Great Things of 2014 - Anna Torma

This particular exhibition entitled Bagatelles  @ the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario in August was a highlight to me in 2014.  Anna Torma of in Baie Verte, NB is a TEXTILE ARTIST that produces large-scale hand embroidered wall hangings and collages.  The scale and intensity of the work itself, of these beautiful multilayered marathons of embroidery really knocked me off my feet.  So much so, it was hard to put into words and has taken me a long time to get it here.   What I truly enjoyed seeing in this exhibition was that the back of the embroidery, as it was fully displayed, was just as interesting as the front. Moving between the different folds of silk as they hung like massive flags of her children's creative growth depicted in the beasts and monsters fire-breathing and stomping over-top of each other. Many at 210x280cm each, my fingers get cramps just thinking about the all that thread, delicately drawn with needle and thread. I would catch myself tracing the stitches back and forth comparing patterns or just losing myself in the texture and rhythm.  I am a sucker for a good monster anyway, but the joy of these works was impossible not to internalize.   Walking away from this exhibit I found myself light on my feet and with a silly grin on my face.  There are many things referenced in Bagatelles beyond monsters, from Fibonacci to imagined and historical plants, all these images fell into each other with a careless ease.  To read more about Anna Torma's work click below and do not miss it if she is showing in your area.

EN MASSE @ Station 16 Montreal - SPRING 2014

Remembering this spring En Masse's amazing installation at Station 16 - 3523 St-Laurent boul. in Montreal, featuring paintings & prints made in the round.  A fantastic show and if you missed it, only the prints and paintings (if your lucky) still exist.  Here are a few of the highlights and my personal favorites.  The circular paintings are exceptional and detailed to perfection.

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber

On a recent visit to Montreal I saw a great exhibition @ Division Gallery - After the Royal Art Lodge, works by former members of the infamous Royal Art Lodge of Winnipeg.  It featured works of:

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber

Marcel Dzama

Jonathan Pylypchuk

Adrian Williams

Although, the bust-a-gut funny award definitely goes to the creative duo of Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber.  Beautifully curated and arranged in groups of common themes, these simple cartoons kicked the sometimes-stuffy white cube experience right in the nuts and I could not help myself from laughing loud and hard. Below is just a small sample of a hundred + images that were on display.

Will Magic Marker Ink Kill You?

Over the remnants of our dinner plates my son powered into full rant about - "you know what i hate" no what, sayz I, how could i leave him hanging? - "when people tell me how toxic marker ink is AND how bad it is for me  - like I am going to die from it or something."  And then gave a poignant performance of how ridiculous he thought this was.  On one hand he posed the question and the other asked my participation.

Lycanthrope - Jim Holyoak @ Donald Browne Gallery - Nuit Balanche Montreal

After one too many encounters with individuals in various states of intoxication during the Nuit Blanche festivities, it was refreshing to sit down on the floor at the Donald Browne Gallery and take in this delicious combination of sight and sound.

Lycanthrope is a fantastic drawing installation that included a performance of the artist Jim Holyoak attacking a paper-lined fortification while musicians Nick Kuepfer & Neil Holyoak (Jim's younger brother) created an accompanying wall of steady sound. Jim Holyoak used an ink-slathered whisk and various graphite sticks and gouache-laden brushes to visually echo the soaring notes of  looping sonic trance/bat-chirping sound from electric guitars with great analogue assists: cassette tape machines, 1/4 tape looping machine, amplified bell and chimes, all whirling though what looked to me like a horn from a Hammond organ! Think Philip Glass on acid. 

Jim’s attention to detail and mastery of his tools and media are represented not only in this giant singular work, but also on the rest of the gallery walls, from floor to ceiling. Clever and articulate drawings of creatures and various abstract stalactite/stalagmite like drawings of various sizes and paper quality pinned to the wall.  Of particular interest are the drawings in which Jim incorporates his own ink stamped body parts into a bat wings or a hares elongated feet. 

This was the finissage so, unfortunatly if you are reading this you cannot see the show - except on line - Jim and Donald's links are below if you want to see more or just watch the videos I have inclued and it will give you a small taste of the evening.