Monday, 6 August 2012

Workman Arts Presents: Being SCENE at The Gladstone

I recently had the opportunity and wonderful privilege to attend Workman Arts' Annual Being SCENE Exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. To say the absolute least it was a spiritual feast of inspiration, artistic voice, and stunning visuals.

Workman Arts is a fantastic company that, for many years, has celebrated and nurtured the artistic potential and expression of real artists who have lived experience with mental illness and addiction; offering supportive atmospheres, community projects, and life-changing, shared experiences to birth and mold healthy, successful lives. Being SCENE aims to break down the barriers that traditional society uses to define these incredible people; offering a more realistic understanding of those living with and healing from mental illness and addiction, as well as a soulful view into their hearts and minds as true artists and their creative evolution.

I attended the beautiful exhibition with one of my best friends, Lisa, and from the very beginning we were just awe-inspired at the raw talent, beautiful messages, and incredible imagery of many of these artists. One of my great designer friends, Sheri STRanger (whom you no doubt recognized at our fantastic Le POP! Event not too long ago) was also showing one of her beautiful acrylic works at the exhibition that evening.

Mark Belvedere, Restoration

Barbara Greene Mann's beautiful work

Utter Logic, Utterance of Addiction

Utter Logic, Utterance of Addiction
This was one of my favourite pieces as the exhibition. It was textural and bold, but it contained a narrative within it, like  a living piece. It left you with a message each time you read it, and it evoked the transformative growth of not only addiction, but life itself, at every, roughed edge.

Steven Charney, Embroidery

Steven Charney, Embroidery

Claudette Abrams, Duality
This is a stunning piece of photography. It almost looks like a baroque painting.

Jace Traz, Bonerland #2
Another favourite of mine. It's whimsical and incredibly suggestive, to say the least, but it's the depth of the piece that is astounding. A new image and a new shape that delves further and further into the canvas at every corner. From a distance it is matte and balanced, like an abstract texture, but it evolves as you move closer and around it. I can't even imagine the amount of time it must have taken to produce such a piece using one medium; a pen.

Apanaki, The Egungun
One of the most visually stunning pieces of the entire exhibition. It blitzed out of the corner of my eye and solidified an entire wing. The texture, fabric, colour, and sequence were a radiant display of fantastic detail and craftsmanship.

STRanger, Punnett

Robin Jones posing with one of his masterpieces.

Joey Dammit!

The Gladstone also happened to be hosting an exhibition on the second level called iSEAMONSTER which I can only describe as a female artist collaborative, as per the promotional poster. I couldn't hang around long enough to find out if there was an origin to some of these artists, but I did get the chance to quickly snap some of the most beautiful sketches and paintings that I saw down there. Really astounding work as well; my favourites would have to be the fashion, editorial-like penciled pieces of manipulated photography. Such animalistic images, and so beautifully composed.

Like I said, a feast. We had a wonderful evening. Thank you Workman Arts!


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