A hotel art show, a Trump-era drama and six other things to do in Toronto this week - Toronto Life - Canada News Media
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A hotel art show, a Trump-era drama and six other things to do in Toronto this week – Toronto Life

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A hotel art show, a Trump-era drama and six other things to do in Toronto this week

Photo by Gabby Frank

An artsy hotel takeover
1Of all the weird-yet-irresistible trends in 2019, the made-for-Instagram pop-up craze surely tops the list. But fake private-jet booths and neon-coloured velcro walls have nothing on the Gladstone’s OG art maze. Back for its 17th run, Come Up to My Room gives every inch of the hotel an artsy makeover. Among this year’s 27 quirky installations: a collage of floating, ghostly cut-outs, a magical enchanted forest filled with sculptures and fairy lights, and a room packed with neon-orange furniture. January 16 to 19, Gladstone Hotel.

Photo courtesy of Interior Design Show

A design refresher
2New year, new decor? The Interior Design Show is a timely opportunity for those resolving to overhaul their living quarters. It runs three and a half days and features more than 400 exhibitors, plus interactive displays and drool-worthy decor galore. Internationally acclaimed architect Francis Kéré and Oscar-winning Canadian production designer Paul Austerberry—he created The Shape of Water‘s eerie reptilian look—will deliver design motivation via illuminating keynotes. January 16 to 19, Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Photo by Dahlia Katz

A class act
3Hailed as “the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era,” Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-winning rust belt drama Sweat digs into the blue-collar discontent that helped put the Donald in the White House. Set in the early 2000s in a Pennsylvania bar, the play charts the economic and racial tensions among a group of factory employees facing an uncertain future. The anger escalates when one of them is promoted to management and layoffs are announced. Nottage interviewed real Pennsylvania steelworkers to write this powerful but compassionate play about the victims of late capitalism, which receives its Toronto premiere from Studio 180 and Canadian Stage. January 14 to February 2, Berkeley Street Theatre.

A bloody royal affair
4Canadian playwright Kate Hennig’s celebrated Queenmaker Trilogy comes to a boil in this blood-soaked final instalment. In Mother’s Daughter, the focus is on Mary I, a.k.a. Bloody Mary, and her tempestuous five-year reign as Queen of England. Urged by memories of her late mother and threatened by her half-sister Elizabeth, Mary sets out to reverse her father Henry VIII’s protestant reforms by any means necessary. Like its predecessors, The Last Wife and The Virgin Trial, Hennig makes Tudor politics thrillingly contemporary in this gynocentric take on English history. January 14 to February 9, Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

A frigid song cycle
5There are usually only two people on stage for a Schubert song cycle: the singer and the pianist. Philippe Sly and Le Chimera Project’s Winterreise breaks with tradition by adding a small chamber ensemble and some seriously dramatic lighting. Winterreise (“winter journey”) is one of the most demanding pieces for any vocalist—24 settings by the German poet Wilhelm Müller that must capture the despair of a man alone on a winter night, hoping to find solace for a broken heart. Bass-baritone Philippe Sly brings a voice of many colours and an assured stage presence to this newly dramatized masterpiece. January 17, Koerner Hall.

Photo courtesy of the COC

A tale as old as time
6The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s comic celebration of wit’s triumph over status, is one of the oldest Italian operas never to have gone out of fashion, thanks to its dazzling coloratura singing and implicit social critique. The titular character, Figaro, helps his former employer, Count Almaviva, wrest his beloved Rosina from her guardian’s grip. Staging by Spanish theatre troupe Els Comediants promises much splash, dash and colour. The endlessly resourceful Figaro is sung by baritone Vito Priante, Count Almaviva by tenor Santiago Ballerini and sought-after Rosina by mezzo Emily D’Angelo. January 19 to February 7, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Still from The Upper Side of the Sky (2019) Photo courtesy of Jawa El Khash

A VR expedition
7Jawa El Khash, a Syrian-born Toronto-based artist, uses virtual reality to archive architecture and greenery that no longer exist in the real world. In her latest exhibit, the Upper Side of the Sky, she recreates the ancient setting of Palmyra, Syria, with its towering ancient ruins and plant life destroyed in the civil war. January 15 to February 15, InterAccess.

