Thursday, September 20, 2018

Embracing Our Surroundings Through Art

With the G7 environment ministers meeting here in Halifax this week, we've been thinking a lot about how many of our local artists are inspired by and pay homage to the environment. A number of our artists reflect their love of nature through their interpretations of  local landscapes, many of which feature water. Living in Atlantic Canada, the ocean and the many fresh water lakes that form the backdrop to our lives, provide so much inspiration. 

Taking the time to explore the local landscape allows us to slow down and gain an appreciation for the natural world. Many of our artists are so skilled in being able to capture the nuances of light and color that make up an ever-changing landscape.

Mark Brennan, Evening The Cove, Thomas Raddall PP NS 11" x 14" Oil on birch, framed

Mark Brennan is one painter who is continually exploring the Canadian landscape. He is able to capture the mood of each season through the use of vivid colors and textures. It is so easy to imagine yourself on the scene of any of his works being able to smell the earth or feel the cool air. Mark features many of the country's provincial parks in his paintings.

Mark Brennan, The Clear Air of October, Killarney Provincial Park, N. Ontario 9" x 11" Oil on Birch

Gordon MacDonald is another artist who has a keen awareness of the natural world. He always has a conscious eye surveying the world around him, paying close attention to light and color. Gordon is able to convey landscapes in a way that makes what may be thought of as an "ordinary scene" appear to be one of those rare, heart-stopping views. Gordon's paintings capture those fleeting moments of beauty, and he's able to portray these because he takes time and care to look with curiosity at everything around him.

Gordon MacDonald, Big Round Cloud, 12"x12", Oil on Board

Gordon MacDonald, River Bend at Dusk, 26"x40", Oil on Linen

This past year of one of our gallery artists, Briana Corr Scott, had the opportunity to explore a very special slice of earth: Sable Island. Located 300 km southeast of Nova Scotia, Sable Island is a relatively untouched piece of land whose permanent residents are restricted to wildlife and vegetation. A small number of researchers and visitors make their way to Sable Island each year, and Briana was one of those lucky visitors. Briana created a large body of work that reflected her exploration of the island, and reverence for the pure beauty of the land. The wildness of the landscape and animals she depicts in her paintings have a lot to teach us about respecting and honoring nature, and the power of resisting human interference with nature.

Briana Corr Scott, Seals on North Beach #2, 6"x12", Oil on Board

Briana Corr Scott, Sable Dunes, 6"x12", Oil on Board

Danny Abriel is another one of our gallery artists who enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring the local landscape, including pockets of urban protected green spaces. Danny has a truly unique style of depicting the natural world; he uses bright colors and strong lines that come together to convey strength and beauty. His  paintings have bold presence, and serve as a powerful reminder to respect and protect our environment. Danny's works do not take for granted the beauty of nature, and remind us that nature is a powerful force not meant to be tamed.

 Danny Abriel, What Remains is Beautiful, 24"x36", Acrylic on Canvas

Kimberley Eddy is an artist whose love for the ocean is wholeheartedly expressed through her work. Kimberley's stunning mixed media pieces portray water; each piece is a mesmerizing dreamscape of blues and turquoises that flow in compositions that elicit feelings of calm and peace. Being near, in, or on the water has a huge impact on our overall health and happiness; Kimberley's work reminds us of the magical power and allure of water.  

 Kimberley Eddy, All Is Not Lost, 24"x12", Mixed Media on Board

Kimberley Eddy, Dance With Me Forever, 24"x24", Mixed Media on Board

 Some of our gallery artists re-use and re-purpose materials to create their works as a way to maintain a more environmentally-sustainable art practice. Kim Danio gives new life to shoes and handbags by transforming them into whimsical works of art with paint and reclaimed materials. Kim manipulates her materials in the most imaginative ways, often masking the shoe or handbag that lies at the core of her work so well you would never believe the transformation! 

Kim Danio, Small Bee, Reclaimed Shoe

Basil Doucette is another artist who re-purposes materials to create his work. Basil utilizes reclaimed wood to make tiny folk art wood carvings and creations. He even creates tiny butterflies using wood from fruit boxes in which clementines are packed at the supermarket.

Basil Doucette, Butterflies, reclaimed wood, paint, steel pins.

These are just a few of many artists we represent that hold nature at the forefront of their work. Stop by the gallery for a breath of fresh air, and to see our current display of works inspired by nature!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Take Care of your Elders: Elmwood Hotel

If you've visited Halifax or lived here for any amount of time in the last 200 years or so, you've most likely walked past or perhaps even lived at the corner of South Park Street and Barrington Street.That's the home to one of Halifax's oldest residents still referred to as the Elmwood Hotel but now an apartment building in disrepair.

