J.W.M Turner at the Art Gallery of Ontario

I recently visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to see its latest exhibition, J.W.M. Turner: Painting Set Free and came away impressed. Here is a short review.

 

ABOVE: J.M.W. Turner, War. The Exile and the Rock Limpit, 1842, oil on canvas, 40.5 x 40.3 x 4.7 inches, © Tate, London [2015]

BELOW: J.M.W. Turner, Peace – Burial at Sea, 1842, oil on canvas, 43.7 x 43.6 x 4.7 inches, © Tate, London [2015]

I’ve written about J.M.W. Turner in the past. First, about his painting The Slave Ship, and then, about his biopic film Mr. Turner. Suffice it say, I am a huge fan, and as such, I was super excited to see his works up close and personal in J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

As usual, I went on a Saturday afternoon, and as is the case with most of the AGO’s blockbuster shows, so too did half the city. Despite the turnout, I was able to maneuver my way through the crowd and take in all the show had to offer. Which was a lot.

While I would have loved to see my favorite painting The Slave Ship, this exhibition does perfectly well without it. Many of the works on display are stunning, and the curators did an excellent job of showing Turner’s  progression as an artist, as well as his many influences.

From maritime scenes and mythical stories, to sunrises and sunsets (who doesn’t love those) there’s something for everyone in this show. If you’re already a fan of Turner, or if you’re hearing about him for the first time, you should go.

J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free is at the AGO until January 30, 2016.

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Opening Night at the #Hashtag Gallery

A very big thanks to everyone who attended my opening last night at the #Hashtag Gallery. For those who missed it, show runs until Sunday, November 29, 2015.

 

DAVID MCDONOUGH: REFLECTIONS

November 19-29

#Hashtag Gallery 830 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1V3

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 4-10pm, Saturday 2-8pm, Sunday 12-5pm

My First Solo Exhibition

I’m happy to announce that a week from today, my first solo exhibition will be opening at the #Hashtag Gallery in Toronto. Details are as follows:

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DAVID MCDONOUGH: REFLECTIONS

November 19-29 // Opening reception: Thursday, November 19 (7-11:30pm)

#Hashtag Gallery 830 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1V3

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Friday 4-10pm, Saturday 2-8pm, Sunday 12-5pm

Autumn at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Attention all art lovers: there are currently two stellar exhibitions showing at the AGO. If you act now, you can see them both before the Turner show takes over in November.

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ABOVE: Georgia O’Keefe, Black Messa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Maries II, 1930, oil on canvas mounted on board, 24.25 x 36.25 inches, Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe (Picturing the Americas)

BELOW: David McMillan, View of Forest from Dental Hospital, Pripyat, October 2012, inkjet print, 21.6 x 27.5 inches, © David McMillan (Camera Atomica)

Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from the Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic

Containing 118 paintings, prints and drawings from 11 countries, and encompassing multiple themes, Picturing the Americas is ambitious to say the least.

While this ambition has resulted in mixed reviews from critics, I think the average museumgoer will really enjoy this show. Almost every piece is beautiful, and for that reason alone, it’s worth checking out.

Although it opened on June 20th, I was only recently able to check it out. If you’re a procrastinator like me, you’ve got 10 more days (2 weekends) to see it.

Camera Atomica

Another ambitious exhibition, Camera Atomica encompasses the postwar period between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Addressing weapons proliferation, waste disposal, and climate change, this show is about as heavy as you can get, and not surprisingly, the photos within it are often bleak and depressing. That is the point though, and that is why you should see it.

Unlike the show above, this one’s on until November 20th. It’s also free with admission.

Andy Warhol: Revisited

This summer and fall, Canada’s largest exhibition of Warhol prints and paintings can be seen in an empty storefront in Toronto’s midtown. I recently took a look.

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Last week, I was walking down Bloor Street, when I came across the exhibition Andy Warhol: Revisited. I had planned on going a week or two later, but once there, I couldn’t resist.

Located in a disused store front (formerly occupied by Guess Clothing), the show is the brainchild of Ron Rivlin, a Canadian raised, LA-based talent manager. Clearly, this guy is obsessed with Warhol.

