Warhol, Degas, Mondrian, Vermeer….Hello Kitty? Normally one of these mass consumer items wouldn’t fit in with the others on the list, but in the paintings of Alvin Richard, all these influences and images come together in charmingly arranged tableaus. The small scale acrylic paintings-rarely exceeding 12” square-offer the viewer a mash-up of pop culture and art history references. Skillfully painted in a high realism style, they feel like an extension of the artist’s own interest in the intersection of mass culture and art history.
Marie H. Sirois is a painter, photographer, musician and installation artist who has set herself a herculean project spanning the next 16 years. Her project explores the relationship between German composer Robert Schumann and his wife, virtuoso pianist Clara Wieck. While getting familiar with Schumann and Wieck’s life and compositions, she envisions an ambitious body of work that bridges painting and music. It is via four series of paintings, like a symphony in four movements, that she aspires to depict the transformation of the couple’s feelings through the important events that shaped their relationship.
For anyone that’s ever perused a vintage store and wondered about the history of each item on display, who owned it, how was it used, how it came to acquire the dents and patina from a life in service, the appeal of Christopher Stott’s paintings will be immediate. Film projectors, box cameras, clocks, manual typewriters, books and electric fans from a previous era are featured in his paintings. The mechanical objects-sometimes grouped together, often solo against a sparse white background-are painted with a careful observation that is reverential to an item that has passed its service life.
At first glance, it can be difficult to try and pin down when the paintings of Megan Ellen MacDonald may have been created-with their intensely rich colour palettes, smoky landscapes, fantastic elements, and a delicate painterly touch- these paintings feel like they belong to the era of Caspar David Friedrich and the romantic painters of the 1800’s. But that initial impression is countered by the subject which belies the contemporary sensibility of the artist: cats, unicorns and Victorian porcelain tchotchkes dominate the focus. The blending of historical and modern in the paintings of Megan Ellen MacDonald creates an ambiguous world where fantasy and realism intersect.
The paintings that Sean William Randall creates are the type of paintings that if you were standing 100 feet back from them at a gallery, you would be compelled, if not pulled in through some gravitational force to take a closer look. From a distance these paintings from Sean’s latest series wow us with their strangeness, absurdity and their sense of pure fun. Classic cars shot forth from fireballs streaking across the sky of serene landscapes; punchy reds and yellows contrasted against cool blue skies. Luckily for the viewer, these paintings are more than just pop art visuals-the work of Sean William Randall rewards the closer you get.
When reading the tag next to an artwork at a gallery, the traditional mediums are typically listed: oils, watercolours, acrylic, pencil, and the catch all, “mixed media”. “Tape”, is not something you would expect to see. In Emanuel Pavao’s urban landscape art, tape is exactly what these realist artworks are composed of. Frustrated with traditional materials, Emanuel started to use this utilitarian household material, with its surprising array of colours and textures, to create realistic portrayals of the urban fabric.
Elena Willis is a photographer whose large-scale works immerse the viewer in dream-like settings that feel pulled from our subconscious mind. She orchestrates actors, manufactures props, and engineers the landscape to create photographs free from photoshop or digital manipulation. The resulting photographs with their hits of high intensity colour draw the eye and encourage an interpretation of the mis en scene, but her open-ended narratives defy easy explanation.
Eric Cator is an illustrator and artist whose personal and professional work spans a variety of mediums and styles. Whether he’s creating linocuts, acrylic on wood paintings, or digital art for commercial projects, his unique style and sense of humour always comes through.
Vicki Smith is an artist whose large scale oil on canvas paintings depict female swimmers floating in water, from above and below the surface. Her paintings are a fascinating intersection of figurative, landscape, and abstraction as the figures absorb themselves in pools of reflections and distortions of the watery landscape.
Hans Poppe is a Tanzanian born, Toronto, Canada based artist and graphic designer. His recent body of work “Fabric of Tanzania” uses the colourful patterned kitenge (East African fabric), stretched over wood panel as the foundation for his oil paintings exploring African identity.