It's fate is still unknown for certain, but as of the first of this year there is a glimmer of hope that the current owner is considering saving the building as opposed to demolishing it to build a newer, modern looking building. As far as anyone knows, this is still the plan as the developer and HRM work together to make this a reality. It would truly be a huge loss to the city. The building is almost like a living-being. Can you imagine the stories it could tell if it could speak? We'd be wise to take care of this elder and let it live on for another 200 years or more.
NS Archives Photo

In an article printed in THE COAST last fall, the author Jacob Boon spoke with many people that lived in the building over the last 4 decades. It's really interesting to read if you have a chance HERE

The history of this building is amazing- a quick Google search shares stories from it's first owner to it's most well know owner,  James Augustus Farquhar.  James grew up on Sable Island and learned to salvage and build things from shipwrecks and other stuff that would wash upon the shore. "The swashbuckling sea captain made a fortune in his career as a professional wrecker—salvaging ships and cargo that had been thought lost forever to the deep. His success so often seemed to arise out of impossible odds that the locals in Halifax coined a phrase after the good captain: Farquhar’s luck."

We feel very LUCKY to have just received a painting by artist Jennifer Harrison of the Elmwood. It's of course, even more amazing in person, as Jennifer built up the windows and peeks with paintbrushes, palette knife and paint that are quite a sight to see. Come see this piece in person and relive a bit of history everyday, perhaps on your very own walls. Who knows, maybe it will also hold a bit of Farquhar's luck within...

Elmwood Hotel, Oil on Canvas, 36" x 60", by Jennifer Harrison

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Honey, I Shrunk the Carnival!

The end of summer doesn't have to mean the end of all the fun and games! Here at the gallery, we are having all kinds of fun lately with the arrival of the wild and wondrous fair: Teensyland! 

Bumper Cars, Mixed Media, Damien Webb
If you think you're too big for carnival rides, you're right. You ARE too big (in this case), because Teensyland is a miniature fun fair. You likely couldn't fit even your smallest toe into any of the rides! Each piece in this show was meticulously created using a knife, glue, and paper matte board by artist Damien Webb.

Ticket Booth, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

Damien describes the work in his show:

Teensyland: a magical world of fun and excitement that fits in the palm of your hand! Enjoy a hot dog by the pier, witness the expansive view from the top of the Ferris Wheel, or experience an exhilarating ride on the world famous Molecule Mountain! There's something for everyone to enjoy at the worlds tiniest world of wonder..."

Popcorn, Mixed Media, Damien Webb
Rick's Pickles, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

Kiddie Copter, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

The tiniest of details are what make Damien's work so charming and realistic to the point it is hard not to wish you could shrink down to fit inside the Kiddie Copter or Yellow Submarine. It feels so tempting to order a hot dog from the Hot Dog truck where teeny tiny condiment bottles sit waiting on the counter. 

Hot Dog Truck, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

The amount of focus and patience required to capture such detail on a minute scale is almost unfathomable. On his Instagram account Damien provides snapshots of pieces in-progress that offer a glimpse of all the work that goes into creating his miniatures. It's quite fascinating to the beginning stages of some of the pieces!

Hot Dog Truck, in progress

Gravitron, in progress

Gravitron, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

Fortune Teller, in progress

Fortune Teller, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

Damien's work is best appreciated in person, so come swing by the gallery to check out the show! We had a lot of fun installing the show , and even used fake grass to help transform the gallery into a mini fun park :)

Cotton Candy and Popcorn, Mixed Media, Damien Webb

If you're not able to make it to the gallery, you can view the entire show online here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Hint #8 and #9- Art Scavenger Hunt Continues!

Welcome to the Art Scavenger Hunt! We are very sorry that we weren't able to release a hint yesterday, so today there are TWO hints for you to interact with. GOOD LUCK!

Send us your answers via email or direct message via social media channels,and we'll enter your name to WIN a $100 in art cash. DRAW is tomorrow at 4pm!

The first HINT is: What's the name of the heritage building that we posted a photo of today on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? The painting is by Jennifer Harrison is coming to the gallery soon!

 The Second Hint is: What's the name of the solo show by Damien Webb opening tomorrow afternoon, 1pm-3pm...which you need to come!

Here's a sample of one of the amazing HAND CUT paper and matte-board miniature sculptures you will see!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Home Sweet Home with ART!

Today is the first day of school for many people around the city. Whether today is the first day of grade one, the first day of undergrad, or your first day back to work after a blissful vacation, it's the beginning of a new season for many.