Photo by Matt Barnes

An electro-dance party
8The indigenous artist iskwē is Canada’s answer to artists like Florence and the Machine and FKA Twigs. This Friday, she gets the energy pumping with a funky dose of her alt-electronic pop tracks. The show follows up on the release of her latest album, acākosik, which includes the catchy “Night Danger,” co-produced by Red Hot Chili Peppers collaborator Garth Richardson. January 17, Mod Club.

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Gordon Smith, B.C.-based painter, art champion, dead at 100

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VANCOUVER — Gordon Smith, a painter, philanthropist and educator based in British Columbia, has died.

Vancouver’s Equinox Gallery says the celebrated artist, who dedicated his life to the arts and mentoring new talent, died Saturday. He was 100.

The gallery says the English-born Smith came to Winnipeg in 1933 and studied at the Winnipeg School of Art. He had his first professional exhibition in 1938.

In 1941, he served in the Second World War with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and then went on to teach at the University of British Columbia until 1982.

His dedication to new talent included the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists, which he founded with his late wife Marion Fleming. Smith’s various awards include the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts.

The Equinox Gallery, where Smith held more than 25 solo exhibitions, says a memorial in his honour will be announced at a future date.

“A key figure in Canadian art, Smith lived his life with a generosity and grace that was a gift to the world,” the gallery said in a statement.

“Gordon Smith, an exceptional artist and uniquely generous human being, will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to know him.”

Smith’s works are held in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, among others.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said the cultural community lost an icon, whose seven-decade career won international recognition.

“Smith was vocal and passionate about the social value of art,” he said in a statement. “His legacy will continue to influence and inspire future generations of artists through the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists and the Artists for Kids program in North Vancouver.”

Smith was passionate about art education and first taught at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. At the age of 27, he became a graphic design instructor at the Vancouver School of Art, now Emily Carr University.

In 1956, he was hired as the University of British Columbia’s first instructor in the art education department.

“My students came out, hopefully, they became more creative, more inventive people. I learned from my students, I respected my students. I had great people, whether it was a Grade 6 class or if it was a fourth-year painting class.” he said in a video interview posted online by the university’s faculty of education in 2012.

“You’ve got to have passion about this. If you’re a writer, you’ve got to know something about how to write. If you’re a musician, you’ve got to know something about music, you’ve got to be passionate, not just contemporary music, but music of the past.” he said. “In art, you’ve got to know more about the history of art, the history of architecture.”

Smith said his best advice to a potential artist was to keep an open mind.

“It’s not going to look to a piece of pop music and say that’s junk,” he said. “Go around and look at every kind of art that’s being produced, all things from conceptual art to figurative art.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2020.

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Artist says politics kept him out of Art Gallery of Peterborough show – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

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Artist says politics kept him out of Art Gallery of Peterborough show | ThePeterboroughExaminer.com


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Kingston to consider new public art space at City Hall – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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The first floor of the market wing at City Hall is to be renovated into a public art space. (Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard)

Elliot Ferguson / Elliot Ferguson/Whig-Standard

KINGSTON — The first floor of City Hall’s market wing is to be renovated this year to create a new art exhibition and program space.

The renovation, budgeted for about $140,000 and planned to stay within existing capital and operating budgets, has been in the works since 2017 and is meant to provide venue to host art programming and act as a complement to other existing art spaces.

“The redeveloped Market Wing space is intended to provide residents and visitors alike with access to exhibitions and programming that support the stewardship of local history and diverse stories as told through the lens of heritage and arts that highlights Kingston’s cultural vitality,” a report in the city council agenda published on the city’s website ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting stated.

“The intent is to develop exhibitions and programming that blend the arts, heritage and culture in ways that align with City Hall’s status as a National Historic Site while at the same time supporting cultural tourism and creating opportunities to showcase local art and artists with a particular emphasis on economic development and the professions associated with the creative industries.”

Renovation of the 222-square-metre space is to be made in consultation with those in the arts community, and the space is to provide a venue for programs that complement existing or planned city cultural and tourism projects.

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