Juxtapoz Magazine featuring Jen Mann’s newest work

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

By Juxtapoz

Jen Mann

Jen Mann is a Canadian artist from Toronto, Ontario. Mann’s dreamy, acrylic paintings are inspired by illusions and memories of her childhood, she experiments with a variety of different effects with color combinations and saturation to capture innocence and beauty. “I am fascinated by the subconscious, the soul, identity, and the way they interact to form meaning and beauty, or nonsense everything and nothing. I am inspired by existentialism, history, language, and nature. In my newest series of works I challenge limitations to acceptable beauty. Limitations are death to creativity”.

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Canadian Art’s Must-Sees This Week: March 20 to 26, 2014

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

 

4 Colour Separation (2012) by David Spriggs is part of a new colour-focused group show opening at Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

 

By

TORONTO
Spring always promises an injection of colour into the landscape, and Neubacher Shor Contemporary provides some early inspiration with “Colour Interaction,” a show of works by Barry Allikas, Melanie Authier, Daniel Hutchinson, David Spriggs, and Robert Youds that opens March 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Also promising are new works by Sky Glabush that open at MKG127 on March 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. and projects by Emmy Skensved and Grégoire Blunt that debut at Erin Stump on March 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. The Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon brings more female artists to the world’s most popular website on March 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the OCADU Library. Last but not least, Houston curator Mari Carmen Ramírez lectures as part of the Latin American Speakers Series on March 20 at 7 p.m. at Hart House.

VANCOUVER AND AREA
World-renowned Vancouver artist Stan Douglas makes his first foray into abstract imagery with “Synthetic Pictures,” an exhibition which opens on March 20 at 7 p.m. at Presentation House Gallery. In it, some of Douglas’s film works are reduced to patterns of data, while other prints play on the history of local landmarks. Rebecca Brewer’s take on painting is always worth a close look, and opportunities will abound in “The Written Face,” an exhibition that opens at Catriona Jeffries on March 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. Nicholas Galanin’s trenchant approach to First Nations and colonization is in the spotlight at Trench Contemporary’s “Home, Memory of Land & Space,” opening March 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. And dance combines with more bookish pursuits during Lauren Marsden’s In Pursuit of Perpetual Motion, a performance outside the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch on March 22 at 1 p.m. The action, inspired by books deaccessioned by the library, will involve 10 performers.

MONTREAL
Rising talents Jaime Angelopoulos and Karen Kraven show new work at Parisian Laundry starting on March 26 at 6 p.m. François Lacasse, known for unusual abstract paintings created through a pouring (rather than brushed-on) technique, is sure to intrigue with his latest works, which go on view at Galerie René Blouin on March 22. And the flipside of social media and Photoshop culture is investigated by Sophie Lambert in “I & Us” at Arsenal, which opens March 20 at 6 p.m. For it, Lambert has assembled unconventional nudes, portraits and texts acquired on and beyond digital means. Portraits by Jean-Francois Bouchard are also on view.

WINNIPEG
The lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls—a tragedy which has prompted a call of late for a federal inquiry—are honoured in Christi Belcourt’s commemorative installation Walking With Our Sisters, currently on a national tour. Following recent showings in Edmonton, Regina and Parry Sound, the installation opens at Winnipeg’s Urban Shaman on March 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. In it, thousands of collaboratively beaded moccasin vamps call to mind the 800-plus “sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners” who have been lost.

HALIFAX
The aspirations of teenaged girls in four communities— Inuit in Nunavut; transgender in Nova Scotia; Jewish in Ontario; and Congolese, Rwandan, Ethiopian and Sudanese immigrants in Manitoba—form the focus of the first collaboration between Winnipeg filmmaker Noam Gonick and his sibling Marnina Gonick, a research chair in gender at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. The project, a four-screen projection called Voices in Longitude and Latitude, goes on view at the MSVU Art Gallery on March 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. Elsewhere, NSCAD grad Andrew Hunter opens a show of paintings at Hermes on March 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibition’s landscapes are based on hikes in rural Nova Scotia.

KITCHENER
Tristram Lansdowne‘s enchanting watercolours take center stage at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery this week. Provisional Futures features urban environments in various states of surreal decay, contrasting ideas of permanence with the fragility of human-constructed environments. The opening reception is scheduled for March 21 at 7 p.m., with artist remarks at 8 p.m.

