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            Well the busy fall art season is upon us in Toronto and one of the many events is the Queen West Art Crawl that took over Queen St. from Bathurst to the Parkdale Village the weekend of September 18th. Started many years ago this occasion was made possible through the Parkdale/Liberty Economic Development Corp. and the WQW BIA.

            The bulk of traffic however was in Trinity-Bellwoods Park where well over 50 participants were showcased in tents winding throughout the park. However, I found these “artisans” to be leaning towards craft, with a heavy emphasis on jewelry design. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for crafts, but not really at an established annual “art” event. Quantity does not always make for quality, and stuffing the park to overflowing was a bit like sensory overload. However, there were a few notable exceptions worth mentioning. Talking about jewelry however, Bead For Life (www.beadforlife.org) is an organization that enables poverty-stricken women in Africa to sustain worldwide connectivity through the sale of their bead products. These beads are fashioned from recycled paper and then varnished and strung to make fashionable pieces. Two other notable stops along the way featured work that stood out in both technique and execution. The Intaglio prints of Alex Coley (www.alexcoley.ca) dealt with “states of mind” and were at once jarring and beautiful in their spiritual associations. Thomas Hendry served up conte on Japanese Paper figural studies that displayed a mastery of modeling and shading of the human form in original poses.

            Eschewing the park for another area of the “Crawl”, I headed to the Gladstone for a more intimate experience with the art and artists displayed on the second floor of the hotel. “Do It At The Gladstone” is an annual group show that highlights the work of artists in separate rooms on the second floor.  Not conceptual in nature but more perceptual, the artists’ showed an eclectic array of painting, drawing and photography. A lot of it was what I would term as “easy art” derivative in nature and seen before, but there were a few exceptions.

Meat

Meat

 Image courtesy of Katharine Mulherin

             Bev Hogue (www.beluxe.com) is always a standout with her quirky, blue-toned acrylic paintings of young, fashionable and vivacious females. Her use of perspective and sometimes 3D, instill her work with fun and whimsy. Cybele Young gave us a treat throughout the hallways with her deep shadow boxes of miniature sculptures. The executed vignettes were fashioned from Japanese paper, and these tiny treasures utilized juxtapositions in their portrayal. Imagine a chair hanging from a fishing rod or a shoe on a necklace…just a sampling of her imagination. Kelly Grace (www.kellective.com) utilizes mixed media such as photo-transfer with acrylic to show us “happy” images based on a carnival theme and her numerous wanderings. Overall, not a bad showing at the Gladstone but perhaps next year the curator may want to concentrate on a theme or perhaps consider installation as part of the show to add some variety. 

Sweet Tart

Sweet Tart

            In addition, the numerous galleries along the Queen W. strip between the park and the Gladstone were part of the weekend event. Balint Zsako, represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, stunned the viewer with his “Old Master Painting”. These were collages of, you guessed it, 18th century images rendered in exacting detail. Just to mix it up a little, Zsako would throw in a haunch of meat hanging from the headdress of a male. Think Francis Bacon meets Gainsborough…intriguing and certainly alarming.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Bev Hogue

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