January 2020


quiet vignettes ūüēĮ

Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure to invite you to the opening reception of my show, quiet vignettes, as part of DesignTO Festival on Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 7 – 9 pm at Black Cat Artscape on 2186 Dundas Street West.

The works that I have created for this show are subtle collages of folds and creases that evoke a quiet movement and energy.

There is a simplicity and understated quality in these works that I find deeply gratifying and calming. Fine hand-sewn stitches have replaced my previous drawings. I feel like I am trying to gently nudge these fragments to come together – a reflection of my inner world at the moment.

I have invited Lauren Wilson of Timberlost Designs to mirror the works with evocative and poetic foliage vignettes. Lauren‚Äôs creations are soulful and deep. We will create a subtle ‚ÄĒ almost evanescent ‚ÄĒ experience of a balanced and poised marriage of our practices.

With this intimate spatial installation, the vision is to create a moment that nudges you to slow down and pay attention ‚ÄĒ and to reflect the unassuming authority of a unique and unexpected bond.

It is my first show in a very long time and quite a special one so it will be just wonderful to share this experience with you. If you can’t make it to the opening, you can still catch the show until January 26th any day (except January 20th & 21st ) from 1 Р5 pm.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for a private viewing.

With quiet love,

anahita


Closing the decade with an art-filled year! Part 3

Highlights of exhibitions and shows in Toronto

There is no way, I can list all the works and shows I have seen and liked this year in the city. Toronto is bursting at the seams with high quality art and cultural events. I try to scratch the surface just as much as I can and also be content with sense of JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), a term a great colleague introduced to me,  instead of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  Here is some efforts make a note of top memorable works and shows.

Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

Of course the best visual arts event has to be¬†Toronto Outdoor Art Fair¬†ūüėäand I am not biased at all. I will do a personal journal post about last summer but we captured the highlights of the 59th edition here and see our¬†facebook album for all the great moments of this incredible art packed summer weekend.

Fine Line’ Group Exhibition at Olga Korper¬†and the gem is this piece,¬†100 yards, hesitating every inch of the way by Ken Nicol¬†
Superstratum by Morgan Wedderspoon at Open Studio

The vibe of¬†Art Toronto 2019¬†was airy and great this year.¬†This piece from HernaŐāni Reis Baptista, Portugal won my heart. It is flesh and bruises done with makeup powders. It had a mysterious beauty to it and definitely looked better in flesh!

Black & White Stack by Michelle Forsyth at Corkin Gallery.  Love her work!

X.X by John Monteith at 10 Years Ago Gallery

 

 


Closing the decade with an art-filled year! Part 2

International adventures

Kr√∂ller-M√ľller Museum

I was quite taken away but Kr√∂ller-M√ľller Museum, this gem of a museum in a quiet Dutch town of Otterlo, hidden in the serene and studding setting of De Hoge Veluwe National Park.¬†

I had no idea that Kr√∂ller-M√ľller contains the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world. It is a fascinating story how the vision of one single collector, Helen Kr√∂ller-M√ľller, the first European female collector,¬†brings attention and shines light on Van Gogh’s work.¬† The museum also hosts one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe. Everything about the experience is special. The unique setting which is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of big cities inspires a sense of calm and reflection that connects you deeper with the works.¬†

Enclosed wheat field with rising sun, 1889 Vincent van Gogh

Composition in colour A, 1917. Piet Mondriaan

Needle Tower, 1968, Kenneth Snelson

Mauritshuis

Mauritshuis in The Hague is one of my most favourite museums in the world Рa quaint and intimate one. This repeat visit  just rekindled my love and admiration for the works of the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters and the Dutch Golden Age. 

I am absolutely in love with Jan Steen’s paintings of mundane everyday life, the romantic still life paintings, and incredible portraits of the masters, Vermeer and Rembrandt . You can see most of their collection online with high resolution details. It is a treat. 

Kitchen Scene with Christ at Emmaus, 1560, Joachim Beuckelaer

Kitchen Interior 1644, David Teniers II 

Panorama Mesdag

Panorama Mesdag was yet another surprise, delightful discovery of a genre of panoramic paintings that I had never heard of. This is a cylindrical painting of 120 meters with a height of 14 meters by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and it is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world on its original site. It is a 3D experience of  the fishing village of Scheveningen. The villages, the sea, the dunes are painted beautifully and augmented by real sandy dunes, rocks, seashells,  beach chairs and sounds of the sea. The line between real objects and painting blends and since you are surrounded by the painting it feels like you are in it too. The dome of the structure is transparent so the changing light of the sunshine and the moving clouds change the color of the sky in the painting in the course of the day. They call it an ancient virtual reality and it truly is. Obviously the real experience is surreal and better but you can get a glimpse of it here if you are curious. 

