It’s been far too long since I’ve made an update here. The Hamilton Art scene is going as strong as ever. The final night for the Obscured Arts Exhibition at The Baltimore house is tonight. The paintings come down today and tomorrow. Three small pieces submitted by myself have already been taken down as of yesterday, but you can see them here:
Tonight, there will be a photographic art event showing at the Steel Lounge on King William and Ferguson.
The galleries still running on James Street North should all be open with new shows. I hope to sneak out and take them in quickly before repairing to the Steel Lounge. If I get to do the rounds, I’ll try to give a review/update in the next couple of days.
The weather looks ideal for a great Art Crawl night. I hope to see all the regulars and lots of new people out. Don’t miss it.
And finally, this page may be ‘repurposed’ slightly to promote both the Hamilton Arts scene AND a possible upcoming studio project we’re looking into starting soon. Stay tuned.
Okay, so it’s been almost a year since our last post. That wasn’t deliberate. What was deliberate was the incredible amount of time and energy we gave to civic engagement pursuits. We’re still active in a few areas, but things in the art world have been hotting up, so it’s well past time to report.
First off, you may have missed this:
Dawn and I lugged her artwork out to Art Crawl in June. It was nice, if a bit chilly toward the end. But we definitely needed to bring some of the big guns, to contrast against the guy who was selling art across the aisle from us.
Then we did this:
Dawn and I both went out for the Third Annual Neighbourhood-wide Stinson Yard Sale. We even sold some art… to close friends, but we sold some art!
And then there was this:
Not the absolutely mental artwork in front of the last two photos: mostly brand new, eye-catching abstract expressionism pieces done by yours truly. I have officially returned to painting, after what was pretty much a twenty year hiatus.
After all this forward momentum, you might reasonably expect things to get really interesting, but sadly, they did, except in a way that we weren’t expecting:
I know, NOT art-related. I apologize. But it has had some serious bearing on our output and our plans. Well, my plans, anyway. I’m thinking about a crowdfunding project involving a graphic novel featuring the anthropomorphic spirits of our two dead cats, Charlie and now Lucky.
Now, there is lots, and I mean LOTS of other stuff going on, but I’m going to stop here and give your ISP a break.
I’ve been trying to make time and find the energy to write my review of the most recent James Street North Art Crawl event in Hamilton, Ontario, but I’ve been so busy and, when not working, so wiped out, I just haven’t been able to get it together. I still plan on doing the review. I hope to start working on it some time today or tomorrow. But frankly, it’s starting to get cloudy in my head, so I’m not sure how it’s going to be.
To the artists and artists’ reps I spoke to on the day (you know who you are), I apologize for the interminable delay. Soon. I just hope it’s worth the wait.
So, Dawn and I went to the Art Gallery of Hamilton last Friday (August 2nd, 2013) to take in the new exhibit, ‘The Spectacle of Play’. It’s a pretty impressive and diverse array of materials and ideas. WE also got another good look at the Alex Colville ‘Horse and Train’ exhibit, and we took in Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins’ The ‘Collaborationists’ series. We didn’t have enough time to visit the second floor, or the split level gallery off the main lobby, so we missed those exhibits, and thus, I’ll only be talking about the three aforementioned exhibits.
There were a number of very different mediums used in this exhibit be a plethora of classical and modern artists. There was even an interactive element just off the central staircase, where you got to deposit coloured chips into individual boxes labelled with images from the different artists and exhibit sections. This exhibit took place in six of the separate gallery spaces, and covered everything from classical and post impressionist paintings, film, installations and sculpture globes, amongst many others.
The film, the title of which I failed to write down, was a black and white art film piece that incorporated chess motifs and a wider political backdrop in a war-torn country of indeterminate location (Beirut? Bosnia?). It was somewhat surrealistic, using live action with careful editing, props and costumes to express the more brutal aspects of the otherwise seemingly civilized game of chess, and juxtaposing these segments against a grand master chess match taking place in the war-torn outskirts of town. I won’t give away the ending, because it’s actually kind of powerful in its seeming ambivalence, but it is a sort of happy ending, in its way.
Probably my favourite piece of work from the Play exhibit was the installation, Roulette, which used a circle of elevated frosted glass panels with various expressions of pleasure and guilt etched in them, arrayed very like a roulette wheel and surrounded by sounds of roultette wheels and balls clattering around them. It isn’t so much that gambling appeals to me, but I enjoyed the cold, sterile treatment of the subject matter, which I think is very timely for Hamilton, in light of the Casino debate.