These picks, published each Thursday, are selected from press material sent to preview@canadianart.ca at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art exhibitions, openings and events, visit canadianart.ca/calendar.

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Web Urbanist’s Off the Wall: 14 3D Graffiti Designs from Furniture to Homes

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

By Steph

3D Graffiti Main

 

Flat paint on two-dimensional surfaces springs to life in surprising ways in these 14 graffiti-inspired projects ranging from sand sculptures to entire apartment buildings. Street art’s impact on visual culture expands into furniture design, architecture, art installations, 3D printed works and fantastical digital animations that envision graffiti moving through space like living organisms.

 

The Hive Apartment by ITN Architects

 

3D graffiti the hive building

 

Built for an architect and street artist, the facade of this Melbourne house fittingly includes built-in graffiti made from precast, four-meter-tall concrete letters spelling out ‘The Hive.’ The lettering is a load-bearing part of the building, making for a striking transition between the modern house and its old brick tailor shop neighbor.

 

Large-Scale Graffiti Sculptures by Zeus

 

3d graffiti zeus

 

3D graffiti art Zeus 2

 

London-based graffiti artist Zeus brings his art into three dimensions with a variety of large-scale sculptural works including tags that protrude from walls and cars.

 

Graffurniture

 

3d graffiti graffurniture 1

 

3D graffiti graffurniture 2

 

3D graffiti graffurniture 3

 

Street graffiti moves into the living room with coffee tables, side tables and chairs marrying tag style with baroque furniture traditions. Designer Luis Alicandu is a former tagger who has since turned his creative urges into a passion for industrial design.

 

Digital 3D Graffiti Animations

 

3D graffiti technica digital

 

 

 

These 3D graffiti creations by ‘Graffiti Technica’ are totally digital, but watch the videos to see incredible animations that bring street art to life in a novel way, cruising through the air like alien organisms.

 

Graffiti Analysis Series by Evan Roth

 

3D graffiti analysis

 

Here’s a totally different way of looking at making graffiti three-dimensional: a sculpture that captures a tagger’s movements as they work. Designer Evan Roth created this piece, CAP, algorithmically by motion-capturing the writing of street artist CAP in the 1983 documentary Style Wars. The piece is made of chrome-dipped ABS thermoplastic.

Graffiti Sand Sculpture

3d Graffiti sand daim

Known for a characteristic graffiti style that seems to pop off the wall with a faux 3D effect, Daim (Mirko Reisser) created actual 3D graffiti in the form of a sand castle in the shape of his name, which was quickly overtaken by the sea in a process that’s even faster than the often-overnight covering of graffiti on urban surfaces.

Graffiti-Inspired Gate

3D Graffiti school garden gate

Another graffiti-inspired gate is a little more egalitarian in nature than the one at 40 Bond: the neon entrance to the Aemstel Schooltuin school garden in Amsterdam where over 500 school children aged 9 to 11 learn about nature and grow their own plants. The gate stands out starkly against the natural tones of the garden, and the historic surroundings. The tightly woven patterns have a functional purpose: keeping out thieving rabbits.

3D-Printed Graffiti Sculpture

3D graffiti seyo sculpture

3D printing makes it possible to make all sorts of designs into three-dimensional objects, including graffiti-inspired lettering. This one, entitled ‘Seyo,’ is made of polyamide with plans to produce metal versions in the future. Says designer Simon Potter, “The genre has a long and celebrated tradition of using perspective as a visual theme. The letterforms become architectural, yet capture the feeling of dynamic movement which is an essential component in graffiti art.”

Kwest ‘Genesis Railkyn’ Sculpture

3d graffiti kwest railkyn

Graffiti artist Kwest pays homage to his former moniker ‘thunder bird,’ associated with the history of freight train graffiti, with the “Genesis Railkyn” sculpture. “The basis of transferring this symbol into a tangible form is to bring the thunderbird into dimensional reality. Exploring the physical construction of this creature, in process draws from the shapes and structures from my graffiti style. Like the moniker on the train, each creation evokes a unique circumstance during my timeline and experience with the rails.”

