The opening reception on September 11th at Angell Gallery was an exciting one. Not only were two talented artists showcased but it was the début of the gallery’s new location. The new space is raw and stripped down. All white walls with wood accents, Douglas fir as Jamie Angell, the gallery owner tells me, and an exposed ceiling 22 feet high.
My friend dropped me off at Angell’s new address and I found myself wandering in a dark parking lot just as it began to rain. As I hurriedly walked around I saw in a back corner a large garage door open erupting with lights, music, and much chatter. This space is Jamie Angell’s new home. It is exactly the spot for cool people to meet up and absorb very cool art. Angell expressed to me: “It is vital when people walk into the gallery they feel comfortable and at ease.” This goal was certainly achieved. Despite the gallery bursting with attendees when I arrived, I felt a sense of ease as I entered.
The gallery welcomes its guests to a pleasurable experience with the art, space, and fellow visitors. I walked in and was greeted by the large, bright, energetic canvases of Bradley Wood’s Armchair Tableaux. Looking at his pieces, stylish figures occupying lavish interiors, I was instantly lost and transformed into a cooler version of me. Wood’s relaxed technique, using both brush and fingers, gives his work a playful vibe. Adding to the glam and fun are the spot-on titles of his pieces, such as “Dad’s House”, bringing a huge smile to my face. How I enjoyed being transported to this world of decadence through Wood’s exhibition.
While Wood occupies the main space when you enter, it was as if Napoleon Brousseau’s exhibition was custom fit to a smaller place of the gallery. The locations of the two exhibitions perfectly enhance your experience with each artist’s work. You want to be enveloped in the chic fascination of Armchair Tableaux. As you move into the smaller space the vast enthrallment that was just felt is slightly modified with Brousseau’s In The Black. This smaller room allows for a more intimate reflection that seems necessary. Brousseau’s charcoal drawings have an eerie feeling about them. I found myself lost again but this time the crowd around me disappeared and I was completely absorbed in the shadowy pieces. These smaller drawings, all composed (with the exception of one) in black and white with smudges of grey, captivate you with their haunting mystery.
Opposite emotions were awoken within me as I explored the works of Brousseau compared to those by Wood. The juxtaposition of the two exhibitions and the way in which you interact with them in their respective spaces makes for a striking pairing. My trip to Angell Gallery’s new location was an extremely gratifying one.
*Exhibition Information: Bradley Wood: Armchair Tableaux and Napoleon Brousseau: In The Black, September 11–October 10, 2015, Angell Gallery, 1444 Dupont Street, Unit 15, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 5 p.m.