There were a number of other excellent pieces in this exhibit. I suggest you take it in if you have the time.
HORSE and TRAIN
The Alex Colville exhibit is all about the one Colville painting in the AGH’s permanent collection, but it’s an excellent piece, and they’ve gone to a fair bit of trouble to exhibit the painting with its sketches and preparatory paintings. It’s fascinating to see the process Colville went through to arrive at his masterpiece. I haven’t read about the history of the piece since high school, so I can’t offer any scholastic insights into the piece, but I will just say that is is one of my favourite pieces of his work, along with a few of his portraits. All in all, well worth going to see, even if you aren’t interested in the other exhibits.
This was a relatively impressive series of large scale installations that utilized automation and various principles of composition and colour theory to express modes of communication. Sadly, while the scale and scope of the pieces is truly impressive, something about them left me a bit cold, though I did get a chuckle from the great googly eyes in the Steiner Gallery. The problem, I fear is with my profession as a graphic designer, which lead me to see the majority of the exhibit a little too clinically, so I utterly failed to be captivated by the (very impressive) Southam Gallery pieces, and there was something a little hands off about the sound exhibit in the Young Gallery.
All in all, I’m sure there is more to it than I managed to glean, but I suspect I won’t be back to work out the puzzles myself. Let me know if you gain any greater insights into those pieces.
On the whole, it was a pretty impressive set of exhibits that managed to evoke a spirit of ingenuity and innovation, which was definitely a plus, coming from the AGH, which has something of a staid reputation, these days. That said, I was left a little cold by the whole experience. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I had dressed up and infiltrated the wedding party that was passing through, to enjoy some champagne before taking in the exhibits. I advise you to have a pleasant meal with some wine or microbrew, to help with your digestion of this interesting series of exhibits.
Alright, so I’m pretty so I’m pretty sure folks have noticed that I haven’t been posting as much as I could. There are TONNES of new things happening on the Hamilton Creative scene, but I haven’t been able to cover a fraction of it due to that thing called Real Life. it’s an utter bastard. So I’m gonna keep posting as much as and often as I can, but as of now, I am opening the door to outside contributors.
The deal is this: I’m broke. This site isn’t making a thin dime. So this is entirely voluntary stuff. If that hasn’t scared you off yet, then here’s what you can do: write me to discuss what you would like to write about, and if we agree you’re a good fit for the site, I’ll set up a contributor account for you, and you can submit articles and interviews and fun stuff like that under your own byline. Sound good? Good!
The door is open, and it will stay open until I start thinking I’m getting too many contributors to be manageable. So let’s hear what you have to say. Hamilton (and HCC) needs you.
I don’t want this to turn into the MANTA Contemporary Gallery Fanclub or anything, but I have some great news, after the bad news of May; the MANTA Gallery has a new home, and they also have a shiny new online shop added to their website as well, but more on that in a bit.
First, the new location is at 22 Barton Street East, between James Street North and Hughson Street North, a few doors down from HAVN, the avant garde multimedia gallery that has been making headway into drawing folks away from the James Street North ArtCrawl.
Stephen and Melody were open for business at the last ArtCrawl, which Dawn and I unfortunately had to miss, but we stopped in to visit Melody a week ago to have a look around (and to sign the bathroom wall), promising to return to take photos for this write-up. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to get back there yet, but I’m figuring on taking the camera around some time in the next day or two, and will add the best photos afterward.
Now, as for the website, it’s HERE. They have a great new online shop where you can order their for purchase at the click of a button. If I weren’t a starving artist myself, I’d already have purchased a few pieces. There is some really nice non-digitally manipulated photographic art in the main gallery space (you have to see it to understand, as it utilizes a lot of time lapse photography and filters to achieve some stunning and highly animated visual effects), and a collection of fabulous paintings and drawings in the back room, where the semi-permanent collection is on display. If you could see the room, you’d know that those pieces are eager to find a good home, and many of them are quite worth the purchase.
So don’t wait for the next ArtCrawl to see some amazing and thoroughly contemporary artwork; go to MANTA, and tell Melody and Stephen we sent you.
So, the plan was for my wife and I to put on another Pop-Up Gallery show at Hamilton’s James North Art Crawl tonight. However, two close friends of ours are having birthdays, and we’re joining them for drinks tonight at The Corktown Tavern. If things wind down in time, we’ll stagger our way over to look at the pretty artwork and maybe meet a few new artists and such. However, there will be no Pop-Up Gallery showing. Hopefully next month, if we can get a better delivery system. That panel triptych is heavy!
A blog for and about the Creatives of Hamilton, Ontario