Friday, March 19, 2010


My friend and neighbour Melissa Meyer is an artist.
Since I first met her in early December, she has been my New York cornerstone for arts culture. Last night we had a date- an arts crawl throughout a few of the Chelsea galleries. It was a two-hour tour through four openings featuring artists representing very different forms and mediums.
We began at the massive and highly sought out David Zwirner gallery. The enormity of the high ceiling-white walled space was the perfect landscape for artist Marlene Dumas' "Against the Wall" solo-exhibition. Her work represents her experiences with, and her world view of political discourse through paint using a dark and minimalist technique.

"Her paintings integrate complex themes- ranging from segregation, eroticism, or more generally, the politics of love and war- to explore how image-making is implicitly involved not only in cultural processes of objectification, but also in the way which events are documented and collectively understood."

The Wall, 2009
Oil on linen

Next we moved on to the Elizabeth Harris Gallery for Greg Lindquists "Nonpasts" exhibition of sculpture, painting and performance-based installations. The ambiguity of his locations-based painting evokes-for me- a sense of time past and the loss of an identifiable culture. Throughout the gallery, squared hollowed out cement tiles are placed in grid form. Guests are invited to stand, jump on and/or break the pieces. My impression is that it, in conjunction with his paintings represent urban sprawl and the spreading of human developments crushing the natural structure of "our communities" and how we generally neglect the consequences which may or may not result in a non-identifiable landscape as the basis of our collective culture.

Elizabeth Harris Gallery

With time frames in mind, we hustled out of the gallery and onto the next with artist Lisa Hoke and onto the next. At first glance, artist Warren Isensee's large-scale optical and sculptural oil on canvas paintings draw you in with their linear and brightly coloured geometric radiance. But, give it time and the exquisite multi-dimensional shapes will captivate the senses and create an image so visually stimulating that you feel like you are looking into the soul of the painting. I never would have assumed that something seemingly so simple could evoke such depth. In truth, this exhibition was my favourite.

Ground Loop, 2007
Oil on canvas

Our final stop was at the Don Joint: Waldameer exhibit at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery. The space itself is reminiscent of the Queen West galleries in Toronto, but the crowd couldn't have been more unlike the trendy west-end hipsters that flock to them. His pieces, created in collage form and style suggest a fantastical carnival-like theme. Layers of acrylic paint and ink are the backdrop to various prints and paraphernalia thoughtfully; Japanese Geishas, black and white pen drawings, and vintage movie tickets create dimension. Connedia Dell Arte -esque clowns are studded with tiny diamonds and stand in the forefront of colours so rich and deep and textured. The artist said that he had been working on these pieces for over twenty years, mentally layering the visuals.

As we left, I asked Melissa if there was a market for collage. In my ignorance, I wouldn't have assumed that this "arts and crafts" technique held much weight in the arts world but she said that she tells all of her students that collage is the most important form in American arts history. It is the best representation of the mind and the creative process as it best shows how we build and create from a single layer.
Interesting, huh?

Don Joint, Apples 2009

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Borough-ed Life:Part 1

Sunday March 14, 2010
I’ve been coming to Manhattan off and on since I was 7 and all I really know about this city is… this city. I’ve never explored the boroughs and so, before arriving I began a checklist of things that I want to accomplish while here and the rest of New York City is on it. Luckily for me, I have a great guide who has given me a personal tour of Throgg’s Neck in the Bronx but the real exploration began in Brooklyn. From the Bronx to the heights is about a two-hour subway ride, with a few transfers in between. Once in Brooklyn, it takes some time to find your bearings because it looks-at first glance- so much like everything else. On a rainy, windy day I don’t imagine it’s a number one attraction for those who have never been, but forging through the wet weather is also recommended.
The original plan was to take the train to Coney Island, explore the grounds and walk along the shoreline to Brighton Beach, an area still rich in Russian turn of the century-esque culture. The goal was to end up there for some serious knish. Turns out that the subway lines are under construction and Coney Island is virtually impossible to get to right now, unless of course you’re from there, have a car and know where you’re going. So, when all else fails- you hit the bars...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday in the Park

Sunday March 7th, 2010

Today is the perfect New York day. With the first early signs of spring, New Yorkers are venturing out of hibernation from the long, cold winter. On a Sunday, it is quiet although there are people everywhere. Eleven degrees never looked better.

I write from Tompkins Square Park in the East Village where a bench away, Chloe Sevigny, enjoying the afternoon sun, blends in the rest of us. I’ve just come from Café Pick Me Up, a quaint coffee shop on 9th and 2nd Ave. I’ve been going there for years, and like many other places around this city, it is a personal landmark. It is adorned with trinkets of all sorts, lackadaisically strewn about the wooden tables and antique desks in place of traditional seating. Not an inch of wall space is bare.There is nothing spectacular about it except maybe that searching through the décor can be as interesting as the shop’s inhabitants.

The park is busy with kids and families, skaters with their boards and meanderers looking for a place to relax. This might just be the perfect Sunday and other than the $2.30 I spent on my coffee, it is indeed priceless.

Oh yeah- Sophia Coppola just about ran me over with her daughter (or son!?)'s stroller. NBD folks, NBD.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Beginning:

If somebody told me that surviving alone in a big city, living it to its fullest potential by way of befriending a hotel doorman, I wouldn’t have believed them. But alas, it proves true- too true.
For those of you looking to find that inner independence, taking a trip to New York City during one of the busiest times of the year- alone- is a good way to start...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday March 5, 2010

I’m coming up to the two-week mark in my ten-week stay in one of the most invigorating cities on the planet. But my New York City journey didn’t just begin. The magic has been in motion for quite some time. It all began…