Dreamland: a fitting farewell to summer

And… we’re back!

It’s officially September, and perhaps you’ve spent the last week getting back to business in a most eager and industrious way, relishing the smooth efficiency and predictability that the end of summer brings after months of working around everyone’s crazy vacations (lucky you). Or, perhaps the transition has been a bit (ahem) bumpier, and you find yourself trading productivity for daydreams, reliving your experiences getting off the grid, in the air to somewhere, or conversely, back to the land.

Either way, the Textile Museum’s current exhibition, Dreamland, is a worthwhile diversion and touchstone for your early Fall art viewing, a good way to ground yourself at summer’s end, so to speak. On view through September 30th, the show ranges widely in it’s interdisciplinary approach to textiles and the Canadian landscape. Featuring both fine and folk artworks that share an expressive and intimate relationship to a particular time and place, Dreamland’s curators juxtapose the traditional and historical (hooked rugs, handkerchiefs) with the contemporary and high-tech (video, installation), challenging the viewer to make connections between them.

Continue reading

The air up there: Kimmirut Weather and Constructed Land

Summer travels always put us in mind of the weather and its extremes. Between sunny skies, stifling heat, and sudden storms, we become exquisitely aware of the weather, and how it may impact our precious few days of vacation. We check the five-day forecast, we debate packing the rainwear, and once we’ve left, we keep tabs on the weather back home, glad to be free from the heat of the city, or sad that we are missing out on some of the best metropolitan weather in weeks.

Perhaps with this in mind, Interaccess opened their summer season with an exhibition based in the documentation of weather from the far northern territory of Nunavut. We were lucky enough to have seen Constructed Land earlier in the month and had planned to write a review of it before leaving; that didn’t happen. Now we’re back, the exhibition is closed, and we’re offering up a brief après-view instead.

Continue reading

Water, Fire, Earth and Air: Isabelle Hayeur, Pascal Grandmaison, and Martin Bordeau at Arsenal Toronto

Intrigued by news of a yet another exhibition space opening near Bloor and Lansdowne, we headed up to Arsenal Toronto, a massive new gallery located on a dusty dead-end street across from an industrial strength scrapyard. The building, a nondescript metal box, bears no sign of what’s inside, except for a casually taped “45” on one door, accompanied by a helpful arrow and the words “Division Gallery” (not, as one might expect, the words “Arsenal” or “Toronto”). Galerie Division and René Blouin, partners in the much larger Arsenal Montreal space for which the Toronto branch is an outpost, are commercial dealers representing the likes of national and international artists including Allison Schulnik (Los Angeles) and Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber (Winnepeg), as well as established Montreal-based artists such as Pascal Grandmaison and Manon De Pauw. (As noted in the Toronto.com article on Arsenal Toronto, the latter two artists are also locally represented by Diaz Contemporary and Jessica Bradley Projects, respectively; it would be interesting to know what the communication has been between the dealers regarding potential future sales.)

Continue reading

The joyful woodcuts and collages of Naoko Matsubara

We’ve been looking at the work of Naoko Matsubara, an artist whose practice spans three continents and nearly 50 years. Focused on a variety of subjects including trees, landscape, the arctic, Kyoto, and Tibet, much of her work is unified by a highly ordered yet playful simplicity in composition, against which gestural markmaking and brightly saturated planes and patterns of colour push and pull the eye.

Continue reading

Spring Fever (or, how about some Howard Fonda on this bright, beautiful day?)

We tried mightily to write that pithy, well-researched post for you today, really we did. But with all this glorious sunshine making a mockery of our efforts (and our computer screens), how could we presume to argue with the very forces of nature on this, the first day of spring?

And so, instead of our regularly scheduled post, we bring you these exuberant images from Howard Fonda, an artist whose colourful palettes and experimental/experiential approaches to painting are quite literally reflective of his own philosophically humanist leanings, mostly sunny disposition, and sincere generosity of spirit.

Continue reading

Two to see by Sunday: Ryan Wallace at Cooper Cole and Maggie Groat at ESP

This weekend is your last chance to see two great exhibitions in Toronto, just around the corner from each other in the West End. At Cooper Cole, new work by Ryan Wallace rewards close inspection, as the deceptively simple compositions give way to a richly detailed surface rendered with layers, colours, and textures of oil paint, enamel, ink, graphite, PVA, mylar, artist tape, and cut paper.

Continue reading

Places + Things according to Jaime Hogge

It’s a bright and sunny day here in Toronto, but we can’t stop looking at Jaime Hogge’s image of a roiling, seething Lake Ontario. One can almost feel the dramatic sweep of brushstrokes over canvas, except that this is a contemporary photograph, not an 18th century oil painting. Hogge, driving by the lakeshore last spring on his way to a shoot, felt compelled to pull over and capture this image during a massive windstorm which ultimately killed one and left 135,000 without power. It is a side of Lake Ontario rarely seen.

Continue reading