The works of Marcus Berns & Ethel Shoul are shown together at Gerrard Art Space (just West of Coxwell) until Sunday, July 10th, 2016.
Scissors, Paper, Steel: 2

evite 2016

You want to go. I missed their opening reception, but there are photos here.

I’m going to mostly let my own photos speak about the art for themselves, and you’ll notice that I’ve, for the most part, photographed their work together because there’s something incredibly special about the way their styles complement each other.

They use entirely different materials:  Marc, with his literally heavy sculptures made of steel, that somehow evoke very light feelings, contrasts Ethel with her own brooding sketches, often paired with pieces of the very photographs of the moments that inspire her masterful collages. Their work, at first glance, feels raw, and the gallery’s unfinished edges plays on that tone, but when you give yourself the time to immerse yourself into each piece, or collection of pieces, you are brought into a wonderfully deep and intricate world of the characters or moments they represent or symbolize.

From Marcus Berns’ G.A.S. member page:

Three approaches drive Marc’s sculpture: structural balance, composition and texture. The first two stem from his background as an architect, the third from his fascination with the way metals respond to heat, not only in shaping but in the colour and surface quality which result from the oxyacetylene flame and form the applied welded texture. Most often he has used found objects, scrap and new steel and copper, joined them together into personally evocative and meaningful pieces.

He has worked on his sculpture in London, Johannesburg, Toronto and Chatelus Malvalieux, France in the studio of Paul Flury Sculptor. His work has been exhibited in the UK in Hampstead; the Coningsby Gallery, London as part of the Urbanite Collective; and the Bath Society of Artists. In Toronto he has exhibited at the Pentimento Gallery and GAS (Gerrard Art Space). His work is in numerous private collections in Toronto, Montreal, Vermont and London, England.

From Ethel Shoul’s G.A.S. member page:


Ethel Shoul gravitates to the buzz and theatre of the city: a crowded bus, markets, tattoo conventions, skateboard parks, and life on city streets. The city stage seethes with the movement of bodies, and momentary glimpses, caught on camera. Currently, she has found fascination with circus performers who have become her muse.She begins her pieces with mark making, layering with elements of collage, forming a patina on the surface. The artwork is photographed and produced as a Giclee print with archival paper and inks.


Studied under Joseph Albers at Yale USA  |  BFA teacher and examiner in art education  |  Post grad diploma UCL (UK)  |  Two summer schools at Banff Canad  |  Experience photographer, Mahogany Designs (UK) for Notting Hill Carnival Album – presented to The Arts Council of England  |  Awarded The Gwen Shaw Cup for Weaving by The London Guild of Weavers   |  Commission of a woven triptych for the Woodford Chapel, UK  |  Commission of six paintings for Pathways Conference Centre, S.A.  |  Exhibition at Burgh House with weaver Maggie Henton   |   Coningsby Gallery, founding member of Urban Collective, Pentimento Gallery Canada  |  First Canadian Place   |  Show with sculptor Marcus Berns at Burgh House UK  |  Open Studios, Lambeth  |   Portico Gallery  |  Whippersnappers Gallery, Dulwich UK  |  Gerrard Art Space

If you’re lucky, when you visit, you’ll get a tour from the artists themselves:

Ethel Shoul, describing her newest series, Tattoo

Ethel Shoul, describing her newest series, Tattoo

Marc, describing the differences between some private works and those on display

Marc, describing the differences between some privately owned works and those on display at Gerrard Art Space

But even without their personalized touch, you’ll feel their presence in the gallery, because this is an exhibition with a tonne of heart. Don’t miss it:


“Eye Beam”


Top left: “Moon over Athabaskan” Bottom left: “Border Fence” On pedestal: “Votive”




“Art Room” & “Loss”




“Cactus” (top half of standing sculpture) & “Golden Girl”


Foreground: “Steppin’ Out” Wall: “Smoker”




“Untitled 1”


Wall: “Loss” Pedestal: “Untitled 1”

Marc saw me taking this next photo and said “That’s the back of it!” I told him “I know, but I like to see it from both sides with Ethel’s works as part of the frame.” After which, I took the following two. Clearly, this is a piece that requires space to walk around it.


