Author Archives: jkrobinson1

Food for thought: Schnabel, art and film

By Julia

Last week’s opening of artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s exhibition at the AGO prompted me to revisit the idea of mixed media within the arts. Described as a “master at both” Schnabel first became a household name in the 80s with his large-scale works, most notably his trademark “broken plate” paintings. Years later he tried his hand at film and directed such renowned films as ‘Before Night Falls’ and ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ as well as ‘Basquiat’. Schnabel claims that there is no direct correlation between creating a painting and creating a film; that he uses two completely different parts of his brain. However, there are probably a good number of individuals in the artistic community that would be inclined to disagree with this statement.

A friend just began a two year tenure at film school. On the first day of school the students were handed a bushel of art supplies and a first term schedule chock-full of drawing, painting, and art history classes. My friend wondered what he had signed up for, as this first day was slightly reminiscent of my first day of art school where paints, pencils and sketch books were something we anticipated. While first-timers in film school might expect to be bombarded with expensive filming equipment and a director’s chair, the raw creative process behind every blockbuster is something overlooked.

In recent years, drawing and animation have become hot commodities in art school. Some films are made entirely through drawing – look at the work of William Kentridge for example, a pioneer of modern-day animation. This begs the question: a draftsman or a filmmaker? While Kentridge’s work stands on its own as a work of art, films stem from initial drawings and paintings and have been rooted in this medium long before the days of computers.

Many will agree that various mediums of art would not exist without others – Exhibit A: painting and film. Some food for thought: would you agree with Julian Schnabel? Do these two mediums have to remain uninfluenced by each other? Or is it important to be exposed to all aspects of artistic practice before being able to truly appreciate one media.

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RBC Painting Competition: Semi-finalists announced!

By Julia

Royal Bank of Canada, a presenting sponsor at Art Toronto 2010, runs an annual painting competition in conjunction with the Canadian Art Foundation for up and coming artists. Established in 1999, the RBC Painting Competition is in its 11th year and has helped pave the way for emerging talent on the contemporary art scene. The winner and runners-up will be announced on September 29th and the winning work will exhibited at Art Toronto 2010. The winner and runners-up will also be the recipients of purchase prizes and will have their work showcased in prominent Canadian art galleries, as well as in Canadian Art Magazine.

In July RBC announced their 15 semi-finalists, who are as follows:

Western Canada
• Eli Bornowsky of Vancouver
• Aaron Carpenter of Vancouver
• Megan Hepburn of Vancouver
• Laura Piasta of Coquitlam, BC
• Melanie Rocan of Winnipeg

Central Canada
• Sarah Cale of Toronto
• Scott Everingham of Toronto
• Jon Reed of Toronto
• Mark Stebbins of Toronto
• Beth Stuart of Toronto

Eastern Canada
• Hugo Bergeron of Montréal
• Scott Bertram of Halifax
• Benjamin Klein of Montréal
• Alexis Lavoie of Montréal
• Rick Leong of Montréal

We are also thrilled to announce that the works of several semi-finalists will be featured in the booths of various Art Toronto exhibiting galleries:

Scott Everingham
Galerie Trois Points
J. Cacciola Gallery
Kostuik Gallery Inc.

Hugo Bergeron
Galerie Graff

Alexis Lavoie
Galerie Orange

Rick Leong
Parisian Laundry

Art Toronto is delighted to once again be part of the RBC painting competition and we are looking forward to seeing the finalists exhibited at the fair. Come visit their booth when you come to Art Toronto this October — you’ll find the RBC Painting Competition display in the north-west corner of the fair near Bistro North. See you there!

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Evan Lee in dialogue with Emily Carr: a portrait of British Columbia

by Julia

As a student, my artistic practice focused on two subjects: painting and photography.  As far as I was concerned, these two media came from two completely separate worlds – Monet belonged to one, Mapplethorpe to the other.  It wasn’t until the completion of my undergrad career that I did my homework thoroughly enough to discover that these two media did not have to exist eons apart.  While the artistic practice of painting remains my first and most important love, I have recently felt the urge to reintroduce myself to the world of photography that I had for so long neglected – among others, I have a British Columbia artist to thank for that.