 Joana Vasconcelos at Kunsthal Rotterdam

Ok, I am a late discoverer of Joana Vasconcelos’s work but now she is my artist crush of the year! 

Her installations and their scale are just epic.  Her daring, super intelligent, humorous take on gender issues, contradictions in female roles and her approach to social commentary with her art blow my mind. Chandelier made of tampons! Stiletto made of cooking pots! Just wow! 


Closing the decade with an art-filled year! Part 1

I don’t remember having been this knee deep into seeing art, producing art and making art in such a full cycle and as intense as this year.

I thought it is best to capture these memories at the end of the decade here to remember inspiring experiences and to share with you a snippet of these discoveries.

I closed the year, fulfilled, by creating a new body of work for my new show, quiet vignettes, part of DesignTO Festival. I will tell you more about it soon.

My passion has been, for the past fifteen years, to bring audiences and artists together to share moments of joy, engagement and stimulation that happens through creative exchange. Leading Toronto Outdoor Art Fair continues to be an enriching, intense and rewarding endeavour that fulfills that passion.
This year also unusually was filled with visits to some major art events like the Venice Biennale, Frieze New York , The Other Art Fair and discovery of new museum gems, great exhibitions and performances (a separate post on that will follow). There was no shortage of incredible works of art, old and new,  jaw dropping, beautiful, thought provoking as well as works that I wanted to take home with me to keep forever (which we did!).

So here are my selected highlights of 2019 art adventures.

Venice Biennale РMay You Live In Interesting Times 

Visiting Venice Biennale was one of those bucket-list wishes that came true this summer.  Two full days was barely enough to scratch the surface and to take it all in. I feel I missed a lot of important works but still captured some moments that has stayed with me since. 

It’s impossible to list everything that inspired me or highlight the works I saw. There is a catalogue for that written by professionals :-). For me, Venice Biennale filled was filled with intellectual, social and political work and most of them required focused attention, reading statements and deep engagement which is hard to achieve when you are visiting with little kids. I was at first overwhelmed by the task of reading about the works for context and thought I won‚Äôt get what I need from the experience. However, to my surprise the work descriptions, the curatorial and artist statements were written in such clear, simple and engaging language that made the viewer more curious about the artists and their intent.¬†

I sometimes get weary of reading artist statements that are dense, heavy and intelligent sounding at the expense of making the audience feel unintelligent.  If the work is great and connects with my heart that’s ok and I can dig more into it but that’s not often the case. I caught myself trying to read every single statement throughout the show and I even managed to explain them in a simpler language for the little ones and they made their own connections in their own way. The experience was stimulating and inspiring and I left with a great deal of food for thought.

Here are some of the works that has stayed with me. 

Carol Bove РI don’t know how many times I went back and looked at Carol Bove’s sculptures! 

This is what‚Äôs told about her work:¬† The formal syntax of Carol Bove is bends, dents, twists, torques, kinks, crumbles, creases, and other folds that animate the sculptural surface. No wonder why! I love folds and creases ūüôā

 Mari Katayama’s intricate and invigorating self-portraits just mesmerized me. 

Loved this painting of roots of bamboo groves and trees that were entangled with garbage by Handiwirman Saputra and his equally captivating sculptural installation.

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk by Isuma artist collective at Canada Pavilion is captivating and eye opening. We only got to see 30 minutes of it there but plan to watch it on isuma.tv.


Nordic Countries (Finland – Norway – Sweden) Pavilion, Weather Report: Forecasting Future

Personal stories of Njideka Akunyili Crosby in these captivating Collage and photo transfer-based paintings

Jill Mulleady’s moody seemingly everyday paintings are haunting.

Nairy Baghramian body-like, fragmented curvy sculptures were love at first sight! 

Poland‚Äôs pavilion featured a real inside-out aeroplane! ‚ÄúFlight‚ÄĚ by Roman StaŇĄczak was an instant hit with the kids! Not sure if that was their target audience but hey get them curious when they are young ūüôā¬†

And this piece: Flesh in Stone by Yu Ji!


sun yuan and peng yu¬†works are jaw-dropping and somehow intense.¬†can’t help myself¬†and present dear were two of¬† the most monumental and visceral works that had a lasting impact on all of us especially the little ones. Click on the links for proper images and videos.

And the last memorable moment was the loud and fun design of this cafe (minus the impatient and grumpy service).

 


Dwell at Harbourfront Centre – Group Show

Hello dear friends,

I have been M.I.A but for really good reasons. Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is just around the corner and we are very busy with final details and working very hard towards the big day(s). I will tell you more about it shortly. That being said, I am participating in a great group show at Harbourfront Centre with a number of phenomenal artists this summer. Dwell, curated by Melanie Egan and Robyn Wilcox invites us to examine dwelling as both a physical and psychological concept and how that effects our relation to objects, space and the body.

