Thursday, December 11, 2014

Françoise Sullivan featured in Le Devoir

Francoise Sullivan, Blind Scribble No.2, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 in.

Tribute to Sullivan

December 11, 2014 | Jerome Delgado - Collaborator | Visual Arts 

She danced, sculpted, painted, and continued to paint almost 90 years. Wednesday, Sullivan received praise from an entire community at the 3rd Gala of visual arts. After a break of one year, the event to celebrate the best of creation in Quebec revived through a first collaboration between the Association of contemporary art galleries, artists' grouping in visual arts and Consolidation the artist-run centers in Quebec.

Many accolades, including the 1987 Borduas prices and in 2003 a retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Sullivan boarded the train of modern art while he put on. She just turned 23 years old when Publication Refus global(1948), aesthetic and social unrest which it is one of the 16 signatories.

With her work danced it enters the automatiste movement of the time. Her first choreographic work as Dance in the Snow(1947), are considered the building blocks of Quebec modern dance.

"  Dance is a reflex, a spontaneous expression of emotion keenly felt  , " she says in "  The dance and hope  " , Conference made history when it was published in Refus global. "  [must not ] afraid to go as far as necessary in the exploration of the whole person  " , even one that claims to oppose the only expression of the legs.

In 1950 and 1960, the sculpture she indulges, guided by Armand Vaillancourt and Louis Archambault. In the 1970s, she turned to conceptual art that combines performance, architecture and photography.

Since the 1980s, painting is her favorite medium. Her signature is carried by strong accents of monochrome. Galerie Simon Blais is currently exhibiting her latest production, the 2014 tables that drive tension between form, gesture, color and limits the frame.

Wednesday's tribute was also delivered by Simon Blais, and by Louise Déry, director of the Galerie de l'UQAM, associated with the artist especially during Seasons Sullivan (2007), long project designed to time of Dancing in the snow. The both of them emphasized the ardor of her creation, as evoking the "  vibration  " of her paintings as her commitment "  to the idea that [painting] to be lived."

Married the painter Paterson Ewen (1925-2002), mother four times, Sullivan has also worked in education at Concordia University until the early 2000s.

The gala was also the occasion to award the scholarship career Jean-Paul Riopelle. It is the artist Diane Landry of Quebec, known for its kinetic installations magical hues, that was received.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sondra Meszaros featured in The Rusty Toque

SONDRA MESZAROS The Rustic Toque, an online literary, film, and art journal Issue 7, November 30, 2014
originally published on:

Aileen Burns

Shun brings together a selection of new photo etchings and drawings by Calgary-based artist Sondra Meszaros, shown for the first time at Corkin Gallery. For Shun, Meszaros has culled imagery form such diverse sources as European folklore, cinematic heroines, fairy tales, paganism, mythology and traditional still-life motifs. The common thread that weaves together these disparate references is the female protagonist who reappears, along side her animal doubles, in different forms throughout the exhibition. With this work Meszaros seeks to address the ambiguous and relationship between female archetypes and representations of animals that are central in traditional European storytelling.

The central piece, Shun, from which the show takes its title, is comprised of five photo etchings layered with charcoal. The underlying etching is the same in each variation; a motherly figure is depicted in human scale, and appears to be bending down in a warm and familiar gesture to gather a child in her arms. However, the overexposed whites of the picture obscure the woman’s face, rendering it blank and mask-like. Likewise, her bare outstretched arms and hands lack detail and look as much like monstrous claws as human limbs. There is a distinct push and pull established between the warmth of the mother figure, and her menacing counterpart, both of whom are present in the same figure. The tension established between seductive warmth and beauty, and its horrific mirror image is repeated throughout the show. In addition to establishing the central character of the exhibition, Shun introduces the cinematic framing that is visible throughout Meszaros’ recent work. The three versions of this work presented at Corkin Gallery introduce repetition, with barely distinguishable variations from picture to picture. The pattern is reminiscent of film frame, which when seen side-by-side, make movement barely visible amid repetitive frames.

Meszaros is best known for her folktale-inspired charcoal drawings in which human figures and the natural world blend, morph, and butt up against one another. This part of her practice forms an integral part of the current exhibition. She writes, “I think the vital aspect of the work is that the narratives or myths that are being referenced are not specific to one story, but rather a combination of common motifs, symbols, and archetypes.” Meszaros relies on our own familiarity with quick whitted fox, the all-knowing owl, and the female figure on a journey to self-realization and sexual awakening.

