Opening Reception: November 23, 2017
1313 Queen St. West, Toronto
This collective exhibit of 20 artists who draw was as diverse and eclectic as it gets in the art world. A jam packed crowd came to see and celebrate at the opening reception. While the actual five guys who started the tradition of these weekly drawing sessions thirty years ago were not there, the spirit of what they started was certainly present. Artist and filmmaker Chris Landreth who said he had been part of the drawing ritual for only 20 years had some great works using paint on cut wood that had a film reference. Landreth had won an Academy Award for his animated short film, RYAN, in 2005 and has been a developer of animation software. As it turned out it was not just life study drawings on display but paintings and some other medias of contemporary art.
Paria Shahverdi, an Iranian Canadian, had worked as a journalist in Tehran during the war. The drawing sessions provided her with a welcome group of artists to join in with. Mexican Canadian, Jesus Mora, a prolific local artist, had a work with a drawing of a Mexican journalist who was murdered in Mexico.
Exhibition organizer, Peter Campbell, had two striking works in the show, one of them was also featured on the invitation. He had been busy putting together the details of the reception and was clearly exhausted by the evenings end. Artist, Nancy Oakes, a former Gallery 1313 member, was pleasantly surprised when she sold a piece. Though it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all, in fact it was only a surprise that more works had not been sold at the opening reception.
While not part of the main exhibit Gilles Morin’s computer-generated paintings, Blurred Lines in the Cell Gallery, were a good match as a complimentary exhibit. His bold use of colour in capturing the human figure in a modernist fashion was striking. In the back, in the Process Gallery Artifacts, Artefacts added some humour in Pam Patterson and Leena Raudvee’s clever parody photo documentation. They donned some military garb and posed in the cockpit of aircraft at the National Airforce Museum of Canada. Patterson could not be at the reception but artistic partner Raudvee reveled in the reactions of gallery visitors to their fictitious recreations and text.
Artist James Soper‘s landscape painting got lots of deserved attention and artist Tania Simoes had a wonderful self portrait in a green leafy background with a little Georgia O’Keefe influence. Kerry Kim, who has been teaching as well as installing at the AGO in the past, had two well crafted portrait paintings in the exhibit. Andrew Avalos added a little humour with his mixed media work. North Clark’s work had a contemporary touch to it, and retired teacher Doug Stratford had a painting study in the show. Steven Lewis, not to be confused with the politician, participated with a very respectful life study. The 5 Lovely Guys exhibit was hardly gender specific and painters Meri Collier and Anupa Khemadasa with their colourful works brought that message home.
The legacy of the 5 Lovely Guys seems to be on a continuing path. Organizers are looking at a future exhibit next year and, of course, the weekly sessions will continue to give these artists a regular way to hone their craft and keep drawing. Go figure.
Text and photo: Phil Anderson
*Exhibition information: November 22 – December 2, 2017, Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sun, 1 – 6 pm.