TORONTO-BASED ARTIST, JAMES FOWLER, HAS A UNIQUE WAY TO PORTRAY THE URBAN LANDSCAPE

A former student in Film Studies at York University, JAMES FOWLER searched and found an original way to present urban landscapes in Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2019, 82% of the total population of Canada lived in cities. We don’t all live in the wide-open spaces any more. <Photo above from ‘Beautiful Amazing Mindful Troublemakers’ on CBC Arts, 2017><Looking down on Toronto’s geometric conurbation in living colour is fascinating. This painting begins at the Harbour, passes under the Gardiner Expressway, then through the Financial District, and immerses itself in packed housing further up north.><Toronto in autumn makes the grid system completely obvious.><The Toronto suburb Don Mills, the Don Valley Parkway & Highway 401><Toronto again, only this time in summer. This is Canada’s largest city, GTA population about 6-million; city 3-million. To escape the heat in summer there are ferries connecting the lakefront with the Islands.><Montreal is Canada’s second largest city, with a population of about three million. It has many steep hills, a famous mountain, outstanding architecture, the river, an island and some serious bridges.><Fredericton is New Brunswick’s capital.  It occupies both sides of the Saint John River – which is occasionally known to flood. Population – about 60,000><Amherst, northern Nova Scotia – the place where I was born and grew up. The bright colours are inspired by summer festivals, happiness, travel and fun. Population about 12,000>

MOMA MARKOVICH CAPTURED ONTARIO’S TRANSPORTATION HISTORY – ONE PAINTING AT A TIME

There was plenty of subject matter, and painter MOMA MARKOVICH (1902-1977) took full advantage of it. During a 15-year career with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO), the Serbian-born artist created 200 works detailing the province’s famous roads and bridges<PAVING HIGHWAY 11 near Harty Cochrane District><‘PLANK ROAD – The Smooth Roadway><QUEEN ELIZABETH WAY, Canada’s first super highway><DE HAVILLAND BEAVER, the first all-metal bush plane designed & built in Canada><Nipigon Junction of Highway 17 and Hwy 11>

<IMAGE ABOVE – ‘Carrying Place’, Humber River> One hundred of MOMA MARKOVICH’s paintings are in the Archives of Ontario.To see works on other subject matter from the Archives’ vast collection go to http://www.archives.gov.on.ca

DANIEL NG’S BIG IDEA – DEPICT TORONTO POLICE, PARAMEDICS & TRANSIT DRIVERS IN LEGO

TTC streetcar driver DANIEL NG’s creative outlet is designing models – partly homemade, partly Lego – of everyday people working for the common good.“Everyday I see so many things while driving my streetcar,” he says “That motivates me into what I’m going to put into a Lego scene.”Creating these tiny figures involves buying Lego parts online, printing and gluing on patches and painting wherever needed.The idea is to share safety messages and reduce ‘tension’ between communities.For more examples of Daniel’s work check out https://twitter.com/legocopgta

ARTIST GRANT WOOD HAD A MAJOR HIT – AND THAT WAS “AMERICAN GOTHIC” IN 1930

The two placid models – Grant Wood’s sister, Nan Wood Graham, and the gentleman beside her was their dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby. They’re photographed in front of one of America’s most famous images. I remember seeing it up close in the Art Institute of Chicago.It’s a classic for sure.  In the painting Nan Wood Graham is wearing the same cameo brooch she wore in the photograph.  Within the brooch is Persephone, the goddess queen of the Underworld, wife of the god Hades. Wood decided to paint in the background an Iowa house. In his words, “these were the kind of people I thought should live in that house”. Gertrude Stein assumed the painting was meant to be a satire of rural small-town life.<ABOVE – Grant Wood, self-portrait, 1932, Figged Art Museum>  Mr. Wood said he had not painted a caricature of Iowans, but rather a depiction of his appreciation.