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Night Bus

Night Bus

Night Bus Digital Image 2015

Cherry Front

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Cherry Front 2015

GrowOp 2017 @ the Gladstone Hotel

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Fables and Shadows Martha Griffith 2017

This is the 5th year for The Gladstone Hotel’s annual Grow Op exhibition, and 2017’s selection makes the strong argument: this is one of the must see shows of the season. Curators Christine Leu and Alan Webb with Lukus Toane have put together a rich ensemble of works that address the idea of landscape, habitat and environment.

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Rebecca Jane Houston

20170420_132231Stark Olga Klosowski

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Orchestration Lindy Wilkins and Dushan Milic

The show is a delight from beginning to end. It explores the music of weather, the power of an avocado pit, hidden histories, sandbox topographies, walking on eggshells, mini ecosystems, cloud-gazing, starfruit patterns and the secret world of snails among other things. It ‘s on from the 19-23. If you missed this year’s show be sure to pencil it in for next; Toronto’s art landscape is all the richer for it.

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Fables and Shadows detail

Marvelous Taffy Face

the revolution

Marvelous Taffy Face    2014 digital image

Black Star

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Black Star Digital image 2014

Windmill 10

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Windmill 10 2009 Acrylic on wood

Here’s one from my Burning Windmill series.

Is the Interweb making us stupid?

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All knowledge is two YouTube videos away. You need to fix your garage door opener; there’s a YouTube video for that. How do I install a toilet? There’s a YouTube video for that. What’s the hero’s journey according to Joseph Campbell? YouTube. What’s the difference between an ionic and covalent bond? YouTube, YouTube, YouTube and so on. I say two YouTube videos because not all YouTube videos are created equal, as well you need the second one to confirm the findings of the first one and lastly if you’re like me you have trust issues. Who does this guy think he is explaining the laws of thermal dynamics anyways?

So why with such a rich wealth of knowledge at our fingertips are we becoming so stupid?

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We really don’t have to look any further than the comment section directly underneath our lovely YouTube University. For every drop of insight there’s a sea of ignorance. Everything’s political and no one’s listening to anything that diverts their emotional base. My new pet peeve are the political videos that claim So-and-So DESTROYS So-and-So. The only thing being destroyed here is the value of words. In most cases casual viewers cherry-pick their team’s words and claim instant victory. Discourse is healthy unless it becomes a Garfield without Garfield comic where you remove your opponents ideas from influencing you in anyway. Destroys: the ball hasn’t moved an inch.

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Both sides of the argument are equally guilty of demonizing the opposing team and the internet is a giant megaphone. How did so many smart people get sucked into such a stupid predicament? This sounds like a textbook example of hell: you’ll  be condemned to a circular argument with a deaf, dumb and blind troll with a bullhorn for eternity. Insert proper cliche here. Indignation has become the designer drug of the 21st century.

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Maybe the potential of the internet was too good for us and we weren’t meant to have nice things. Maybe we should just stick to Aunt Petunia’s gardening blog and call it a day. Maybe politicians do have our best interests in mind. Maybe internet trolls are really doing God’s work and exposing the flimsiness of our convictions. Maybe brawn over brain is the way to go. Maybe facts don’t really matter. Maybe listening and compromise are antiquated ideals.  Maybe a world without Art is better off. Maybe we get what we deserve. Maybe… but no.

Don’t be stupid.

 

Difference of Opinion

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Difference of Opinion 2017

Work in progress; this is a digital re-imagining of a painting I did years ago. Feels kinda relevant at the moment.

Myths and Confetti

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Myths and Confetti 2016 

Film Critics: You’re Doing it Wrong

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I wonder how many decisions go into making a movie? A hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand …..more? Casting alone would present a thousand questions with multiple outcomes. Just to make it a little more complicated; let’s introduce a well established canon with a built in fan-base, but at the same time try to branch out and create something altogether new. Oh ya, and there is also potentially billions of dollars riding on the decisions you make. I think those last few factors may have some influence on the way you go about things. So what do you do?

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

You go out and make Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One a Star Wars story,……. then you market the crap out of all the decisions you made, then collectively hold your breath and see what the fans think, and then check your receipts, and then … maybe see what the critics are saying. So what are the critics saying? In the case of the two movies mentioned above: the consensus for both of them is that ‘they are both at home in the universes they inhabit with a welcome cast of new characters that create an enjoyable chapter to expand their canons but are not without their flaws’. Highly serviceable to borderline satisfactory. Wow brings a tear to the eye!

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As of this moment we have yet to create the perfect blockbuster movie that satisfies everyone. The reason being; there are too many specified factions to appease. How do you cater to the hardcore fans and the uninitiated simultaneously? They both require two different things that often run in direct opposition to one another. Now that we reaffirm all our own beliefs and opinions on social media, we can pick and choose the reviews that suit our experiences. If you want a nostalgia based Easter-egg laced review you’ll get it for the nod and wink crowd. If you’re more into the opportunity missed, what I would have done differently review, they’re multiplying like rabbits. If middle of the road, should I spend my money on this is more to your liking than just glance at the overall percentages or box office receipts.

A few things that need to be considered: what do you want to get out of the movie going experience? We all want to be entertained, ideally through our heads and our hearts but how high are our standards? Is anything short of (insert your favourite movie here) passable. Can a movie even come close to the character development and long range storytelling that we are spoiled with in the Golden Age of television? How much ownership do we have to these worlds and why do we take our entertainment so personally?

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Everyone’s a critic, myself included. I watched both films discussed and was happy with the results. The kid in me was tapping myself on the shoulder exclaiming “did you see what they did there?” more times than my inner critic poking me in the back saying”did you see what they did there?”.  I will probably get the DVD’s when they come out (because I’m a Philistine that loves dated technology) and watch them over and over high-fiving my inner child the whole time. Mission accomplished.

How’s that for a review?