Posts Tagged ‘water’

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.

 

 

 

 Two empty chairs sitting in the sun.  This photo is only a half truth; it suggests that the beach was sunny but empty yesterday when I took the photo.    Sunny yes, empty no.

two empty muskoka chairs on the beach beside Lake Ontario on a sunny February day

Back in the winter of 2015, I discovered the first “Winter Stations” event on a day when the temperature was -20C.  There weren’t many people there that year!   In contrast, yesterday was a beautiful and unseasonably warm February Sunday.  Temperatures hit the double digits and lots of people come out to take advantage of the weather.  It was also the first weekend of the 2017 version of ‘Winter Stations’.  Although the installations officially opened today, all but one of them were completed and ready for the public yesterday.

below: One of the installations is “North” which was designed by studio PERCH in Montreal.   Yes, it’s Christmas trees hung upside down.  They are prickling to walk between.  This year there seems to be a recycling and reusing theme in a lot of the installations.   At least I hope these trees weren’t cut down specifically for this project.

on the beach, people in winter jackets stand around looking at an art installation that consists of evergreen trees, Christmas trees, hung upside down.

below: Another installation is “Collective Memory” designed by Mario Garcia (Barcelona Spain) and Andrea Govi (Milan Italy).   People are encouraged to leave messages in the bottles.

an art installation on the beach, people in winter clothes, two parallel walls about 10 feet high made of a layer of horizontally arranged empty plastic bottles with the opening facing in, people are writing on paper and then putting the messages in the bottles.

below: Paper is provided as are the bottles.  The walls are constructed of horizontal empty plastic water bottles with the openings all on the inside of the structure.

a boy is rolling up a piece of paper in inserting it in the opening of an empty plastic bottle.

below: The sun shining through the plastic bottles makes for some interesting effects.

sunlight shines through a wall of plastic bottles, some people walking in front of it. Collective Memory installation at Winter Stations 2017 on Toronto's waterfront.

below: Like most of the installations, “Collective Memory” encloses a lifeguard station.

an art installation on the beach, people in winter clothes, two parallel walls about 10 feet high made of a layer of horizontally arranged empty plastic bottles with the opening facing in, people are writing on paper and then putting the messages in the bottles. view form one end, the walls enclose a lifeguard station, 4 kids are on the lifeguard platform

below: The installation that wasn’t ready yet is “The Beacon” designed by Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva (Porto Portugal).

a woman pokes her head inside a hole in a tall wood structure on the beach, other art installations are in the background, lots of people, some people sitting on chairs.

The installation in the background in the above photograph is “BuoyBuoyBuoy” designed by Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani, and Julie Forand (Toronto Canada).

below: One of many photo ops!

three kids stand on top of a lifeguard station that is enclosed by an art installation that is construction of many oval shapes joined together. Some are white, some are clear and some are reflective. A mother is taking a picture of the kids.

below: Notched ovals made of wood and clear plastic were used to build this installation.  The wood pieces were either painted white or covered with silvery reflective material.

 close up photo of part of an artwork made of wooden oval shapes that are notched together.

kids climb up the center of an art installation called buoy buoy buoy, standing on the lifeguard station platform that is the middle of the artwork. Made of wooden oval shapes that are notched together.

below: More reflections, this time in “The Illusory” designed by a group from Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology.

a girl in a turquoise t-shirt is reflected many times in a wall of relfective material and several posts around the wall covered in the same material.

below:  Someone has already written on (scratched?) the surface.

three men are reflected in a shiny surface on an art installation. Someon has scratched the word LOVE into the surface

below: “The Illusory” in front, “Flotsam and “Jetsam” behind, and lots of people in between.

lots of people walking past and looking at two art installations on the beach as part of Winter Stations event

below: “Flotsam and Jetsam” was designed by a team from the University of Waterloo.  It consists of cubes made of wire cages.  The cages on the bottom are filled with empty plastic bottles of different colours and shapes.

people looking at an art installation on the beach made of wire cage cubes stacked on top of each other. The ones on the bottom are filled with empty plastic bottles of different colours and shapes. The upper cages are empty and they are joined together to look like the head of a creature.

two boys peer out from behind a wall of wire cages filled with empty plastic bottles. One of the cages is empty as looks like a window

sun shines through empty plastic bottles and looks like the bottles are lights

empty plastic bottles in a wire cage sits on the sand of the beach

a tower of plastic bottle filled wire cages stands in front of Lake Ontario

***

a father and daughter link fingers behind the mother's back, the women are in winter coats, father is in jeans and plaid long sleeved shirt

The Winter Stations will remain until the 27th of March.

