Posts Tagged ‘painting’

This is a story about an exhibit that is showing at the Art Gallery of Ontario at the moment, “A Story of Negotiation” by Francis Alys.  The exhibit is a look at three of Alys’s large projects.  For each project there were many studies, notes, and sketches.  Drawings and paintings dot the walls and cover many tables.  There are three large videos to watch (not the ones shown below).  It is a fairly complex installation and only a small part of it is included here.

two women looking over a table with art displays on it , in an art gallery

below: In 2006 Alys tried to organize two lines of fishing boats, one from Florida and one from Cuba, that would form a bridge between the United States and Florida.  It was unsuccessful.  He repeated the project in 2008, this time between Spain and Morocco.

a young man is looking at two video screens that are mounted on the wall

a line of little sailboats on the floor, all parallel to each other, the base of the boat (hull) is a flip flop or sandal.

below: More on borders, pairs of words that depend on which side you’re on.
Words such as leave/return and us/them.

4 small green and yellow pictures on a pink wall

Alys also spent time embedded with British forces in Afghanistan.

a display of pictures, paintings, drawings, sketches, and notes as part of an art exhibit

below: Alys made a videos on kids flying kites in Afghanistan.  There was also a video of kids rolling a large reel of film through the streets and alleys in an Afghan city.

3 wood benches in front of a table mounted to a wall, art on the table, a video screen on the wall with a movie about kids in Afghanistan flying kites, some people in the background

below: Weapons made of found objects

in a yellow room with two small pictures hanging crookedly on the wall. A table in the middle of the room, glass covering artwork on the table. Sitting on the table is an automatic rifle (artwork) made of found objects

below: Instead of a round of ammunition, there is a reel of film. This is true in all of Alys’s ‘automatic rifles’ that are displayed here

close up of a sculpture of an automatic rifle where the round of ammo is replaced by a reel of film

a circle of art weapons, automatic rifles, made of found objects, with barrels all pointed inwards,

The exhibit continues at the AGO until April 2nd.

a little wooden human figure is doing the front crawl, one arm outstretched, on a bubble of clear plastic on a table top

below: I doubt she’s saying that she loves the sunshine THIS MUCH!  but I’d like to think she is.   That’s certainly what was going through my head for most of the weekend so I’m going to pretend that she agrees with me!… especially since I am writing this as the rain falls outside my window.

a group of women walking down College Street at Montrose on a sunny winter day. One of the women is wearing a black coat and she has her arms open wide.

But back to those ravens and flamingos that I promised you…..

below: But not everyone’s happy.  Witches brewing with ravens and crows nearby.   There always seems to be symbolism associated with these large black birds so I went searching for information.  Ravens and crows are found throughout most of the northern hemisphere so many diverse cultures have their own mythologies surrounding these birds.  The best summary I found was this,  “On the negative side, Raven represents the profane, the devil, evil spirits, the trickster and thief, war and destruction, death and doom, the void.  Yet in many cultures Raven also represents deep magic, the mystery of the unknown, death and transformation, creation, healing, wisdom, protection, and prophecy. ” (source)  We don’t know exactly what Fiya Bruxa, Shalak, and Bruno had in mind when they painted this mural but I doubt that it was something positive – those witches look rather angry and nasty.

a mural on a wall of two angry women's faces. One is pale pink and the other is yellow. Many crows or ravens are flying upwards from the women. The mural is on the side of a store that is part of a row of three storey brick storefronts.

below: From the vengeful looking faces above to these hopelessly romantic flamingos is just a matter of a few steps along College Street.  They’re the center part of a larger mural by Katia Engell.

part of a largeer mural of two pink flamingoes with the necks intertwined and their beaks together in a kiss, red petals behind them.

large pink flamingo painted on a wall, part of mural of 4 pink flamingos by Katia Engell

There are 4 flamingos altogether and they are in between two other murals.
In the picture below you can just see the yellow of an alphabet mural by runt

three pink flamingos. Two with entwined necks and one looking on, street art,

below: Too many things in the way makes for an awkward photo but you can still see enough of it to play the game of what creature goes with what letter!  R is for robot dog?  Z is for zlithering thingy with rings?