“Dancers” (rear) , Wall: “Art Room” & “Loss”




“Dancers” Wall: “Puppets in the Forest”

This last series highlights a piece of Marc’s that I’m very drawn to. I learned that it’s owned by a philosopher, and I’m not surprised. It has the sort of capacity to make you turn your thoughts around in circles and cycles in the same way that Marc’s manipulated the steel. Lucky philosopher. These photos also spotlight Ethel’s 5 part series, ‘Tattoos’, and also her ‘Smoker’.  Her ability to capture light, and highlight it with just the slightest touch of colour commands the viewer to pause and appreciate.


“Awakening” & “Tattoos”


Wall: “Smoker”, foreground: “Awakening”


Thank you Marcus Berns & Ethel Shoul, for gracing Toronto with your art.

Marcus Berns, with his art-loving grandson, Mike McGown

Marcus Berns, with his art-loving grandson, Mike McGown, below  “Puppets in the Forest, “Punch and Friend” and “Pippet in the Landscape” by Ethel

Lee-Anne, Mike, 'The Art Room', and Ethel

Lee-Anne (@littlebitesbig), Mike (Longboard Haven), “The Art Room”, Ethel, “Loss”

About Gerrard Art Space: You can also follow them on Twitter @gerrardartspace and like them on Facebook.

about G.A.S


Given my complete love of alleys and any kind of wandering amble through new spaces, one of my good friends asked me recently if I wanted to go for a walk through some alleys in Liberty Village.

The day turned out to be one of those insanely beautiful and crisply cold ones, where you really want to stay in the sun and out of the shadows, but we ambled on.

After fuelling up on the home-style soups that have been on the roster at Liberty Village Market and Cafe, since long before the area exploded with condos and fancy furniture stores, we took a left turn towards the water.  The sky was clear and welcomed us to look upward, which lead to seeing these delightful windows:

View from JeffersonDespite them being above our heads we, for some reason, decided to go into the door below them, and came across this awesome ‘outdoor’  living space:

sunroofs and patio chairs

On one of the walls, there was also a tattered and yellowed map of the area from the time I had just been reminiscing about…

It was neat to be in here, but it definitely felt like we were trespassing on someone’s private patio, so we went back outside to try to figure out where those fluorescent pink letters were to lead us. We had to go UP the stairs, and open this big silver door:

UP the stairs!

The pink letters in the windows outside say “I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU is a gallery. I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU is a design studio. I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU is a sweat shop.” And, that’s pretty much an incredibly accurate description of the small, but vibrant and active space within.

sweat shop

These words on the wall are the same as her about page:

about i have a crush on you

The room is filled with fabulous old and new kitschy accoutrement, and the materials that are needed to make them. In fact, when we first arrived, we interrupted Amy Kwong, gallery/store/sweatshop owner in the middle of making this fantastic sign.

wpid-img_20141121_120022.jpg wpid-img_20141121_120232.jpgShe apologized for the the glitter and the glue everywhere, but I felt rather honoured! In fact, even though it’s a retail space, it feels like you’re getting a secret peak into an artist’s space, where you get to see inspiration, process, AND finished products.


Creepy Santa Photo Booth is alarmingly adorable, and has seemingly been a hit, according to social media accounts!


Amy is incredibly sweet, and she strikes the perfect balance between letting us quietly browse, and excitedly explaining the reasons why she carries some of her products.

Amy KwongThis one made me laugh out loud, and I immediately told her about my poor friend Nyree who was stuck on a bus in New York while we spoke, and who I thought would have TRULY appreciated this pillow/accessory.  wpid-img_20141121_115650.jpg

BlogTO has a great feature on this store too, and they clearly have a better camera than me, so their photos better highlight the amazing selection of quirky and whimsical products on offer. In fact, they say in their feature, that this is the place to go “if you need a sassy greeting card for your friend with an offbeat sense of humour.”  And I did. I bought one that was so simple but was of two girls drinking tea or like, whiskey, and in big, bold letters it says “Have I told lately that you are freaking awesome?”

Well, I’d like to say the same to you, I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU, you are freaking awesome and exactly the kind of space with real personality that Liberty Village needs to cradle and love and protect like a small, creepy, porcelain doll.

Located at 51 Jefferson Ave, and on-line with Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Check her out!

