August: American Artist Appreciation Month

Seems there’s an “appreciation/awareness” month for everyone/thing. For American artists, there’s August. For Canadian artists, there’s nothing. Sorry Canada.


ABOVE: Stephen Andrews, Auditorium, 2009-2015, oil on canvas, 72 x 95.75 inches, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Sandwiched between National Ice Cream Month (yummy) and Orthostatic Tremor Awareness Month (oh my) sits American Artist Appreciation Month. As a Canadian, I’ve decided to co-opt this, and write about fellow Canuck, Stephen Andrews.

Writing a blog post every week is sometimes a challenge, so this past weekend, I went in search of shows to write about. My first stop was the Art Gallery of Ontario. I’d originally planned on reviewing “Picturing the Americas” or “Camera Atomica,” but waiting on a friend, I wandered deeper into the museum, and discovered the work of Stephen Andrews. Although Toronto based, I’d never heard of him before.

As an artist, I love ambiguity, and there is often a huge difference between the aesthetics of my work, and their intended meaning. The same can be said for Stephen Andrews – where it not for the descriptions beside each piece, one would have no idea what they represent. While many of them reference major events, a few deal with personal loss. Having addressed the same theme in works past, I can relate.

A lot of Andrews art is quite beautiful; almost all of it is very dark. I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with him (too much of a downer), but I will definitely follow from afar. It’s amazing what you can discover when killing time.

Happy American Artist Appreciation Month everyone.