Graffiti Paper Sculpture

3D graffiti paper vallee

Canadian designer Julian Vallee depicts color breaking through a black wall in this playful paper sculpture.

Paper Graffiti Sculptures by Peeta

3D graffiti peeta

Italy-based Peeta is another artist exploring three dimensional graffiti works both on flat surfaces and as sculpture. He’s best known for his bold white sculptural installations, which have been seen in galleries around the world. Says the artist, “Sculptures for me are not only an artistic object itself but also a tool to deepen my knowledge of shapes and volumes. I’ve chosen to do white sculptures not mainly for an aesthetic reasons but because on a white surface I can better understand how light and shadow works on shapes.”

Clemens Behr & Thomas Canto Collaborative Work

3D graffiti behr canto

Taking things in a more abstract (and visually chaotic) direction, artists Clemens Behr and Thomas Canto present a collaborative graffiti-inspired installation incorporating both of their unique individual visions.

Slicer and Dem189 3D Wildstyle

3D graffiti dem189

Artists Slicer and Dem189 came together to produce a similar project combining paint and 3D elements in a public space.

 

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Vandalog’s A Introduction to Toronto’s Street Art and Graffiti!

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny
By Karolina K

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Toronto is a vibrant, culturally diverse, and immensely creative city, with a strong arts community. Graffiti culture started growing in the 80’s, with the most notable artist being Ren, who is still considered a pioneer in our city and beyond. Since then, Graffiti has been a visible and established part of Toronto. For as long as I can remember, Rush Lane aka Graff Alley has always been comprised of blocks of walls coated in paint, full of new and exciting pieces to find.

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Y

Young Jarus and Skam

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In 2010 when Rob Ford was voted in as mayor, one of his first mandates was to eradicate all graffiti. He launched a campaign to “clean up the city”, even going so far as to dispatch plainclothes Toronto police officers to a graffiti art party/exhibit. This declaration of war on street art was met with an impressive response; Graffiti fought back. More legal and illegal walls popped up, and Ford became the target of angry artists. One well known bomber, Spud, launched a full scale attack, pasting up Ford’s face all over the city, sometimes with various ‘bodies’, sometimes not. Most recently, our mayor was allegedly shown in a video to be smoking a crack pipe, providing fresh arsenal for Spud’s onslaught.

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Spud

Spud

Spud

But before Rob Ford incited writers to bomb hard, there were plenty of characters making appearances all over the city. Just a few of my favourites are: Poser Rabbit, Radcliff the Raccoon by Kizmet, Anser‘s Mysterious Date, and the Uber (5000?s) chicken.

Poser

Poser Rabbit

Kizmet Radcliffe the Raccoon

Kizmet’s Radcliffe the Raccoon

Anser

Anser’s Mysterious Date

Uber Chicken

Uber (5000?s) chicken

Uber Chicken

Uber (5000?s) chicken.

Many legal walls have become local landmarks, located along transit lines, and seen by thousands of people on a daily basis. Starting in the east end of Toronto in Scarborough, is the East Side Mural located just outside the Lawrence East SRT (Scarborough Rapid Transit) station. The mural was painted by Sady (a member of the Graffiti Knights crew) in 1995.

East Side

East Side Mural by Sady of the Graffiti Knights

Another iconic mural is Keele Wall located along Toronto’s subway line, clearly visible from passing trains. The giant wall sits across a parking lot by Keele station, and has been repainted by the HSA crew a few times. Previously featuring a wilderness theme, the latest repaint went down at the end of 2012, and boasts pieces by prominent Toronto writers: Art Child, Kwest, Bacon, Rons, Skam, Young Jarus, Sight, & Sensr.

Keele Wall

The Keele wall

Kwest and Bacon on Keele Wall

Kwest and Bacon on Keele Wall

The biggest and most visible mural has to be the Reclamation Wall, situated alongside a railway corridor used by thousands of commuters traveling throughout Toronto and its surround regions. Measuring 1000ft (300m) long, and standing 20ft (6m) high, it’s believed to be the largest graffiti mural in Canada. Commissioned by Urbancorp, the property development company tired of battling constant graffiti on its sound barrier; the project was completed at the end of Summer 2012 and saw 65 artists from across Canada come into town to contribute. Each artist/s was given a letter to fill in, spelling out ‘Toronto’ and ‘Liberty Village’, ‘Parkdale’ & ‘West Queen West’; the neighbourhoods surrounding the intersection of Dufferin & Queen, where the Reclamation Project took place.

