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John Hartman at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery

This past weekend, Grace and I went to Toronto to check out some of the galleries and openings that were happening around the city. Some of the places we visited included the Power Plant’s Beat Nation opening on Friday, MOCCA, Cooper Cole, AGO, and Susan Hobbes to see Patrick Howletts opening as well. One of the highlights for me of the weekend was going to the Nicholas Metivier Galler yesterday, as it was the last day of the closing reception for John Hartman’s paintings. John Hartman was introduced to me through this blog thanks to Kyla, and the moment I saw his paintings he was someone whose work I was itching to go see. When I saw his paintings for the first time, I couldn’t stop staring at them. I found my mouth watering immediately looking at his paintings, and found his watercolour and oil paintings to be so luscious, full of vibrant colours and executed well compositionally on big scales.

I found myself drawn to his paintings, and picked up a catalogue of his work to learn more about the paintings for this exhibit, which was titled: Place, Story, and Memory.I admit that paintings of surrealist nature landscapes have never really appealed to me, but I couldn’t stop staring at Hartman’s paintings. His work of Georgian Bay, Nova Sotia, and Near Orleans was breathtaking, and his ability to mix in these landscapes with an industrialized cityscape of New Orleans was very well done.

It was interesting to also see how much influence Philip Guston had on his work. In an interview I read inside the Catalogue, Hartman talks about how he is influenced by Guston’s colour-field abstractions, and also even though his work appeared banal, there was something authentic about his freedom to continue to tell stories, which Hartman admired greatly.

Reading the catalogue and seeing how these paintings take on a much deeper meaning made me become drawn to the work even more. Hartman spoke of death, loss, and resurrection of forgotten memories tugging at feelings of possession and desire in his paintings, and how those feelings were imbedded deep within his experiences of the landscapes and cityscapes of those paintings. John Hartman states that, “wherever he goes, ideas for paintings emerge and his imagination gets flooded”, and this is a notion that i totally connected with as a painter.

http://www.johnhartman.ca/ I have attached a link to the artist’s website and encourage you guys to check it out whenever all of you get the chance

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-jag raina

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Zak Prekop at Thomas Duncan

Zak Prekop at Thomas Duncan

Zak Prekop at Thomas DuncanZak Prekop at Thomas DuncanZak Prekop at Thomas Duncan

Zak Prekop at Thomas DuncanZak Prekop at Thomas DuncanZak Prekop at Thomas Duncan

Images courtesy of Thomas Duncan, Los Angeles

Press Release:

“A great shift culminated in the era of Bach. Before the Baroque, perception was sequence-dominated (i.e. contrapuntal lines), and afterward, perception focused on simultaneity (chords). We can and do commonly perceive both of these dimensions at once, but not always with equal focus. In addition, the dimension of orchestration has been awesomely expanded from Bach’s time to our own. To meaningfully ingest all of these perspectives, we may switch between these sonic views as though rotating a cube to see it from each side in turn, focusing attention on lines here, harmonic progressions there, and large scale transitions of amplitude or timbre at other times. We flit between multiple perceptual modes, but our minds will also tend to merge and group the sounds, perceiving a totality on some single central inner hearing ear. This Cyclopean (Julesz 1971) ear is the central single “ear” in which we hear with the most profound feeling.”
– Laurie Spiegel, 1999

“I’ve been listening to Laurie Spiegel’s synth music form the late 70’s lately and I found this statement about Bach and simultaneity in a text called Music as Mirror of Mind on her website. It makes sense in defining music like hers, which is built from layers of electronic patterns that shift more depending on how you listen to it rather than from beginning to end. I also find that it models how I look at or think about looking at paintings. It’s a process of collapsing together multiple types of perception. When looking at paintings, an awareness of material reality coincides with the perception of an interior, pictorial space, so a painting is looked both at and through. I work with this literally in many of my paintings where one actually sees through the semi-transparent canvas to its other side, so that looking into or through is again a process of perceiving real material, not only the kind of painterly space that has been constructed historically by conventions like the rectangle of stretcher bars or an oval framing in a portrait. On top of this is an awareness of time, in which a viewer deciphers or tries to decipher what has been done by the artist, at which point the painting acts as a record of decisions and processes. I like the idea of hearing or seeing in different ways at once, especially as Laurie Spiegel describes that as some kind of ultimate perceptual experience.”
– Zak Prekop, 2012

Link: Zak Prekop at Thomas Duncan

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David Urban – Reviews – Art in America

David Urban – Reviews – Art in America.

 

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“Worship and Home” -By: Jennifer Scott

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“The Gospel According to Luke” – By: Jennifer Scott

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“The Gospel According to Luke” – By: Jennifer Scott

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“The Gospel According to Luke” – By: Jennifer Scott

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jag raina

I have thought long and hard about the body of work that I have produced throughout the first term of this semester, and have come to the resolution that I am going through many mixed emotions.  It is quite easy to figure out that the subject matter of my paintings deal with the issues of identity, a critique on south-asian sikh culture, and the experiences of being a first generation south-Asian Canadian.

