Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nice bit of press ....

Lovely gentle story by Jeff Mahoney in The Hamilton Spectator today about my studio -

The complex beauty of living on the Beach

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Fall Painting 2 (Acrylic): Milkweed

A blast of winter has just descended, but not before I managed to finish this final fall painting for 2014 - Milkweed. Monarch butterflies are in desperate need of these 'weeds' for nourishment and protection. When consumed, the milkweed wards off predators with a toxic combo that makes them ill. Nature's checks & balances are amazing in that way ...  

Milkweed - Acrylic on canvas, approximately 36" square - by m.l.holton
If interested in price or purchase, please contact the artist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Painting (Acrylic), Fall 2014

Purple Aster Preliminary under-painting
 One of the things I LOVE to do in the fall is WALK. 
The colours and the massive change in the natural world is always such a pleasure to behold. 
This year, while strolling back country, I came across this massive patch of 'purple aster'. 
Most people call them 'weeds', but I think the add immensely to the changing landscape ... 

The image above is the 'first pass', in acrylic, 
with the INTENT to 'zap' it a la MLH as seen below.
What do you think? Yes/No? Size is about 38" square.

... just a common weed ... by m.l.holton

I'm going to take another pass at milkweeds on the lakefront soon.
Will post when done. 
Constructive comments always welcome .. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

A few thoughts on #PaintingHamilton now showing @ The Art Gallery of Hamilton

BIG canvas' from Charles Meanwell
In truth, I was expecting A LOT more 'piss & vinegar' then what was shown at the Opening last Sunday.

As I was wondering around, LOOKING, I kept trying to find the word that best summed up the benign 'neutrality' of the show. The word that bubbled up from the nether regions was 'Exact'. 

It, the exhibition, is - EXACT. 

Cumulatively, the melange and cross-pollination of visuals created a kind of Tarty Rigidness. 

There was little there that made me air-suck with delight or WHOOP! in appreciation.  

Still, the PRECISION of the whole exhibit did please, in a visceral kind of way ... Though, overall, it did not feel very much like the Hamilton most know. 

Perhaps that was the point in whole, or in part. 

From the liner notes for the exhibit: 
Hamilton has a very rich artists’ scene, and a great number of brilliant painters. On the occasion of the AGH centennial, this exhibition features ten artists from the Greater Hamilton area, many of whom are not well-known, showcasing the diverse subject matter, techniques and materials that are of the moment in contemporary painting practices. Direct from the artist’s studios and local private collections, the exhibition includes over thirty works in landscape, portraiture and abstraction. From lush oil paintings to a sculptural installation, the range of media, form and scale is intriguing. However the psychological weight of the subject matter prevails, as it is activated by the materials. Whether an intimate portrayal of a model, or an intuitive and gestural expression of the environment, the pieces are captivating, powerful, and impressive for their ability to engage the viewer on a subconscious level.

The exhibition title is 'Painting Hamilton'. The works displayed certainly seemed to contrast to the dominate and prevailing  'Ambitious Hamilton' sentiment.  Almost, at times, the items appear as art-school intrusions into an industrial place. And they seem, though often maturely executed, overly 'young' in subject matter. Little is political. Most are 'safe' art subjects. 
 
Is THAT the Hamilton most artists' living and working in this re-surging re-energized locale know and articulate? - Didn't seem so to me.  

Still, the exhibit is an useful insight into what the current curatorial staff consider 'of note' "in contemporary painting practices". That perception alone reflects what they might like Hamilton Painters to become - "on a subconscious level."

Question is: will this CARRY long term? Will this exhibition assist to DEFINE a uniquely maturing Hamilton Perspective on a national and global stage? Personally, I doubt it. There is just not quite enough of the 'rough & tumble' of Hamilton, past or present. 

Don't take my word for it,  check it out or yourself. 

Featured talented artists are Jennifer Carvalho, Catherine Gibbon, David Hucal, Daniel Hutchinson, Charles Meanwell, Matthew Schofield, Christina Sealey, Beth Stuart, Lorne Toews and Manny Trinh.  (... And no, I hadn't heard of most of them either ... )

With  the passing of the Executive Torch by the incomparable and elegant Louise Dompierre as CEO and President of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, we can soon expect a NEW ERA from - and for - the AGH.  It will be curious to see what 'brand' incoming Shelley Falconer will concoct for the Next Generation of attendees for this venerable institution, now 100 years young.  

