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2014/07/02 / Shanan


Image above:  Andy DenzlerVreneli vom Guggisberg. Oil on canvas, 2013.

Jarek Puczel lovers painting

Jarek Puczel, Lovers (1).  Oil, 2011.

John Schnabel Passengers photograph

John Schnabel, photograph from Passengers series, Twin Palms Publishers.

Shin Kwang Ho

Shin Kwang Ho, charcoal and oil, via Empty Kingdom.

Gregory Chiha

Grégory Chiha, Noli Me Tangere, 2008.


Beth HoeckelSheltering Sky, mixed media.

Past collections of obscured portraits: I Miss Your Face, and I Still Miss Your Face.

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2014/03/28 / Shanan


I don’t get the opportunity to see a ton of contemporary art in person these days, unless you count the rotating landscape paintings in the lobby of the Collingwood Library.  Sorry, but… no (I’m sure I’ve now offended a host of locals).  So I was really excited to catch the winter exhibition at the MOCCA in Toronto, Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque.

The show features a series of immersive environments that deal in material excess and culturally-constructed views of nature, with showpieces by David Altmejd, Lee Bul and Tricia Middleton.  The work is, perhaps, not to everyone’s tastes but it resonated with me on an incredibly uncomfortable, tactile level.  And it reminded me why I used to make art, and how I (secretly) hope that that chapter of my life will never be completely over.

Image above: Why yes, that is a decaying giant with a mirrored staircase emerging from his head. David Altmejd, detail from The Holes, 2008. Wood, mirror, glue, plaster, foam, metal wire, epoxy clay, epoxy resin, paint, horse hair, synthetic branches, synthetic flowers, pine cones, glass beads, quartz, quail eggs, glitter and snail shells. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Photo from Monochromatic Axonometric.

MOCCA David Altmejd the holes installation

Installation view of The Holes, photo from MOCCA.

David Altmejd MOCCA Leanne Simaan

The giant’s innards, shattered crystals, flowers – another detail. Photo by Leanne Simaan, Art Toronto.

Lee Bul MOCCA chandelier

This was kind of a revelation to see in person.  Eerie, darkly sparkling, deft yet so heavy and full of dread.  Lee Bul, After Bruno Taut (Negative Capability), 2008. Crystal, glass and acrylic beads on stainless steel armature with aluminium and copper mesh and chains.  Photo from MOCCA.

Lee Bul Leanne Simaan

Photo by Leanne Samaan, Art Toronto.  I featured another of Bul’s chandelier-like sculptures in this post.

Tricia Middleton MOCCA misled by nature

Tricia Middleton, Embracing Oblivion and Ruin is the Only Way to Live Now, 2012. Mixed media installation of insulation foam, wax, glitter, string and miscellaneous objects. Photo from MOCCA.

Tricia Middleton installation view Mocca arttoronto.ca leanne simaan

Inside the igloo-like structure. Photo by Leanne Simaan, Art Toronto.

Misled by Nature is at the MOCCA until April 6th and also features the work of Mark Bradford, Yinka Shonibare, and Bharti Kher.  It was curated by Catherine Crowston, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, and Jonathan Shaughnessy.  Here’s a review of the exhibition from Canadian Art.

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2014/01/10 / Shanan


I’ve admired Finnish artist Nanna Hänninen‘s work for awhile now. There’s something so simple and pure about the splatter of paint, or the action of a palette knife dragged across a surface, but when overlaid on top of her quiet black and white photography, the effect is so beautiful and strange.  The paint feels like a colourful apparition of sorts, hovering in and out of the realm of the photo. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I do.

Image above: “People IV”, digital C-print on Diasec, 2012.

Nanna Hanninen Home digital photograph palette knife Finnish

Home (after Viktor Barsokevitsch 1893-1927), digital C-print on Diasec, 2013.

Nanna Hanninen People shadows black white photography palette knife painting

People I, digital C-print on Diasec, 2012.

Nanna Hanninen Finnish artist black white photography palette knife

Pine Tree Diptych, digital C-print on Diasec, 2012.

Nanna Hanninen Finnish artist photography black white Barn palette knife

Barn (after Viktor Barsokevitsch 1912), digital C-print on Diasec, 2013.

You can view more of Nanna Hänninen’s lovely work at her website. Coincidentally I just discovered that The Jealous Curator did a post on her this week as well, so do check it out. Great minds…?

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2013/11/13 / Shanan


Do you ever have one of those days where everything you stumble upon online just seems to perfectly match your mood?  From art to books to photography to product design, it’s not exactly cupcakes and rainbows, today – but I’m okay with that.

Image above: one of Korean artist Lee Bul‘s unbelievably beautiful and eerie chandeliers, Sternbau No. 32.  Crystal, glass and acrylic beads on nickel-chrome wire, stainless steel and aluminum armature, 2011.  Via Phillips.

Lydia Kenselaar knitwear Nausea book cover design Leanne Shapton

Left: ‘Untitled’ by Lydia Kenselaar.  Knitted wool, armature wire. Maryland Institute of Art.  Right: Sartre’s Nausea as rendered by (Canadian!) illustrator Leanne Shapton.

mr brainwash fragile hearts mug

Left: Air Movement Study, Étienne-Jules Marey, 1901. © Cinémathèque Française.  Right: Fragile Hearts bone china mug by Mr. Brainwash, via Garde Shop.