a mural by runt on a bright yellow background with letters of the alphabet in black and many imaginary creatures in bright colours.

below: J is for jumping purple blob?  C is for coughing-up- dinnersaurus?
And look, an alley to explore……

blog_runt_alphabet_creatures_mural

Wait! Before going down the alley I want to take a few steps backwards. Remember that I mentioned that the flamingos were between two murals?  This is what is on the other side…..

below:  Three cowboys in a mural signed by J Bizzel 4 Shizzel.
The one with his shirt off is the one under the air conditioner.

a mural of three cowboys, one tall, one in the middle and one short, purple and orange scenery behind them.

below: This strange but happy fellow was waiting in the alley.

face of a creature with bulging eyeballs, a large oen mouth showing many big rounded white teeeth, and a long tongue that can make a spiral as it curls back on itself.

a man is spray painting street art on the back of a building in an alley. Two others are standing in the lane watching him

part of a mural of a boy with headphones on, seat crossed legged on the ground and pointing downwards. He seems to be pointing at a collection of spray paint cans sitting on the ground below the mural.

below: If you look closely at this painting, you will notice that the wavy lines continue behind the bars of the railing and that there is only a small distance between the railing and the wall.    That was not a simple paint job.

a white staircase is diagonal in the picture, with white metal bars and railng, immediately behind it is a street art picture of an orange face blowing down towards the stairs. White wavy lines radiate from the open mouth

below: ‘Such a fool’ and someone to agree with it.

paste up graffiti that says such a fool. Someone has written true in large letters beside it.

below: I’m not too sure what to say about this one.  Vermut? or Vermouth?  Too much vermouth and you take your clothes off, versmut?  Bad joke.

a tall green bottle painted on the wall with the word vermut written vertically. Beside the bottle is painted a naked woman draped in red with breasts showing.

street art picture of a triangular shaped face looking upwards, open eyes and partially open mouth, behind the face is streaks of blue, yellow and red.

That’s the end of our little tour.
Find a sunny spot and pull up a chair and rest your feet for a few minutes.

chairs and a set of drawers outside a store full of antiques and stuff, the door is open and you can see into the store where there are two men shopping.

Tomorrow there will be puddles to go splashing through…
but that’s a story for another day.

afternoon in the park when the snow and ice begin to melt. Lots of water, big puddles, a few people walking dogs on the path trying to stay dry, reflections of them and many trees in the puddles.

 

 

I started walking Graffiti Alley the other day but I didn’t stick to my plan.  I meandered and wandered through other alleys as well as I generally headed west.

below: A bright, vibrant, wonderful piece by birdo in an alley north of Queen Street West.

a birdo mural on a garage door of a woman in grey tones with a round red mouth in the shape of an O. she is holding her hand up near her face and a bird is sitting on it. The background of the mural is red and greenish triangles.

below: Another birdo nearby

birdo mural on the side of a building, a red high heel shoe, a brown circle, a grey head plus the colourful geometric shapes often found in a birdo mural, in reds and turquoise

below: Only remnants remain.  Was it a stikman?  Or was it something else?

a tiny bit of a stikman is left on a post that is covered with spray paint.

below: Auston Matthews already has his picture on T-shirts.
It can’t be easy having the hopes of all those Maple Leaf fans resting on your shoulders.

in front of a store that seels T-shirts, a blue T-shirt based on the famous Obama Hope poster, but this time the portrait is of a Maple Leaf player with the word hope below.

below: Of course normal is boring. What I need is a t-shirt that says “rather be walking”

Two t-shhirts in a store window, a grey woman's t-shirt with the words Normal is Boring on the front and a black t-shirt with the words rather be in bed.

below: This wall is not new but there is usually a car parked in front of it when I walk past.  King Reign and Son of S.O.U.L. were two Toronto hip hip artists who passed away in 2016.

a wall in Graffiti Alley, layers of different artist's work, some uber 5000, some elicser, plus a grey ton picture of two men wearing caps with the words son of soul king reign written underneath them.

