Tuesday, February 24, 2015

John's Valentine

You remember this Christopher Sykes photograph of the Duke of Devonshire napping in his library at Chatsworth.
and how it inspired genius librarian-pâtissière Kathleen Wyman to make my retirement cake.  
Well, Bill added this scene from Andy Warhol's The Couch
to paint this fabulous Valentine's Day card.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Toronto Junction Art Galleries

Last Saturday our friend, Brent, took John, Shelley and I on a tour of the Junction galleries. The Junction neighbourhood around Dundas Street West and Bloor Street is a new artist's neighbourhood.
After lunch at the Starving Artist Cafe we started off with a visit to the Division Gallery which is very near to Brent's house. They were showing work by artists' cooperative, Arsenal.
The space is huge, very like spaces in New York's Chelsea neighbourhood.
Our friend, Shelley, is like us interested in artists' books and small publishing. So we favoured Neil Farber's Untitled (Book) and his small paintings with collaborator, Michael Dumontier.
In a courtyard just off Dundas Street West, the Olga Korper Gallery was having its opening for Reinhard Reitzenstein's Confessions of a Dendrophiliac. As his title suggests, Mr Reitzentstein presented many small drawings of trees and several sculptures as well. The big opening crowd kept Ms Korper busy greeting guests.
The Chrisptopher Cutts Gallery was showing his favourite works of 70's artists like David Bolduc, Dennis Burton and Gordon Rayner. John liked the "gallery cat" keeping an eye on the courtyard.
Shelley pauses before we leave the Narwhal gallery where Noel Middleton is having a cool solo show, Order of Operations. Mr Middleton uses found and collected objects to construct his clever sculptures.
Continuing along Ronscesvales Avenue toward Bloor, I was fascinated by the Bloor Street 24/7 Fitness club. Love those boxing gloves on the exterior.
Next stop was the Clint Roenisch Gallery. We all liked this series by Niall McClelland which seemed to be painted on the distressed, woven backs of large pieces of linoleum.
The Junction area isn't really pretty but it provides the disused factory and warehouse spaces that offer inexpensive studio and gallery spaces for Toronto's art community.
The Daniel Faria Gallery next door was showing part of the large exhibition of the artwork of Douglas Coupland. His work is being shown at MOCCA and the ROM as well.
Big fans of Mr Coupland's writing we were a bit underwhelmed 
by the work on display at Daniel Faria.
It seems to be a bit glossy, easy and derivative to our eyes.
This corner of collages for instance looks fun from a distance 
but up close the collages were uninspired. Lots of the same collage pieces were shared by many of them  giving the sense of being slapped together quickly. Maybe the other venues will have more exciting work.
For the tour's finale we wandered east on Dundas St West
to a packed opening for the show of Gareth Bate and Carolyn Dinsmore at the Loop Gallery.
I like the new element of human figures in Gareth's Cosmos and Anarchy Part 2. Humans amidst all that fire and brimstone make the images even more terrifying. Very much our world.
Carolyn grouped small studies inspired by markings on city pavements into larger combined images for Surface - A Collection. Nice work and a nice finale to our Junction tour. Thanks, Brent!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Workspace; studio

Since I've retired Bill and I have continued to add workspace.
We have put new desks for ourselves in our middle room -- his old studio.
We also found room for a reading nook.
Bill's drawing supplies have migrated to the top of the bookcase.
I'm so thrilled with my new desk.
Both by day and by night.
Bill reading in our new nook.
A homely carafe of water.
On display today --books by Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi.
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Studio at Dusk -- added 6th February 2015

Display

I always find new stuff when I look at Bill's studio supplies.
And we're starting to use the wall-mounted tables the way we imagined. Last night I printed some CD sleeves I designed a decade ago.
 One of the sleeves didn't print properly and I ripped it up but then I decide to maybe keep the bits for collage.
I printed this as a gift for my barber. This is Valentino in his old shop about ten years ago. 
We've also pulled out some older collections of photographs. Some William Kimber pictures of the University of Toronto.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tate Britain May 2014

 Last May John and I visited Tate Britain at Millbank on the Thames. Do you know the two Tate museums? Since the opening of Tate Modern, Tate Britain's collection includes only British artists.
 The galleries surround a central courtyard and range from Elizabethan painting to Contemporary art.
 The splendid collection of William Blake's work remains a major element of the collection.
 Allan Ramsay's Portrait of Thomas, 2nd Baron Mansel of Margam with his Blackwood Half-Brothers and Sister, 1742. Quite a mouthful!
 I love the series Four from Samuel Richardsons's "Pamela", 1742, by Joseph Highmore. The picture at the top left has often graced covers to paperback copies of Richardson's novel.
 John likes my shot of these long-haired visitors in conversation.
 The Victorian Brits seemed to favour a big, sprawling, jolly picture like Benjamin Hayden's Punch or May Day, 1829.
Personally I enjoy the more aesthetic approach in the period. Here's Whistler's Harmony in Grey and Green: Misss Cicely Alexander (1872-4) and The Sluggard (1885) by Frederic Leighton.
 Tate Britain has a cornucopia of similar Victorian work.
 Oh, and how about this delightful little study by John Constable, Deham from Langham, c1813. Perfect for our library at home!
 or perhaps JMW Turner's fabulous Interior of a Great House: The Drawing Room, East Cowes Castle, c1830, would be a better choice. So many decorating decisions!
 The Drawings and Prints galleries are always worth a visit. JMW Turner, Blacksmith's Shop, c.1824.  
 Charles Martin (1812 0r 20-1906). Study of a Woman Reading (detail). 
 I'm always surprised by the size of Stanley Spencer's The Resurrection, Clapham, 1924-27. Must just be used to seeing his work in books.
 When these ladies caught me shooting Jacob Epstein's alabaster Jacob and the Angel (c1940), they tried to duck out of the picture and much improved the shot, I think.
 The Mid-century galleries are great fun.
 John loved Barbara Hepworth's Three Forms, 1935. 
 Twentieth century religious art - Arnold Machin's St John the Baptist, c1949.
 So cool that the Tate has one of Francis Bacon's early pieces when he was designing furniture - Painted Screen, c1929.
 Of course, Francis Bacon's work is well represented in the Tate Britain collection, including Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, c1944,
 and Triptch--August 1972.
 It was fun to see David Hockney's The Bigger Splash, 1967.
 John couldn't resist a detail.
 Let's end our visit with this lovely Howard Hodgkin painting Clean Sheets, 1979-84.
 and one of John's found abstractions. Art is everywhere, eh?
 We slipped down to the cafe for a drink, past the stairwell piece by David Tremlett, Drawing for Free Thinking, 2011.
 Pastel pigment and Emulsion paint. 
One last glance up at Henry Clarke Fehr's oversized Perseus rescuing Andromeda (1873) as we headed off to find lunch. Great Britain, indeed!