Also, given that we went on the walk to find cool shots in the alleys and near by… here are a few from the immediate vicinity of the shop:

wpid-img_20141121_120810.jpg wpid-img_20141121_120654.jpg

wpid-img_20141121_121615.jpg wpid-img_20141121_121010.jpg wpid-img_20141121_121404.jpg

October 18-November 15, 2014
MKG127 – 1445 Dundas Street West – Wednesday to Saturday 12-6 (or by appointment)

As I’ve mentioned in this previous review of Ken Nicol’s-every3point65, I frequently see, and am intrigued by MKG127’s exhibits when the gallery is closed. The same is the case for their current exhibit. In their front space is a series of twelve, white cards, which appear to be blank when you’re looking in from the outside, until your eyes focus more and it’s clear that the pages each have five lines of embossed text on them with varying lengths and themes. They invite you to pause, look closer, and to quietly consider the objects, sensations, and situations that are listed.

“Like all of these things hovering between appearance and disappearance, the words fade in and out of view while observed.”

Matas' vast, constant, irreversible (1)

vast, constant, irreversible – by Sylvia Matas

With sixty lines of text to meditate upon, I obviously encourage you to visit the exhibit yourself, but here are my two favourite sets:

Matas' vast, constant, irreversible (2)

“mind / rain or being rained on / crystal or glass…”

Matas' vast, constant, irreversible (3)

“dizziness or whirlpools / white / being seen or stared at / spirits”

I frequently appreciate the way that this gallery has a striking contrast between their front space and their back space, and this was the case today. As you make your way through the small archway, you’re bombarded with”What Box?” by Laura Kikauka.

Kikauka's what box (5)

At first glance, the exhibit is daunting. You might say to yourself, ‘what is all this crap?,’ but as you delve into it, you start to recognize elements of each of the dioramas that are a part of your own history, or your current daily existence. I felt quite drawn to the second from the left in this first  photo, “Princess Awakes” because of its use of a plastic fruit basket as habitat for the idea. I have a number of these in my kitchen, which I collect after grocery shopping, because there’s something beautiful about them, and I reuse them for draining things. I recently found out from a vendor at the Junction Farmer’s Market that he would gladly take some off my hands, but I digress. Kikauka playfully examines our attachment to such trinkets and decoration, using a wide variety of materials.

Here are my four favourites from this section:

The work in the exhibition was created at Kikauka’s Funny Farm, a living installation located near Meaford in rural Ontario.  The dioramas are sculptural collages created from Kikauka’s collections of ephemera gathered locally as well as during her years based in Berlin. …

Kikauka’s work is inspired and derived from decades of on-going collecting of found objects. Employing the formal strategy of meticulously sorting and organizing these objects, as well as modifying or transforming them, she then creates specifically themed and coded installations that transform gallery and exhibition spaces into densely packed, highly detailed installations.

Kikauka's what box (11)

You’ll notice in this photo of a mannequin, looking at itself in a mirror, where its blazer, hat and many of the other pieces in the installation are visible as well. This piece is called “Who are you wearing?” and it mocks the very notion of asking such a question on red carpet galas (or in this case magenta). I appreciated the nod of the hat to the old styles of labelling of well-made clothes, with delicately embroidered logos and care instructions. Many of these stores and brands are long gone, taking with them that attention to detail.

Kikauka’s installations establish a highly specific visual (and often audio) language that blends the increasingly overlapping worlds of high and low art forms. In general Laura’s ‘excessive aesthetic’ is comparable to urban archeology and addresses issues of consumer culture, and the question of good and bad taste. It also celebrates failure in a humourous and ironic manner.

This next piece “NEW MATERIALS ONLY” was in motion, slowly turning on an electric sort of lazy susan.

Laura’s categorization speaks of similarities and differences. The Funny Farm studios in rural Meaford and former ones in Berlin & NY are living and working spaces treated as on-going installations that exemplify, through a density of detail her interest in low class consumer culture. It is with a sense of sarcasm and empathy that she explores this reoccurring theme.

