a stuffed plushie creature is attached to a pole with black electrical tape around his face such that it covers his eyes

a toy flower with a green stem, petals made of pink fabric with white polka dots, red lips and large white and blue sunglasses.

a faded blond doll with blank eyes looks down, she is attached to a wooden stake with black electrical tape

below: Coke, Dole juice, Diet Coke, Fanta orange, cans, cans, and more cans.

Three women check out bundles of crushed pop cans that are bundled for recycling. They are stacked two bundles high making a low wall beside the sidewalk.

below: Coors beer, Canada Dry, Nestea, more Fanta, more Coke, all crushed and ready to be recycled.

Crushed alumiium cans ready to be recycled

The City of Toronto collected about 200,000 tonnes of blue bin recyclables in 2014.   Since a tonne equals 1,000 kilograms, that’s 200,000,000 kilos of recyclable plastic bottles, pop cans, tin cans etc.

Crushed plastic bottles ready to be recycled

Crushed plastic bottles ready to be recycled

Piles of crushed recyclables collected from Toronto’s blue bins are stacked along Bay Street beside City Hall.  They will be part of an installation entitled ‘There is No Away’ for Nuit Blanche this coming weekend.  This work was sponsored by the city’s Solid Waste Management committee and put together by artist Sean Martindale.    This installation hopes to raise awareness of just how much garbage we produce and throw “away”.

A bundle of old rusty tin cans that have been crushed and pack into large bundles ready to be recycled.