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while.  Quite a while actually.
Reason # 1?  I spent some time on a beach.  It was sunny.  It was warm.

 Friars Bay and beach, St. Martin, Caribbean.  palm tree, turquoise water, white sand beach, rocks in the foreground, sunny blue sky day.  One boat in the water as well as a few swimmers

Not a Toronto beach!

 

I missed Nuit Blanch this year.  While I was away, I heard lots of good things about the installations at Nathan Phillips Square, including the fact that they will remain until the 10th of October.

Silly me went during the day.  It didn’t look too impressive then!
There were lots of tourists taking pictures.

a man is taking a picture of his wife and young son in front of the water and 3D toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square, a girl in a stroller watches.

and schoolkids hanging out by the 3D Toronto sign.

a group of teenagers, school kids, after school, hanging out behind the letters of the 3D Toronto sign.

Oh right, it’s a night time, after dark sort of thing.  Come back after 7 p.m.

So last night I went back at 7 p.m.  …. but last night was also the first game of the Blue Jays playoff series against Texas and it was playing on a large screen in the square.  I watched the end of the game.  There wasn’t a very large turnout, but the atmosphere was great.  Everybody was in a good mood as the Blue Jays won 10 – 1.

people watching the Blue Jays baseball team playing a game on a large TV screen outside.

Shortly after the end of the game, the large 14 metre globe that represents the sun lit up.  “Death of the Sun” by Director X (Julien Lutz) began.

The sun starts as a swirling orange and yellow globe.

looking through the O of the Toronto sign to the yellow and orange projections on the large globe in front of City Hall, art installation from Nuit Blanch

It then turns orange before the colours die out and fade to nothing.

the 3D toronto sign lit up in white, city hall behind it in purple lights, and a large globe representing the sun glows orange as part of an art installation, night time photo.

At one point the sun lets off steam, gas, fog (whatever you want to call it) before it goes silent.

large white globe lets off steam or fog in Nathan Phillips square.

The end of the sun signals the start of “Pneuma”.  Images by Floria Sigismondi were projected onto a wall of water under the arches in the square in what appears to be a short film full of  symbols.

people standing around with their backs to the camera in the foreground, with a picture projected onto a wall of water under the arches at Nathan Phillips square in the background. The picture is of a blue woman on a red background.

images of people in triangular shapes projected onto a wall of water as part of an art installation, night time, lights of buildings in the background.

‘Oblivion’ is the name given to the collection of installations at City Hall.  Both of the artists come from the world of video.  Sigismondi has previously made videos for the like of Rihanna, David Bowie and Marilyn Manson while Director X has worked with Rihanna and Drake.

It was an interesting installation….  well done technically and fascinating to watch.

two hands silhouetted on a large yellow globe representing the sun, night time.

We tried to push the sun back into the sky, but we failed.

#nbTO2016 | #DirectorX | #pneuma | #floriasigismondi

Updated 2 September

The latest StreetARToronto (StART) summer project has just wrapped up.  Seven new murals around Broadview and Gerrard East, each one depicting a famous landmark, make up this project which is now called ‘Around the World in East Chinatown’.  Although it was largely funded and organized by StART, other partners include the Toronto Parking Authority, 55 Division police, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (East Toronto).

A crew of more than 20 artists headed by Mike Kennedy worked for about 2 weeks to complete the murals.  Each mural includes the ‘signature’ of the artists.  I am not very good are deciphering (or remembering) the graffiti writing but I’ve had some help identifying the artists.

below: Christ the Redeemer now watches over Gerrard East.  Painted by bacon.  This is the statue built high on a hill overlooking Rio de Janeiro.  If you watched any coverage of this summer’s Olympics you probably saw this statue from every possible angle.   The statue was designed by a Frenchman, Paul Landowski and built by a  Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, between 1922 and 1931.   Made of soapstone and reinforced concrete the statue stands 30m tall and has an arm span of 28m.  He stands on an 8m high pedestal.

a mural of the famous Rio de Janeiro statue, Christ the Redeemer, high on a brick wall, with background in sky blue and yellow

below: Putting the finishing touches on The Great Wall of China, a collaborative effort by Nick Sweetman, Wuns, Rons, Tens, Braes and Wales.   The actual wall was built in sections over many centuries and includes walls, trenches and natural elements such as hills and rivers.  Parts of the wall are in better repair than others – around Beijing where more tourists visit, the wall has been fixed up and is well maintained.  Measurement of the wall varies but if all the branches of the wall are taken into consideration, the total length is about 21,000 km.

