Archives: art

hamilton fringe

Six summers ago when we first moved to Hamilton I attended my first Hamilton Fringe Festival. The show we saw was performed in what was then the vast and vacant second floor of Jackson Square (which McMaster University has now taken over). In the middle of that warehouse sized emptiness black curtains were draped and a stage was set up with seating for a modest audience. The festival was smaller then.

That was six years ago (half of the Fringe Festival’s 12 year life) and since then, my has it grown!

Admittedly I have not attended many shows in recent years. What with babies and kids it can be hard to steal away for a series of evenings and afternoons to check out the roster of amazing theatre that the Fringe has to offer.

Last summer I did make it out for one show: Love With Leila, which I adored (see that post here). And this summer there is a line-up of shows I would definitely check-out if I wasn’t knee deep into trying to balance life (and survival) with what is now two kids.

She Said Saffron is a one-woman play by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura. There is a never a dull moment with Lisa. She has her finger on the pulse of all things creative in Hamilton and is always doing something: dance, art, theatre, story telling, and making me laugh. Last spring I saw her debut Hamilton performance in her show Small, Sweet and Quiet. It detailed intimate, honest, and sweet moments in her life and her move from Toronto to Hamilton; all accompanied by interludes of mini historic Hamilton narratives depicted through a beautifully artistic shadow puppet show.

SSS 400px

This time around She Said Saffron touches on all my favourite Fs:  Food, Family and First loves. A story told through dance, words and Lisa’s life experience. You’ll be sure to leave with hearts full, a smile on your face, and a satiating desire to eat paella.

*She Said Saffron at The Players Guild, Th. 8:30, F. 7, Sat 3:30+8:30, $10, @GirlCanCreate

My life is such that it is not every day that I meet a playwright, so when I met Hamilton playwright Radha S. Menon I was in awe. Radha; a woman of smarts, spunk, and imagination has written such plays as: The Washing Machine, Ganga’s Ganjawas, Rise of the Prickly Pear, and Rukmini’s Gold. She was the finalist for the Woodward/Newman International Playwriting Prize and not to mention she founded the Hamilton production company Red Betty Theatre.

rukmini-poster

Rukimini’s Gold is Radha’s exploration of her family’s journey from India and around the world:

It was midnight when I stood alone waiting for a night train at a deserted station in North Cornwall.

There was no sign of life anywhere, it was eerie and desolate and I worried that my train may never come. That’s when I had a vision of Rukmini, an elderly lady waiting alone in her white sari, clutching nothing but her precious baggage. And I wondered what it would be like to meet oneself in a place like this? Would I recognise myself after fifty or more years?

Rukmini’s Gold won the  2015 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest and is a must see for this year’s Hamilton Fringe!

*Rukmini’s Gold, Mills Hardware, M 7:30, W 6, Sat 2, Sun 6, $10, @RedBettyTheatre

Bottom line is if I were to steal away from the duties of newborn parental duties I would most certainly take an hour or two to attend both of these shows. So proud and happy to have these two amazing women here in Hamilton -congrats on both of your shows!

*Hamilton Fringe Festival, #HamFringe, @HamOntFringe, Facebook

 

painting hamilton

The latest exhibit we checked out at the AGH was back in January -Painting Hamilton; a contemporary exhibit curated by Melissa Bennet, which featured ten artists from local Hamilton and the Greater Hamilton area. I loved this exhibit. It was amazing to see so many local Hamilton artists’ work up and hanging on those big old walls.

Mirroring Christina Sealey's work

Exploring the artwork of Christina Sealey; local Hamilton artist whose exhibit is currently showing at Carnegie Gallery in Dundas until March 1st.

Daniel Hutchinson Super Symmetric Electric

Daniel Hutchinson‘s work Supersymmetricelectric from a series of paintings titled Paintings for Electric Light, which are site-sensitively coloured with fluorescent light components.

Painting Hamilton

Exploring the first floor of the AGH and the Painting Hamilton exhibit.

