Dropped by Fran Hill Gallery last night for opening of Robert Chandler’s “Scratch,” an exhibit of new paintings.
The first thing that strikes me about Robert Chandler’s paintings is the colour. In some cases, colours that you’d never have thought would work together – like pink, red and orange – do work together. Most of the vibrating canvasses have a decidedly urban sensibility to them, and the stacked, outlined squares in these compositions bring to mind multi-level dwellings, a computer keyboard, a bird’s-eye view of a street grid. Then Chandler surprises the viewer with two lighter canvasses, which appear to be white-wash over colour, with abstract, geometric drawings scratched onto the surface. And then the yellow and black piece, which put one fellow visitor in mind of two crosses sinking in water, the yellow disappearing into black. I noticed how the one titled “Red Writer,” pictured in the exhibit flyer – the image used in the gallery’s exhibit invitation – looked more reddish in print than in real life, which was more bright pink. And the red in the canvass is the colour of blood. Vibrant and a bit disturbing.
I didn’t note titles for the most part, though I did take the list around with me. Titles are something that interests me – but not necessarily the artist. More importantly, I found myself and others there last night, returning to look at the paintings – and noticed that there was something different to see.
Come see for yourself.
Robert Chandler’s “Scratch” is on at the Fran Hill Gallery showroom (285 Rushton Road, Toronto) until November 24. Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 a.m.m – 6 p.m. or by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org – or call 416-363-1333 or 647-768-6865 (cell).
It had been a while since I’d been to the Fran Hill Gallery, so I was very happy to get the heads-up from Fran that the gallery was mounting a group exhibition: Eclectic – September Group Exhibition, which opened last night and runs until September 29.
Located at 285 Rushton Road, Toronto near St. Clair/Christie, Fran Hill Gallery is just around the corner from a lively and diverse stretch of St. Clair. The shops range from the Good Will to the vintage shop Gypsy, from pubs like Dave’s to more upscale eateries like The Rushton, and chain coffee Starbucks to the indie Noir and Pain Perdu. There’s a great neighbourhood feel to the gallery, but you don’t have to be a regular to receive a warm welcome. It’s also a clubhouse of sorts for the artists represented there, to hang out with Fran and other artists, and meet art lovers and prospective collectors.
The participating artists are as distinctive as their work, creating art in a variety of media, and coming from various professional and cultural backgrounds. Pieces done in oil on canvas (Alex Wu’s Untitled lady), pencil or watercolour on paper (Blair Sharpe’s watercolour abstracts), wood (Rosalie Lam’s Canada geese and Lynn Cumine’s nude woman); collage (Steve Rockwell’s thumbnail installation); with digital cameras (Jim Ingram’s NYC photos); sculptures in glass and plaster (Leon Rooke’s “Who’s Your Daddy!); the images ranging from the abstract to portraits and landscapes, to homage to other artists (À la Pablo Picasso’s abstract nudes). “Eclectic” is the perfect title for this exhibition.
The Eclectic – September Group Exhibition artists are, in alphabetical order:
Standing in the centre of the showroom, immersed in these images, is both an energizing and inspiring experience. And you can feel it too. Eclectic – September Group Exhibition is on at Fran Hill Gallery until September 29. Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11 – 6 or by appointment. Contact: 416-363-1333 or email: email@example.com