Reclamation Wall

Reclamation Wall

Reclamation Wall

Reclamation Wall

Toronto is a hotspot for many talented artists; there’s always new work to spot by one of our local writers, or one of the many renowned artists passing through to bless the walls. I am truly thankful to reside in a city that nurtures and embraces graffiti so enthusiastically.

Alec Monopoly

Alec Monopoly

 

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“Genesis Railkyn” sculpture featured in Graffuturism

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

 

 

 

I always enjoy getting statements about an artists particular work of project along with pictures of the work, with so many submissions that we get sometimes instead of visual stimuli, its great to also get some context to go with the work. Kwest shared this new sculpture with me last week and although aesthetically stunning it was the statement that came along with the work that really told the story.

My graffiti passion has always been focused on trains. In the mid 90?s, I began paying greater attention to the history of freight train graffiti and the legends involved. Becoming more immersed in the lifestyle of the iron road, connections were made with the elements surrounding these steel giants. Riding freight, benching and hitting up monikers became a daily routine. I began the moniker of the thunder bird in late 98, symbolizing the strength and power that traveled with the train. Different from the process and aesthetic of graffiti I wanted to pay homage to those that laid out this tradition long before the introduction of the spray painted masterpieces now engulfing the system. The basis of transferring this symbol into a tangible form is to bring the thunderbird into dimensional reality. Exploring the physical construction of this creature, in process draws from the shapes and structures from my graffiti style. Like the moniker on the train, each creation evokes a unique circumstance during my timeline and experience with the rails.” -Kwest

 

 

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10 Toronto Graffiti Writers Worth Knowing About

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

Toronto Graffiti Artists

Despite a promised crackdown on vandalism under Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto’s graffiti scene is thriving. As more and more people take an interest in the street art that surrounds them, the number of writers continues to expand (at what some less sympathetic readers might call an alarming rate). For those who have a budding interest in graffiti, but don’t know much about who’s behind the throw-ups and murals that dot our back alleys and railway corridors, here’s a quick guide to 10 Toronto graffiti writers worth keeping an eye out for.

It’s worth noting, of course, that this list is subjective and focuses on the writers who have been most visible to me, a journalist and non-graffiti writer, in 2012. This is not explicitly a top 10 list, and there are many excellent writers in T.O. who I couldn’t fit into this post.

1. KWEST
KWEST

Pronounced “Quest,” some of the best graffiti in the city will be adorned with this name. His recent work in Kensington market is, in my esteem, the most accomplished graffiti art in Toronto right now.

KWEST

Remember that he works free hand with a spray can. Seen more legibly in the burners above (“K-W-E-S-T”), KWEST is best known for writing his 5-letter tag in a complex style of interwoven letters known as “Wildstyle.” KWEST values his privacy, though, so don’t expect to see anything but his artwork in the years to come.

2. ANSER
ANSER

ANSER’s faces are unmistakable, irreplaceable. At their best, they’re mysterious and erotic. Known as the “Mysterious Date,” these faces show off ANSER’s ability to fuse “high art” portrait techniques with street-graffiti bombing tactics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his work has also made it into gallery settings from time to time.

ANSERANSER

3. SKAM
SKAM

This elder statesmen of the local graffiti scene is one of the best known writers in Toronto. Influenced by classic New York City hip hop and BBoy cultures, SKAM (and his boys SIGHT, REN, WISPER, + members of the HSA and DOH crews) dominate large parts of Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley with consistently crisp and pristine piecework. They’ve also got several walls in Kensington, Parkdale, Bloor & Ossington, Little Italy, and beyond.

SKAMSKAM

SKAM’s paid his dues and commands respect from Toronto’s younger generation of graffiti writers. While a lot of writers retire in their 20s, he’s painted for over 20 years and is still going strong, mostly sticking to large, vibrant alley pieces. You know the spray painted satellite dish on the wall of the CHUM-CITY parking lot? That’s him.

