Book Review – Painters Eleven: a Brief Lesson in Canadian Art History

by Lorette C. Luzajic

There is vivid, exciting art culture in Canada beyond our stunning natural landscape and the Group of Seven, who translated that heritage into a national treasure and revealed it to the world. The Group of Seven has become synonymous with Canadian art, and no one in their right mind fails to be moved by the distinctive work on the interplay of light through Canada’s northern forests. However, the prominence and popularity of these iconic works at home and abroad has in some respects obscured the rest of Canadian art history.

In her new book, Iris Nowell explains how The Painters Eleven were dubbed the “wild ones” for defying societal politesse and Canada’s longstanding cultural identification with landscape and still life. It was the 1940s, back when Toronto the Good was cloyingly puritanical. The end of WW2, burgeoning prosperity, the commitment to ethnic harmony for which Toronto is internationally known, middle class expansion, and the end of repressive, prohibitive liquor laws were the first glimmers of a cosmopolitan, urban future for Ontario.

The Group of Seven rose to acclaim during the 1920s, and it is hard to believe that they were considered by some outrageous for the lack of realism in their landscape works. Concentrating on light and shadow, making use of thick lines and bold, opaque bursts of colour, their art did not comply with the quaint and appropriate Canadiana expected by artistic associations.

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In this animated short from Gobelins titled ‘Jazzin’, a jazz fan gets carried away by the music somewhere in the United States during the 1930′s. When the guy is dancing in the streets, you’ll notice similarities to Gene Kelly’s moves in ‘Singing in the Rain’.

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Well done!

The solo show by installation and video artist Elaine Buckholtz, Light Making Motion: Works on Paper and in Light, will be taking over the entire Electric Works Gallery on July 8th, 2011, for an exhibition featuring video, light-based work and works on paper, which will employ video projection, channeled light plates, a trove of optical devices in vitrines and vibrant prints on the wall.

The projections and light-bending apparatus charge the exhibition space with an otherworldly glow that alters the viewers’ perceptions. Buckholtz’ presentations of transformed objects and lenses into visual apparatus feel like a peek behind the curtain in the Wizard’s laboratory: using the various optical devices around the gallery, viewers will have the chance to interact with the exhibition.

The show runs through August 20, 2011.

Visit Elaine Buckholtz’s website to see more of her work.

On the surface, Italian artist Valentina Brostean’s beautiful digital art and traditional paintings are surreal and grotesque, with its audience appreciating the subject matter, skill and curiosity it conveys. However the pieces she creates offer deeper meaning and reflect on the artists views on life and personal experience. Not only does she create these wonderments, she designs posters, mixed media collages, posters, characters and books. We had the pleasure of interviewing Valentina Brostean and found out how young she was when she first started drawing, the process involved and the challenges she faces in creating her haunting masterpieces.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

At this point of my life I am in the process of moving to Torino and the only one you can blame for it is LOVE itself. I fell in love with a very special person who lives there so suddenly my compass turned into that direction. Considering that I am very intuitive person I just followed my internal voice and this is the result of it. Before that  I spent some time in the States working on several projects, exhibiting my work, and I also lived and worked for a long time in my native city where I grew up and studied – Novi Sad in Vojvodina/Serbia.


I always loved to travel and be on the road – discovering new places and cultural backgrounds and I would like to professionally continue that way in the future too..but at this moment I sincerely hope that Torino will be the town of my forthcoming future, my new starting point for all my new exciting creative moves.

What were your influences growing up?

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The loss of a human being with such innate talent such as designer Alexander McQueen was truly heartbreaking and tragic. He is a legend sorely missed. There is one bright side in the fact that his legacy continues to live on through his work, through his fashion designs as well as his jewelry creations.

Here are some gorgeous, hard core, skull cocktail rings, that just like his dresses at Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at Metropolitan Museum of Art, have a life and lore all of their own.

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These gorgeous lighting designs inspired by nature are made from driftwood by French eco-designer Bleu Nature.

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Anima Mundi, a solo exhibition by the renowned German artist, Imi Knoebel is currently on show at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris. In this selection of new works Knoebel illustrates the brilliance of his minimalist approach to color in a series of small paintings: five single, two pairs, two groups of three, two four and two five part works that all reflect the highly personal clear view the artist has of color and geometry.

Anima Mundi 36-5

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