In two charcoal drawings titled Familiars, pairs of foxes are engrossed in combat with one another, creating a doubling or mirroring similar to that of Shun. The fox is key figure in folklore throughout Europe, the Arab world, China, Japan, and the many aboriginal cultures of the Americas. In the European tradition generally, and in Aesop’s fables in particular, the fox is beautiful, cunning, intelligent and deceitful. Within the context of this exhibition, which explores the characteristics of the female protagonist in film culture and beyond, the foxes can be understood as representative of the simultaneous reverence, suspicion, and fear evoked by intelligent women in leading roles. It is also worth noting that this series builds on Meszaros’ previous series Come a Little Closer, in which she devised her own version of Little Red Riding Hood. In Shun, the fox and owl also take-on special meaning in relation to the main character; they reference witch familiars in European Folklore. Meszaros denies us the exact narratives that we expect from the powerful characters she draws but opens up new possibilities for supernatural adventure and becoming. 

 and Cast are two charcoal drawings which bridge Meszaros’ fairy-tale inspired imagery with her current interest in cinematic scenarios. While neither of these haunting scenes featuring cloaked or masked women depicts a specific tale, they seem to belong to a larger, elusive narrative. The film-screen-like dimensions of the drawings and the recurring presence of the mysterious female lead suggest that they could be fragments of a longer film sequence. The delicate detailed drawings of the owl, burning candles on mounds of wax, and lace-like compositions of spider webs introduce iconography that helps establishes a mise-en-scène for entire body of work on view. The candles give warmth to the space and set it in realm outside of the clear white walls and clean white light that characterize galleries. The finely spun spider webs reference the centrality of the female figure with their fastidious pattern on soft black paper that doubles as a barely perceivable trap.

SONDRA MESZAROS is an artist and educator based in Calgary, Alberta. She completed her undergraduate degree from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2000. She earned her MFA at the University of Windsor in 2002. Over the last decade she has taught as an instructor within the School of Visual Arts at the Alberta College of Art & Design. 

Upcoming exhibitions include ‘Herland’ a group exhibition curated by Liz Christensen at 60 Wall Gallery-Deutsche Bank Art in New York in late 2014, Carte Blanche a group exhibition at DNA Artspace curated by Thea Yabut, and a new solo exhibition at Corkin Gallery in 2015. Past group exhibitions include ‘5 Degrees’ curated by Mark Clintberg at the Art Gallery of Calgary, ‘Drawing’ curated by Chris Cran and John Will at Triangle Contemporary Gallery, and ‘Hearts of the New West: Calgary Biennial 2012’ atAVALANCHE! Institute of Contemporary Art curated by Steven Cottingham. Past solo exhibitions include ‘Curing’, ‘come a little closer’, ‘Ceremony’, and ‘Shun’ at Corkin Gallery.

Her work has been placed in many prestigious collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe, and work has been commissioned for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Meszaros’ work has been exhibited at the Armory Show, Art Basel, Basel Miami, The Toronto International Art Fair, and The VIP- Viewing In Private International Contemporary Art Fair. Meszaros is represented by Corkin Gallery in Toronto.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Williamson Chong "Living Wood" and "On Architecture and Structure" featured in the Global and Mail

Architects’ passion for wood makes gallery debut
Published Thursday, Nov. 27 2014, 10:38 AM EST

In 2012, the small Toronto research and design office of Williamson Chong (WC) won the Canada Council’s prestigious $50,000 Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture with an engaging and very Canadian proposal.
Their project: to study the new things that European and Asian architects, engineers, building technologists and craftsfolk are doing with forest products. WC principals Shane Williamson, Betsy Williamson and Donald Chong wanted to see first-hand, for example, how builders elsewhere are using cheap, renewable wood to handle the job of heavy structural lifting that’s been done, so far, almost exclusively by stone, steel and concrete. They wanted to look into the future of wood, a sustainable resource that Canada has, of course, in magnificent abundance.
To celebrate the end of WC’s two-year harvesting of ideas and practical strategies, Toronto gallerist Jane Corkin last week opened Living Wood, a show of the studio’s works that fans of both architecture and high-tech art will appreciate.
Don’t expect to see images or examples of the super-strong wooden girders the team spent much of their time inspecting. The structural muscle of wood, and the buildings now being designed with wood’s strengths in mind, would certainly be interesting topics for an exhibition – but they are not what this one is about. Instead, WC’s installation of sculpted forms and prints – “gallery art,” as opposed to models or plans, “totally on the subjective side,” Ms. Williamson says – is a tribute to wood’s beauty and malleability, and to the expressive lyricism that wood, trees and forests have inspired in poetry, art and architecture since antiquity.
The centrepiece in Ms. Corkin’s Distillery District space, for example, is a 200-square-foot mural composed of 288 tiles of warm Ontario white maple, and titled Tracings, Serere 1-41 (2014). Each square was hollowed out by a computer-driven router that left a little circular, stepped depression resembling, more than anything else I can think of, a terraced Greek amphitheatre. (The incisions are meant by the architects to recall tree rings.) No two wooden tiles are exactly alike.