below: Stickers on a box

stickers on a small metal box on a brightly coloured wall. almost the whole box is covered, a lovebot heart, a pink cat, a blue octopus, a shark, plus some stickers that are ads for music or records.

below: I love the juxtaposition of the car in the mural with the real cars parked in the alley. Also the alignment of the first two walls makes the painting look like one.

in an alley, a white car is parked between a blue car and a mural painting of a blue car. There is also a mural of three people with the words summertime in the city.

below: This is another painting that I saw in Graffiti Alley.
I think that it’s new, or at least I don’t remember seeing it before.

a street art painting on the back of a building in an alley, a surreal piece with a cube with one side as a face, two creatures are floating out of the top of the cube - they are tethered to each other. The bottom creature is half in the cube and the surface of the cube looks like liquid.

below: Your words of advice for today.

a street art piece in an alley that is purple background with with a dripping brownish circle with two eyes and the words don't forget to drink water. The alley is also in the picture with parts of a couple of other murals visible

below: Fake. as in Fake news. Fake people. Fake money.  Fake graffiti artist?

the man from the monopoly game is painted on a wall. Someone has sprayed a white x through his face and written the word fake on his top hat.

below: These grey paper paste-ups have appeared on top of a number of street art paintings in Graffiti Alley.
I’m not sure who did it or why.
a grid of grey paper paste ups has been put on top of a abstract street art painting on a wall in an alley.

below: Blowing bubbles. Looks irresistibly ready for someone to pop it!
It was painted by @wamurals aka WayneArt

on the corner of Queen West and a smaller side street, the Convenience Canada store with a small white picket fence outside of it. On the wall is a mural of a woman blowing a big pink bubble with gum and the words head candy written above her head.

below: Hidden houses. Being pushed out by the big boys.

three layers, in the background a high rise building, in the middle ground, the tops of three single family homes on Richmond Street, in the foreground, poster covered hoardings for construction on Queen Stree West.

below: Half of a lovebot in a doorway.

half of a large black lovebot painted in a doorway (one side of him). A black lovebot with yellow details and a red heart.

below: A whole lovebot mixing it up with another creature.  I think it’s by grominator but I’m not sure.
I like to think of it as lovebot fighting his demons.

a lovebot mural in an alley, he looks to be fighting a grominator monster

below: Look up, way up, to find the switch from love to fear.
Yikes!, it’s switched to fear now and it’s not going to be easy to change it.

high on a wall, a small 3D lovebot heart beside a light switch that is love on one side and fear on the other.

below: Lucy and trouble and a weird looking face in a messy dimly lit doorway that assaulted my nose.

in a dimly lit doorway, a lot of scribbles and graffiti including a roughly drawn face, the word Lucy and the word trouble

below: Many of the planters along Queen West have been painted including this tribute to Gord Downie.

a rectangular cement planter on Queen Street west with pine and cedar boughs in it. The sides have been painted. On the end is the head of a lion, on the side is the word courage and a picture of Gord Downie from the music group The Tragically Hip

a rectangular cement planter on Queen Street west with pine and cedar boughs in it. The sides have been painted. On the end is the roman numeral 4 and a red heart. On the side is a black cat walking on a red background.

below: A little astronaut floats away. But he’s not up in the air where you’d expect to find him. He’s way down low near the ground.  Perhaps he’s not floating away, perhaps he’s falling back to Earth?

a small paste up of an astronaut floating in space, on a black wall, close to the ground.

Don’t over think it though.  Just keep your eyes open and ready for the unexpected!