Strata Variants

Strata Variants

Kikauka's what box (17)For fear of not being able to represent it accurately, I didn’t take any photos of the video installation, which was created in collaboration with designer and software developer, Carl Hamfelt, but I highly recommend spending some time with it. It’s an elevated square, filled with nine square cubic spaces, each with a diorama on one side and a video projection on the other side, which is visible through. It wasn’t clear to me whether the projections were meant to highlight or contrast with the pieces within it, but it’s beautiful. Two of the cubes showcased a diagonal line of white dominoes with writing on the backs of them. I noticed that one of the dominoes had been knocked over, and I asked the gallery attendant (is that an appropriate term?) whether that was intentional. She said that there were so many elements of this exhibition that she had trouble keeping track, but that the artist, Laura, tended to take the stance that if it happens, it might be meant to be in that particular installation. This lead us to a new discussion of our favourite pieces, and she pointed out this:

One of the box pieces had a fly attached to the dust on one of its components. It wasn’t intentional, but Laura loved it and insisted that it stay.

When we were there, I also showed her my favourite piece, which I first photographed on a perpendicular angle, by bending down. Upon re-examination, I realized I had missed a whole portion of this tiny little 4.5×4.5 inch piece! There was a coaster on the top surface of it that I used to own when I was a little girl. I had already been incredibly attracted to the use of the plastic mold that holds and protects wedding cake top figurines in their packaging to be the focal element “Direction Unknown,” but this made me love it even more:

Despite the bright colours that permeate this exhibit, there’s a dark, gloominess to it, and for me, “Domino Effect” illustrated this best.

Domino Effect Domino Effect

I’m not sure if it’s because I was already experiencing a deep sensation of nostalgia in the space, but I was brought back to that scene in Empire Records where they fake Deb’s funeral, so that she can hear, out loud, the kinds of loving things they’d have said about her if she’d actually taken her own life.

I didn’t realize how tired I had been until I captured “Favorite DJ”. Normally I wouldn’t keep a photo of myself in a review, but something tells me that the artist wants us to consider whether or not we ourselves are our favourite djs. I still took a second shot without me in the frame, which ended up being one of my favourite ones I captured in the whole visit:

These last four images illustrate how much I enjoyed the titling, naming, and labelling in this exhibit. All of the pieces in the gallery, on their own, are fascinating and visually appealing, but the titles are what make them accessible, memorable and memory-inducing.

Well done, Laura Kikauka. I had only expected to go grab some groceries on this outing, but you took me on a journey into my childhood, through my awkward teenagehood and back to the present to think about the ways I live my life with ‘stuff’ in my current… hood.

What Box? by Laura Kikauka with Carl Hamfelt

(Fantastic, concise, well-written review of What Box? by @TerenceDick is available on the Akimbo Blog HERE)

Front Space: vast, constant, irreversible by Sylvia Matas
October 18-November 15, 2014
MKG127 – 1445 Dundas Street West – Wednesday to Saturday 12-6 (or by appointment)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was slightly dissatisfied with Nuit Blanche this year. Why? For the same reasons that so many other nay-sayers seem to list:  It’s too crowded with drunks, it’s too corporately sponsored, you have to travel really far between exhibits, and, frankly, I see more art on an average outing than I’m able to access during the busy party night.

BUT, every year I’m always incredibly moved and impressed with whatever is installed near Casa Loma. This year I got to explore the grounds of Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens, which is a Toronto Landmark that I had never visited before.

It’s at the top of the Baldwin Steps, which go directly up from the top of Spadina at Davenport.  We, however, did not take those steps. We biked up the insanely steep top of Walmer Road, halting and heaving before it curves up and into Austin Terrace.

Casa Loma in all its glory.

Casa Loma in all its glory.

nb'14 roundup (1)We parked our bikes at the top of the steps and were welcomed by the Spadina Museum volunteers. They were pleasant and smiling and it was a lovely start to our night.

Elemental, presented by the Art Science Collective Canada was made up of 11, multi-media exhibits “which include interactive light sculpture and live percussion in an enchantingly beautiful and vast natural setting.” Guiding us down a mulched pathway were some white twinkly lights, before we emerged into the yard and were struck with the incredible beauty of the beginning of ‘Fabric of the Universe.’