Enter Evan Lee.      

The Vancouver Art Gallery currently features British Columbia’s celebrated painter, Emily Carr, in an exhibit titled In Dialogue with Carr.  In this display Carr’s work is put in conversation with four contemporary British Columbia artists: Douglas Coupland, Liz Magor, Marianne Nicholson, and Evan Lee.  One component of the exhibition that hit close to home for me was Evan Lee’s work, as he combined painting with photography, making for an interesting dialogue with Carr’s work.  Carr and Lee are both considered contemporaries of their time, which is illustrated in their “conversation”.

Evan Lee’s recent Forest Fires series as displayed at the VAG, presents us with a mixture of media in the form of expansion of the medium of photography.  Using images of British Columbia forest fires that he found on the internet, Lee prints photographs on traditional darkroom paper using an inkjet printer.  Immediately after the images have printed, Lee uses a paint brush to transform the freshly printed photographs into “paintings” that are reminiscent of the French Impressionist’s work.  While the chosen photographs give us a documentation of the threatening and disorderly aspects of the natural environment, Lee creates expressive and sublime images through the use of brushwork.

The conversation between Lee and Carr discusses their innovative experimentation of their respective time periods.  While Lee physically and figuratively blurs the boundaries between photography and painting, Carr presents her British Columbia landscapes in the format of a portrait rather than a traditional horizontal landscape composition.  Subsequently, both artists prompt us to reconsider artistic boundaries, a concept that remains radical to this day.

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Evan Lee is represented by Art Toronto exhibiting gallery Clark & Faria in Toronto and Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver.  We are very much looking forward to seeing his work on display this year at Art Toronto!

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Getting artists on the map

By Julia

While completing my undergrad degree, me and nearly 20 of my fellow BFA students were forced to compete for only a couple of spots at the student-run gallery centre, which happened to be the only exhibition space in town (save the fine arts building hallway).  The reality was daunting – without this coup many of us wouldn’t get our moment to shine until the BFA graduation show, where everyone in the class was included in for what was, for most of us, our first group exhibition. 

Becoming a well-established artist in a rural New Brunswick town of 5,000 people was difficult enough; but the parallels for competition in the global arts community were evident.

If you’re an artist, it can be a daunting task to get your name recognized in this rapidly expanding art world.  Competition to get into galleries is stiff and unless you have an unignorable gimmick or a remarkable name, it can be difficult to surface in a Google search. Thousands of artists are desperate to stand out and be seen, but reluctant to become a full-time self-promoters — what’s our recourse?

May I introduce a useful tool for getting one’s artistic talent exposed to a worldwide audience: The Arts Map.

Launched this January, artists Jonathan Talbot and Robin Colodzin started The Arts Map as a means to make artists more accessible to the general population.

“We realize that people often find visiting artists’ studios exciting and informative, and that sometimes those studio visits result in sales or exhibitions, and that there was no easy way for customers, collectors, curators, and others to find artists studios.  We are aware that artists are often invisible, even in their own communities.  The Arts Map is an interactive world-wide map of Artists, Galleries, Museums, Arts Organizations, Art Schools, Art Supply Stores, and Other Arts Related Entities.  Basic Listings on The Arts Map are free and user-generated, as artists create their own listings.”

For more information on creating your own listing, or to discover an artist or gallery in your city, check out The Arts Map.

What other ways exist to promote yourself with minimal investment to marketing and maximum committment to art?

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Chilliwack International Biennale

by Julia

Forget Venice and Istanbul… for something a little closer to home, consider the Chilliwack International Biennale. 

Running July 28 and 29 (that’s tonight and tomorrow!) you’ll want to pack up your camping gear for two straight days of artistic interaction at the Delta Grove campsite at Cultus Lake Provincial Park in Chilliwack, BC. 