Keeping warm at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Below are 5 works of art that I saw recently when I decided to spend the afternoon inside instead of walking in the cold.  The AGO is definitely a great way to stay warm!

below: There is a room at the Art Gallery of Ontario that is home to four large metal sculptures at the moment.  Large structural pieces. These creations are the work of Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013).  They are made of discarded metal pieces.  At one point in his career, he made scale models for a giant art project for Park Avenue in New York City.  When the project was cancelled, he took apart the models and used the pieces to make a new series.  Three of those on display here are from that series, ‘Sculpture Laid Bare’.  It would be interesting to see what the Park Avenue sculpture models looked like.

a woman with long hair walks away from a large metal sculpture made of cast off pieces of metal, on display at the Art gallery of Ontario,

In the early part of his career, Caro made modeled figurative pieces cast in bronze.  In the 1960’s he started to use prefabricated steel and aluminum, sometimes in bright colours such as the example below:

red sculpture by anthony caro, metal, 4 upright cylindrical tubes with metal mesh forming an X on top of them.

Red Splash, by Anthony Caro. Image found online at source.

If they were outside, they would invite interaction.  Touch them.  Climb on them.  In this gallery setting, there is a no touching policy.   The words on the wall says that: “He [Caro] meditates on the passage of time, processes of decay, the painful realities of aging, and the future of modern sculpture.”  Isn’t that why the gallery is doing their best to preserve them just the way they are?


below: ‘The Distinctive Line Between One Subject and Another’ by John McEwen, 1980.  Two steel wolves looking at each other across the room.  On the wall behind the wolves is ‘Folia Series #1 and #2 by Nobuo Kubota, 1976, representations of the wrinkles on the cerebellum in the brain.

two metal sculptures of life sized wolves looking at each other across the room, a large panel art work is on the wall behind them, half black and half yellow.

John McEwen is a Canadian sculptor.  A number of his sculptures can be found around Toronto.  He designed the boat hull like shapes for the Victory Peace memorial on the waterfront that I mentioned in a previous blog post – down to Coronation Park.  The three metal tubes outside the Air Canada Centre – the Searchlight Starlight Spotlight – are also his work.


below: More lines, this time its “Aforim” by Rita Letendre, 1975.  Which lines are parallel?  Is there a horizon line?  If so, which one is it?

horizontal lines, some parallel and some at slight angles, in blues and greys, painting on a gallery wall called Aforim by Rita Letendre


… And lastly, another reference to structure.  But not structure in the 3D, physical form, sense of the word.  Instead, it is a painting called ‘Number Structure II’ by Canadian artist Kazuo Nakamura (1926-2002).  Nakamura graphs out number-structure patterns and calculations and presents them as art.

below: One of the structures that Nakamura used was the Pascal Triangle.  This image shows the first 6 lines of the triangle.  Each number is the sum of the two numbers above it.  Can you figure out what the next line would be?   When expanded, it contains many number sequences and can be used to answer probability questions – as well as other mathematical things that I don’t understand.

the top 6 lines of pascals triangle, a mathematical structure of numbers

below: A small (maybe 1/8th) section of the painting … which unfortunately doesn’t give you much of an idea as to the composition of the artwork.  It does though give you an idea of the detail.  Some of the parts that I have omitted are triangle shapes that conform to Pascals triangle as pictured above.   Is it mathematics?  Is it art?  Where do you draw the line between the two?  Is there a line?

a detail picture of a painting by Kazuo Nakamura called Number Structure 2 which is based on Pascal Triangle. Lots of numbers written in white on blue and black background. the background is made into rectangles, squares and triangles.

It’s the kind of painting that a photograph can never do justice to.  It’s best seen in person.   Oh yes, the answer to the question above:  The next line of the triangle would be: 1, 6, 15, 20, 15, 6, 1.

But not just any squirrel.  Toronto has many, many squirrels.  Most of them are black and a few are grey or even a reddish colour.  The rarest squirrels in the city are the albino squirrels.  I’m not sure how many there are but they can most often be seen around Trinity Bellwoods Park.

It is fitting then that this mural is next to the park, in a little lane just north of Queen West that ends at Gore Vale Avenue.  It’s a very large albino squirrel; it looks like it fits comfortably into a lovebot heart.

a large mural on white wall of a red lovebot heart and on the heart is a large albino squirrel (white squirrel) with pinkish eyes and ears.

