I was at a cottage in the Gatineau Hills last week. Surprisingly cool and misty weather, so I decided to “pop” into Montreal for a few days and check in on some of my favourite galleries and artists. I was sure glad I did, not only to be able to hang out with my friend, artist Andreanne Hudon but got to meet and eat Taiwanese food with artist and curator Edwin Janzen. I also happened upon many exhibits for the “Extreme Painting Festival 2” – during my time at CA I discovered this school of work and saw some amazingly lush and layered surfaces. This stuff was a bit more street art styles I think, more figurative in a way. See what you think below.
Well, that was the big art day in Montreal. Was it worth the almost 2,000 kilometers and 20 hours of driving? Absolutely. It’s Montreal. I can’t think of many people who have lived there and wouldn’t want to again. Many of the artists are very inspiring and I really lucked out seeing much of the extreme painting festival. When I am able to paint again in the studio for a sustained period, I know this trip will affect my work.
Recently downloaded and installed the new Drift app from the artist group (and Sobey Award long-listers) Broken City Lab. Described as “a tool for getting lost in familiar places” the app simply gives you a random set of instructions for exploring your immediate surroundings, as well as what to document and upload to the collective project database. For example “walk north for two blocks, find a sign of hope and take a picture of it” – which, for a poor neighbourhood like mine, can produce quite a poignant result.
Anyways, each set of instructions is called a “drift” and I must admit it was a lot of fun and a very insighful process to follow. My partner and I set out, with the dog in tow, to complete an entire set of instructions and re-discover our hood. We actually ended up walking down streets we had never been on, though at one point a literal following of the instructions would have resulted in us walking up and down the same stretch several times.
Below is our Drift, in pictures and with the instructions we were following.
In a tiny white cube space, In the back corner of an industrial park building, in between two burgeoning art districts, near an overpass, an exhibit that lasts 2 1/2 days is attracting hundreds of visitors including me. Why?
As curator and organizer Nathalie Quagliotto tells me, the most important advice she can give is to be social, social, social. This makes sense, because Nathalie has 27 artists showing in this space that is about 500 square feet. The more off-grid a exhibition venue is, the more group shows it should have to attract as many people as possible to establish its presence in the arts landscape.
This exhibition has the added social importance for being Nathalie’s 27th birthday-what kind of cold-hearted basterds would refuse to participate or attend her exhibit? Probably those not on Facebook. You start to get the very real sense of how important social media is to art openings and events.
So how did 27 works in this space that measures 10 feet by 17 feet work out? Actually, amazingly well when by all rights it should have looked like a cluttered art hole. Many of the works are small and there is a terrific amount of white space. Exactly how I am still not sure.
There is no theme or geographical parameters to exhibit 27- I think the purely social nature that functions as curating in this day and age results in a playful collection of work.
As Nathalie points out, there is a good mix of emerging and established artists and is well worth checking out.
Sometimes at these kind of independantly organized group shows, one can snag an artwork from an important artist and I did. I can’t wait 40 years from now when this really pays off.
Press release pasted below.
DUPONT PROJECTS :
Nadege Grebmeier Forget
Ann Marie Hadcock
Kate WilsonThe birthday exhibitions kick off for a second year. Nathalie Quagliotto turns 27 and invites 27 artists from across Canada to show work at a gallery: this time it will be in Toronto and will be the inaugural exhibition to open Dupont Projects, a new gallery run by Natiea Vinson and Stephen Marie-Rhodes. Exhibition runs January 20-21-22 with the preview/opening January 20 7-11 pm.Gallery opened 12-5 pm January 21
1-5 pm January 22
A walk through in photos and audio commentary of Hamilton’s Barton Village, where I live. Looking for art and at derelict storefronts, one realizes there is a lot of potential for this to be an area where galleries / studios could thrive. Amazed that one of the most widely acknowledged poor neighbourhoods of any major Canadian city is only 45 minutes away from downtown Toronto.
For me as an artist living in the area, this slideshow is a record of a time and place to refer back to as the neighbourhood changes.
Commentary by Chris and Jen (dumb critics) as we discuss the state of the area, the local BIA and artists working in the community.
Featuring work by Rosemary Flutur, T. Reilly Hodgson, Dimitri Karakostas, Matt Moreland, Laura Nowak and Ashley Van Der Laan. Organized by Matt Moreland of Xeroxr.
An exhibition of film photography – something I am usually suspicious of from art schools, as it is probably a professor holding on dearly to a darkroom against the tide of digital. However, this exhibit was clearly innovative and strongly independant – was not about film, but used it to get somewhere else. Really enjoyed this work.
I was not offered an hors d’œuvre, and that was the second most disappointing aspect of the current exhibit on at Moos Gallery’s M2 project space on Queen and Bathurst.
I was mostly disappointed at least because I was expecting all the work to be as interesting as Kagame Murray’s work. His close up camera work is a careful study of important junctions, or extensions, of human communication. A kind of anthropologist morphed into artist with healthy dose of rock star (“I spend 16 years in New York” he explains), Murray is a virtual Justin Bieber compared to the creaky and tired old work that surrounded him.
But back to the hors d’œuvres … there only seemed to be one small square white plate of food cubes available. As I understand myself to be of no importance within a crowd of rich and aimless art patrons, I sat back and watched as what seemed to be potential buyers or friends were spotted by the host and she stomped across floor and missioned through the crowd on a sortie to deliver a snack to that particular person. Then she would stomp straight back to the safety of being behind the bar with most of the plate intact and safe from the hungry mouths of the great upper-middle class that swelled the ranks of the crowd that night.
And another thing that set off my alarm bells about this place – the beer cost $7 a bottle. This is not an airport or intermission at the opera. It’s an art opening, and you need to be buzzed in from the street and go up an elevator to even get in – it’s not like some rugby team is going to pour in and you need to discourage drunken hazing by setting prohibitively expensive prices for your beer (at least for independent art bloggers). Maybe they don’t realize that trying to sell bad $10,000 paintings kinda means you should have free drinks and accessible cheese cubes otherwise you are sending a message that $7 is a lot of money therefore you should think twice about spending $10,000.
There are a lot of galleries to visit in Toronto, so I don’t think I will bother with M2 again – unless Kagame has a solo show and I can bring my own food and drink.