One permanent exhibit that I can never get enough of is Kim Adams’ Bruegel-Bosch Bus. The installation continues to evolve and grow and I’ve been happy to witness these changes over the years of visiting the AGH. It was Omi’s first visit to this exhibit and he absolutely loved it! He couldn’t stop pointing out all the ladders, trains, trucks and towering buildings. I was amazed at his little two year old self-control in not touching the exhibit! It’s so touch-worthy!

Kim Adams Bruegel-Bosch Bus Exploring Kim Adams 2

Exploring Kim Adams

 

100 years of AGH

A few weeks ago we celebrated the Art Gallery of Hamilton‘s one hundred years of existence at a free BBQ picnic in their sculpture garden.

The BBQ was followed by a slew of kid and family friendly activities.

AGH tshirt printing

AGH printing stamps

The kids were loving this; printing old car and machine parts onto T-shirts!

AGH inking up

AGH tshirt print

Although Omi was a little young for the art activities and the guided tour of the gallery that didn’t stop us from doing our own self directed toddler-mini-tour.

IMG_7412

Phantom Hunter William Blair Bruce

William Blair Bruce -The Phantom Hunter 1888

While on our wanderings, I was glad to have gotten a peek at the William Blair Bruce exhibit. Bruce was a born and raised Hamiltonian, who established himself primarily as Canadian impressionist painter, recognized and celebrated throughout Paris, North America and Europe.

I later learned that following Bruce’s death his collection was donated to the city of Hamilton, which at the time did not have a municipal gallery. The collection would in turn play a critical role in the foundation and establishment of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. It’s possible that without Bruce’s collection the AGH may have never materialized. My guess is it’s no coincidence that the Bruce exhibit coincided with the celebration of the AGH’s centennial.

The Bruce exhibit runs at the AGH until October 5th. It’s the largest Bruce exhibit to be shown with 100 works; some of which have never been publicly exhibited. Definitely a must-see! (FYI first Friday of each month admission is free!!)

I’m so thankful that Hamilton has the AGH. Happy one hundred years!

*Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, 905.527.6610, @theAGH

 

dusk dances

Hamilton is host to its very first ever Dusk Dances down at Bayfront Park!

I’d never been to a Dusk Dance before (even though they’ve been around in Toronto for 20 years) so I had no idea really what to expect. But we figured it would be a fun summer event that we could take Omi to and enjoy some outdoor summer evening happenings. We arrived shortly after 7pm to a fairly large crowd seated on picnic blankets and lawn chairs just in time to catch the tail end of some kid friendly dancing and music. At promptly 7:30 our host for the evening appeared magically with bow tie and top hat explaining how the evening would play out and giving us some simple Dusk Dance etiquette. Dusk Dance host

Then with just a moments notice blankets were quickly thrown over arms, lawn chairs folded up, picnics packed up and we began following our host for the night like the pied piper to our first of five Dusk Dance locations throughout Bayfront Park.

Dusk Dances walking Dusk Dances Throwdown Collective Throwdown Collective radio dj’ed from their little Chevette an 80′s inspired dance number.

Dusk Dances Cercania 1 My favourite of the night! A powerful and stunning flamenco dance performed by Myriam Allard. Accompanied by flamenco singer Hedi Graja and percussionist Miguel Medina. Myriam’s feet were moving so fast I thought she was going to set the stage on fire -just a blur of her beautiful blue shoes!

Dusk Dances Unquiety WInds

We only made it to four of the five dances. Omi was getting so wriggly and restless. For the fourth dance Unquiet Winds, Omi started yelling at the top of his lungs “What’s that!?” mid performance. When heads started turning our way we took that as our cue to start making our way home.

But, oh the night was lovely! I enjoyed seeing people who were at Bayfront just out for a bike ride or going for a summer stroll suddenly stumble upon a large audience and unique dances. I love that this is happening here in Hamilton and I hope it continues on for years to come!

There’s still one more night you can catch the seemingly impromptu dances that pop up along the grounds of Bayfront. Tomorrow night is the last night! The evening starts at 6pm with a Lindy Hop Dance class until 6:45. And the Dusk Dance will promptly start at 7:30pm. I recommend being there no later than 7:15, so you get to know the Dusk Dance lowdown and the location of the first dance.