While the majority of the works on display appear to be prints from larger editions, there are 120 of them, and, even better, many of the artists most iconic images are included.

Warhol is known for many things (consumerism, celebrity worship), but what truly sets him apart is his use of color. No book or poster comes close to replicating the pieces in this exhibition, many of which include metallics and diamond dust.

While the $10 admission may be a bit much for some people, this show is a must see for any Warhol fan.

Andy Warhol: Revisited runs at 77 Bloor Street West from July 1 to December 31, 2015.

Terror and Beauty: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore

I recently visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibition. This show isn’t for everyone. It’s depressing as hell.

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ABOVE: Francis Bacon, Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1966, oil on canvas, 37.1 x 31.2 x 2.3 inches, Tate Collection, Photo: © Tate, London [2014]

BELOW: Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, plaster cast, 42.5 x 91 x 29.5 inches, Art Gallery of Ontario, Photo: © Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto [2014]

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This past weekend, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibition.

Titled Terror and Beauty, the show is heavy on the terror, and light on the beauty. Even the Moore’s – which are the prettier of the two – are curated in a manner that draws attention to the ugly within.

This show isn’t for everyone. It’s depressing as hell.

Fortunately for me:

  • I don’t rely on art to make me happy.
  • I don’t need art to be pretty.
  • I love the dark.
  • I love the twisted.
  • I love the ugly.

I’ve seen many Moore’s, but rarely have I seen a Bacon. That’s because there are very few of them on display in Canada, and that alone, is worth the price of admission.

Some may dislike the curation; others the art. If you’re like me, you’ll like it just fine.

Terror and Beauty: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore is at the AGO until July 20, 2014.

The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection

My review of The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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ABOVE: Vasily Kandisnksy, Sketch for “Composition II”, 1909-10, oil on canvas, 38.4 x 51.6 inches, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Photo: © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York [2014] www.guggenheim.org

Ice storms, polar vortexes and frost quakes – WTF? It’s not even February, and I’ve already got the blues.

To escape the funk, I braved the Arctic air and set course for the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

The AGO’s current exhibition: The Great Upheaval – Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection runs until March 2, and it is stellar.

As the above title suggests, the artworks on display were produced in an age of turmoil (1910-18), but despite the Great War, they are surprisingly uplifting.

Many are strikingly beautiful, and as a whole, the exhibition is vibrantly colorful. My blues got company.

I liked just about everything I saw, but I especially liked the works of Robert Delauney and Vasily Kandinsky. They rocked the house.

Nearly a century after their creation, the works of the Guggenheim Collection still have the power to brighten your day. Go see this show.

A Memorable Moment

This is one of the coolest things that took place when I exhibited at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.

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ABOVE: My Booth at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

This past July, I participated in my first outdoor art exhibition. It was a ton of work but it was also a ton of exposure.

I will probably write more about outdoor shows at a later date, but for this entry, I am going to write about one of the coolest things that took place that weekend.

I saw and talked to so many people that after a while, almost all of them blurred into one. There were a few that stood out but of them all, no one stood out as much as the little girl who came into my booth mid-way through the show.

She was about ten years old and she walked into my both with authority. She had in her hands the exhibition program and as she studied my work, she took notes. She stood in front of one of my smaller pieces for a few minutes then looked up at her Mom who promptly responded with: “That’s in your price range.”

I asked the little girl if she had any questions but she was all business and didn’t have any time for idle chit chat. While she continued to take notes, I spoke with her Mother instead.

As it turns out, her family had been attending the exhibition for several years and every year, she and her brother were given some money to purchase a work of art – how cool is that?

The exhibition was enormous and it would have been incredibly hard to keep a child engaged. These kids looked forward to the show every year.

According to their Mother, they had each built up their own art collections and as the years passed, their taste in art had evolved from the purely realistic, to the more abstract.

A few minutes later, they were off to look at more art. A few hours later, they came back.

I was told that I had made the short list and I was flattered. Once again they left and once again, I was left with the hope that I had made another sale.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make the grade. A short while later, the little girl walked past my booth with the work of another artist in her hand (she didn’t even look in my direction).

Even thought I was a little disappointed, I was delighted that my work had caught this little girl’s eye and that she had engaged with it to the extent that she did.