The first of its kind, the Chilliwack Biennale offers a refreshing and innovative approach to a format that is traditionally understood as an outdoor art show on an exorbitant and international level.  Unlike a biennale that takes place in a large city this event, which will take place at the Delta Grove Campground, is described as “DIY” and has next to no budget.  (No surprise our friends at Instant Coffee have a hand in this!) Instead of large-scale outdoor installations, this biennale focuses on performance and collaboration with artists and campers alike.      

“Understood as a prototype, the event will consider the biennial as studio or performance. Works will be created, rearranged, consumed, found and dusted off. Tents, trailers, and other portable or temporary structures will form pavilions for international projects. At our symposia smoke may get in your eyes. We don’t have a PA system, but we may be able to offer you a marshmallow.”

The biennale is presented by ArtSpeak, Or Gallery (both of Vancouver), and the Bodger’s and Kludger’s Cooperative Art Parlour.  The artistic presenters at the event also include The Dirty Shed, Stahlemuhle, Fillip, TARL, and Instant Coffee.

Though the event is open to the public and free of charge, the presenters ask that you please RSVP.  More information can be found at here.

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A wealth of art and fun at The Cheaper Show

By Julia

What a party.

As a newbie to the city of Vancouver, I had been frantically trying to find ways to get involved in the city’s art community.  Coming from spending four years in an east coast university town (or village) of 5,000 residents where there were so few galleries, I initially had a difficult time finding my footing.  I was quick to realize, however, that the arts community was going to be easier to navigate than I had initially thought.  After spending a couple of months volunteering at an artist collective, I caught word of The Cheaper Show.

The show was held in the W2 Storyeum on Cordova Street, on June 26th.  The space was huge, doubled from last year, when the turnout resulted in lineups that lasted all day.  I spent some time before the show helping to clean up and prepare the space for what was to be Vancouver’s hottest art event of the year.

The 200 talented and predominantly Canadian artists that had been selected had their art exhibited salon-style throughout two large spaces in the Storyeum.  The show exhibited a wide variety of medium including prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, collage, and video instillation.  Each artist who attended wore a “Cheaper Artist” pin in order to be identified and questioned about their work.  It was fantastic exposure for them, and the event garnered a great deal of media attention – Jack Black and Michael J. Fox even made appearances.  The mayor attended the VIP event two nights before, declaring June 26th official “Cheaper Show Day”.

The night of the show drew in a large crowd as expected, and a fairly young crowd.  The fact that a young crowd is able to attend an art show with the realistic expectation purchase of purchasing art, I believe speaks volumes about The Cheaper Show.  The point of the show is to make original art accessible to a larger audience, which it most definitely achieved with a $200 price tag.  While some of my regulars at the beer tub appeared to be present for the cheap booze and the three after parties, the course of the night saw a lot of great art sold.

It’s remarkable when you consider that for the six hours The Cheaper Show lasted, thousands of volunteer hours had been put in over the course of the year.  At the end of the night as we wade through the detritus left behind, the volunteer team couldn’t help but ask each other “is it actually over?”

Vancouver, watch out for Cheaper Show No.10, sure to be even bigger, better, and more off the hook than this year’s event!


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Making a first impression(/expression)

My name is Julia Robinson and I am the new summer intern at Art Toronto . 

I am originally from Vancouver Island, and moved to New Brunswick to complete my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Mount Allison University.  I studied studio arts (painting and photography in particular) and art history, and was lucky enough to experience life in the Deep South, where I spent a semester at the University of Central Arkansas.  In September 2011 I plan to spread my wings further by moving to London to obtain my Master’s in the Fine and Decorative arts at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art.  For now I feel lucky to call Vancouver ‘home’; now that I’ve returned to the West Coast I realize how much I missed the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.   

I am excited to spend my summer working with the Art Toronto crew, and am very much looking forward to seeing the fair unfold! I also hope to bring some new stories and a different outlook to impression/expression and look forward to joining Maggie and the rest of you in this conversation!



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