My response: Since I started the #collagediet at the end of 2015, I have been dwelling on subtleties, small gestures, vignettes of thought and floating fragments. I have put myself on a rigorous research into minimizing, simplifying and stripping down to essentials in different aspects of my life, mainly in my art. It has not been easy. But I think I have managed to crack the code with these collage works. The attention here is on these very small fragments that are simple, minimal yet still possessing rich characters.

You will have a chance to see a selection of my collages along with the works of Diyan Achjadi, Helen Liene Dreifelds, Stephanie Flowers, Michelle Forsyth, Amanda McCavour, Suzanne Nacha, and Jocelyn Reid.

joins us for the opening night on Friday, June 23, 6‚Äď10pm. This is a free public opening party for Harbourfront’s Summer exhibitions with a cash bar and snacks ūüėČ

Exhibitions run from June 24 ‚Äď September 17, 2017.

Hope to see you there!

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Canada’s largest & longest-running outdoor show is near!

This is my second year in my role as Executive Director of Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and I have to say it has been a rich, intense and insanely fulfilling experience that has stretched me in so many directions.

I am passionate about what I do and I wear many different hats but I spend a good chunk of my time fundraising for the artist awards (for which I initiated a significant increase last year) and other things. Oddly enough, it is the first time throughout my arts management career that I enjoy fundraising and it comes naturally to me. First, it’s because we have an incredibly generous roster of supporters who wholeheartedly believe in what the Exhibition does for the artists. Also, as an artist myself, I get an immense joy facilitating artists getting the recognition and support they deserve.

I firmly believe that the role Toronto Outdoor plays for the artists, and the public is an important one. It is truly an art discovery platform for independent and entrepreneurial artists and makers. The premise of the organization from the beginning has been about artists having the right to sell their art directly to the public at a civic centre! The civic centre has had a particular significance because the founding members set up the first Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in response to the removal of artists from the City Hall property when they tried to sell their work there in 1961.

A lot of effort is spent on marketing the Exhibition to bring the public in direct contact with the artists, to encourage dialogue between artist and public and encourage an exchange of some kind. We know for a fact that people spend over 2 million dollars on buying art over those three days.¬†Yes, the Exhibition is also a sales platform and some might look at it as only a platform for commercial art, but it is not only that! Thousands of successful artistic careers have been launched for the past five decades from those white tents. We have to keep in mind that there is always some sort of a transaction associated with any works of art. There are layers and levels of transactions, whether a work of art ends up in a permanent collection of a museum, commissioned for a public gallery, lands on a cover of book or magazine, or ends up in the possession of a seasoned collector or in a humble art lover’s home! .Our role is to make these exchanges happen more frequently and help our artist community thrive artistically and economically!

I also think one of the other important roles Toronto Outdoor plays, is removing the fear and the barrier of buying art for the public. Art is accessible to people from all walks of life with all sorts of budgets. The show is an opportunity to take some of the amazing work, that for the most part can only be seen in galleries by a smaller number of people, out in the open, under the bright sunshine (not necessarily good for some works though) and put it in front of a hundred thousand people.

It is a great reminder for everyone that original art is not only for art collectors. It is not even about collecting. It is about adding quality to everyday life. It is about seeing the world around us, the objects, the concepts and our environment from different perspectives. It is about bringing in a bit of energy, creativity and soulfulness to our personal surrounding. I have made a pledge to myself to save on a monthly basis so that I can do just that this coming July. I encourage you to do the same thing.

Below are the two prints I got last year from Daniel Paterson, the winner of Founding Chairman’s Award and Japneet Kaur Saini, Winner of the Best of Exhibition that I cherish!

Please join me on July 14 – 16 at Nathan Phillips Square and discover some great art for you!

See you soon!

 

 

Screen by Daniel Patterson
Screen by Daniel Patterson
By Japneet Kaur Saini
By Japneet Kaur Saini

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what does design week do to me…

It is Design Week/Month in Toronto and there is buzz everywhere from Toronto Design Offsite, Interior Design Show to DO Design.¬†My¬†busy schedule doesn’t allow me to see all the awesome exhibitions that are out there, I am seeing a few but there is no way I can catch up with the buzz. However, this energy always makes me¬†look¬†at January¬†as Design Consciousness month and it is a perfect timing as I am¬†reflecting on life and setting the threading theme for the year.

