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Month: July, 2015

Who’s the Greatest Artist? The Story so Far

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Blogging can be a tricky business at best, coming up with engaging content is not always easy. Sometimes you have to set yourself a challenge to get the juices flowing. Any regular readers of this blog will have noticed an irregular set of posts entitled Who’s the Greatest Artist? What I thought would be a quick summer series has now stretched out over two years. I hadn’t really appreciated the scope of the project when I started down this road, but I would have to say it being one of the most enjoyable to research and write. Close to 14 000 words later and here we are. As I approach writing the final four face-offs: Picasso vs Van Gogh and Da Vinci vs Michelangelo, I thought I would compile the story so far.

Who's the greatest artist

Here’s the one that started it all and explains the premise – Who’s the Greatest Artist?

picasso vs rembrandt

I didn’t want to make it easy on myself so I intentionally tried to create difficult match-ups – Picasso vs Rembrandt

goya vs rothko

I liked the idea of using the artist’s likenesses in the banner for each piece – Goya vs Rothko

dali vs warhol

In my mind the outcome of some match-ups were more obvious than others – Dali vs Warhol

Da Vinci vs Duchamp

I liked this one because it pits two very intellectual artists against one another – Da Vinci vs Duchamp

bacon vs basquiat

As I went along, it was increasingly enjoyable to find the parallels between the two – Bacon vs Basquiat

cezanne vs kandinsky

This may have been one of the more difficult one’s to decide – Cezanne vs Kandinsky 

Velazquez vs Van Goght

Sometimes the two artists couldn’t be more unalike if you tried –Velazquez vs Van Gogh

michelangelo vs matisse

This was a tough one because whoever got eliminated could easily have gone on to the top of the bracket –

Michelangelo vs Matisse

That was the first round, now I had the daunting task of writing about some of the same artists all over again but try to keep it fresh. In my mind I knew I had to pace myself and if I knew a particular artist might advance I had to keep some interesting information for later. Some pairings really helped to inform the direction the piece would take. Now on to the quarter-finals.

picasso vs warhol

I made sure I found pictures where they are both wearing their ‘trademark’ striped shirts – Warhol vs Picasso

bacon vs van gogh

This one was probably the most lopsided of the bunch – Bacon vs Van Gogh

da vinci vs goya

I had to eliminate one of my all time favourites, which is always a bit difficult – Da Vinci vs Goya

michelangelo vs cezanne

David and the Giant Peach – Michelangelo vs Cezanne

This brings us up to date and soon the semi-finals. At this point, I’m still not sure who is going to take this thing and that’s part of the enjoyment. I hope you have had a fraction of the amount of pleasure reading these things as I have had writing them.

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Amy : Movie Review

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Asif Kapadia’s moving documentary Amyabout the short tragic life and career of Amy Winehouse will surely break your heart. On the eve of the 4th anniversary of her death (July 23rd 2011) we can only stop and think what could have been, how could have it all gone differently? Amy does a great job of introducing us to the person behind the persona. She felt like someone you grew up with, “a sweet girl who could tell a blue joke.” The film shows that she was driven on a path to succeed and self-destruct. In the end, she was the architect of her own life and death.

amy-winehouse-documentary-trailer-1By using archival footage, personal correspondence and interviews with the people that were closest to her; Kapadia’s film shows a portrait of an artist that comes from humble beginnings and then is devoured by the gears of fame. The sense you get is Amy never sought stardom, she only wanted to make music. She would have been happier singing to a few hundred people in a smokey jazz bar than headlining the Glastonbury Festival. Her gift for lyrics and her charisma, along with her voice (oh that voice) made her remaining relatively obscure an impossibility. Her fate was sealed the minute she stepped up to the mike and the world heard her sing. The incomparable Tony Bennett (who makes an appearance in the film) compares her voice to that of Ella or Billie. Amy Winehouse was just getting started when the booze, drugs and a toxic marriage steered her off course. The success of Rehab skyrocketed her to the unbelievable scrutiny of the press. Everywhere she went she was greeted with a blitzkrieg of flashbulbs and every miss-step became tabloid fodder. The film puts you into claustrophobic situations where the press feel so oppressive and alienating. Unfortunately this resulted in Amy retreating into more and more substances which ultimately took her life.

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But before our hearts are broken, they are filled with some pretty sweet music. Many songs get their proper due along with their lyrics. Back in 2007, I had the privilege to see Amy Winehouse live. She performed in a small club with The Dap Kings. She was at that moment in a good place and delivered on the promise of being the next Ella or Billie.

We can still ask,What could have been?” Amy was always going to be Amy, and the world both benefited by this and was devastated by it.

4/5

Can You Name the Artist by their Palette?

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The photographer Matthias Schaller has spent the last several years documenting the palettes of some of the most recognizable artists in history. Try to match the artist to the palette.

Blue Crush

Blue Crush 2015

Blue Crush 2015

More work for the show in August with my father. Info can be found here.

Gallery Hopping

Dean Baldwin Q.W.Y.C.

Dean Baldwin Q.W.Y.C.

There is something extremely satisfying about encountering the familiar in an unexpected context. This is the feeling you get when you walk through the doors at MOCCA and are greeted with Dean Baldwin’s marooned boat struggling like a fish out of water. By supplanting the yaht’s functionality Baldwin robs it of it’s elegance but embues it with its presence. We are reminded of its size and potential, especially that of its sail, who cleaves the gallery space like a knife. This is the final show at MOCCA’s Queen west location before it moves to its new building in the Junction which will open its doors sometime in 2017.

Zachari Logan Bluing 2014

Zachari Logan Bluing 2014

The next stop on my sunny afternoon gallery hop was to Paul Petro where I caught one of the final days for Zachari Logan’s Ditches, Dandies and Lions. The show consists of a variety of drawings that range from the intimate to the expansive all executed with exquisite precision and delicate handling. Good drawing can sometimes be hard to come by but Logan delivers, especially with his blue pencil portraits of weeds on Mylar.

Brad Kahlhamer The Thin Dead Figure 1997

Brad Kahlhamer The Thin Dead Figure 1997

Brad Kahlhamer channels his inner Basquait as part of I ♥ PAINT II over at the Angell Gallery. Kim Dorland has put together a small survey of contemporary painting that reflects his love of the medium. People have been proclaiming painting’s dead for the past 50 years but with shows like this that brings artists from all over the globe together, it’s obvious the world isn’t listening.

Janna Watson Violence of a Cloud

Janna Watson Violence of a Cloud

My last stop of the day was at BAU-XI where I encountered this lovely Janna Watson. She is one of those gifted painters who exhibits the right combination of flourish and restraint.

The Pleasure Seekers

The Pleasure Seekers

The Pleasure Seekers  Digital Image 2015

Getting ready for a show in August.

Happy Canada Day

Marcel Dzama Untitled 2004

Marcel Dzama Untitled 2004

This July first the artist I chose to represent our country is Marcel Dzama. He was one of the founding member’s of Winnipeg’s The Royal Art Lodge . Happy Canada Day.