Review: Jesse Harris at Georgia Scherman.

March 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stepping off of Tecumseh St. towards the Georgia Scherman Gallery, I was greeted by a conspicuous black tag stuck to the front of the door, ominously warning ‘Parental advisory: explicit content.’ Largely ignorant of Jesse Harris’ artistic style, I couldn’t figure out if it had been pasted there by the curator, or a neighbourhood kid. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a sort of introduction to the solo-exhibition of Toronto artist Jesse Harris, entitled Language, Sex, Violence. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Goya and Gillray at the AGO.

February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment


Goya and Gillray: Humor that Bites is definitely a crowd pleaser of an art exhibit, and just like the other art lovers oohing and ahhing in the gallery, I was pleased. Displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario, it showcases the caricatures of British artist James Gillray (1756-1815) and the haunting “Los Caprichos” collection of etchings by Francisco Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) of Spain. Both artists were disillusioned with the French Revolution as well as other current social injustices, and satirically took the subject up in their art. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jeff Dywelska at Communications Art.

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

"Deep Water Horizon" Jeff Dywelska

The Communications Art Gallery is displaying the work Jeff Dywelska in his new show, Final Frontiers. Comprised of no more than handful of acrylic paintings, the exhibit presents works dealing with the themes of excess and obsession in the context of the lifestyles of modern suburbanites. Hailing from the suburbia of the Toronto area himself, Dywelska juxtaposes the reality of his own experience with humorous and satirical images to make a powerful statement. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Eyeball 2011.

December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

The University of Toronto’s undergraduate art and architecture department’s annual Eyeball exhibition took place last Thursday, December 8. The members of the Fine Arts Students Union (FASU), alongside Visual Studies staff and students put on a well organized show that took over 1 Spadina Crescent. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life at the AGO.

December 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Chambers "Lunch" (Estate of Jack Chambers/Loch Gallery)

London, Ontario’s Jack Chambers (1931-1978) – painter, filmmaker, art theorist – was one of the most complex and unusual voices to emerge in Canadian art in the past century. His widely varied body of work spanned from intensely experimental films like Hart of London to surrealistic paintings of his daily life, experiments with optical painting effects and hyper realist landscape pieces. Continuous within all of this probing was a specifically regional sensibility and a highly esoteric version of Catholicism. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde at the AGO.

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment


It is the ever popular and whimsical Marc Chagall that immediately draws people to the AGO’s Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde, yet it is the inclusion of works by Chagall’s Russian contemporaries that makes the show truly noteworthy. The exhibit provides much needed context for Chagall’s seemingly idealistic work. Unlike the AGO’s previous blockbuster, AbEx, the Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde exhibition investigates the work of this great painter, rather than merely displaying works without context or curatorial comment. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: John Currin at DHC.

November 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

DHC/ART: John Currin (français) from DHC/ART on Vimeo.

John Currin first rose to prominence in the 1990s as a self-styled ‘reactionary painter’. He creates often graphic images which are sometimes taken from pornography and kitsch illustration, sometimes displaying fantasies about the private lives of the elderly or European libertinage. The Montreal gallery DHC Art held an impressive little retrospective of his work culled from divers collections. When looking at a Currin painting, I often feel like I should be ensconced in velvet, but that didn’t happen here. Rather, the paintings were spread over several highly compartmentalized and sterile concrete rooms, which made their strange sensual quality that much more amplified. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: David Hockney at the ROM

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

David Hockney‘s Fresh Flowers exhibit, a collection of works on iphones and ipads, has been criticized by some as superfluous, but it is, I believe, a brilliant next step by this progressive artist who has consistently embraced technology throughout his long and respected career. Hockney is known for his openness to new technology (think about his composite Polaroids and photographic collages); therefore it is no surprise that he would embrace a new medium that allows for spontaneity and technical freedom. What I did find surprising, however, is the complexity of the ipad’s ‘Brushes’ app, which facilitates a remarkable gradation in colour and line work, and the ability to create layers of both transparent and opaque shading. Hockney, manipulates this medium with great complexity and skill, bringing traditional artistic techniques to this modern medium. Videos included in the exhibition record Hockney creating paintings on his ipad, and illustrate his very traditional, ‘painterly’ approach to this modern technology. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Rachel MacFarlane at Nicholas Metivier.

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rachel MacFarlane (Nicholas Metivier)

Though having graduated only recently from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Rachel MacFarlane has already received her first solo show. This Toronto born artist uses little maquettes she makes out of found materials to serve as reference for her brightly painted worlds. The materials, originally considered unattractive, are transformed by her colourful paintings into transcendent imaginary spaces. With her painterly oils she creates magnified scenes somewhere between recognizable forms and pure abstraction. « Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Lauchie Reid at Narwhal Art Projects.

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lauchie Reid’s The World Turned Upside Down does just what the title suggests – it disturbs the reality of traditional painting and perception and creates an alternative world of the unlikely and bizarre. Displayed in Narwhal Art Project’s one room gallery, this collection of small-scale oil paintings explores and manipulates the traditional genre of portraiture. Reid is playing on the notion of small, ‘muddy oil paintings’ that one could imagine being displayed in some stodgy manor house. But by inserting the bizarre and fantastical he re-invigorates this largely forgotten genre. The ‘extravagant’ is replaced with the ‘ordinary’ and the ‘serious’ is replaced by the ‘bizarre,’ and even the ridiculous. « Read the rest of this entry »

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