Exhibitions

Gareth Bate – Cape Flora

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January 30th – February 21st, 2016
Reception: Saturday, January 30th, 2-5 p.m.
Q & A: Sunday February 21st, 2 p.m.

gareth

Gareth says: “My new Cape Flora paintings are about letting go and allowing myself to just make art without ideas about what kind of an artist I am – or ought to be. There’s no political agenda, no intellectual concepts and nothing capital C contemporary blah blah. My new philosophy of art making is “I don’t give a crap.” Or perhaps the more Bhagavad Gita way of saying it  – detachment from the outcome. (I love the Bhagavad Gita by the way.) Now of course I care deeply about making art. I just don’t care what imagery comes out. As they’d say on LOST – Whatever happened happened. No judgement, no expectations. The result – remarkably – is totally coherent and one of the best bodies of work I’ve done. I love these paintings.

Every year I visit North Lake –  a little fishing village in Prince Edward Island. A really special place. Every night, sitting around the dining room table with my partner Graham – I’d just draw in markers. I didn’t care what happened because they didn’t matter. The results were boisterous and vibrant drawings of plants, flowers and amorphous sea creatures. It was so liberating.

I’d been working on a body of work for a year and was sick to death of it. It was stale and contrived. When I returned to Toronto – in one day – I painted over 30 paintings – a year of work! I experimented with an “automatic” approach. This meant I just launched right in with spontaneous brushwork and went wild. No conscious thought or intention. Whatever imagery emerged I just went with it.

Immediately the paintings had a raw vitality. An explosion of new life. Spring bursting out, letting go. They’re filled with vines, knots, nerves, trees, leaves, blossoms and glowing lights. A cosmic garden or tree of life. Swirls of colour and churning vortexes of tangled webs and crisscrossing vines. These elements then repeat and rearrange themselves in new ways. My intentional paintings would never have looked like this! I feel rejuvenated, like I’ve released a ton of built up tension and anxiety. Over the last few months I’ve refined these images into finished paintings without losing their initial impulse.

I now recognize that the paintings feel reminiscent of my 2015 trip to South Africa. I was born there and we left when I was six because of Apartheid. I was returning after almost two decades. In Cape Town I visited the spectacular Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden at the foot of Table Mountain. I was with my half-sister who I was meeting for the first time. The remarkable collection of local fynbos and protea plants seeped into my mind.

For me the paintings feel reminiscent of the tangled vines in the Book of Kells, the gardens in Indian Mughal miniatures, the weaving of Islamic calligraphy, microscopic photos of cells and the plant patterns of William Morris. All completely accidental – filtering into my mind over the years and bursting out now – because I finally let it.”

Gareth Bate is a Toronto artist working in painting, installation and photography. He’s the co-curator of Oakville’s World of Threads Festival of contemporary fibre/textile art. He teaches abstract painting and art history at Central Tech. He does art tours of galleries and museums called “Art World Untangled.” Subscribe here to get his weekly emails about making art, art history and the art world. You can see more of his work at garethbate.com
Image:  Cape Flora, acrylic on wood, 12 x 12, 2015.

Mindy Yan Miller – Mother and Child

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January 30th – February 21st, 2016
Reception: Saturday, January 30th, 2-5 p.m.
Q&A: Sunday, February 21st, 2 p.m.

untitled (universe)

Loop Gallery is pleased to announce Mother and Child, a new exhibition by Mindy Yan Miller.

For her first exhibition at Loop, Yan Miller returns to a longstanding fascination with flesh. Using cowhides and calfskins that she has carefully clipped, patterned, and perforated, Yan Miller exposes the surprising fragility of these tough skins. “The material is very precious; these hides are the residue of a life and I couldn’t bear to waste them,” Yan Miller explains. The title derives from conceptually pairing hides and calfskins – at once a clever gesture at parent-child resemblance, and a painful reminder of the shared fate of both mother and child within the animal industrial complex.

Yan Miller’s work has long related to the body, and often engaged clothing, skin, or hair in monumental temporary installations. Mother and Child marks the beginning of a studio based practice, while sharing the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings that have defined her work for more than 3 decades.

Mindy Yan Miller was born in Sault Ste Marie and graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1990. She teaches Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University. She has been the recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Quebec Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Concordia Union for Part-time Faculty. Her work has been exhibited at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery (Saskatchewan), The Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge), La Centrale (Montreal), Mercer Union (Toronto), Fe Gallery (Philadelphia), W139 (Amsterdam) and galleries across North America and Europe. Yan Miller lives in Saskatoon and periodically teaches in Montreal.
Image:  untitled (universe), shaved cowhide, 56.25” x  56.25” (2015)

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