Just over a year ago, I posted some pictures of the art work hanging on a fence along Craven Road.
Some of it is still there, especially some cat pictures like this one:

painting of a beige and light brown cat, lying with its head up and tail wrapped around its body, painted on a wooden fence outside

below: Quite a few little planters have been mounted on the wall.  Because it’s now cold November, most of the plants have died.   These are two exceptions.

4 small wood boxes have been mounted on the side of fence, as planters, a couple still have purple flowers even though it's November and most of the trees have lost their leaves,

below: Some of the things that are now on the fence.   Because there are no houses on the west side of the street, the fence can serve as a gallery wall.

decorated wooden fence on Craven Road, a road with houses only on one side of the street, fence is decorated with a faded Canadian flag, a picture of Queen Elizabeth I, some wood planters, a painting of birch trees in autumn, old shoes, and a sign that says Craven road FEnce, 100 years, 1916 to 2016

below: A close up picture of the “Celebrating 100 years” sign as well as the picture of Queen Elizabeth I, engraved by Crispin van de Passe the Elder, after a drawing by Isaac Oliver.

closer view of the fence with its Celebrating 100 years, Craven Road fence, 1916 to 2016 sign as well as an engraving of Queen Elizabeth I. Planters with dead plants and painted pine cones on sticks, painted red, silver and gold.

below: Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Munroe beside many shoes in twos, knee pads and a walking cast.

a wooden fence with many things hanging on it - an Andy Warhol Marilyn Munroe print, a painting of autumn birch trees, and many old shoes

below: Mirror, mirror on the wall…  Bird pictures to the left and trees and sticks to the right.
Scattered among them are a few glow in the dark stars.

An oval mirror with an ornate wood frame is mounted on an outdoor fence, wood, three small framed pictures hang on both sides of it.

below: Artfully arrange artifacts… mask, hockey stick, dog pictures, toy helicopter….

all kin mounted artfully on a wood fence on Craven Road - hockey stick, football, picture of Charlie Chaplin, ds of things

below:  A woman with three wolves, a young boy and dragonflies listening to your heart.

old black and white photo of a boy, a small statuette of a woman and three wolves, dragonflies on a picture frame with a photo of the word love

below: A composition of found items.  A still life made of remnants of the past.

things on a fence as decoration, guitar, pictures, clock, boxes,

below: And lastly, a couple of pictures of some of the original paintings.

two painting on a fence. One is of a cat and the other is of white flowers

a painting of a line of white sheep on a snowy field, on a fence, outdoors, with houses and backyards beyond the fence, some trees too but they have lost their leaves because it is late autumn

I first blogged about the murals and street art in Underpass Park last summer after the pillars and bents on the east side of Lower River Street (at the skate park) were painted.   The newest paintings are on the west side of the street.

painting of a toddler on a concrete support, street art

Street artists Troy Lovegates and Labrona are in the midst of painting 16 portraits of 16 east end residents – one on each face of four pillars that help support the Eastern/Adelaide/Richmond overpass.

street art murals on 4 bents holding up the ramp of a highway, underpass park, the paintings are of people, in the foreground is a woman with a yellow T-shirt and a hat with little flowers

mural of people on a bent of an underpass

a man stands on a lift as he paints a mural, in the foreground is a man in a shirt with red triangles all over it that has already been painted.

a mural of a group of people linked together with their arms.

a street artist (Troy Lovegates) is on a lift and painting a mural on the concrete supports on an underpass. Other supports are in the picture, they have already been painted.

paintings on a bent holding up a ramp. Two men standing on the pillar, and a group of people with telescopes looking upward and pointing.

The pillars on the east side of Lower River street were painted as part of the Pan Am Path and were completed before the Pan Am Games started last summer.

blog_east_and_west_sides

below: From inside the skate park, looking westward.   Lots of people!

elicser painting of a basketball player in a red hoodie on a pillar in underpass park, other pillars and bents are in the background, all of which have been painted with pictures of people, painted by different street artists.

below: Looking beyond the park and out over Bayview Avenue, train tracks,  and the Don River. Two faces by anser.

two line drawings of faces by anser on posts holding up a road

The murals on the pillars in the park are part of the StreetARToronto initiative.