September can sometimes feel like time for a fresh start, almost like how January 1st holds so much promise of new beginnings and growth. A nice way to fully embrace that "fresh start" feeling is to make your home feel like home! September often marks moving season for many starting back to school, or perhaps just the desire to de-clutter or rearrange your space. Including art in your home can really help to freshen things up and make it a happy place to spend time.

Here at the gallery we have a huge variety of work available for every budget. Don't think you have to break the bank in order to enjoy some original art in your home! We have a wide selection of small works available from past Pre-Shrunk shows now priced at $95; they are also a great option for small spaces!

Andy MacDonald, "Red 1980 Lada Commie Car", Acrylic and Glow in the Dark Paint, 4" x 5"

Isobel Hamilton, "MacDonald", Watercolour and Ink on Paper Mounted

Ceramic artist Karolina Hanja makes intricately carved lanterns that can transform a space with fantastic shadows when a tiny candle is lit inside. She also makes small hanging planters, perfect for tiny succulents. We have a nice selection of her work currently on display and all ready to find homes!

Ceramic Lanterns by Karoline Hanja
Ceramic Lanterns and Mini Planters by Karolina Hanja

If you're holding on to the last days of summery weather with every inch of your life, let Briana Corr-Scott bring the beach into your home with her affordable prints of her sketches of seals, surf, and shells from her trip to Sable Island. The sensitivity in her work, like looking out into the ocean, is calming, and even elicits a touch of nostalgia. When put in a little frame these prints become perfect for a quiet corner in your home.

Prints by Briana Corr Scott

If you're looking for something a little quirky and whimsical, be sure to check out our fun collection of prints by Yo Rodeo. Some of their work is even designed to be viewed with 3D glasses -how cool!

"People Party" 20"x 26" screen print by Yo Rodeo
3D Screen print by Yo Rodeo

Lastly, may we suggest a great hack for an easy, affordable, and suuuuuper hip decor idea: frame Jodie Hanson's wrapping paper! Jodie has a line of wrapping paper that features characters from your favorite shows and movies like Golden Girls, Seinfeld, Stranger Things, Star Wars, and more. When put inside an extra large frame, these poster-sized sheets of wrapping paper become wall decor that will be the envy of all your friends!

Golden Girls Wrapping Paper by Jodie Hansen

Happy nesting! And be sure to pop by soon to check out our upcoming show "Teenseyland" featuring lots of miniature delights by Damien Webb. The show opens this coming Saturday 1pm-3pm.

Love your Downtown: Hint #7

Hey everyone and welcome to another beauty of a day here in Halifax! In case you are new to our page today, we have been hosting an Art Scavenger Hunt series, where each day you can find a hidden treasure or participate by exploring our art online too.

Today, we want to remind everyone to embrace their downtown and the unique businesses here. There's so much to see and do- you need to get walking around;it's the best way to discover new shops and window shop too.

Today's HINT # 7  has two ways of participating: one you will need to find a hidden box and then visit the gallery to claim a prize. The other you can do easily from the comfort of wherever you are. Just simply email us your answers to, or direct message us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Firstly,  tell us what your favourite things are about downtown Halifax and we'll enter you to win the $100 prize, draw date is September 8th.

Secondly, find the "little blue box" which is hidden in plain sight with this hint for it's whereabouts: "Downtown Halfiax is a great place to relax in the sun and have fun"

extra hint for the hint: The little blue box is hidden almost across from this restaurant ....good luck! Also, this great little painting by Jan Davison is awesome!
Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Welcome to Halifax...Hint # 6

The streets are more alive now as lots of new people and students are here and getting settled!  One thing Halifax has lots of  besides hills and more hills, is beer- especially craft beer. You can taste it at many popular and locally owned bars around town. As many of you know by now, we are hosting an ART SCAVENGER HUNT for a few more days now and here is the 6th Hint...

HINT #6:

NAME THE THREE HALIFAX PUBS OR BARS that are drawn by Carlos Carrillo, and are part of our group show, UNDER THE INFLUENCE, which is still up until end of this Saturday! Check it out in person OR visit the show link HERE to find your answers!  Let us know your answers via email or direct message through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You'll be one step closer to winning $100 in Art cash...draw this Saturday at 4pm!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wave at Us- Today's HINT #5

We started a fun Art Scavenger Hunt game a few days ago now, to encourage folks to get exploring this fine city and of course, our art gallery and our wonderfully talented local artists! Until September 8th, each day at NOON we'll be releasing a HINT of where a special something is hidden in Halifax for one lucky person to find or a TASK or mission for many people to participate in.


