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Y.M. Whelan “The Geography of Dreams” at Yumart

Y.M. Whelan: “The Geography of Dreams”
March 20 – April 13, 2013
Yumart

Photo: Alice Tallman

Yumart* had its official launch last Thursday, March 21st with an exhibition of paintings by proprietor Y.M. Whelan. A capacity crowd scaled the stairs at 101 Spadina Avenue to the freshly-renovated 550 square foot second floor space. Attendees and well-wishers took in a range of works that spanned from the early 80s up to the present.

Y.M. Whelan. Photo: Alice Tallman

The exhibition, “The Geography of Dreams” included the artist’s signature geometric abstractions. Since 1997, Whelan has been familiar to gallery goers variously as gallery assistant, director, curator, or exhibitor at Bau-Xi Gallery, the Moore Gallery, and Fran Hill Gallery.

Y.M. Whelan, Maze, 2006, acrylic on paper, 19 1/2 x 13 inches

Aspects and qualities of Whelan‘s recent work are typified in three works in this inaugural exhibition. The titles in each of the works capture a sense of the dynamism that animates her abstract oeuvre. The spare, gestural line geometry of “Maze” fuses the opposing notions of the controlled and spontaneous, features embodied in the artist’s canvas works. Whelan wishes to preserve the act and process of making the painting. Each work may be viewed as a contest between conflicting and contrasting forces – dark and light, open and closed, and so forth.

Y.M. Whelan, Tidal Waves and Sea Battles, 2012, acrylic on canvas 30 x 26 inches

This holds equally true for the colours. In “Tidal Waves and Sea Battles,” 2012, the deep yellow that tends to orange flashes against a sea green. The canvas is literally a battleground, a mat upon which aspects of the painterly craft wrestle for dominance.

Y.M. Whelan, The Little House of My Past, 2012, acrylic on canvas 20 x 16 inches

The work “The Little House of My Past,” 2012, is no less a contest, the outcome in this case is containment, a housing of moments experienced. The act of viewing permits a reliving and unlocking of past events. In this regard, the work and its title may serve as an emblem of the exhibition as a whole, where features Whelan‘s complete painterly output are encapsulated.

Visitors in front of Y.M. Whelan, Extrication (Gem-Encrusted God Series), 1997, acrylic on canvas, 28 x 62 inches. Photo: Alice Tallman

Steve Rockwell

*Yumart is a new gallery at 101 Spadina Avenue, Suite 210, Toronto. Hours: Wed – Sat 12 – 6 p.m.

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