Viewed from a short distance away, as a similarly grand-sized painting should be seen, the composition resolves itself into a glowing expanse of subtly shifting lights and shadows, like a dappled forest floor. Tracings is something architecture can be, and should be more often than it is: a demonstration of advanced cybernetic gadgetry at the service of quietly personal (but not heroically individual) imagination and image-making.
Like Tracings, the group of four handsome ink-jet prints on archival paper called Origins: Sheer, Gently, Upland, Graded (2014) is a result of the closely collaborative thinking about wood and technology that has gone on in the WC office over the past couple of years.

To make each, WC first laid out a computer-generated, two-dimensional grid of tiny circles (incidentally, the basic symbols for trees in architectural plans) in virtual space, then subjected this surface to various foldings, distortions and compressions. These hand-made stresses and “tunings” of the grid, made visible in the prints, have produced abstract patterns or traces much like those of wood-grain – strongly rhythmic in one instance, delicate as sheer fabric in another, as rugged as a landscape of eroded hills and gullies in yet another.
Framing and complementing WC’s Living Wood is a second exhibition in the Corkin Gallery, this one called On Architecture and Structure. While this title strikes the ear as academic and stuffy, the actual work Ms. Corkin has put into it is anything but.
The photos, paintings and works on paper by 11 artists featured here hail from the borderline where ordinary objects, human and natural, become symbolic, charged with remarkable meaning. The forest trees beautifully photographed in black and white by Thaddeus Holownia, for instance, grow in the vicinity of Walden Pond, a Massachusetts puddle made famous by the philosopher and social critic Henry David Thoreau, who lived there for two years. Mr. Holownia’s images portray the living witnesses of Mr. Thoreau’s visit 150 years ago, and serve as modest monuments to the author’s idealistic, durably influential experiment in simple living beyond the city’s edge.
Green nature makes another, very different appearance – this time as a force in active conflict with urban civilization – in American artist Chad Gerth’s aerial photos of Chicago’s vacant lots. These places have been bulldozed, worn down to dirt by the sneakers of playing kids and by short-cutters, used as garbage dumps, abandoned. Despite neglect and abuse, however, Mr. Gerth’s empty spaces are surprisingly green. Living nature, we city folk are reminded, is persistent, ready to retake whatever ground becomes available, be it ever so forsaken from a human point of view.

Living Wood and On Architecture and Structure continue at the Corkin Gallery, 7 Tank House Lane in the Distillery District, through Dec. 30.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

David Urban featured in the Chronicle Herald

Urban’s abstract paintings have visceral appeal

Published November 26, 2014 

Canadian contemporary art star David Urban heats up Studio 21 Fine Art, 1273 Hollis St., Halifax, with thickly painted canvases that seem to twist and vibrate. The newest paintings, made for this exhibit, are hot, visceral and vivid. They are abstract and have a limited palette, but they have references to reality — in windows of sky and cloud, leafy vines, the yellow of sun.

These paintings are passionate. They are objects as much as images, with thick thick paint visibly worked and mudded on. The mounds of paint lie on top of grounds of colour that just peek through.
Urban plays with flatness and depth in twisting window shapes. The colours blue and yellow are igniting.

His two blue paintings are inspired by a childhood visit to Halifax and represent the sea and an architecture with an intensity of expression. There are two more reflective 2013 paintings of a roughly painted figure that reflect his preteen son on a precipice of change.

The highly educated artist has an MA in English literature and creative writing from the University of Windsor and an MFA in visual arts from the University of Guelph, where he studied with Ron Shuebrook, whose influence can be felt in the rigour of Urban’s line and construction of space.
His work has been compared to Wallace Stevens’ mature poetry. There are faint echoes of Marsden Hartley and Tom Hopkins.

Urban has had 30 solo exhibitions and participated in nearly 40 group exhibitions. His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal and the Art

Originally published on:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Williamson Chong featured in The Globe and Mail in print and online.