a yellow cart with cans of spray paint on it sits in front of a mural of the great wall of China

below: A hummingbird flies over Machu Picchu in the next mural.   Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century in what is now Peru.  It is on a mountain ridge, 2430m above sea level.

full mural of Machu Picchu along he wall of a building at the edge of a parking lot, scene of Machu Picchu with a humming bird in the foreground.

below: Machu Picchu.  Painted by Bacon, Kwest, Kane and Rath.

a mural with a panoramic scene of Machu Picchu, with graffiti writing signatues below.

below: In the same parking lot as Machu Picchu but on the other side, is a very large mural centered around an image of the Taj Mahal.  Painted by Sight, Hone, Water, Equal and Tenser.

a laong horizontal mural featuring an image of the Taj Mahal.

below: Commissioned in 1632 by the Mogul Emperor, Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.  She was born Arjumand Banu Begum, a daughter of Persian nobility in Agra India.  In 1613, when she was 19, she married Prince Khurram (later he became Shah Jahan) as his 3rd or 4th wife.    She died in June of 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child.   If my math is correct, that’s 14 children in 18 years.   After the Shah died in 1666, he was buried here too.  Anyhow, many centuries later, the Taj Mahal is still standing in Agra India and it is visited by millions every year.

An image of the Taj Mahal in a mural in warm muted orange and brown tones, with a graffiti writing signature underneath it. On a wall in a parking lot.

below: Teeny tiny people dwarfed by the doors of Petra, Jordan.  Petra is an ancient city with immense buildings cut out of the sandstone cliffs and hills.  It was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106 when it was called Raqmu.  The Nabateans were a nomadic Arab tribe.  Their empire came to an end when they were conquered by the Romans and their land annexed into the Roman Empire.

mural showing entrance in the stone cliffs to Petra in Jordan, camel head in the bottom left corner, mural on the side of a store, brick wall,

below: The whole Petra mural on the walls of an alley tucked in between the Ka Ka Lucky Seafood BBQ Restaurant and Paradise Spa on Broadview Avenue.  This mural was painted by Hemps.

Chinese restaurant, Ka Ka Lucky Barbeue Restaurant, with an alley on one side. On the wall in the alley there is a mural showing the stone town of Petra Jordan.

below: The Roman Coliseum (Rome) is now on the corner of Broadview and Gerrard.  This is half of the mural and when the photo was taken it was incomplete.  It is now finished – a second visit for a photo is in my future!  The Coliseum (or Colosseum) is in Rome and it was built by 80 A.D, just before the Roman Empire swallowed up the Nabateans.   It was built as an amphitheatre and could hold at least 50,000 spectators – people who came to watch gladiator fights, enactments of classical dramas, or other forms of entertainment.

A mural showing the Coliseum in Rome painted on the side of Chino Locos Mexican restautant.

below: The right hand side of the mural with the graffiti writing signature of the artist. If I could only easily photoshop out that garbage bin.  Mural painted by Sewp, Poser and Frens.

graffiti writing signature on a wall, dripping blue paint, and a garbage bin in front of it.

below: Chichen Itza ruins in Yucatan Mexico and a jaguar on the side of the Sunshine Hair Studio, partially obscured by greenery.  Painted by Cruz, Rons, Sadar and  Rcade.  Chichen Itza was the largest Mayan city covering about 5 square km.  It flourished between 900 and 1050.   The mural depicts El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulcan, the building at the center of Chichen Itza that dominates the site.

mural on the side of building on Gerrard East, a picture of an ancient stone temple, Chichen Itza in Yucatan Mexico.

And that concludes the seven new murals – Christ the Redeemer statue, The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal, Petra, the Roman Coliseum, and Chichen Itza.

This mural project follows the success of last year’s Project Picasso in the same area.   Graffiti from some of the lanes was cleaned up and a Chinese themed mural was painted on the brick wall at the back of the parking lot on Gerrard Street East, just west of Broadview Avenue.  Riverdale Collegiate students helped with the graffiti clean up and contributed ideas for the mural.

below: Chinatown East mural by ACK crew, bacon, wunder, tensoe 2, and cruz1

large mural across the side of a building at the back of a parking lot, Chinese characters and icons, panda bear, tiger, bamboo forest, lucky cat, chinese lantern, dragon

below: Chinese icons painted in the mural – a resting tiger, cherry blossoms,  red Chinese lanterns floating by, a lucky cat with its paws up,  and a panda munching on a piece of bamboo.

