Acorn Theory - A Painting-installation by Dave Gordon

There are artworks you see and enjoy and then walk away from and forget. And there are artworks you assume you’ve forgotten but which, sometime later (days, months), will not be shaken from their ever-tightening toeholds in your sensibility and you start thinking about them all over again. You want [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
On Criticism: the Sullen Art

Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley. Ralph Waldo Emerson “Sullen” in this context means “solitary,” not just moody. It was the writing of poetry that used to be called the Sullen Art (see Dylan [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Michèle LaRose
“Shapes from the Air”

Michèle LaRose insists that the title of her exhibition of recent paintings, Shapes from the Air, does not in any way derive from the idea of an aerial viewing of the landscape below—as if she’d somehow tagged along on a topographic survey or a bombing run. The phrase, she says, comes [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Cries and Whispers the art of Kai Chan

There is an engaging film made in Halifax some years ago by the National Film Board (you can see it on YouTube), in which artist Kai Chan guides a roomful of surprisingly charming sub-teens through the stirring possibilities of art making. One of the children has brought an egg to [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Daniel Oxley
A Privacy Externalized

Painter Daniel Oxley is an embattled humanist. It’s not an easy role to inhabit in an age of accelerating anti-intellectualism, with its repugnance for history and its suspicion of the transformative power of luminous language and redemptive imagery. And yet Oxley seems wonderfully unperturbed by this darkening and dispiriting background against which, like [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Michael Schreier
What is Remembered

An hour before beginning to write this essay, I was on the phone to Michael Schreier, at his home in Ottawa, asking him some eleventh hour questions. And he had a query for me: “Why do you want to write about my work?” he asked me amiably. “You want me [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Louise Robert
Il suffit d’un regard

While Louise Robert’s Toronto 25 is not an actual retrospective, it does provide a celebrational overview of the Montreal-based, septuagenarian artist’s painting practice, and, at the same time, the course of her work during her twenty-five year association with Toronto’s Christopher Cutts Gallery. Robert paints words on her paintings. She always has, as far [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Viktor Mitic
Cease Fire

For the past nine years. Serbian-born, Toronto-based artist Viktor Mitic has strong-armed his way into his current high-profile, media-fraught reputation by relentlessly emptying thousands of rounds of ammo into his paintings. For Mitic, an M14 rifle is as familiar to him as his own brushes. He was trained as an [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
David Clarkson

The title of David Clarkson’s nearly inaugural exhibition at the recently launched Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects in Toronto (Clarkson was preceded only by a brief, overture-like exhibition by the inventive Josh Thorpe), is Remotes. As a title, it is self-possessed to the point of under-determination. But it’s certainly not an unsuitable [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
A New Look: 1960s and 70s Abstract Painting

The pickings are pretty slim. And of course while it’s clear that having to organize an exhibition such as A New Look from works a museum already owns can’t be much fun for curators in the first place, it also doesn’t help that 1) the Art Gallery of Ontario doesn’t [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Max Johnston

I don’t entirely understand how it is that Toronto-based-painter Max Johnston and I could have careered around in the same quarter-century from which his mini-retrospective, Quarter Century Survey, has been drawn, and still know so little about one another. It had always been more or less lost on me, too, that Johnston has been [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Chagall Colours. Daphnis & Chloé

It might reasonably be assumed that a tale as often told as the pastoral, diaphanous story of Daphnis & Chloe by 2nd century Greek fabulist, Longus, might, by now, have exhausted itself. But no. I suppose it’s the story’s sweet admixture of innocence and eros that keeps it afloat. Everybody [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Ann Clarke, an interview

Painter Ann Clarke was born in Norwich, England, and received her art education at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London University. Clarke came to Canada in 1968, and, while painting prolifically (she has had thirty solo exhibitions in Canada and has participated in more than ninety group [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Camera Atomica

For me, therefore, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s brilliant exhibition, Camera Atomica–fearful, exhausting, troubling and exhilarating in the breadth and depth of its scholarship–was almost a trip down memory lane. For me, Camera Atomica offered a rueful, aching nostalgia. John O’Brian who organized the exhibition, is Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia. Four [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Harolw Town in the 1950s: Fat Paint, Big Times

Harold Town (1924-1990) used to be cock-of-the walk on the Toronto art scene. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Town – as painter, printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, writer, raconteur, bon vivant, and dandy – could apparently do no wrong. Then, by 1965, the moving finger of critical adoration began to move [...]

