Archive for the 'Books' Category


Book Review: Emily Carr – From the Forest to the Sea

A strong affinity for the natural beauty of western Canada and First Nations culture is clearly visible in the work of Emily Carr, one of Canada’s best-loved artists. Her point of view resonates strongly today, and it seems to have inspired this fresh take on her work, edited by Ian Dejardin, director of London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, and Sarah Milroy,
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Book Review: Harold Town by Iris Nowell

Harold Barling Town, Canada’s “enfant terrible” over the course of an artistic career that spanned the 1950s to the ’80s, was a celebrity in his day. A compulsively prolific artist with a theatrical, over-the-top personality, Town was known as a master printmaker, but would go on to produce more than 9,000 paintings, collages, assemblages, sculptures, and murals in a huge
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Book Review: Christopher Pratt: Six Decades by Tom Smart

Christopher Pratt is widely acknowledged as an important Canadian painter, but he has long been viewed in the shadow of his better-known East Coast compatriot, Alex Colville. This gorgeously designed book seeks to redress the imbalance with a thoughtful journey examining almost the entirety of Pratt’s artistic practice. Christopher Pratt, Four White Boats: Canadian Gothic, 2002. Image: Read the
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The Archive of Modern Conflict: CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto

This year’s CONTACT photography festival kicked off with a bang at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto. I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s show, Collected Shadows: Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC). An arrangement of images on the deep purple wall at MOCCA: Image: VoCA I had never heard of the AMC, even though it is Toronto
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Book review: Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

Among Leonardo da Vinci’s writing and journals, one note in particular reveals his genius: his desire to paint “Man, and the intention of his mind.” Da Vinci’s constant search for new ways to reveal the world through art defined the Renaissance and set an artistic standard for centuries to come. Ross King’s excellent examination of one of da Vinci’s undisputed
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Guest Post: Cultural Espionage

Micheal Laverty writes about his soon-to-be-published satirical first novel, about a “21st century troupe of court jesters – a collective of artists dubbed Apollo’s Army.” Micheal Laverty graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor and completed the School for Writers program at Humber College. His writing has appeared in various journals including The Fiddlehead and
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Review of Karsh: Beyond the Camera

I recently reviewed a new book about the famed portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh. Karsh’s portrait of Georgia O’Keefe. Karsh arrived to Canada from Syria in 1925 and eventually set up in Ottawa, where he worked his connections in politics, eventually photographing Sir Winston Churchill, which made him world famous. For the last 18 years of his life, he lived
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Guest post: The Search for Business Models in the Arts

Jeremy Deller, “The Battle of Orgreave” (2001), in which original participants in a 1984 miners’ strike reenacted the events. Image: Buzz Hargrove or Lee Iococca: The Search for Business Models in the Arts By Robert Labossiere For decades now, everyone from artists to arts organizations to public and private galleries and arts councils has been under pressure to operate
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Max Dean: Album at CONTACT 2012, Toronto

Over the past ten years, artist Max Dean has collected other people’s photo albums. He’s got about 500 of them, which are being used as part of his latest project at this year’s CONTACT Photo festival in Toronto. Artist Max Dean. All images (except Google map) by VoCA. The project is called Album, and it involves Dean loading up his
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Visit to Canoe Lake: Tom Thomson’s Grave

Last weekend, we went up to a friend’s cottage on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. You may recognize the name – it’s well known as the lake where Group of Seven painter Tom Thomson mysteriously died at age 42 in July, 1917. He had left to go on a fishing trip, but after only a few hours his canoe was
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