Jennifer Carvalho  with one of her paintings in 'Painting Hamilton'

Afterthought:  Here is how Amy Kenny of The Hamilton Spectator weighed in ... 
... Much more emphasis on the curator, then the artists. And so it goes ... 

Worth keeping in mind is that Hamilton City Council ratified a 30 million dollar fundraising 
initiative for the Gallery, effective of late 2013. That means a WHOLE NEW look & feel, by 2019 ... 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Fall Painting, 2014


(acrylic on cloth, 17" square, unframed, untitled )

Something a bit different for me - PURE abstraction. 
Playing with colour, shapes, forms and fingers ... 

Potentially, a new series, 'Galaxy Gifs'
Wadja think?

BIG SPACE = BIG SALE! @ 270 Sherman Ave North, Hamilton


Originals Art Shoppe is hosting a large exhibition and sale on Saturday, Nov 1st from 1:30-7pm and Sunday Nov 2nd from 12:30-5pm.

Come see 20,000 sq ft of exquisite art by over 50 artists across the Golden Horseshoe! We will also have a section dedicated to handcrafters and handmade jewelry artists - An excellent place to start your Christmas shopping with all original gifts!

We will be distributing swag bags full of local goodies to the first 50 guests each day of this fantastic event! 


 - I will have several items in this show: a few acrylics and a few 'white out' graphics. All VERY reasonably priced, so swing in and check it out at 270 Sherman Street, Hamilton - Saturday or Sunday. 

Big Space, Big Sale!

 UPDATE: 
Let alone the great space, this event was well staffed, displayed and well-attended. 
I arrived around 2pm on Sunday ... staying for about an hour. 
PLUS, I had the chance to meet one of my new fav Hamilton Ontario painters, Claudette Losier. 
270 Sherman SUPER SALE with vignette of Claudette Losier 'in situ' ..
  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Aga Khan Museum: 'The Garden of Ideas' Exhibit

This weekend I managed to drop in on the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. What a place! With a somewhat forbidding citadel-like exterior, the stark overpowering angularity of the architecture and landscaped 'pools'  (designed by Vladimir Djurovic) are vividly contrasted to the florid delicacy of the historic and contemporary miniatures dwelling within. Overall, the place projects a lion-hearted, yet oddly timorous, 'soul' ...




The exhibit I particularly wanted to see was 'The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art of Pakistan'. The brochure reads, "Created for pleasure, spiritual reflection and aesthetic contemplation, gardens have held many meanings. Beyond their beauty, they represent the human impulse to organize, contain, and collect the natural world. Without cultivation, a garden would cease to exist. Similarly, without cultivation of the mind and the soul, it is believed a society cannot progress' ...."

The exhibition begins with a walk-through-time in order to set the context for the 'contemporary' works ... Overall, the minute intricacy of brush and pen stroke of yore titillates the eye and mind. When confronted with the new works, the intricacy is still there, but 'modern' thoughts, feelings and expressions have taken over what was once artwork done for 'court'.

Some modern items particularly caught my eye ... I'm leading off though with a section of an historical image to give you a sense of that. (Note: I have not documented the artist or the title of the works. This foray was primarily about getting 'an impression' without too much interference.)

From several centuries ago, the tradition, symbolism and talent are self-evident. 

Now the modern stuff ...
(sorry about the pot light reflective glare on a few of these shots)





(Appropriately entitled, 'Threatened' ...)

  
 (yes, that's a map of England on the wall ...)



(my personal favourite, yes BUSY, but balanced & complex)


... leave you to draw your own conclusions ... 

As the landscape design (and newly planted trees) around this austere monster structure mature, 
the outdoor patio & reflective pools will certainly become a welcoming oasis in that quarter of Toronto.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say it's a 7. Worth a visit.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Maggies - Oct 16th in #Hamont

I've been nominated. Don't stand a chance of winning, such great talent on deck. 
But nice to be 'in the running' ....