*Dusk Dances, July 31, August 1+2, 6-9pm Bayfront Park, admission is PWYC, @duskdances

summer crawling

I used to be an art crawl regular and could probably count on one hand the number of crawls that I’ve missed. But with this past year’s crazy cold winter and trying to stick to the little one’s bedtime, I’d have to admit that recently we’ve attended only a handful of art crawls. But with the longer days of summer here we decided to throw caution to the wind and take Omi out of his bedtime time routine and hit up June’s art crawl to check out what all we’ve been missing.

Art crawls in the warmer weather are always so busy! The streets were packed and I noted a significant increase in the number of street vendors and busking musicians. I always love seeing the street and community so alive on art crawl nights but then I also wonder where everyone is all those other days of the month.

We headed down James onto Barton where I saw this ghostly and gorgeous door. A door like this seemed like it would have a few stories that it could tell.

June artcrawl door

On Barton we dropped by Hamilton Audio/Visual NodeMulti-modal‘s (HAVN) for their second year anniversary party. The space was all tinfoiled up and shiny with some music that was just about to get underway. Incidentally, for tonight’s art crawl (July10) HAVN is hosting the launch of “384″ zine. There’ll be music by DJ’s Motëm & Muffled Suitcase, plus some limited edition screen prints, a few acrylic paintings on wood panels, and animated visuals.

June artcrawl HAVN

Our last stop of the night during June’s crawl was at Dr. Disc, where Steve and I took turns running down to the lower floor of Dr. Disc, to check out RE-DUO - a collaborative art exhibit by Jo-Anne Balcaen and Donna Akrey - while the other stayed with Omi and rocked out to Hachey the Mouthpeace‘s beat boxing session on Dr. Disc’s roof top.

RE-DUO was such a fabulous show! I loved the humour of the re-do covers and how spot on they were. I especially loved how they used common-place items to stand in for accessories and hairstyles.  For example, in the image below, simple black construction paper did the trick to re-do that Ian & Sylvia album cover.

June artcrawl re-duo exhibit

The RE-DUO show will be running until August 9th. You should definitely check it out during this crawl while you stop by to listen to the amazing line-up for this month’s Raise the Roof session on the rooftop of Dr. Disc (presented by I Heart Hamilton & Hamilton Magazine).

the road sign project

In an urban setting you can’t really walk very far without seeing some type of sign that tells you what to do, what not to do, which direction to go etc. That’s why at first it was hard to notice that these signs were more than just your typical everyday sign. They seemingly blended right into their surroundings. That’s the beauty of this street art project, put on by Hamilton’s Centre [3], you really need to pay attention to find these cool little installations.

For example, this Duck sign below by artist Hitoko Okada. I probably walked by this a few times, a little befuddled and confused, before realizing it was an art piece. But once I saw this sign, I started noticing a lot of other intriguing signs by other artists all over the downtown core.

Duck, by Hitoko Okada

untitled, by Jean-Denis Boudreau

Detour, by Carole Deveau

The Road Sign Project is an outdoor art project presented by Centre3, Hamilton, ON, in partnership with Atelier Imago in Moncton, NB. Signs by sixteen artists, posted in various Hamilton locations (and in Centre3′s storefront gallery), offer directions on matters such as contemporary art, science, psychology, politics, romance, and the pathos of post-industrial urban existence. Viewers are invited to join the artists for a guided tour (May 11) and picnic, participate in a t-shirt contest, and contribute observations on the signs and the signified for an upcoming publication.

The Road Sign Project will run until October 19th. For more information about the project and location of artist’s signs click here.

previously crawled

In recent months I’ve really been appreciating the art openings that occur at a handful of galleries on the Thursday evening before the monthly art crawl on James St. North. They’re kinda like mini pre-crawls, where you actually get a chance to chat with the artisit and hang out in the space observing the art work in greater detail.

This Thursday I checked out our good friend Jen Hsieh’s art opening at Defacto Mulberry. Her show is called Thirteen. It is a beautifully touching exhibit surrounding the exploration of her feelings regarding the loss of her mother thirteen years ago.