 

part of a mural in Chinatown East, pink cherry blossoms, red chinese lantern, panda chewing on bamboo, tiger, lucky cat

below: A red dragon beside some Chinese characters.  Does anyone know what it says?

part of a mural in Chinatown East, chinese characters and a red dragon

 

 

 

From June 20th to 25th, many street artists brought their talents to paint murals with the Great Lakes as their theme.  It was part of Pangeaseed Foundation’s Seawalls for Oceans.  Pangeaseed’s mission is to use science, art and creativity to “inspire positive change around pressing ocean environmental issues”.   This campaign originally focused on oceans but they have now branched out to increase awareness of the issues involving out fresh water lakes and rivers as well.  One of their methods is to support and encourage the painting of murals –  Seawalls have been painted in Miami, San Diego, Napier New Zealand, Cozumel Mexico and many other cities around the world… and now in Toronto too.

One of the locations chosen for the murals was around Ossington and Queen where they join a number of murals that were already there.

below: The S.S. One Love sails high above an alley, painted by Peru143

large mural by Peru on the back of a two storey building, a large red ship called the S.S. One Love in the water

part of a mural by Peru, lots of blue, looks like a stylized snake

below: Painted in mostly shades of grey, a mural by Caratoes (aka Cara To), a street artist based in Hong Kong.

 a two storey vertical mural by caratoes in grey tones, fish and faces on the top and an object made of black and white triangles on the bottom

Close up of the top half of a mural by caratoes in grey tones, fish and faces

below: A large water bird swims along the surface and watches the people passing by.
Painted by Jon Todd.

large mural of a water fowl sitting on the water on the old white Queen West self-storage building.

viewed from the corner so you can see two sides of the building, large mural of a water fowl sitting on the water on the old white Queen West self-storage building and another mural on the other side of the building

As you can see from the above photo, there are three round images painted on the south wall of the old Self Storage building.

below: Closest to the street, a mural by Sermob

round mural painted by Sermob, car parked in front of it, stylized figures on water

below: In the middle and tying the three circles together is a mural of entwined fish by Miguel Valinas from Mexico.

large round mural of two large fish, intricate patterns on the fish, entwined head to tail to form a circle with their bodies

below: A sleepy baby otter in its parents’ arms, painted by Sens, also from Mexico

a large round mural of a family of otters. Baby otter is sleeping in his parents' arms. by Valinas

below: A mural on a bright yellow wall –  a shark and a dinosaur amongst geometric shapes that are characteristic of birdo’s work.  There is also another animal head beside it.  This was a collaboration between birdo, tens2, fuel, kostyn, phil and barney and it pre-dates the Love Letters to the Great Lakes murals.

large mural by birdo, street art, on a two storey bright yellow building, a shark, and an alligator (or crocdile) head

small mural of an animal head, street art, by Fuel, Kostyn, birdo

below: From bright colours, to black and white – birdo’s collaboration with En Masse.  A mural with the words “RIP Don Valley River”

black and white mural in an alley, turtle, geometric shapes, woman's face, leaves, RIP Don Valley River

below: It’s a rather dark lament about the state of the Don River.

detail of a black and white mural by birdo and en masse with sybols of death and decay.

below: Standing on an island, ‘Hello’ by Chicago-born  Hebru Brantley in 2015

a large mural of a boy standing on a small island, wearing sunglasses, and saying "Hello", painted by Hebru Brantley

below: Whales, lobsters, fish and other creatures swimming amongst the seaweed, painted by street artist lebonar (aka Olivier Bonnard)

two sides of a building with murals, one side is a large mural of a boy standing on a small island, wearing sunglasses, and saying "Hello", painted by Hebru Brantley and the other side (store front)

below: More marine life, but in an unfortunate spot. I’ve been to see this mural twice, and both times the fence was locked.  It looks like the fish has an arm that it’s using to reach for the unsuspecting crayfish – a metaphor for invasive species and their effects on marine life and their habitats.  It was painted by Cinzah Seekayem from New Zealand.  You can see better pictures of it on his instagram page.

a mural of marine animals on the side of a building, but behind a locked fence

fish mural on a white wood fence, muted tones of greens, blues and browns.

colourful mural by Peru with the letters K E S H

Other posts about this project:

  1. other murals at Queen and Ossington, seawalls and serpents
  2. murals by the Don River, at the mouth of the Don
  3.  murals at Queen, Spadina and Bulwer

 

#seawallsTO | #pangeaseed | #loveletterprojects