34/150: Kazuo Nakamura – Abstracts

Ages Past, 1953

Kazuo Nakamura (1926-2002) was one of Canada’s most influential abstract artists. Born in Vancouver, he was among Japanese-Canadians interned during WWII. By 1953, he was a founding member of Painters Eleven, but his unique style Read More


Gretel Boose: A dose of wonder

Ceramic sculptor Gretel Boose remains one of my all-time favourites. She’s been posting process shots on Instagram recently, as she readies for a studio tour in Uxbridge, Ontario.  Learn more about her work on a previous Art Junkie post, here.

More of the work of Gretel Boose on  Read More

32/150: East Coast Realism

Red Canoe 44º34’31 N 65º23’13” W, BOOT LAKE, MILFORD, NS, 2015 acrylic on canvas 30.25 x 29.5 in

Maritime artist Peter Gough captures the magic of  light and water, universal themes of the Canadian psyche. One of Atlantic Canada’s preeminent realist artists, Gough’s affinity for the outdoors pinions his luminous Read More

31/150: Michael Massie – Order of Canada

First day with your new feet, Courtesy Spirit Wrestler Gallery

Inuit artist Michael Massie has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour. A sculptor and silversmith from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Massie told the CBC he was so surprised to be appointed that he first thought the call today from the Governor-General’s office was a prank.

“It’s flabbergasting, actually, to be honoured with something like this,” he said.  Massie has received particular renown for his innovative teapots, which combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. All his work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. Here’s a look. Read More

30/150: Brandy Saturley – Canadian Symbols

What could be more appropriate for Canada Day than the symbolic art of realist Brandy Saturley, whose works explore the Canadian consciousness.

For five years in the lead-up to Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1, Saturley sussed out the icons and settings that make us Canadian.  Her works are on exhibition in Canadianisms, at Okotoks Gallery near Calgary through Sept. 2. (Top of post: Under a Borealis Sky)

Saturley is also the force behind the heralded People of Canada portrait project. It’s a crowdsourcing initiative that calls on couples to take selfies, which Saturley turns into acrylic paintings. (Above: Not for Sale)

Let your backbone Rise – Contemplating those Lawren Harris Rocky Mountains

Saturley started out focused on traditional national symbols (the hockey mask, the beaver, a Tim Horton’s coffee cup and maple syrup) but soon moved into broader settings. She was inspired Read More

29/150: Dil Hildebrand – Scenographer

Montreal artist Dil Hildebrand (b: 1974) worked as a set painter for theatre and TV before moving into the international mainstream with his large format paintings, some of them inspired by ancient Roman trompe l’oeil frescoes.

The Duck Quaketh, acrylic, resin & nylon fibre, and sand on acrylic panel in wood frame. 50 x 38″ C24 Gallery.

Lorem Ipsum is his first New York solo exhibition, showing new paintings through June 30 at C24 Gallery (above). Hildebrand garnered national attention in 2006, while still completing his MFA at Concordia University, when he won the prestigious RBC painting competition. Read More

Controversy: Is this art cultural appropriation?

Amanda PL, handout photo

A Toronto gallery has cancelled an exhibit over criticism the artist is inappropriately “borrowing” from spiritually significant indigenous art. The Visions Gallery, where work by Amanda PL was to open this month, said the gallery was “immediately criticized” when the show was announced, and within 24 hours the event was cancelled. (Read the gallery’s full statement, here.)

Spirit Bear, from Amanda PL’s Behance site.

The controversy flows from the fact that Amanda PL is non-indigenous and paints in the style of the Woodland school of art.  She acknowledges her style is similar to Anishnaabe artist Norval Morrisseau’s work, which features bright colours separated by black lines and abstract figures. (Toronto Star story here)

An example of Morrisseau’s work, from a page of his painting on Coghlan Art

Chief Lady Bird (Nancy King) is a Toronto-based Anishnaabe artist, called Amanda PL’s work cultural appropriation. The gallery consulted the indigenous leader after protests about the upcoming show erupted. Read More