- Lecture de 5 mins
Harold Klunder. Live by the sun, love by the moon

Just as there are certain buildings big enough to generate their own weather systems inside themselves (warehouses, airplane hangers, etc.), so it comes upon an artist, if he is tirelessly inspired over the long haul, that he, too, is creating – from the interior of his practice – a sort of “weather” of an [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Martina Muck. Memory and After

Memory, mounted at Kingston’s Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre in May and June, was the first Canadian exhibition for artist Martina Muck, who lives and works in Munster, Germany. Muck had asked the community of artists and gallery-goers in the Kingston area – the process began even before she arrived in [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
The Emperor’s Old Clothes”: Margaret Sutherland’s Naked Harper

I first saw this now controversial painting — Margaret Sutherland’s 2011 painting of a nude Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Emperor Haute Couture — when I was serving as a jury member for the Kingston Arts Council’s 11th Annual Juried Art Salon a couple of years ago. I remember a few of my fellow jurors [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Shayne Dark. Critical Mass

Shayne Dark. Yes, it’s his real name, and yes, it’s a great name for an artist. Although it can encourage some awful writing, like the too-sprightly opener by someone named Meaghan Wray, in her Shayne Dark review in the Queen’s Journal (a student newspaper from Queen’s University), to whit: “Unlike the artist’s [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
A Vital Force: The Canadian Group of Painters

It has been the historical fate of the works of the Canadian Group of Painters (CGP) to occupy the bottom-curve of the hammock of Canadian art history, slung between the two strong uprights of, first, the Group of Seven and, second (sharing one historical moment), both the Painters Eleven group [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Sara Graham & Monica Tap. StreetFinder

While this exhibition essentially belonged to Sara Graham, there were two recent landscape paintings by Monica Tap in the galley’s ante-room-like “front space” which served to announce Tap’s first appearance at MKG127. It is invariably a pleasure to encounter Tap’s exquisitely produced paintings. Lushly worked, with a deftness and a brio that bespeak [...]

- Lecture de 3 mins
Anniversary Waltz: The Practice of Collage

Given the assumption that collage abruptly entered advanced art practice in September of 1912, we are now presumably celebrating the procedure’s centennial. It was in September of 1912 that Georges Braque, in his Still Life with Fruit Bowl and Glass—widely acknowledged to be the art world’s first papier colle—substituted pieces of wallpaper for passages [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Frida & Diego. Passion, Politics and Painting

In their desperation to be enticing, the banners out on the street are of course silly. So are the radio promotions. “He painted for the people,” one shrieked at me this morning while I was washing dishes. It was followed directly by another outburst, this one about Frida: “She painted to survive!” [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Ulrich Panzer

This small array of nine works—all of them made with acrylic, ink and numerous other materials on mylar—is Ulrich Panzer’s first exhibition in Canada since his leaving Berlin ten years ago. Made in the spirit of what Panzer calls “a self-entertaining experience,” each of his teeming sheets of mylar features a series [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins
Lynne Cohen
The stylistic emptiness

For her most recent exhibition at Toronto’s Olga Korper Gallery, American-born, Montreal-based photographer, Lynne Cohen, continues her compelling exploration of the puzzlingly vapid interior spaces we appear to have built for ourselves but, at least in the artist’s gigantic colour photographs, never actually seem to inhabit. If the photos had [...]

- Lecture de 4 mins