I have worked with the collaging of different images, and abstracting elaborate, decorative scenes showcasing narratives of  South-Asian Sikh culture. These narratives, obviously personal to myself, have allowed me to critique this culture in ways I never thought I would through the process of painting. This is an accomplishment I feel has started to develop this semester and I hope to push it further next semester with my works. I also want the viewer to feel engaged and lose in these works, and continue to paint them in a way that speaks to the viewer, subtly telling them enigmatic stories of this. However I am dealing with fears that my works will become predictable and bland. I try to constantly immerse myself with contemporary painters in particular Kaye Donachie, Neal Tait, and Chitra Ganesh. Having a critical discourse with my peers, Kyla and Sky have definitely helped me overcome these feelings of anxiety that I have been experiencing.

My choice of materials has constantly consisted of oil-paint, and I want to continue to work with this media for next semester. However, I am hoping to experiment painting on different surfaces, in particular fabric. There is something about apparel and fabric that I have become intensely drawn too, in particular painting on garments belonging to South Asian apparel. I believe that these materials will not only help me push my ideas onto further ways, but also allow me to continue a further and intensive development in my relationship with painting.  Next semester, I am also interested in seeing how I can push my paintings and combine it with installation.

I know despite how I am feeling with my work this year, there is still a sense of happiness that I am able to experience. To be able to hate what I am painting, yet still feel a happiness because I am painting is a notion that has kept me to keep going.ImageImageImage

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Alex Petropoulakis

Jumping off of suggestions that came early in the semester, my recent focus with painting has been to break away from certain processes that have had a limiting effect on my work. Working in a graphic manner has, in part, stemmed from my interest and experience with printmaking. My aim has been to explore the possibilities of paint and painting without relying on standby techniques in order to ‘complete’ a piece. Experimenting with abstraction was a new and helpful turn for me, as it is a way of working that I am completely unfamiliar with.

Dealing with portraiture and persona has been essential to my paintings and practice as of late; I am interested in what portraiture can or cannot express about the subject, as well as how much information is necessary when depicting a person. Acknowledging the early use of portraiture to show wealth, status, and moral standing, I am intrigued and slightly transfixed by our generation’s ability to create and fine-tune our own public and private ‘portraits’ in the age of social media. I believe that my general unease toward this idea comes out in the sometimes grotesque and surreal moments within my paintings. This semester I have been looking at artists such as Karen Kilimnik and Shary Boyle, as well as emerging artists Chad Wys and Guim Tio Zarraluki.

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Jacki Gunton

From a young age, I have always had a fascination with drawing people. In grade 2, every week each student had to write a journal entry with accompanying pictures. While other kids were drawing stick figures and mediocre dinosaurs, I was drawing elaborate scenes of cats, Pokémon battles, and my grandma eating pie. My teacher showed my drawings to my parents, who were thrilled, and immediately enrolled me in an extra-curricular drawing and painting class at Avenue Road Arts School. I attended the school from age eight to eighteen under the same instructor Sadko Hadzihasanovic, who is a practicing contemporary artist in Toronto. In these classes I learned the basic techniques of drawing and painting, such as drawing what you see, not what you think you see; or that shadows can actually be blue, purple, and maybe even green – not simply grey. The knowledge and technical skill I have gained from painting classes, practice, and my extreme attention to detail, has shaped the artist that I am today. However, I would also like to point out how my art practice has developed and evolved throughout my time in University.

This semester, I chose to focus on portraiture. Producing a painting per week was a challenge because a lot of my work is highly rendered, which is time consuming. However, I think that was the motivation I needed to get out of always working in such a detailed, structured, and somewhat limiting way. Ironically in art, I tend to work in a very perfectionist manner, whereas in every other aspect of my life I am disorganized, messy, and clumsy. I am astounded by the fact that even to this day, I don’t own a single pair of pants with a paint stain – something I think I should be ashamed of as an art student.

At the beginning of the semester I painted a highly detailed portrait of a TV character, which made me realize that celebrity portraiture is something I want to leave in the past, unless I get to paint Charlie Sheen. I have decided to save boring, decorative portraiture for bedroom painting and drawing on Jack Astor’s napkins. Instead, I would like to explore different approaches to portraiture, which I have tried to do by practicing in oil – a medium I am less experienced with. Often times, I have found that my technical skill has actually worked against me, because it makes me too controlled and thus prevents me from exploring new methods of painting outside of my comfort zone. I found that experimenting with oil paint helped me get out of my ways, to forget my past knowledge of painting, and simply paint without knowing what the end product would be. I often gravitate towards acrylic paint, as I am very experienced with this medium and I feel like I can use it to do exactly what I want or envision. The majority of my paintings throughout the semester have been in acrylic. I dislike the plasticity of thick acrylic paint, so I usually build up layers of watered down paint to create depth. By the end of the semester, I felt that I had exhausted acrylic and I was frustrated with oil, so I moved to watercolour. I noticed that the way I built up colour and forms in watercolour differed from my other work in that my painting technique was a lot more abstract. I enjoy the fluidity and immediacy of watercolour, an effect I cannot always achieve in acrylic and oil.

Another struggle I have faced in my painting is feeling like there is something missing, or that there is some disconnect between the figures in the composition of my paintings. Hopefully this is an issue I can overcome in my future paintings. Next semester I plan to work larger, and to continue practicing with oils. I would like to keep looking at artists such as Marlene Dumas and Lucian Freud. Overall I am quite excited for next semester. I am sure 2013 has many trips to and from Bijan’s in store, and I can’t wait to bombard my roommates with more paintings of disturbing male nudes.

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