Thursday, December 20, 2007

December: From heavy metal to copper welders

December has flown by, with lots on the go writing-wise. Here's the overview:

An interview in the National Post with heavy-metal-imagery artist Steven Shearer

A review in NOW of Heather Goodchild's latest show, a thoughtful take on the good life

A gallery-going summary of "art to slow down to" in the Queen West district in the Post's Toronto section

An interview with Shelagh Keeley, a Canadian artist who revels in the process of drawing, for the National Post

A cross-country survey on the state of Toronto's art scene for Canadian Art magazine

Another gallery-going survey, this time of "art of swaddlage" i.e. textiles, in the Queen West are for the Post's Toronto section

A report from Museums Canada's Visual Arts Summit for NOW Magazine


An interview with Ian MacDonald, a welder and photographer in Kamloops, about his project on copper-mine co-workers

I will post more links when I can!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Art schools - Panacea or problem?

While I love art as much as the next BFA holder, I also have a problem when there's a lack of consistency in the way art is taught in public schools. That's the topic I tried to address in an op-ed piece for NOW this week. Let me know what you think....

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How to buy art

Art buying can be a bit of a tough call whether it's for oneself or for others. In a piece for this week's NOW, I poll top TO gallerists for their advice during the holiday season.

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Bike art - ride it before it's too cold!

Tomorrow is the final day for Sound Cycles at Interaccess Gallery , which I wrote about for the National Post last week. Ride the art while you still can!

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Knitting factory @ Illingworth Kerr

Yesterday the National Post ran my interview with Lee Plested, curator of a new knitting-oriented exhibition at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary. Extra cozy and extra utopian.

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Cowboys and Indians... but not how you think

I'm posting this late, but last week NOW ran my review of Kent Monkman at the Museusum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. Cowboys and Indians, but not how you think . Do go and check it out!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Sorry, Out of Gas

Though I'm too young to remember it, I'm very impressed with the Centre for Canadian Architecture's current exhibition on the 1973 oil crisis. I did an interview with centre director Mirko Zardini on the topic for the National Post last week, and appreciate the chance to look at a time when the future, as it sometimes looks today, looked not so bright.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Unusual Toronto War Memorials - Globe Toronto

The weekend of November 11 is an ideal time to reflect on the ways that the built environment, particularly monuments and memorials, manifest war stories in 3-D. This weekend the Globe Toronto section published my mini-survey of unusual war memorials in Toronto, from ones you are encouraged to climb (U of T Soldier's Tower) to ones that live in department stores.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Welcoming Snap Judgments

Usually I try to avoid making snap judgments, but I'm darn excited about the photography show of the same name currently on at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Today the Post ran a nice selection of images from the exhibition with my interview with curator Okwui Enwezor. FYI the book for the show also won a major award, in case you can't get to the capital to see the show itself.

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BGL's hits and misses

In this week's NOW Magazine, I look at two shows concurrently running in Toronto from Quebec trio BGL. I love their work overall, but was disappointed in their Koffler Centre show. They have been on quite a festival and exhibition tear lately, and I wondered if that might have had an impact. In any case, I'm always interested in seeing what they do next.

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Roy Arden Interview

Some overdue posting going on here... on Monday the Post ran my interview with Roy Arden in relation to his mid-career retrospective currently on at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I really enjoyed Arden's sense of social mission, a sometimes rare angle in contemporary art nowadays, and as usual am sad we couldn't publish more of the interview. I look forward to posting more extensive versions of these exchanges soon.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Micah Lexier at Birch Libralato

On the weekend I went to see Micah Lexier's latest show and curatorial project at Birch Libralato Gallery. Today NOW ran a review thereof, written in the context of Lexier's past work.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cal Lane's macho lace creations

Today the Post ran my interview with Cal Lane, a really terrific metal artist based in New York City. She's showing work at the Toronto International Art Fair this weekend, with a show to come in Halifax. Worth checking out - though if you don't do it now, you might see it on your next trip to NYC, as Lane's been asked to do some work for the subway system.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The International Festival of Authors: Amy Bloom

I've long been a fan of Amy Bloom's writing, from the mainstream of Oprah Magazine to the fringes of transgender culture in her nonfiction book Normal. So I jumped at the chance to review her latest book, Away, for NOW's guide to the International Festival of Authors.

