Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Paintings and Photographs and Comics, Oh My!!

It was an art-full weekend here for me, beginning with the Friday night opening of two exhibits at the McIntosh Gallery, located on the campus of Western University.  The idea of going back to the place where I work on a Friday night was not particularly appealing, but sometimes one makes sacrifices in the name of art.   The gallery was packed with art fans and at times the noise level was deafening, so I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked examining the art, but I did get some photos of my favourites pieces.

The smaller gallery space housed a three-decade survey of photographs taken by London-based photographer Rob Nelson, who has had a successful, and influential career in portrait and fashion photography, shooting for magazines like Saturday Night, Interview, Flare, Toronto Life, and Chatelaine. Nelson uses a minimum of equipment, and prefers to shoot in natural light.

 (Left)  Nelson shot the photo above of Canadian author Margaret Atwood at a lumberyard after spending the day with her driving to her cottage in northern Ontario  (Right) I liked this photo because it had the feel of a casual street style shot.  A friend who was also looking at it said she had taken a photograph when she was in New York this summer with the same drug store in the background.  There is a timeless quality to the photo; it could have been taken yesterday, it could have been taken 30 years ago.

The exhibit in the larger space, titled "Another Perfect Day" featured a selection of large paintings by Montreal artist Janet Werner

Werner, who teaches in Concordia University's Faculty of Fine Art, next to her painting "Bunnyhead"

"Mile Ender", above, was one of my favourite paintings in the show

Left:  Girl in Brown Suit  Right:  Bear

I was intrigued by Werner's play with proportion and the choice of colour palette in her fictional portraits.  The large paintings are a fascinating mix of the beautiful and the grotesque, and the size gives a monumental feel to the subjects.

Rob Nelson: Photographs 1977 - 2014 and Janet Werner: Another Perfect Day continue at the McIntosh Gallery until November 1

A new exhibit, "Illustrated Story Tellers",  opened at Back to The Fuchsia on Sunday night.  The exhibit features the work of Drew Rausch, Josh Deck, Owen Mackinder, Sarah Legault, Aaron Alexovich. Lovern Kindzierski, and Christina Deljanov, who excel at creating art for the comic book industry.

Store/Gallery owner Mary Hinton was sporting a bold new hair colour, and a cool jacket

My new camera was doing a few crazy things with light metering, and I ended up with this wildly overexposed shot of exhibition curator Sarah Legault, goofing around with a light fixture she was coveting from Mary's store.  I actually love the effect - it looks like a painting instead of a photograph.

 I've known John, in the photo above, for probably 25 years, and he has always been one of the most consistently best-dressed men I've ever met.  

Clockwise from top left:  "Vincent and Dore" by Sarah Legault, a page from Legault's first comic book publication, "Vincent P. Usher"; "Hellboy" by Josh Deck;  "Artificial Beauty Standards" by Christina Deljanov

"Pregnant Moment" by Lovern Kindzierski, an original illustration from the story Morella, by E. A. Poe
"Horror Show Unleashed" by Drew Rausch

Left: Artist Owen MacKinder (r) talks to a fan at the opening Right: "Puppy Wizard Pt. 2", a page from the webcomic series "Disappointing Monsters" created by Daniel Bradford and Owen Mackinder.  I read through a number of pages from the webcomic, about the adventures of a boy named Gilbert and his imaginary zombie friend, Edison, and it's a whole lot of fun.

On my out the door, I stopped to admire the impressive Wall of Jesus in the store.  The exhibit "Illustrated Story Tellers" continues at Back to the Fuchsia until October 12th.  The hours are posted on their Facebook page.

In between these two exhibits, I saw the acclaimed documentary Finding Vivian Maier, about a Chicago nanny who shot hundreds of thousands of amazing photographs that no one ever saw, until a young photographer, John Maloff, discovered her negatives at an auction house in 2007.  It is a fascinating portrait of an enigmatic, damaged woman who was also a brilliant street photographer.  If it comes to a theatre near you, I urge you to see it.


  1. That documentary won't be coming to a theatre near me. I'll have to wait for netflix. I felt the same way about going to a social/art opening in the building I worked in for 20 years. Always felt like I was going back to work.

  2. I bet you're glad you made the effort to go back to work for an evening, Shelley - the exhibition looks great! The street photo outside the drug store is fabulous, I agree about its timelessness. And Janet Werner's art is interesting - big heads, small heads, animal heads, they're all there! The blonde in the brown suit reminds me of Lady Penelope, with her giant puppet head.
    I'm guessing Krista will love the *Artificial Beauty Standards" print, I like the stylish serenity of "Pregnant Moment", and the Wall of Jesus is fabulous!
    Truly an art-filled weekend! xxx

  3. What a great exhibition, well worth the extra effort. i recognised Margaret Attwood immediately. Isn't the other girl beautiful? I could look at her all day.
    John's a very stylish dude and the Jesus wall is fab. x

  4. The Jesus wall is fabulous Shelley, I myself love religious of all kind - Vivian Maier, yes I have heard of her, a while ago, so they finally did a documentary about her, isn't fascinating!
    Great exhibition, I love the first bit, rabbit head the style!

    Take care


  5. That Jesus wall looks like Anja's place!

    I love the paintings by Werner.

    That John needs to start a fashion blog for men.

    See you later today! ; )


  6. Margaret Atwood! She is magnificent. Thanks for sharing the exhibition, xox.

  7. I love your photo of Sarah. It is art. And Mary Hinton is art. I also love the Bride of Frankenstein hair in the photo by Nelson -- each of the works you have shown by him have an ethereal quality. So many wonderful images here, Shelley. Werner's paintings are captivating. I also wonder what kind of impact they would have if they were smaller. I'm sure they'd still be startling - in a good way!

  8. Omg Curtise nailed it, I loved the artifical standard print! What a wonderful weekend of art and interesting people! I'd have love the photography exhibit what beautiful works, and the comics of course I'd love to see. I hope next weekend when Cristi and I are in Seattle we will get to see a colorful exhibit from India! You've inspired me!

  9. Terrific post and great photographs! We both enjoyed it immensely.
    Jean & Valerie

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