solo show: sarah jones

Last Saturday was a full day of outdoor egg hunting with kids, Farmer’s marketing for yummies, and a gallery show opening that was not to be. You see, I had a good space between the Farmer’s Market and a play date for the kiddos that I was hoping to fill with the opening of the latest works of Sarah Jones. Except that it wasn’t the opening of the Sarah Jones show. I had the date wrong. Ack. Oh well, life is just like that, isn’t it? You gotta plan and then things get a little switchy shifty on you. Which brings me back to Sarah Jones. And days in the city. And switchy shifties. It is a long way around but stick with me here.

I love my days of playing in the downtown of my city. Even though there is plenty of grand and flashy changes going on in Halifax, the city has yet to lose its old historical Halifax charm. In rain and in sunshine, Halifax is still so darn pretty.

In her newest show, City, Sarah Jones captures what I think is the prettiness of the architectural history of Halifax (and New York City). Jones uses her thick paint style to showcase crumbly stone, faded brick, and thick pane windows alongside bare tree limbs and droopy telephone wires. And though I love her treatments of sky, I am delighted by the buildings being the focus.

If you have made the walk along Barrington, Hollis, or Granville Streets and been drawn to the wonderful shapes and textures of some of the old facades, then you will be drawn to this series of paintings. Just make sure you mark the correct date down so you can enjoy them in person.

SarahJones-Windows SarahJones-PowerLinesHollisStreet SarahJones-PowerLinesOnHollis  SarahJones-GranvilleNo2 SarahJones-GranvilleNo.1 SarahJones-Winter'sDay, Hydrostone SarahJones-FireEscapesHollis SarahJones-BuildingCornerHollisStreet SarahJones-BarringtonStreet, Rooftops SarahJones-Barrington

Sarah Jones’s City opens this Saturday April 2nd, 2016 1:30 – 3:30 pm at Argyle Fine Art , 1559 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Can’t make it this Saturday? The show hangs until April 23rd.

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group show: cloud machine city

Does your city have an unofficial landmark? Here in Halifax / Dartmouth, Nova Scotia there are a few structures that are, without a doubt “so Halifax”. There is the MacDonald Bridge. There is the Citadel and the Town Clock. There is our spanky new Central Library. And then there is Tufts Cove – aka ‘The cloud machine’. While Tufts Cove Generating Station is technically ‘old'(ish) (1965), it has made its way on the new “cool” landmark list. With lots of artists now laying down roots on the Dartmouth / Darkside of the Halifax Harbour, the cloud machine is getting some great artistic props.

EmmaFitzgerald-HalifaxHarbour  MaryGaroutte-TuftsCove AmberaWellmann-TuftsCove    GordonMacDonald-LookingEast HarboursideDesigns-DarksideShowing

Other cities have some great Power Stations which undoubtedly inspired more wonderful power station art.

GeorgeBarecca-OnlySoMuch YukoShimizu-EmissionsTrading2 JulieStAmand-CCheminees SarahJones_1

{Halifax artists top to bottom left to right: Emma Fitzgerald, Halifax Harbour; Mary Garoutte, Tufts Cove; Ambera Wellmann, Tufts Cove; Gordon MacDonald, Young Street to East; Harbourside Designs, Is My Darkside Showing?} {Non-Halifax art: George Barecca, Only So Much; Yuko Shimizu, Emissions Trading 2; Julie StAmand, Cheminees; Sarah Jones, title unknown}

city adventure: halifax / nova scotia college of art and design

In our house we have creative time. In our house we have drawers of art and craft supplies. In our house, there is also fold laundry time, meal prep time, and run errands time. Art making can often take a back seat and be relegated to PD days or rainy days. But this past Saturday, we made art our concentration. This past Saturday, our family were artists for a day.

As part of a larger Open City event in Halifax, The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design presented Artist for a Day. The college opens its facility doors to everyone and offers stations to learn art techniques such as weaving, printmaking, book binding, letterpress, sewing, drawing, pottery and leather work.