Mother and Child by artist Jen Hsieh

Moored by artist Jen Hsieh

Make sure you stop by during the crawl tonight or throughout the month to see her show!

 

I was also able to sneak a quick peak at the opening at Hamilton Artisit Inc.

The Inc. has quickly become a favourite of mine. They have fabulously curated exhibits of established Canadian artists in their main gallery section. This month’s exhibit is a video installation called Control Fields by Montreal artist Michel Boulanger.

 

I also absolutely adored the exhibit last month No Overnight Camping by artist Dagmara Genda, and Bruce Montcombroux.

Corrupted Animals (Elk) by artist Dagmara Genda

The New Babylon Satellites by artist Bruce Montcombroux

Another gallery that I always make a point of checking out is b contemporary. Last month’s exhibit by Hamilton artist Andrew McPhail was a fantastic series of “pixelated” portraits. I loved staring at each painting up close and then far away; appreciating their abstract and organic quality up close and then their almost digital quality when viewed from a distance.

Be sure to stop by b contemporary to check out this month’s exhibit by artist Paul Cvetich -Shaboom Shaboom.

nesting

It’s no coincidence that Steve’s latest art show is called Nesting. Possible inspiration from his real life? He sure did a lot of nesting during the last few months. Before Omi’s arrival Steve threw himself into multiple reno projects building the appropriate cozy “nest” and home for us and the little guy.

I won’t talk too much about Steve’s work for the show because you should go check it out yourself. It does however involve a whole ton of pool noodles, a little bit of skipping rope and plywood.

The show is at Hamilton Artists Inc. in the member’s gallery. Steve’s work will be showing along side artist Teal Booth. In the main gallery you should also check out the exhibit Story Bones by established Canadian artist Jack Butler.

The opening is on Thursday, January 10th from 7-9pm and the exhibit will run until February 3rd. You can also check out more of Steve’s work here on his artist website: stevenewberry.com

*Hamilton Artists Inc. 155 James St. North

bestiary

Bestiary: A compendium of curious creatures, alive; dead & in-between, portrayed in paint to captivate & cultivate.

If you’re free tonight you should come on down to Jacqui Oakley‘s art opening at Defacto Mulberry (193 James St. North). The opening starts at 7pm and goes until 11.

There’ll be a whole body of Jacqui’s beautiful art work on display including giclée prints that will be for sale (perfect holiday gifts y’all!). Check’em out in the photo below.

photo courtesy of Jacqui Oakley. Check out her blog here.

 

Jacqui’s show will be up from December 13th and throughout the month of January.


 

maker’s market

Last Saturday we headed down to Christ Church Cathedral on James North for the holiday edition of the Maker’s Market.

I love how this church actively partakes in the monthly art crawls. Every month, for the crawls, they open their doors to the public by playing host to the outdoor Maker’s Market as well as some super cool and often experimental musical acts that take advantage of the amazing space and acoustics of the Cathedral.

The Maker’s Market on this particular Saturday was definitely abuzz. Lots of people were making their way around to check out the goods and pick up some potential Christmas and holiday prezies.

Among the many local artisans and vendors Matt Jelly was there selling his Hamilton cards, maps, buttons and t-shirts. We picked up a set of downtown Hamilton cards in 3 different silkscreen printed colours. Matt’s table was hopping as people snatched up their neighbourhood maps. We finally bought our Corktown neighbourhood map too.

We also stopped by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura‘s (aka @girlcancreate) table. She had an assortment of goods and artwork ranging from calendars, notebooks and buttons to vintage paperpacks.

Lisa is a mover and a shaker and a definite do-er. She organizes a variety of arts based events in the city from a story telling series at The Staircase to The Quarterly: A Night of Live Performance at The Pearl Company.  Lisa is also organizing an upcoming event called Handmade: a holiday art and craft sale. So if you’re still looking for a unique Christmas gift or a little art head to James North Art Collective at 328 James North on Sunday, December 16th from 11am-4pm. There’ll be fine art and crafts from over 30 different artists.

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