The depth of this piece still sits with me

The depth of this piece still sits with me

These were giant light projections on trees. The wind would blow and the leaves would flutter, and the image would seem both alive, and quite still. I wasn’t able to capture great photos of them, but I can still remember how I felt seeing them. I was awe struck. They ranged in shape from a mathematical interpretation of a water droplet, to a humongous insect on its hind legs, seemingly ready to lunge out at its audience. It was meant to be interactive, with the space for people to participate with the light, but we were lucky enough to get there at the beginning and see the installation before people started to do so.

After, I was struck by the muted light of Hortense Gerardo‘s piece, Shadow Proof House. She wasn’t performing yet, so when I looked into the window, I was lucky enough to see her walk towards her ‘stage’ and begin her movement.  Monologues and music, coupled with light play and dance, her performance allowed for and required a moment of calm reflection. In the short time I stood, watching and listening, I saw many pairs come up and snap a selfie before scurrying off to some of the larger, more colourful exhibits. If my partner had seemed more interested, I would have gladly stood and watched for more than a few minutes.

Monologues over a speaker, light projections and dance. A moment of peace. Beautiful

Monologues over a speaker, light projections and dance. A moment of peace. Beautiful

These were the first two exhibits I saw at Nuit Blanche, and they remained my favourite, even after travelling the city to see many more.

I went out for another bike ride the next day, because the afternoon, which had threatened thunderstorms, turned out to be gorgeous, warm and bright. On Dupont, down an alley, I noticed this geometric pattern on a doorway, and went closer to check it out:

nb'14 roundup (27) nb'14 roundup (28)

After this, I went back to the bottom of the Baldwin Stairs, where I saw the familiar sticker slaps of Lovebot the Robot and a snail mimicking the colours of a transformed electrical box, just in the time I spent locking up my bike:

nb'14 roundup (29) nb'14 roundup (30)

Then I joined many other people who were climbing the stairs one or more times (I chose twice; enough to get my heart rate going but not enough to be too sweaty!)

nb'14 roundup (31)

The city looked just as beautiful to me in the daylight, but I tore myself away from a view of the downtown and made my way up the path towards the Spadina House:

nb'14 roundup (48)

I entered in the same way I had the night before, going by the unlit twinkly lights and soggy exhibition sign, before emerging into the yard. Again, it was a sight to see.

All that remained from the night before was a barely-trampled line of grass, leading to the tree with the dark, round green image above. But in the light, I was able to explore the grounds, and travel in and amongst the trees that were the canvases/screens the night before:

And I was able to walk freely in the maze-like garden, that had been guarded by this same owl the night before:

nb'14 roundup (38)I was able to get a close up look at the puffs that cast ghostly shadows over this building in the dark of the night:

nb'14 roundup (39)

And get a much better shot of the turtle that had stolen my heart on our way off the Spadina grounds:

nb'14 roundup (47)

BUT, the best part was, that one of the buildings I had been in the night before was open!

nb'14 roundup (46)

So I went in and was privy to the storage of some of the costumes that had been displayed in spotlights all over the grounds a mere half day earlier:

nb'14 roundup (44) nb'14 roundup (43) nb'14 roundup (42) nb'14 roundup (41)

Along with some drying flowers from the surrounding gardens:

nb'14 roundup (45)

The whole visit felt very clandestine, but it was clear that the space was open to the public as well. I came across a young dad who was tossing a frisbee with his pup while his baby slept in a carriage, and an awkward photographing teen, whose DSLR may or may not have been the cause of his nervous slouch. I saw tourists posing with plaques and lovers admiring flowers, and the whole property felt alive.

I would never have thought to come up to the area that afternoon if I hadn’t been exploring it the night before, but I was glad to take the time to see it in all its daytime beauty, and take note of some of the upcoming activities:

nb'14 roundup (50)

So, Nuit Blanche, as in previous years, you’ve reawakened my desire to explore further reaches of my city, to see the natural beauty, statues and public art that exist on a daily basis, and to continue to find the hidden gems in the alleyways on route:



Nuit Blanche weekend has come and gone again, and so has the cycle of yay and nay-sayers; the participants and the avoiders; the stoked and the mildly dissatisfied. I’d say that I actually fit into all these categories.  As a relatively frequent attendee to arts events in Toronto, there’s a part of me that snickers at those that pile in by the thousands to ‘art.’

