Magical, disturbing, provocative art at ARTiculations’ 2019 Curio Shadow Box Show

I had the great pleasure of attending the opening reception of ARTiculations’ 6th annual Curio Shadow Box Show as a first-time participant last night. An open call exhibition, the show features approximately 40 boxes—all the same size, provided by ARTiculations upon registration—most of which are for sale.

It was my first time out to see the show as well; it’s a finely crafted assortment of styles and media—incorporating glass painting, metal and other objects, as well as wood carving, water colour and drawing. The results are magical, disturbing, beautiful and provocative.

By chance, my two pieces were hung together, one above the other: Love, Oscar (a tribute to Oscar Wilde’s love of Lord Alfred Douglas, aka Bosie) and Harry Potter’s Nightstand; one of the other artists I met said they struck her as memory boxes—boxes with images and objects that capture a moment, a person. My first shadow box was a biographical one—a memory box—for my brother Sean’s 40th birthday; I’ve made several more since, mostly for friends for their birthdays.

The 2019 Curio Shadow Box Show is up until December 15; ARTiculations is located in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood—store/gallery location and hours info here. The holidays are coming, and you might just find the perfect gift for someone—or for yourself.

I had a blast checking out the art and meeting some of the artists last night—and big thanks to my good friend Lizzie Violet for alerting me to the show. And big shouts and thanks to the good folks at ARTiculations for organizing and hosting this event!

Here are some snaps I took, including a small sample of the amazing selection of boxes on display.


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Robert Nowacki makes you look – The Health Benefits of Gazing @ Fran Hill Gallery

I was back at Fran Hill Gallery last night, checking out the Robert Nowacki The Health Benefits of Gazing exhibit, which opened on Thursday night. It’s an eclectic pseudo-retrospective of sorts, featuring works that span across the past decade. With works in oil, chalk pastel, mixed media and digital print, many of the pieces feature a subdued palette, but vibrate – often dramatically – in composition and execution.

Nowacki’s work seems to keep the viewer on his/her toes, with canvasses ranging from abstract figures, to graphic delineated shapes reminiscent of stained glass windows to dancing, electric brush strokes to an especially large digital abstract bursting with primary colours in “Port Hole.”

The unusual use of chalk pastel on canvas makes for a unique texture in the drawing “Our Mentors,” an organic, almost anatomical rendering. And “The Mistake” appears to be two abstract figures entwined, an intimate piece hung in portrait format – but you can’t help but turn your head to view it in landscape perspective.

The Health Benefits of Gazing is up at Fran Hill Gallery until October 27. Gallery hours: Friday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. or by appointment: 416-363-1333 or email

These are my three favourites from the exhibit:

Robert Nowacki – The Mistake
Robert Nowacki – Our Mentors
Robert Nowacki – Port Hole