I am looking around me to get a better idea of what my design diet¬†consist of. I don’t have much expertise in the field except for great appreciation of good solid design and having developed an eye or taste for it (in certain areas). I have become more and more focused and selective about what I surround myself with. I am a sucker for clean, simple, minimal and functional objects. I don’t have space in my home nor my brain (more so than my home) to spend it on managing stuff. And still I find most of my non-work time is spent in the department of Stuff Management. ¬†To get myself out of the constant¬†state of de-cluttering, I am constantly changing my consumption habits and I am gravitating more and more to implementing good design in every aspect of life. Even my wardrobe is moving more towards becoming a capsule closet filled with essentials. I have been sticking to a very minimal colour palette of black , white and grey with a pop of colour as a rule of thumb for everything for quite some time¬†now. My¬†focus over the years has shifted to quality vs. quantity.¬†It has been liberating and efficient and I am becoming even stricter with it. This is a wave everywhere (or maybe in some areas trendy but one of those good trends) and it is a good way of living. To do more with less! It is hard but it is so good if I can stick to it.

As you have seen over the past year, this thinking has trickled into my collage work and has changed it drastically. In the research phase I took on myself, I aimed to reduce and minimize my previously dense collage explorations to essential, minimal forms, lines and characters and try to take the attention to simplicity of small fragments. It has been a good practice.

Since some of those works are at the Interior Design Show this week and to pay tribute to the Design week/month and what I have been thinking, I thought to attempt to minimize the work even further and delve deeper in to the cut-out forms and lines.

The palette is black, white and grey. My favourite is the first one with the felt.

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at the Interior Design Show

Partial_IDS17_Invitation_120dpi

Partial gallery will be featuring some¬†of my works from last year’s #collagediet at the Interior Design Show. This is one of my favourite shows of the year and I am very happy to be represented¬†as part of Akin Collective artists. For those of you who are researching material for your next renovation project, sourcing the coolest furnitures and appliances or working on an awesome interior design project, make sure to drop by booth #2242 and get the perfect artwork for your interiors. Partial Gallery has been listed as top ten favourites of stylist, Christine Dovey, at #IDS17. I have also updated my profile on Partial’s website. Take a look of what will be available at the show.

 


end of collage art diet 2016 ‚Äď week 52

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying the twinkling lights at this beautiful time of the year¬†and getting ready to launch into 2017 with great¬†energy, new inspirations and fresh ideas. I have come to the end of my year-long journey of the¬†#collagediet! You might know already that I committed myself to create¬†three collages a week throughout the year and ended it with a daily countdown in December. As I had written about this a year ago, these are collage works on watercolour paper ‚Äď ¬†6‚Ä≥ x 6‚Ä≥ ¬†and 8‚Ä≥ x 8‚Ä≥. The¬†cut-outs come from Vogue magazine, my one and only muse for years now. They are pieces of clothing, objects, body parts that I distort into an abstract form, maintaining a kinetic, life-like energy without referencing the body itself. The drawings are my responses to the exciting textures and lines in the cut-outs or whatever inspires me to build on them.¬†I have to admit that towards the end, it was very hard for me to keep up with the challenge. I felt stuck in the format and I didn’t have enough space in my brain or much time this year to break away from it and change it up. There were a lot of ideas that I had planned to explore but never got a chance. I did take a very fascinating printing course at Open Studio, called Collograph in the hope to incorporate¬†some new techniques and medium into my work but I realized I needed much more learning and practice to do that. Despite the fact that I was dragging my feet in the past two months, a lot of interesting forms, shapes and compositions¬†emerged from this whole exercise. I ended up with 191 entirely different collages this year¬†and 100 from December 2015 when this whole madness started. Not all of them are great, and sometimes there is repetition but I have a lot of interesting and intriguing pieces as a result. This process has changed my visual language significantly. I enjoy the simplicity even more everyday! I was immensely satisfied with the¬†subtle fragment exhibition that I had in September with Helen Liene Dreifeld¬†and I am hoping to build on that concept. Overall, it was a very¬†productive and exciting year with having this challenge on my plate and¬†my role¬†at Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition¬†which started simultaneously¬†in January 2016. ¬†I am happy that I made it to the finish line no matter what! ¬†At the moment, I don’t know what is next in my practice. I think I would like to take a break and actually take the time to go through the works, ponder over all of last year and digest what happened. I never got the time to step back and evaluate. I need time to think about how to expand on some the ideas that emerged and continue learning about printing. I also want to consider¬†exhibiting these works in different set-ups and groupings other than the Instagram/digital format. They are very different and have much more character in person ūüėČ. Lots to think about but for now I am just resting my scissors and getting our fancy champagne glasses out to celebrate the end and new beginnings in style!

Happy New Year everyone!

You can see all the pieces here on my instagram.

 

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