How these Toronto architects are advancing the artistic application of wood

Last updated 

Imagine you’re an architect. You’ve just won $50,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts for your “exceptional artistic potential.” You’ve got two years to spend it. What would you do?
What wouldn’t you do? Study the effect of mass movements in the Earth on the growth of trees? Interview the world’s authorities on manufactured wood? Perhaps.
Yet that is precisely what the small Toronto practice Williamson Chong went for after winning the Professional Prix de Rome in 2012. To principals Donald Chong, Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson, the form of engineered wood known as cross-laminated timber (CLT) is one of the best things to happen to architecture since concrete. And they embarked on a round-the-world research tour to prove it.
To support the work of Williamson Chong, Corkin has curated a supporting exhibition called On Architecture and Structure, linking the firm’s theories on design, technology and ecology to painters, photographers and digital artists. “For instance,” Corkin says, “their interest in materiality and structure aligns with the philosophy expressed through the paintings of David Urban. Their interest in wood and environmental issues is similar in thought to Thaddeus Holownia’s portraits of trees.”
For a small architecture practice to be making such strides in wood construction, not to mention its artistic application, is a rare accomplishment. Yet Williamson Chong, after barely four years in business (after stints at other firms, including Shim-Sutcliffe, architects of the Corkin Gallery – small world), has managed to close in on something of a golden rule. “Shane, who [is] a professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of architecture, offers an uncompromising critical outlook,” says his wife, Betsy Williamson. “He’s the feedback loop in the office, always saying, ‘We could push that a bit further.’”
While they may not have the resources to innovate like the Fosters and Gehrys of the world, they make it their method to “work really hard in the scope of every project to find one or two things that can be really great,” says Betsy Williamson. Sometimes those “things” are monolithic wood feature walls or slimmer staircases to allow in more sunlight; other times they are bold concepts.
Their Natural Light prototype house, for instance, won a Gold Award from Toronto’s Interior Design Show for its upside-down nature, in which the architects “hoisted up” the common rooms into the sky-lit pitched roof and lowered the bedrooms in the more private, darker half. “It meant the rest of the house could be simple,” Williamson says. “Some projects come to you with all this [interest] built in – meat you can sink teeth into. Other projects you have to work hard to make interesting.”
Their latest scheme, the overhaul of a ski club on Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, will take the scale of their work up a notch, from residential to monumental – along with their use of cross-laminated timber.
“They have a deep respect for wood as a poetic material, and a profound interest for using new technologies of fabrication to shape it into form,” says Brigitte Desrochers, a program officer at the Canada Council.
With the Prix de Rome funding, the team travelled to timber-producing centres in Europe and Japan to learn the latest technologies in softwood lumber. That they had to leave home to learn about such a characteristically Canadian resource was an irony not lost on them. “New-growth timber is the only renewable material we have at hand in Canada,” Williamson says. “It’s affordable, it’s relatively light – you can imbue it with innovation for less money than concrete. But as it comes into fruition as a major building component [here] at the same level as concrete and steel, the technology hasn’t changed.”
Elsewhere, change has been ticking along for some time. At Aalto University in Finland the architects workshopped with a professor specializing in wood architecture; in Denmark they studied new digital design modules. In Switzerland and Austria, the European leader in cross-laminated timber construction, they shadowed engineers and digital consultants who work in the highly developed prefab building industry. And in Japan, they met with architects like Kengo Kuma, whose light-as-air abstract wood constructions have won over millions from 20th-century standards like brick and brutalism.
In Canada, Williamson reckons, wood has got stuck in a rut. “When people think of wood here, they think it has to feel rustic. It’s still got this cottage vibe,” she says. “We’re not about that at all. We want to challenge architects across Canada, to show them how it can it be seen as contemporary, elegant material and move it forward.”
Though Williamson Chong is an exception to the rule, it’s not the only firm applying wood in innovative ways. Williamson name-checks Stephen Teeple’s design for the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Wembley, Alta. – built almost entirely from a recycled pine-beetle stock called Glulam. When the museum opens next year, it will have the sort of “amazing detailing in timber construction” that once eluded such prestige public projects.
“We originally started working with wood because it was achievable, because we were making everything ourselves,” Williamson says. “We’re now starting to see timber technology that can be applied to large-scale building components.”
The Corkin Gallery exhibitions will examine the company’s role in that development. “We try not to be too satisfied with our past accomplishments,” Williamson says. “Whether you’re in Canada or [exploring] something that’s applicable across borders, every architect has a responsibility in the profession to keep it moving forward.”