Thursday, November 15, 2012

Articulation in Toronto

I really enjoyed my visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It was quite a rabbit warren of different rooms but the diversity of its collection was quite amazing.  Luckily the exhibition about Frida Kahlo and  Diego Rivera was going on. The exhibition had over 80 paintings and 60 photographs and it was interesting to compare their artwork, the first time I believe that they have been shown together. Theirs was a passionate relationship wrapped up in revolution and betrayal. They divorced at one time over Diego's affair with Frida's sister, but they remarried again.  It was so interesting to see the work they were doing during the same time period with their similarities and differences.

I spent quite a long time in the area containing the Group of Seven work.  It was wonderful to be able to get up really close to the work without barriers in the way.  You could see the texture of the paint and the way it was applied.  The Group of Seven were really prolific when you think of how many of their paintings are in the AGO, National Gallery and also at Kleinberg let alone all the other Galleries and private collections that have their work around the world.

My other favourite was a Elm Tree at Horton Landing by Alex Coleville. His small brush strokes always remind me of stitches. They had many Jean Paul Riopelle paintings which were even more magnificent in real life. There were also galleries of contemporary work and I thought it interesting how some artists now use textiles or textile like technique's in their work like the following two works.
This work was by Do-Ho Suh and is a life size bathroom made of nylon, silk fabric and a steel framework.
This is by Kori Newkirk and is called Younger and is comprised of synthetic hair and pony beads.
There was also an exhibition of Evan Penny with his ultra realistic and surrealistic sculptures of people.  Some I find quite unnerving.  There was a group of artists sketching what looked like a nude model - quite out in the open.  But it was part of the exhibition and must have been one of his sculptures.
One of the other galleries I visited because of my background in pottery, was the Gardiner Museum.  It houses a mixture of contemporary and historical pottery. However, on the top floor was a really neat exhibition called the Vase Project. There were 101 vases decorated by factory painters in Zingdezhen. Normally they work anonymously and make mass produced items.  However, this time they were asked to hand paint a blue and white contemporary landscape which was then passed on to the next artist to copy on a new identical blank vase. The resulting vases although based on the same theme, were really different and showed the artists off for the individuals that they are.  The resulting vases displayed in a square with the original vase in the centre, were quite stunning.
The other exhibition I thoroughly enjoyed was Invited Invasion by Joanne Tod.  Her work was in response to the Gardiner's historical collection.  However, her pieces were either tongue in cheek or commentary on cultural values or other questions regarding the work. I found myself searching through the teacups and plates to find her next thought provoking piece.
It was a wonderful week, full of inspiring exhibitions from The World of Threads Festival in Oakville and Toronto, to the amazing Galleries and Museums in Toronto.  Not to mention the good food and fun shopping along Queen Street West.  A good thing for my pocket book that I don't live nearer! Wendy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Articulation at the ROM

During Articulation's visit to Toronto this November the members spent many hours at the Royal Ontario Museum.
One of the delights was getting up close to El Anatsui's Straying Continents.

A metal tapestry commissioned by the ROM in 2010.

El Anatsui continues to use his signature flattened  liquor bottle tops but this work has large areas of the tops cut into lengths twisted together.

As a result this work is more likely than his others to alter it's shape while hanging on the wall.