Saturday, August 10, 2013

Opening August 17th loop artist Ian McLean's 'Conditions' and Guest artist Norm Barney's 'Original Aboriginal Art'

Ian McLean: Conditions
Norm Barney: Original Aboriginal Art

Opening: August 17th- September 8th, 2013
Reception: Saturday, August 17th, 2-5 pm

Ian McLean's 'Guy Wire' 50"x 50", oil on canvas

McLean’s Conditions explores relationships between social and natural worlds.  The environments contain elements of the familiar but are usually imagined places.  At all times, these images suggest efforts to contain, control, manipulate, or avoid circumstances of nature as evidenced in highly groomed and domesticated environments.  The implied narratives usually reflect a deep-seated desire for comfort or beauty or distraction.

Based in Bright’s Grove, Ontario, McLean studied at the University of Guelph and has exhibited widely at several public and commercial galleries.  He is a recent recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Visual Artist Grant and his work is found in collections across Canada and internationally.  Ian is represented in Toronto by loop Gallery.

Norm Barney's ''Time', 20.5" x 23.5"    2013

Barney’s Original Aboriginal Art explores and subverts the stereotypes of ’Indians’ as shown through tourist kitsch objects. These mixed media artworks reflect the artist’s complicated relationship with his own Native heritage. This poignant, comedic, and political body of work uses bizarre combinations of antique figurines repurposed with modern materials and bright colours to give new meaning to old, but still contemporary, issues of identity.

Barney was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Presently his studio is in Petrolia, Ontario. He has been an active artist for thirty years. Since he has a background of Chippewa heritage, much of his recent work explores this side of his identity.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Last chance to see Frank Perna's Water/Sky/Scapes at loop


            Frank Perna: Water/Sky/Scapes

'Canyon Pooling' Frank Perna, arylic on wood panel, 48" x 36" 2013

Thurs, Aug 8, 12-5pm. 
Fri, Aug 9,12-5pm. 
Sat, Aug 10, 12-5pm. 
Sun, Aug 11, 1-4pm.
Featuring paintings photo-referenced from the Kawartha Lakes area, Frank Perna'sWater/Sky/Scapes explores the visual abstraction already inherent in nature. Also on view isPerna's Cappadocia (Turkey) series focusing on fantastic landscape forms shaped by volcanic millennia and occupied by hermits and early Christians who escaped Roman occupation by carving into and hiding in caves and the labyrinthian underground.
Frank Perna is a Toronto-based artist and curator who has exhibited across North America. He is a graduate of the Ontario college of Art, and has been working as a visual artist out of Toronto and southern Ontario for over 30 years. In 1989, he produced the underground graphic novel, Preservation of Obscurity, published by Lump of Squid comics. He has received numerous artist grants and his work has been placed in private collections all over Canada.
Don’t miss the closing reception presenting live musical guests, The Woodshed Brass Orchestra on Sunday August 11th at 2 pm.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


a visit with Richard Sewell

Your studio images remind me of a science lab. What experiments are taking place in there??

 You are right. My studio does function like a laboratory, as wherelocal is an investigation about a category of located occurrence that we call image. One’s ability to observe a located object as image is effected by one’s experience; the need to do so affects one’s culture. wherelocal is an investigation which considers these two occurrences- observation and image, to be also conjoined to a specific (albeit often hidden) morality. Morality in this context is also located as within one’s (the observer’s) own history.
wherelocal is a dimensional study of such occurrences and assumes that the relationship between these three physical links; a location, an object, an observer- define meaning as a located relationship called: locusethic(s). 
There appears to be sympathy for wherelocal and such an investigation as selections will be included this fall in the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery exhibition, Circling the Inverse Square, curated by Shannon Anderson. 

How would you describe your subject matter and the process you use to dissect it?

wherelocal began in 1997 from a different intent- to evolve a visual-notation system of symbols to notate observation within the teaching of drawing. Not resolved, their use was to be integrated into critiques and evaluation. Three of these symbols did make it into my drawing curriculum. That visual notation could aid in the understanding of visual images was an approach borrowed from the Benesh Movement Notation system. Co-invented by Joan and Rudolph Benesh in the 1940’s, for 5 decades this system provided a visual notation for dance and choreography. It was eventually replaced with the use of video. 

The symbols eventually integrated into a parallel investigation I was doing, working with materials from Home Depot, chosen, as I had no prior experience using them.
The symbols and materials, using heuristic principles, eventually combined into symbol- object-images, (currently about 500). These provide a format as notation now used in both the wherelocal works and in the writing about wherelocal.



How do you deal with both negative and positive criticism?

(As a form of logic)
Though we love and need Aristotle’s sense of logic, (here associated with the format: criticism)
it’s influence on academic thinking, with its reliance on words as used in conversation, is not always appropriate.

A preferred approach to the understanding and evaluating of visual observation or images is for example-
The eye exam. Evolved across real life experience this approach to evaluation and observation is best understood from year to year, as a visual occurrence which itself provide the criteria for it’s own critique. The eye-exam uses the very same eyes and the same located object image to evaluate the act of one’s observation- (A visual occurrence as best evaluated by a visual occurrence).
Referencing other observational formats such as drama, craft, video could modify this approach, or drawing...this would be in contrast to the current critique culture that attempts to critique visual observation with non-visuals such as words, sentences, and this....
Hence my sympathy towards a notation-expansion so as to include as image: location, object, and observer. 

What is fueling your work these day - in particular the things you are
reading, eating or listening to?

My preferred context as research is to locate myself with objects that can be observed closely to how they actually evolved and occurred. Such artifacts as found in natural and scientific museums as the Smithsonian, the ROM, the Science Centre, and, most recently for me, the Museo Di Storia della
scienza in Florence. (Just around the corner from the Uffizi.)

On a lighter note- this approach using context-object-observation and located sharing is similar to the methodology used by the late comedian George Carlin. He explained that his base for investigation, his job so to speak, was to try to observe what one (including initially himself) had previously missed. Having noticed he was then able to bring this to his own and then to other’s located attention. (My words...) 

What lays beyond the work you are doing right now?

As wherelocal works with locations, objects, and observations, which have already occurred but remain unnoticed, as these located words themselves are, other objects, each themselves such an occurrence each suggest for investigation such locals, objects, and observations as their own history is a continuity. Similar to an eye exam- a location of symbols and observations which continue to combine as one’s investigation and observational history, so in this case does wherelocal

Thanks for inviting us in to see your studio Richard!