4. 56 & the KPS Crews
KPS Crew

Graffiti writers usually belong to at least one crew, that is, a group of buddies who paint together, and watch each other’s backs in the field. The overlapping 56 and KPS crews are currently the throw-up kings of the city, amongst other things.

KPS CrewKPS Crew

While your average naysayer dismisses this stuff — and perhaps for good reason — I love bubble letter throw-ups. Using one colour to fill in the letters and a second as outline, there’s a definite skill in doing these efficiently, illegally, and consistently in difficult-to-access locations.

SPS CrewKPS Crew

5. SPUD
SPUD

Towering over Toronto this year was that notorious graffiti-propagandist, SPUD. Last winter, he targeted Rob Ford’s anti-graffiti bylaws by putting up an effigy of the mayor around town, which ultimately led to a gallery show at Don’t Tell Mama.

SPUD GraffitiSPUD Graffiti

Unfortunately, though, the political impetus behind his art provoked a severe retaliation from the city, who targeted SPUD’s work and got rid of many of his block letter pieces. My sources tell me SPUD’s left town for a while to regroup.

SPUD graffiti

And yet, SPUD may yet get the last laugh. Rob Ford’s approval rating is down, and the graffiti file can’t have helped. By overzealously enforcing his anti-graffiti bylaws, the mayor has shot himself in the foot with property owners, who resent being forced to clean up graffiti at their own expense.

6. ELICSER
Elicser graffiti toronto

ELICSER’s stylized portraits are a staple of Toronto’s downtown graffiti scene. The most prominent display of ELICSER’s skill is in and around Graffiti Alley (just South of Queen West, between Spadina and Strachan). Here, dozens of his finest pieces can be found. Alternately dark, mysterious, brooding, and beautiful, it’s hard to imagine T.O.’s graffiti scene without ELICSER’s stunning and affective portraits.

Elicser  graffiti torontoElicser Graffiti Toronto

Influenced by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, ELICSER blends conceptual, “high art” portraiture techniques with graffiti-writing aesthetics. While his biggest single mural — which spans an entire city block of Graffiti Alley — isn’t necessarily his most technically accomplished work, the vast majority of ELICSER’s stuff is just excellent.

7. POSER
POSER Graffiti Toronto

Over 2012, Toronto has witnessed POSER’s bunnies multiply around town. Appearing in a prime location under a bridge near Roncesvalles, this massive POSER bunny (below) is pretty fresh, and suggests another mating season may be at hand.

2012810-POSER2.jpg2012810-POSER3.jpg

“Breeding like rabbits,” as it were, his iconic graffiti bunnies are edgy and playful (and are excellent examples of the “Bambi goes downtown” effect described by Nick Mount in The Walrus).

POSER Graffiti

8. Joel Richardson
JOEL Richardson Toronto

Joel Richardson is one of Toronto’s more eccentric street artists. A filmmaker and mixed media artist, Joel is most famous for his stencils and poster art, and is often seen about Toronto in character with a suit and tie. Over the past few years, Joel’s slowly transformed a Junction railway underpass (near Dupont and Lansdowne) into a massive mock-shrine to the excesses of market capitalism. For those of you with an interest in street art, a pilgrimage to this wall is a must.

Joel RichardsonJoel Richardson.Joel’s

got some interesting events coming up too; for more info, check out his website.

9. LISTEN

LISTEN Graffiti Toronto

LISTEN has been very successful over the past few years in getting this human-sized throw-up of a bird up around the city. I’ve seen his birds everywhere: on doors, walls, alleys, mail boxes, dumpsters, pay phones — even on the soap dispenser at Luna Café. These two, below, have been up for a while and are in excellent locations.

LISTENLISTEN Graffiti

10. GOON

GOOn Graffiti Toronto

I’m always happy to see a new GOON pop up. Alternately known as GOONONE, GEWN, and JEWN, GOON mixes letter-based graffiti with a variety of different cartoon faces, usually with their tongue or teeth hanging out. GOON’s got pretty good coverage around Toronto, and is recognizable to both graffiti writers and non-specialists.

GOON Graffiti Toronto

 

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Kwest featured in Designlines

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Manny

Kwest  -  Bayview Village commision

By Evan Davies

A fantastical 12-metre-long sculpture made of 700 pieces of cold-rolled steel and carved butternut soars through the two-storey atrium of a Bayview Village home, its angular, illuminated shapes swooping like a flock of birds. A fluid melding of graffiti and fine woodworking, the piece testifies to the remarkable journey of locally and internationally revered graffiti artist Kwest.

Kwest spent his teen years building skateboard ramps and spray-painting walls and trains. In 1999, at the age of 21, he took to riding boxcars across North America with his dog, Diego, painting as he went (she’d twitch her ears to alert him to approaching yard security). His hobo travels cemented his reputation and led to some spectacular wall art: a frenetic amalgam of three-dimensional abstractionism and technical wild style, an early technique born in NYC.

Though his graffiti continues to pop up around Toronto – see MacDougall Lane downtown or the back wall of a west-end auto repair shop, which you can spot on the Bloor subway line between Keele and Dundas West stations – he felt the medium’s limitations in a gallery setting sink in while at an exhibition in 1998. The canvas pieces were flat, and he wanted dimension. He decided to work with wood, beginning humbly (“I think I had a chop saw”) and experimenting from there. Using hardwoods, exotic woods and automotive paint, he has created sinuous, man-sized birds of prey (Thunder Birds) and canvas works that protrude with abstract wooden forms.

Whatever his medium, Kwest believes that graffiti is ripe for reinterpretation, as long as the fundamentals remain true. “I can weld, I use wood, I can do stone work… When you combine all those things together with graffiti, that’s the attraction,” he says. That and story. He understands that his medium is about bravado and social cachet: “I’ve done many crazy things, but never for the endgame. I was just living and taking paths presented to me. All those stories reinforce what I do.”

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Bobby Mathieson’s “Dual” profiled in NOW magazine

Posted on: January 18th, 2014 by Manny

Works by Bobby Mathieson, such as Capital, crackle with tension.

The image and its double is at the heart of Bobby Mathieson’s show Dual, or rather the image and its shadow. His paintings are studies in contradiction, canvases crackling with so much surface tension as to be almost hostile.

Culled from film and pop culture, the subjects tug uncomfortably at memory. Their rendering in a deft but smeary impasto keeps them balanced on the knife edge of recognition.

Part of their dramatic power comes from Mathieson’s intense contrasts of light and dark. His subjects pop, like blurred echoes of baroque and mannerist heroes, from fields of dark umber, black and battleship grey. They don’t meet the eye so much as writhe before it. At times they glow like photo negatives, incandescent figures burning against deep fields of black.

Even so, they’re in no hurry to be recognized. Mathieson’s subjects remain strictly impassive under their savage vibrancy. You can’t help but look at them and feel lonely. I kept being reminded of screens playing to empty rooms. His immersion in movie culture (Mathieson attended the Vancouver Film School) is in evidence everywhere.

Find The Beatle, which features Mick Jagger in his quarter-moon-emblazoned wizard hat, is obviously taken from the shambolic Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request (whose cover featured hidden images of the Fab Four). The title, however, is only a clue; the painting reduces the cover to a decaying fragment that still radiates some strange, totemic power.

Sometimes the reference is even more wilfully obscure. Aberdeen may or may not be a painting of a Scotsman wearing a Daniel Johnston T-shirt. Capital, with its blade-wielding warrior, appears to be taken from a swords-and-sandals epic.

Even so, you’ll remain intrigued. Mathieson explores the contemporary media image as a wilderness, a rough, glowing terrain in no danger of being tamed.

art@nowtoronto.com

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Trish Boon’s profile of ‘the Immaterial Bogdan Luca’

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Manny

The first time I met Bogdan Luca was at an opening at Neubacher Shor Contemporary. It may well have been the opening of Neubacher Shor, but I can’t say I remember. I do remember that it was one of those rare nights in my recent past where I felt a more like a socialite than a homebody. The social buzz was coupled with the discovery of some fantastic art which convinced me to visit Luca’s studio, and write a post about his oil paintings. Since then, Luca has stood out to me as a bike-riding, white-squirrel coffee drinking Queen West neighbourhood fixture, so I was more than happy to meet up with him last week at NSC to discuss his new body of work.

Filling the entire gallery, the show was composed of huge charcoal drawings, photographs, and a conceptual element charting the movement of light and shadows amidst the gallery. Apparently, Luca “hit a wall” painting. Frustrated by every technical and conventional aspect of the medium, he embarked on a residency in Berlin last summer determined to create work that was “not material.” He wanted to create a body of work that concerned the state of being present in relation to a particular space. He also very much wanted not to paint.

The  framed photographs positioned in the far gallery represented the culmination of this work in Germany. Each image is a documentary compressed. For instance, one image was created by overlaying photographs taken every time a plane flew overhead within the space of an hour. The aesthetic component arises almost incidentally from the overlay, but because the impetus to photograph was governed by a predetermined external factor, the resulting outcome of the image is beyond Luca’s control. This is not painting.

01BL2013Murmuration

Also in this gallery is a series of lines and annotations in which Luca has traced patterns of light coming from the windows onto the floor or walls. Again, the artist is reveling in his lack of control over the outcome of the patterns created by these lines. Reacting to his frustration with the expectations and aesthetic conventions of painting, he is allowing these lines to trace his particular musings on not only light and its resulting death into shadow, but its interaction with the world around it, and his own sense of “being.” The tracings form a catalogue of the most profoundly mundane aspects of the space-time continuum.

03BL2013Hour

The third element of the show is a series of diminutive unframed photographs juxtaposing some of the other larger works. These photos toy with the viewer like an editor’s cheeky comments in a margin. Again, Luca is concerned with his perceived complications of depiction. The photos are virtually abstract. One approximates a photo of a constellation until a staple in the corner reveals that it is a photo of the artist’s studio floor. “When you make a drawing to depict, the image is not free,” baits Luca. A pointed question of clarification leads to his retort- “The image is me!”

It’s so interesting how much of an artist is revealed in their practice. The work I’ve described above is fascinating as it so graphically illustrates the meandering introspections of a highly creative mind. I must admit however, I was definitely not frustrated by Bogdan Luca’s painting practice.

The final portion of the show consists of a series of six of large charcoal works on paper created since September. They are primarily highly technical representations of the elements. There is a panoramic sky, a sprawling ocean, a close-up of a fire, and a forest fire where the flames are ironically rendered through the pure absence of the burnt medium used to create the drawing.”I like to draw things that are hard to draw,” he admits.

04BL2013Angel

The day I was there, the normally spacious gallery is starting to fill up with slick white and silver tables and chairs in preparation for an event in the evening. I have to slide between a pair of bubble wrapped side-boards to get a good look at what emerged as my favourite piece in the show. Another massive charcoal drawing, this one bucked the entire exhibition’s anti-material motif. Featuring an immense and jagged cliff off of which a pair of surreal or maybe simply delusive bells have fallen haphazardly onto the ground, as small silhouette of a bystander  is portrayed standing towards us with one leg crooked on a boulder as if posing for a tourist snap. The piece is pure narrative. My own mind wanders into the various incarnations of the five w’s and I am reminded of the joy in viewing art that follows the very conventions Luca is frustrated with.  ”This one’s different,” I mention, cuing Luca’s explanation. “Yes,” he admits. ” I wanted to do something with bells…”

I won’t write exactly what I told Luca that this painting meant to me, but I will admit that I am relieved that regardless of how frustrated he may be, there is concrete evidence that the aesthetics of painting are still very much a part of this artist’s vision, regardless of his current practice. I hope that these technical practice pieces and meta-cognitive explorations somehow lead him back to painting- but that’s just my opinion. One of Luca’s next projects includes a visionary architectural work during his upcoming residency in  the Arctic Circle. Not painting.

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Wishing it was warm…looking back at Peroni photos from summer 2013

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Manny

Party photos of the week: Terrazza Di Peroni

LAURA SERRA

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published 

It is my favourite party of the summer,” said Toronto fashionisto Glen Baxter at the annual Terrazza Di Peroni party held Wednesday night at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Malaparte patio. To switch up the format this year, Italy’s blue-ribbon lager challenged eight Canadian artists to recreate photos taken by eight Canadian luminaries and their time spent in the country of green, white and red. Artist and curator of the series Manny Neubacher of Neubacher Shor gallery (who also snagged best dressed along with his wife Anya Shor) was partnered with musician k-os, while actress Sarah Gadon saw her vacation memories come to life through the eyes of artist Adrian Williams.