We're keeping it simple today! It's a beach day here in Nova Scotia! We'd love for you to WAVE at us with your pictures of WAVES from today or this summer! 

Share your pics via an email to us, or TAG or Direct message us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram today. Each picture you send will be included as an entry to WIN $100 gift certificate, draw date is September 8th. 

Also, HINT #4 is still in play....check the details of that out by reading our last post. Happy Arting!

A big WAVE along the Halifax waterfront for inspiration!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Bob Ross says "HI"!

We started a fun Art Scavenger Hunt game a few days ago now, to encourage folks to get exploring this fine city and of course, our art gallery and our wonderfully talented local artists! Until September 8th, each day at NOON we'll be releasing a HINT of where a special something is hidden in Halifax for one lucky person to find or a TASK or mission for many people to participate in.

HINT #4: 

Today, get outside and find any or all of the 5 BOB ROSS POSTERS, posted around the downtown core! Each poster is numbered! Each pic is another entry!

hint hint: One of them is posted just outside our gallery to get ya started! This is what you're looking for...

Simply take pictures of the posters. Then you can email us,  or TAG us on Facebook, Tweet or Insta us with your picture using the hashtag #argylefineart . We'll add your name to WIN the $100 Gift Certificate which will be drawn for on September 8th.  Good luck!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Under the Influence (of you, and you, and YOU!)

Today is the last official day of our current group show "Under the Influence". We absolutely loved having such an eclectic mix of work in the gallery, and not surprisingly, the show was well-received and enjoyed by many visitors. Because the work in this show is so fantastic, we've decided to continue showing it for a few more days, so if you haven't made it out to see it, you're in luck!

Some of the artists in this show created works that were inspired by artists that are iconic, widely-known figures such as Andy Warhol or Claude Monet, while some were inspired by lesser-known artists that we hadn't heard of before. It's been a lot of fun to look up some of the unfamiliar names to catch a glimpse of the source inspiration.

One of the artists in the show, Jana Wicha, a recent NSCAD grad, has five large pieces in the show made of MDF that have been carved and painted. Her work has a big, bold presence in the gallery; four of the pieces depict discarded and crumpled-up beer cans, and a fifth is a trio of cigarettes in various stages of use.
Jana Wicha, “Crushed”, 30" x 23.5", Acrylic on MDF

Jana Wicha, "PBR”, 28" x 22.5", Acrylic on MDF

Jana Wicha, “Faxe”, 37.5" x 19"”, Acrylic on MDF

Jana Wicha, "Olands”, 27" x 19.5", Acrylic on MDF

Jana Wicha, "Start to Finish”, 33" x 26", Acrylic on MDF

 Her work is inspired by an artist by the name of Sean Starwars, a printmaker based in Mississippi. He specializes in woodcut printmaking, and also paints directly on his woodcarvings to create finished pieces. Starwars is a key member of an international collective of printmakers called the "Outlaw Printmakers" who share a similar approach and perspective, much of which is inspired by Richard Mock. Mock was a printmaker, painter, sculptor, and editorial cartoonist whose work was published in the New York Times in the '80s and '90s.

"Meting Ice Cream Cone" by Sean Starwars

"Country Crock" by Sean Starwars.

"Reptilian CEO", linocut by Richard Mock, 2002

Jasper Richard is another artist in the "Under the Influence" show who was inspired by an artist we weren't familiar with: Louis Wain. Jasper's piece in the show, "Cat's Birthday", is a brightly colored acrylic painting that features a highly animated cat hovering over a birthday cake loaded with candles. The colors Jasper employs in this painting are cheerful and fantastical, but there is a subtle sense of chaos and over-stimulation that seems to lurk in the repeated patterns and imagery.

It was super interesting to dive down the rabbit hole of reading about Jasper's influence, Louis Wain. Wain (5 August 1860 – 4 July 1939) was an English artist known for his illustrations of animals and country scenes. He most known for his anthropomorphized cats with large eyes. Wain worked for many years as a freelance illustrator, and had his work regularly published in journals throughout England.

Cat illustration, Louis Wain

Later in his art career Wain began to experience some psychological difficulty, and was eventually treated for Schizophrenia (although the accuracy of this diagnosis of his debated). Throughout the his later years and amid his struggles with mental health, the style of Wain's work shifted significantly. The work he produced during this time is notably more abstract than his previous works, and seems to mark a period of exploration and evolution of his personal style, and his identity as an artist.

Collection of drawings by Louis Wain

Cat Drawing, Louis Wain

Hope everyone enjoys a fantastic long weekend, and be sure to stop by next week to catch the tail end of this show if you haven't seen it yet!