Toronto Loves Public Art!

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“Large Two Forms” (1966 & 1969), Henry Moore

Toronto’s diversity is reflected in the wide array of public art, especially sculpture, that can be seen on block after block in its downtown core.  Encounters with public art as we hustle from place to place provide moments for reflection and inspiration and help to remind us of our connections to deeper things and to one another.

These pieces from out and about merely scratch the surface of the city’s offerings. (I forgot to get the titles for a couple of these pieces.)

Angela Carlsen’s Retro Americana Art

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Angela Carlsen, “Boulevard Drive In”

If you take creative photography, neon signs and other roadside kitsch and mix them together with a retro-pop art sensibility, for me that’s a winning formula and is the approach taken by Nova Scotia-based artist, Angela Carlsen with her artwork.   Much of her recent mixed media art focuses on bygone Americana as a result of her road trips over the last few years through the American West.   Vanishing roadside relics, such as those depicted in this sampling, comprise a significant part of both the Canadian and America car cultures, and her work serves as a fitting artistic bridge between them.

You can see more of her retro art at Carlsen’s artist site here.  She’s also represented by Argyle Fine Art in Halifax.

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Angela Carlsen, “Copper Manor Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Fresh Donuts”

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Angela Carlsen, “Supai Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Four Winds Motel”

Related posts on O’Canada:

Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

Vintage Quebec: Helen’s Motel

— Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

Artist to Appreciate: Richard Ahnert

R. Ahnert -- Messenger (2012)

Richard Ahnert, Messenger (2012)

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Richard Ahnert’s anthropomorphic art is both whimsical and brilliantly provocative. This Toronto-based artist paints intriguing images of animals engaged in activities one might expect of weary modern-day city dwellers. While his work harkens back to the playful (and disturbing) posed taxidermy of the Victorian era, Ahnert’s paintings engage the viewer with considerable satire and reflection.  The images here provide only a small glimpse of his range and more of Ahnert’s fascinating paintings can be seen at his website, MyCanvas.ca: Paintings by Richard Ahnert.

R. Ahnert -- Billy Brooklyn (2011)

Richard Ahnert, Billy Brooklyn (2011)

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R. Ahnert -- Commute (2014)

Richard Ahnert, Commute (2014)

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R. Ahnert -- Feed (2014)

Richard Ahnert, Feed (2014)

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R. Ahnert -- First Light (2015)

Richard Ahnert, First Light (2015)

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R. Ahnert -- Panda Wear (2014)

Richard Ahnert, Panda Wear (2014)

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R. Ahnert -- Pride & Ponder (2013)

Richard Ahnert, Pride & Ponder (2013)

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R. Ahnert -- The Hemingway (2013)

Richard Ahnert, The Hemingway (2013)

Janis Woode’s Thought-Provoking Sculptures

J. Woode -- Personal Tornado

Janis Woode Personal Tornado

While reading a recent issue of Arabella magazine I was captivated by the intriguing and thought-provoking sculptures made from steel, wire and other metals created by Salt Spring Island, B.C. artist Janis Woode.  Although some of her works suggest a whimsical element, Woode also manages to convey an array of deep emotions to which I expect many of her viewers can readily relate.  See more of her cleverly crafted art at her website here.

J. Woode -- Cupid

Janis Woode, Cupid

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J. Woode -- Root

Janis Woode, Root

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J. Woode -- Stilted Walker

Janis Woode, Stilted Walker

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J. Woode -- The Musician

Janis Woode, The Musician

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J. Woode -- Boat

Janis Woode, The Boat

(Image Credits: Artist Website)

Artist to Appreciate: Michael E. Glover

Michael Glover, End of the Line, Hines Creek, Alberta (2010) 2

Michael Glover, End of the Line, Hines Creek, Alberta (2010)

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Michael Glover’s realist artwork conveys a deep appreciation for the stark and forlorn rural and industrial landscapes that hint at the hardscrabble existence of the hardy folks who settled such remote areas long ago.  His sense of place is strong — even to the point that the titles of his paintings denote the specific towns depicted — and I like that much of his work focuses on the often overlooked Canadian heartland regions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.  However, Glover is the rare Canadian painter whose work embraces images of virtually all the country’s provinces, reflecting his wide travels across Canada’s vast expanse.

Michael Glover, In The Heartland, Aneroid, Saskatchewan (2006)

Michael Glover, In The Heartland, Aneroid, Saskatchewan (2006)

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Michael Glover, On the Crowsnest Line, Pincher Station, Alberta (2012)

Michael Glover, On the Crowsnest Line, Pincher Station, Alberta (2012)

Michael Glover, Forgotten Timber, Wawa, Ontario (2007)

Michael Glover, Forgotten Timber, Wawa, Ontario (2007)

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Michael Glover, Once Proud, Still Strong, Fredericton, N.B. (2004)

Michael Glover, Once Proud, Still Strong, Fredericton, N.B. (2004)

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Michael Glover, Standing Proud in the Eleventh Hour, Mossleigh, Alberta (2006)

Michael Glover, Standing Proud in the Eleventh Hour, Mossleigh, Alberta (2006)

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Michael Glover, The Final Days of Fleming, Fleming, Saskatchewan (2012)

Michael Glover, The Final Days of Fleming, Fleming, Saskatchewan (2012)

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Michael Glover, Alexandria Falls, Enterprise, NWT (2012)

Michael Glover, Alexandria Falls, Enterprise, NWT (2012)

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Michael Glover, Nightstop, Grenfell, Saskatchewan (2012)

Michael Glover, Nightstop, Grenfell, Saskatchewan (2012)

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Glover has a much-deserved exhibition opening in late November 2013 at the Art Gallery of Northumberland (Ontario), appropriately entitled “The Lost and Forgotten: Canada’s Vanishing Landscape.”   More of Glover’s exceptional art may also be viewed at his website here and at the Quinn’s of Tweed (Ontario) gallery.

Image Credits:  Michael E. Glover

David Silcox’s Exquisite Book on The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson

While in Toronto recently I stayed at a hotel across from the Royal Ontario Museum.  Although I did not have sufficient time to tour the Museum, I briefly stopped by its gift shop.  Browsing through the art books on display I came across an amazing book on the Group of Seven that I had not previously seen and which I had to have.

Once back in Atlanta as I leisurely browsed through the simply named volume, The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, by David Silcox (Firefly Books 2001), I was impressed anew at this amazing collaboration of early twentieth-century artists who helped define a distinctively Canadian style of painting.  (See previous post on OCanadaBlog here.)  It also gave me a greater appreciation in particular for Tom Thomson, but for whose untimely death in 1917, the collective might well have been called the Group of Eight.   As one of the other members, Lawren Harris, noted in a narrative of the Group, “although the name of the group did not originate until after his death, Tom Thomson was, nevertheless, as vital to the movement, as much a part of its formation and development, as any other member.”

Tom Thomson, Autumn Foliage

Silcox’s beautifully compiled book is organized into thematic sections, initially around some broad categories, such as “Icons: Images of Canada,” “The First World War,” and “Cities, Towns and Villages,” and then by geographic regions, including “The East Coast,” “The St. Lawrence River and Quebec,” “Algonquin Park and Georgian Bay,” and “The Prairies, Rockies and West Coast,” among others.   This approach enables a wonderful comparison of each artist’s perspective on the same subjects and geography.  Preceding each section is  a brief narrative by the author that provides historical and cultural context that enriches the understanding of the individual Group members and their works.

Tom Thomson, In the Northland

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