ANDREW OWEN (AO1) DEPICTS A MULTIPLICITY OF PERSONA AND A RANGE OF MOODS

As a professional artist, and a pioneer public art producer, ANDREW OWEN (A01) was one of the first to recognize the value of street art in 1980’s TORONTO.  His projects – paintings, photo-based works and pieces made from repurposed materials – have been shown in Vancouver, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Republic of China.  He lives and works in TORONTO and VANCOUVER.You’ll find some of Andrew’s public photo-based works in the Spadina Avenue/Kensington Market area.

MASTER PRINT MAKER, DAVID BLACKWOOD’S GIFT TO THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO

242 works were given to the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1994 by the artist, DAVID BLACKWOOD, and his wife, ANITA.  Seventy of these, along with letters, photographs, nautical artifacts, flags and historic maps are all parts of the gift.  Blackwood, 78, is a Newfoundlander, now living in Ontario.A master printmaker, he portrays the mythology, people and culture of his hometown of Wesleyville and the outport, Bragg’s Island, in blue, gray, black and white – with sudden splashes of red, orange and yellow.David Blackwood’s collection of works draw on childhood memories, superstitions, dreams, legends, and the realities of life around Bonavista Bay.

SUMMER OF THE MOOSE/2000 – THANKS TO THEN-MAYOR MEL LASTMAN & CHARLES PACHTER

In the summer of 2000, then-Mayor Mel Lastman asked sculptor/painter Charles Pachter to design 326 moose sculptures.  He did.  With coupons  for paint and a long list of sponsors, the naked moose were painted up by TORONTO artists and distributed around the city (map above).  Some were awful; many were beautiful; a few still exist.  PHOTOS: Sherbourne Street (SimonP), Old City Hall, CN Tower mountie (MKuhn), New City Hall pool (Boldts.net)<And here’s a real moose – photographed crossing a northern Ontario road – by Bryan Blenkin/Alan Rowe>

THE NORWAY MAPLE VERSUS THE SUGAR MAPLE – THERE’S A DIFFERENCE

Little did we know when a Norway Maple seedling began to grow into a gigantic tree. It’s a beauty, but has been hollowed out three times at considerable cost. We also have two more Norways in the front of our house. They were planted by the city, and have also been cut back. I spend half the summer sweeping up seedlings.North America’s Sugar Maple is another story.  It has pride of place on Canada’s bank notes, and the Canadian flag. The Sugar Maple has three wide lobes (or main points), each with a few irregular wavy teeth, plus two one-point lobes near the stem. The Norway Maple’s leaves have seven lobes.

CHEVALIER D’EON (1728-1810) – THE FIRST KNOWN PAINTING OF A TRANSVESTITE

What better time – Pride Month – to put up a painting of Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont.  We can’t say whether or not he was gay, but the Chevalier d’Eon certainly enjoyed dressing up in women’s clothing.  The Chevalier had quite a career – French diplomat, spy, soldier and Freemason.  His first 49 years were spent as a man; the last 33 years as a woman. Upon his/her death, a council of physicians discovered that d’Éon’s body was anatomically male.  This 18th century painting was sold in New York to a British gallery as a “woman in a feathered hat”.  Not so.  It turned out to be our chevalier, in the earliest known painting of a transvestite.  The portrait hangs in the British National Portraits Gallery, just off Trafalgar Square in London.

KING EDWARD VII RODE IN FROM INDIA – HIS SCULPTURE IS NOW QUEEN’S PARK’S CENTREPIECE

The statue of King Edward is quite flattering, dressed as he is in full military regalia astride his horse, Kildare, and sculpted by Sir Thomas Brock (the artist who did Queen Victoria’s memorial at Buckingham Palace.The sculpture began a long journey in New Delhi, India’s capital, 12,000 kilometres from TORONTO. It arrived here in 1969, and was an immediate controversy. Did we really want this handover? Harry R. Jackman, a wealthy insurance executive, paid the shipping costs. “I was not after Edward VII”, Jackman confessed. “I was after the horse.”The Art Gallery of Ontario wasn’t interested. Neither was the Royal Ontario Museum. But city council decided on Queen’s Park, and Mayor William Dennison unveiled it. Park visitors now enjoy this focal point, halfway between the University of Toronto and Bay Street. The statue has become a winner, even if it reminds some of us of British imperialism.