Yes, as a verb:nb'14 roundup (20)

I held back on writing this review until I’d had a couple weeks to let it sink in, and I’m glad I did. I was angry on that Saturday night / Sunday morning. There were elements of this year’s event that were so poorly planned they made me feel embarrassed to have visitors come into ‘my’ city and see it in such a state. If we were on one side of Queen Street and wanted to get to the other… without hopping a fence, we couldn’t. And crossing University to get to the rest of Queen Street? It felt like a massive rush mob in a movie, hundreds, if not thousands of people being held back from (minimal) traffic by some very stressed out looking cops [minus one that I adorably saw getting a crowd to get into a MARCO… POLO sound off]. But that road should have just been closed off. It doesn’t make sense to have so many people being part of a seeming street festival where you can walk around without care, and then suddenly have to pay attention to street lights in the very middle of it. I didn’t make it onto Spadina in Chinatown, but heard from other revellers that was in a similar state of highly cordoned, anti-chaos (yet yielding more confusion).

As many people said on social media, one of the best parts of this year’s Nuit Blanche was the food trucks… but… is this how we welcome people to sit and enjoy the new trends??

really? the dining area is next to the garbage bin and (out of shot to my left) the rows of porta potties!?

really? The dining area is next to a dumpster (but no garbage cans) and (out of shot to my left) the row of porta potties!?

I still think that Nuit Blanche is important to our city, and for our city and, though I’ll likely change my game plan a bit next year (as in, I will look through the installations ahead of time to specifically seek out the ones that sound either secluded and/or amazing), I will continue to attend.

Why? Because not everyone gets the chance to scour alleyways for graffiti or go to galleries and exhibit openings. During Nuit Blanches, yes, there are huge, corporately sponsored messages of propagandistic ‘art’ and blatant, poorly thought out advertising for things like cars, but there are also dozens, if not hundreds of emerging artists being vulnerable to an unusually large audience.

But, having said that, Toronto is filled with art on a daily basis, so if you’re not into snaking your way through massive lines and crowds in the middle of the night, then go out and see any of the hundreds of art galleries that fill our neighbourhoods with local art every day of the week.

Here is a very quick visual tour through how I experienced Nuit Blanche.

One of the best moments in the evening was when we decided to sit in Queen’s Park to drink a beer. There was a team of twelve to fifteen drummers who were clearly getting ready to perform in front of a nearly non-existent audience. But after this, the crowd began to show up. Quickly.

In fact, if you know Queen’s Park, you know that there are paved paths that come into the centre, towards the giant bronze horse in the middle. I looked around me between dancing and saw that people were RUNNING towards the sound from every direction. It was beautiful. It was like we had accidentally come across the kind of genuine human interaction that most people who go out for the ‘all night art thing’ are truly craving.

For the most part, I just want to be visually stimulated, which can and does happen on a nearly daily basis. I went out again the next day, and in my next post, I revisit the very places that held some of (best) twelve hour exhibits, to show that the places that exhibit the art can be a spectacle in and of themselves, and also that the journeys to and from the art can be just as filled with artistic expressions as the final destination.

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


“If a thing is worth doing once, it’s worth doing again.” ~ carl andre

I am lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood that is so filled with art galleries, I often don’t even notice when a new exhibit is being installed, or sometimes even if one has been up for a while.

This wasn’t the case for Ken Nicol’s every3point65 at mkg127. Rarely is the gallery actually open during the times I’d walked by it since Nicol’s opening on February 15th. I noticed the exhibit frequently, though, and even when it was closed, because of the truly eye-catching slight daily variance in his striking piece in the front window. ’32 Cubes in 32 Ways’ is literally that: a gradient of 32 cubes that range in size from just over an inch cubed, down to minuscule, nearly invisible.

concentric bidirectional 32 cubes

So last Wednesday, on my way home from pumping myself full of cold-fighting tea and Phở Rau Cải Đậu Hủ (Rice noodle soup with mixed vegetable & tofu), from Phoenix Restaurant, I noticed that the 32 cubes had changed from a perfect circle that almost seemed to be moving in opposite directions, into a square formation. I also was delighted to see movement inside the gallery! Read More

%d bloggers like this: