Review: Halina Stopyra & Jay Bell Redbird TOGETHER at Communication Gallery

Communication Gallery on Harbord Street at Bathurst is a small but dynamic space, which is a frequent roll-by for Toronto cyclists. You can see most of what is on exhibit as you bike past, but on Friday I was stopped in my tracks!

The strength of the sun, the crispness of the light, and the intensity of the painting allowed for it to appear to be part of the tree just outside of the gallery:


It was magical.

I went inside to tell this man what I had seen and we engaged in a lovely conversation about his artwork, and that of his partner, Halina. They used to live in Toronto, but have recently moved up to Tiny Beaches, Ontario where they work and live amongst the gorgeous waters at the base of Georgian Bay


Communication Gallery’s website has this sentence as its slogan, below its title:

the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, feelings or information

It is fitting and appropriate, because in the short time I spent in the gallery, I was able to conjure up a deep, lasting nostalgic memory of spending time with my Nana and Uncle Snug, who have long passed, and an appreciation for the amount of time I spent in and around Southern Ontario lakes in my childhood.  This was instigated by a gasping, whispered ‘holy shit’ about these two:

The spirit lives by Jay Bell Redbird

“The Spirit Lives”. Acyrlic on printed photo, Jay Bell Redbird

These were created to honour and remember his late Mom, who really loved the sunrises and sunsets on the waters pictured.

Sometimes the most telling art review is simply, “Wow.”

As my regular readers will know, I really enjoy capturing an artist in the act of creating, and asked for Jay’s permission to do just so. The portion he was doing was literally ‘watching paint dry,’ as he was preparing a piece for that evening’s Royal Ontario Museum’s Friday Night Live, which was themed ‘Indigenous Now.’

Jay waiting for his piece dry

Jay’s work is beautifully paired with Halina Stopyra’s paintings and while both artists use colour with vigour, Halina frames realistic, yet fantastical portraits that couple the individual spirit with the natural world around us.

Halina paintings

Halina specializes in commissioned paintings, which are personalized expressions of her clients’ unique inner spirits. She starts with a free, in-depth consultation where she’ll listen to your story, connecting ruling planet, archetype, symbols, ideal natural settings, colours, and elements.  Her portraits are frequently rendered on doors, as a doorway represents a passage or transformation, and Halina’s personalized portraits offer those represented a reminder that transformation is always ready to take place.

The exhibition is small, but can and will captivate you for quite some time. It runs until June 19th, but if you can’t make it between 12 and 7pm, you’ll still be able to enjoy it from the outside.


For more information or to inquire about commissioned pieces, you can contact Jay at and Halina at



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