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Arts Awards Season Ct'd

Following that profile of RBC Painting Competition winner Arabella Campbell, the National Post published my interview with Sobey Award winner Michel de Broin last Tuesday. My interview with a quite different but no less successful artist (if the New York Times is to be believed), Karel Funk of Winnipeg also ran in the Post last Thursday. One of his works is reproduced above. Both artists definitely worth keeping an eye on in the years to come.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Arts Award Season Grows...

Today I have a piece in the National Post about RBC Canadian Painting Competition Winner Arabella Campbell, pictured above. The Vancouver artist takes a highly conceptual approach to painting, concentrating on such overlooked workhorses of the genre as stretcher bars and masking tape, making her an unusual (and worthy) choice for a painting award.

Could be global warming, but the Canadian arts award season has heated up considerably in the past few years. Where once there was only the GGs, there is now the RBC award, the Sobey Award (which I am covering next week), the Bell Award in Video Art (recently scooped up by John Greyson) and more in development at the AGO and elsewhere.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arty art artersonistas!

Had a bit of a posting break since the 1st due to moving house. So I missed posting sooner on my October 4 article in the National Post on Saskatoon-based painter Martin Bennett. Bennett's paintings are pleasing in a formal sense, but I also liked the way they talked about country meeting city in some ways (or how he permitted our conversation to drift in that direction). Speaking of place, his paintings run to November 4 at the Esplanade Art Gallery in Medicine Hat before heading to Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto later this year.

Today the National Post also runs an interview between myself and New York City artist Devorah Sperber, who has her first Canadian show on starting today at the Ottawa School of Art. Sperber's work is an interesting combination of art and science, using the tools of painters of olde to create digitally influenced sculptures today. I also appreciated that she wanted her works to be intelligible without wall texts, eg. accessible to the nonartgoing public, while still offering depth for theoretical exploration.

And NOW today runs my review of the fabulous Fastwurms retrospective at the Art Gallery of York University. The show runs to December 9, and is well worth the trek.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Terrific response to Nuit Blanche blog link

There was terrific response to the National Post's Nuit Blanche guide that I did for their Saturday Toronto section. Once posted on the paper's Toronto blog, it got more than 6,000 hits and was the first hit to come up on Google for a search of "nuit blanche". Reviews of the event have been mixed thus far, but I look forward to participating in the debate as it goes on.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Essay for Gallery 44's The Slow Gaze

Mixed in with all of the Nuit Blanche one-night-only madness are those first September/October shows of the art season that happen to be all-nighting it as well. I wrote an essay for one of these, The Slow Gaze, which opened at Gallery 44 last Thursday. The essay is available in a nice full-colour brochure at the gallery. Since it's a co-pro with Centre VU in Quebec City, the text has also been translated into French -- my first translation!

One of the best things about writing the essay was finding out about Paul LaCroix, a 78-year-old Quebec artist whose work (seen above) feels as fresh as anything coming out of UQAM today.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Slew of Nuit Blanche stuff today

Toronto media is officially Nuit Blanche crazy and I'm straightjacketed up with the rest of 'em...

I've got pieces today in the National Post and NOW on the topic, with more on the way this weekend.

The Post story is a interview with Laura Belem, a Brazilian artist who did that flashing-boat-talky thing in Venice a couple of years back. The NOW story consists of an interview with Janet Morton, Guelph's craft-cover queen. Both are really interesting artists in terms of work, and to chat with.

There is also some blurbage I did in the NOW guide. Oh festival coverage! Oh the blurbage!

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