Friday, December 23, 2011

Coffee Anyone?

If you are in the east end, please swing by the Rooster Coffee house, at 479 Broadview Avenue, the coffee is great (they also have a great ginger tea for the non caffeine types) and I have remounted much of my 2010 show, Manifest Dream in the coffee shop.

When you walk in, you'll spot my large Ladies photograph on the northern wall and beside that, an image of the main square of Marrakech, Place Djemaa El fna 1 shot in 2009. The warm colours of the sunset look really great against the beat up brown leather chairs there.

If you are looking for more info on the coffee shop, click here

Also, keep your eye out for this image, I'm happy with it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Botticelli and the Mystic Nativity

I happened to catch a few minutes of this BBC series last night on TVO, (props to the government funded arts acronyms!) its called The Private life of {insert artwork or artist here} they featured one on Botticelli's Mystic Nativity which is in the National Gallery in London. It seemed like the history of the painting is really rich and incorporates the history of Florence in the turbulent times after the Bonfire of the vanities and Savonarola being burned as a heretic.

I have always looked at this image with a lot of care when I was spending time in the gallery, the demons which peak out of the cracks of the earth are fascinating and I love how Botticelli thought the world was coming to an end in 1500 AD because all the problems in Italy at that time. I had a huge chat with my friend Jan years ago and I used this painting as an example of how we always think things are getting worse in life, no matter what the evidence, we think we live at the end of days as it were.

As per usual, she thought I was full of shit and thought it best to let me know, another reason why we all miss Jan- daily.

I digress.

Anyways, when I was a student in Florence back in 1992, I was really into the compositional poetry of the large paintings in the Ufizi galleries there. I went so far as to base a painting of mine on Botticelli's Primavera....However my painting was based on a series of disturbing dreams I was having at the time about US POWs after Viet Nam (wow, i am outdoing myself on the acronyms ce soir!)

man, another picture I do not have a slide of, 20 years ago, I have to see if I can find any reference to that painting of mine and I'll insert it here at some point.
Yup, I remember it well, these Pows had the attributes of 1970s men, moustaches and such, as it turns out Freddie Mercury died at that time and he really resembled one of my characters, or visa versa.

Back to the topic, the Nativity painting, it is really strange and wonderful and makes reference to a speech by Savonarola and his visions of Mary (Click here if you would like to know more about this Dominican friar).

Boy did this drag on, anyways look, I could not fins the doc on youtube but I found others on the series here, look at the sidebar for ones on Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Degas, Picasso, Rodin and the Japanese artist Hokusai of the wave painting, of which I will shamelessly insert my own version of that image as part of my mixed media painting/photography.

The TV series shows you an image in a different light, ok, they don't examine contemporary work which would be awesome but what can I tell you?

Please have a look at the National Gallery UK's site the collection is terrific, there is so much stunning work there, every time i am in the UK, I walk in that gallery and it feels like I am visiting a relative, I'll spend the day there.

Finally organized a shoot at the Studio

Took some time in the studio for this little portrait of Scotty. I have had this seamless around for awhile and I tend to use it more in lengths for painting more stark white paintings on black. For the purpose of painting, its fine, i staple it to the wall and it goes flat. But damn, it needs a ton of help as a backdrop. For these quick prints I did not bother, but I have to blur the background in Photoshop to get the cellulite texture out of the thing. Argh.

Anyways, Scotty came in with this ochre coloured zip up and this seemed like just the right colour mix, the blacks, ochres and browns of coffee on his jeans.

I was trying out these Kino flo knock off constant lights and I have to say I was really happy with the quality of the light, they are neat, 4 independently operated lights in each unit with barn yard doors, not to be a geek but they were cool, and not too heavy.

The fall off of light here is pretty dramatic and I like that a lot. It reminds me of 16th century full length Spanish paintings, not to draw any parallels between this hastily shot image of Scotty and the meticulous work of Diego Velazquez.

Nor am I trying to compare the actor Montgomery Clift like handsomeness of Scotty with famous the deformed lipped royalty of the Hapsburgs, whose portraits by Velazquez and others, now after 300+ years are just a testament to their mad money, vanity and mostly their weird looks.

This Hapsburg ain't the weirdest looker that is for sure but they got 'em.

But seriously, they looked crazy. I remember walking through the Art History Museum in Vienna and being just amused at the heroic portraits of the most inbred and fantastically ugly (and wealthy) people ever. I looked it up online but could not find anything, I have the catalogue for the Kunsthistoriches Museum so I'll put something up when I have a chance to scan the book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The new issue of Modern Painters

You ever tried to kill time by going into a magazine shop? Sure you have but perhaps not lately, honestly you should make the time. We always hear that print is dead and it probably is, but you walk into something as simple as Presse International on College St, and I really thought it was just awesome how many magazines are left, there was some great stuff.

Like many people, I get a lot of Art info off the web, but holding a copy of Modern Painters, why it is the bomb. The cover has a very specific texture and smell, the colour rendition in the magazine is terrific. My interest is not nostalgic, although I used to always order the magazine when I ran a camera store, knowing it would not sell and I would get to take them home, this magazine, this thing, places art and its contents in a world of its own, I loved it, all over again.

This November issue is full of a fairly diverse content, there is a small interview with Maurizio Cattelan talking about his retrospective at the Guggenheim (it is a mounting of his sculptures hanging from the centre of the gallery) and an article on the painter Michael Borremans, some people will really enjoy his style of painting. The artist Byron Kim, director Julia Leigh , writer and Director of Sleeping Beauty are also featured.

Can you find more content online? Absolutely, but there is something great and altogether optimistic about buying a magazine seeing what is featured, wondering about how some truly bad art has the money to advertise, all that good stuff.

So this holiday season, whatever your interest, treat yourself.

you can read about that Guggenheim show here

Sunday, December 04, 2011

December 4th, 2011

Drawing from the television, I admit it, it was Californication.