Friday, July 4, 2014

"Once There Was Only Dark, But If You Ask Me, The Light's Winning"*

Two new art galleries have opened in London recently, so I decided to visit both of them this week and get my culture fix.  Coincidentally, the exhibits at both galleries incorporated the theme of light and dark.

 Drop and Rug (foreground)

DNA Artspace, run by Allison Matic and Thea Yabut, has a mandate to expose the public to contemporary art via exhibitions, talks, screenings, performances and other events.  Located at 123 Dundas Street, between Talbot and Richmond, the gallery is only a block away from Museum London and very close to 3 other downtown art galleries.   The gallery's first exhibit features metal sculptures by Canadian artist John McEwen.

 Liquid Air (Skull)

McEwen is best known for his steel sculptures of Canadian wildlife, some of which are displayed in public spaces in Toronto.  McEwen's recent work is constructed of small laser-cut steel stars fused together.  The resulting shapes allow light to shine through and add a lightness to them.  The sculptures in this exhibit are inspired by objects that can serve as vessels of some sort - a pitcher, skull, egg, etc.

One-Eyed Crow With Four Letter Word

Beauty Beneath the Bone continues until August 13th.  DNA Artspace is open Tuesdays - Saturdays

And Now.....Back to the Fuchsia

Back to the Fuchsia is an antiques and vintage store and art gallery under one roof.   Located at 1034 Dundas St. near the Kellogg's factory, it's a bit out of the way (not for me, that's my neighbourhood) but definitely worth a visit.

Mary Hinton (above) runs the store (and I think she owns the place too)

 Mary's store has an eclectic mix of the old and new.  Sarah Legault's pillows mingle happily with vintage cannisters and WWII instructions regarding "initiation and jointing with detonating fuze".

I was immediately drawn to this display of stainless steel silhouette jewellery by Fable and Fury and agonized over which one to take home (Nick Cave! Christopher Walken! Dali!).  I'll let you guess which one I decided on, and I'll show you in my next post.

The current show, curated by Sarah Legault,  is called Nebulous, and features works by Sara Deck, Sarah Legault, Michelle Di Pinto, Richard A. Kirk, Jeremy Hobbs and Phantom City Creative.    The black blob on the rug is Mary's cat Minou.

 Minou was trying her hardest to distract me from looking at the art with cute poses

One of Sarah Legault's pieces in the show, titled "Royal".  Legault is one of those people who make everyone else look like a serious under-achiever.  She's a multi-talented artist - painter, creepy-doll maker, illustrator, photographer, film-maker, and now curator.  You can see her work on her website.

Cthulingus - Jeremy Hobbs

Unfortunately the placement of the lights made it impossible to get a shot of this photograph by Jeremy Hobbs without getting the reflections of the works on the opposite wall and of me.  Yes, that is a real octopus.  Hobb's photography delves into the dark parts of the human psyche and sexuality is a major theme in his work.

Persona - Jeremy Hobbs

There were some film posters designed by Phantom City Creative, a Toronto-based independent design studio that does entertainment design for film, music and television.

Left to Right:  Ocean Song, Sweet Surprise, and Pettifog - all by Sara Deck

London Artist Sara Deck's work features women in rather dark and mysterious circumstances.  The exhibit included some of her original pencil sketches and finished paintings.

The final painting version of Ocean Song featuring yet another octopus

Michelle Di Pinto creates art dolls from polymer clay, and her work has been shown at Dollirium Art Doll Gallery here in London (and has appeared in previous posts on this blog).  Her contribution to Nebulous is a trio of human/chicken hybrids titled "Morning Ritual, #1, #2 and #3.

Their feathers are individually sculpted from polymer clay

This piece, titled "Harrowing Sediment" by Canadian artist, illustrator and author Richard A. Kirk could easily command your attention for hours with its fantastical detail.

Detail from "Harrowing Sediment"

Kirk has illustrated books by Clive Barker and it's easy to see how his illustrations would fit perfectly with Barker's fantasy and horror fiction.

Another piece by Kirk titled "Phantom Limb"

Legault did an amazing job curating this show, which closes on Sunday.  I would have written about it sooner, but I just found out about it this week.  If you can get down to the gallery this weekend, they are open tomorrow, 10 am - 5:30 pm and Sunday, 12 noon - 5 pm.  London is home to some of the best artists in Canada, if not the world, and if dark and creepy is your thing, you don't want to miss it.  I can't wait to see what she has lined up for the next exhibit, titled Chimera, which opens on July 13th.

*The title of this post is the last line of dialogue, spoken by Rust Cohle, in the HBO series True Detective, some of the best television I've seen in a long, long time.


  1. Fabulous. You had me with the Rusty Cohle quote, one of my favorite lines ever. An unforgettable show.

  2. Wow, great galleries! Thnx for sharing the pics!

  3. I loved "True Detective" - L and I caught the Lovecraft "Carcosa" reference early. Amazing art in these galleries - did you get the...Nick Cave necklace? (Just a guess - a friend of mine just saw him at the Orpheum in Van this past week).

  4. Oh, to have a business of one's own, where one's companion animal(s) can cavort around nonchalantly all day and delight the companion human. What job would not seem ten times more enjoyable, and what work place would not seem ten times brighter? Good on ya, Mary!

  5. You don't half get out and about, do you? Two fab exhibits - particularly the reference to True

  6. Wow I loved this! What a shame I missed it.


  7. Notthing like filling your week with art, and allowing us to benefit along with you. I'm going with the title of your post, and will most definitely check out True Detective.

  8. Hi Shelley

    Great art work and i love Sarah's look and style -
    About Minou in your post, remember when we went in the Mile End? the cat in the shop? well last week or the week before they had a similar cat, so cute, is name was Theo, isn't cute to call a cat Theo?



  9. How have I missed this? I'm bloody useless, that's how.
    Love the Richard A. Kirk illustrations, and the creepy human chickens!
    Beautiful cat too - but I'm guessing she's not for sale! xxx