Works in Progress: Part 2

For those of you not on social media, here are three of my latest artworks, with a shot of each before completion.

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ABOVE: David McDonough, After the Strom: Sir Winston Churchill Park, mixed media, 6.5 x 7.2 x 1 inches

ABOVE: David McDonough, After the Storm: Trinity Bellwoods Park, mixed media, 7.5 x 6 x 1 inches

ABOVE: David McDonough, After the Storm: McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Grounds), mixed media, 6.5 x 6.9 x 1 inches

About my working process:

Each piece is based on a specific tree I photographed this summer (locations are listed in the titles).

After printing up the photos, I used tracing paper to get the basic outline of each tree. Then, using the same paper, I carbon transferred each image onto mat board, and cut them out with an x-acto knife.

After cutting out all the trees, I painted them, then applied a coat of mica paste with a palette knife.

Once the mica had dried, I cut up some small pieces of wood, painted them silver, and glued them to the back of each tree. Then, I glued each tree to its own wood panel – which I also painted silver.

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Norval Morrisseau – 2014 Retrospective

If you are in Toronto, and even remotely interested in Canadian art, you need to visit the Kinsman Robinson Gallery. Their current show is a must see.

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ABOVE: Norval Morrisseau, Shaman Preaching To All Things (4-panel), 1992, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches, Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto

BELOW LEFT: Norval Morrisseau, Two Shamans Blessing The Creation Of Life Forms To Benefit The First Nations Peoples, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 48 inches, Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto

BELOW RIGHT: Norval Morrisseau, Astral Thunderbird, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 39.6 inches, Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto

First, a bio:

Norval Morrisseau, (March 14, 1932 – December 4, 2007), also known as Copper Thunderbird, was an Aboriginal Canadian artist. Known as the “Picasso of the North”, Morrisseau created works depicting the legends of his people, the cultural and political tensions between native Canadian and European traditions, his existential struggles, and his deep spirituality and mysticism. Wikipedia

And now, a tiny review:

I am a huge Norval Morrisseau fan and I have viewed his work in the McMichael, the AGO, and the National Gallery of Canada. That said, of all the spaces I have viewed his work, the Kinsman Robinson Gallery is by far my favorite.

Why is this gallery such a great fit for Morrisseau? Because seeing one of your favorite painters in a small gallery is akin to seeing one of your favorite bands in a small venue – it’s more intimate, and less crowded.

Physical spaces aside, the art in this show is of exceptional quality. Morrisseau exhibited here when he was alive, and the gallery has been holding a retrospective of his work every other year since his death. They clearly have access to some of his most superb works.

I really can’t say enough good things about this little show; it’s easily one of the years best.

Norval Morrisseau – 2014 Retrospective runs until December 20 at the Kinsman Robinson Gallery.

Allen Ginsberg at the U of T Art Centre

If you’re a book worm like me, chances are, you’re familiar with Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Generation. What you may not know, is that he was also an avid photographer.

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ABOVE: Allen Ginsberg, Sandro Chia with a gun, 1985, black and white silver gelatin print with ink, 14 x 11 inches, University of Toronto Collection, Toronto

BELOW: Allen Ginsberg, Francesco Clemente: variation 2 (behind desk at book), 1984, black and white silver gelatin print with ink, 14 x 11 inches, University of Toronto Collection, Toronto

This past weekend I was walking through the University of Toronto campus when I thought: “Hey! This place probably has an art gallery.” Seconds later, my phone confirmed this to be true.

After wandering around campus for another ten minutes, I finally came to the entrance of the U of T Art Centre. When I opened the door to the big reveal…the place was…empty – not a single work of art on any of the walls. I approached the front desk, made a joke about minimalism, and was told by an unamused attendant that there was an Allen Ginsberg exhibition in the back. I walked through another set of doors, and sure enough, there it was.

I’m really glad I stumbled upon this exhibition; it was a pleasant surprise. If you’re a fan of Ginsberg’s work, or even remotely interested in the life and times of the Beat Generation, you’ll be pleasantly surprised too. While many of the photo’s are decidedly amateurish, the subject matter is compelling, and the sheer breadth of this show is impressive.

If that weren’t enough, Ginsberg not only took photo’s of his friends and colleagues, he annotated each shot with explanatory notes – so cool!

We Are Continually Exposed to the Flashbulb of Death: Photograph’s of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996) runs until December 6 at the U of T Art Centre. If you can find the time to see it, you should.