O'spotterhands

We began our adventure in the leather work studio making design stamped snap closure cuffs. The kids then hand stitched small notebooks before creating prints at the letterpress stations. My eldest was so proud when the printer suggested she run off a few extra “I love cats” prints for other people because they were bound to be popular. After a quick lunch at the Farmer’s Market next door, we added wheat paste prints to a large collaborative wall, made copper jewellery, and checked out the fish printing. The big win for our family was the opportunity to use pottery wheels. All of us loved this experience and in the end, we made a family set of bowls.

lovecats

FourBowls

It was incredible to watch my family members lose themselves in the act of creating and beam with pride at their finished work. I also loved watching my kids marvel at the art of students throughout the building. “Look at that! Wow! That is so cool.”

It was exactly that. Cool.

girl  meat

{The above art is only an example of the wonderful artwork on display throughout the building. The portrait of the young girl is done with colourful washi tape while the sketching of hanging meat is one of several large graphite drawings.}

solo show: arthur lismer

In my part time life as a Collections Management Assistant for The Army Museum, I recently had the pleasure of working with some Arthur Lismer lithographs from the First World War. I was surprised and happy to learn that he was the Principle at the Victoria School of Art and Design (now called the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) from 1916 – 1919. At the time he was hired, the school was in decline. He made a significant impact to enrollment and class offerings. Meanwhile he also made dramatic improvements to the now Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which was also having its own struggles. All while, Arthur Lismer was building up his own body of art work.

Arthur Lismer lived in Bedford, outside the downtown core of Halifax. He painted the natural scenery around him as well as all the war time activity happening in the Bedford Basin and the Harbour. While many Canadians and art lovers know Lismer’s name as being a founding member of The Group of Seven, I am loving being introduced to this part of his oeuvre.

ArthurLismer-OlympicwithReturnedSoldiers

{Olympic with Returned Soldiers}

On December 6, 1917, the downtown of Halifax was nearly flattened due to a massive explosion that took place in the Halifax Harbour. Amazingly Arthur Lismer was at home in Bedford, taking his regular weekday day off. Like most downtown buildings, the college suffered significant damage. It soon became the local morgue. Lismer got right to work on capturing some of the action of those days. His drawings were featured on the front pages of the Canadian Courier. He became a commissioned war artist in 1918 and asked to capture the return of soldiers to Halifax.

ArthurLismer-Homefront

Like his landscapes, Lismer’s war art is full and energetic as well. He brings the sights and sounds of Halifax during the First World War to life so many decades later.

ArthurLismer-HMCSGrilseonConvoyDuty ArthurLismer-AForwardGunonaPatrolBoat

ArthurLismer-HomeAgain(LandingatPier2,Halifax)

ArthurLismer-ConvoyandTugs, 1918

{resources: The National Gallery of Canada; Lismer’s Legacy, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; The Group of Seven and The Halifax Explosion: Focus on Arthur Lismer}

solo show: kevin lewis

Last summer I spent an afternoon walking an area of Ottawa where my husband grew up. As we sipped coffee, he told me stories about each spot on our tour: funny stories, touching stories, sad stories.

Last weekend I spent some time roaming the childhood streets of artist Kevin Lewis. In his exhibition, Mean Dog Street, at Parentheses Gallery in Halifax, Lewis takes viewers into his childhood world of crushes, idolization, rumour, and myth.

Lewis’s personal history is showcased in a collection of multi media artwork. Every piece in the show is thoughtful: A memory of one neighbourhood family of seven kids sharing one bike was showcased in a brilliant moveable puzzle; The fort in the woods recreated with a comic book style painting and a wooden crate with a peephole revealing a painting of a Playboy cover. Every planned piece in the show is numbered and corresponds to a central painting of The Neighbourhood itself.

KevinLewis-neighbourhood

 KevinLewis-Ross KevinLewis-Mr.Fraser

“Ross would swallow anything…”

“Mister Fraser, the minister, was Ruth and Bruce’s dad.”

KevinLewis-Paperboy

“Greg, our paper boy, was my brother Scott’s hero…”

I loved the accessibility of this show. We can all relate to that very real connection between place and memory. And to the stories of our childhoods.

Thank you to Kevin Lewis who gave my kids cookies as well as my man and I a personal walk through the show. While this show closed on Saturday, there is an on-line Flickr showcase of this exhibition and a book available for purchase through Parentheses Gallery.