Natalie Draz: and the city we held together / Graven Feather

Graven Feather was established in 2011 and is currently run by artists Erin Candela, who comes from a background in painting and illustration and Pam Lobb, whose specialization is print making. The cozy gallery is located on 906 Queen Street West and is definitely worth a visit, or two. Graven Feather is a very interactive space for artists. It is not only a place to exhibit art; the gallery also offers retail, artist residencies and workshops including letterpress card workshops, linocut workshops and many more!

Gallery co-founder, artist, Pam Lobb in the workshop area. Photo: Rumaisa Baqa

Graven Feather offers an open call for submissions for artwork. Artists can do a residency for four weeks and are also able to rent the gallery for exhibitions. If you are an upcoming artist, this is definitely a great place to check out.

While Graven Feather’s main focus is print making, they welcome artists from all walks such as painting, photography, among other artistic mediums. Currently, the gallery is exhibiting Natalie Draz’s work titled and the city we held together.

Installation view. Photo: Pam Lobb 

The first thing I’ve noticed was that Draz’s work consists of a lot of experimenting, she is not your average artist. She uses mediums anywhere from watercolor on canvas to free hand filament drawing. Her work focused on city landscapes, perspective and “investigates potential parallels between drawing, body and buildings.” A large piece, titled “Inner city”, walks as through a very crowded street in Montreal. The central part is clearly recognizable with a Marche restaturant. The sides are combinations of many buildings, residential and industrial, compressed together in a collage like composition. Originally it was made as an etching – and indeed you can see the delicate lines and aquatint tones – then blown up and transfered into canvas. The artist cut it out, following the outlines of the composition. It is monumental, mounted on the wall – when the wall itself, showing throug the cut out places, becomes part of the composition – a strange mixture of old and modern techniques.

Natalie Draz, Inner City, intaglio digitally printed on canvas, edition of 5. Photo: Rumaisa Baqa

The next, main wall is loosely covered with 3D plastic lines in between two towers. Instead of using a printer pen, Draz used freehand drawing with a heat gun, a very innovative way to use the material and think outside the box. At first I’ve thought, here we are, Montreal and Toronto, connected. Not really, but close enough, since the title is “Telephone Line”. The towers are actually telephone poles and the shadows cast by the lines on the wall smartly display the nature of it: past, going fast, follow the lines of my places is dangerous and so on.

Natalie Draz, Telephone Line, filament drawing. Photo: Pam Lobb

The two pop up books placed in the middle of the gallery are fascinating. They called “Intersections” one is “Montreal” and the other is “Toronto”. Draz started with small watercolor compositions where she combines buildings in an unusual perspective, coming out of the centre and developing their unique characters in a radius. They are very delicate and beautiful. Then again they are enlarged and turned into a different medium to create a pop up book. Apparently for “Intersections” Draz had interviewed people and asked them about their daily routine and commute around the city; where they go, what they see. She considers these pop up books as non representational portraits of people since it is based on their perspectives. After putting on the cotton gloves I started to explore “Intersections: Toronto” with an excitement I felt as a child with pop ups. All the paintings are beautiful, following the watercolors but in a more contrasted way. Draz is really good with scissors, they are many more cut outs, making the pieces richer in their visuality. I try to find some places and buildings I know, I passed by, so they could became part of my own story too. As the artist stated, “Can a building stand in for a memory? Can a body contain a world? Is a place also a text block? For me, a drawing can be an embodiment of my interior world…Grounded in the reality of my recognizable surroundings, the places I inhabit become compilations of myth, truth and reality.”  Indeed, there are endless possibilities for narratives in this show.

Natalie Draz, Intersections: Montreal, pop up book,of drawings & watercolour. Edition of 5. Photo: Rumaisa Baqa

Natalie Draz, Intersections: Toronto, pop up book,of drawings & watercolour. Edition of 5. Photo: Pam Lobb

Graven Feather also has a pop shop for this exhibition as well as a for their own crafts. Prices start from just $5 and Draz’s original, small size works start from $40.

Rumaisa Baqa

*Exhibition information: March 5 – 28, 2015, Graven Feather, 906 Queen Street West. Gallery hours: Thur – Sat 12 – 7 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.