Tag Archives: AGO

@AGOToronto Gives us Moore with a Side of Bacon, and We Want Seconds!

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Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait on Folding Bed (1963)

The latest exhibit from the AGO gives us Moore with a side of Bacon, and we want seconds!

Francis Bacon & Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty” which runs at the AGO from April 5 to July 20 is a compelling retrospective overview of the two artists’ parallel lives and works, and how they were affected by the evolving world around them. Impacted by war, society, and religion, their works went on the become some of the cornerstones of modern art, and the images we see in our mind when we think of it.

Francis Bacon- Dandy- Vintage menswear inspiration- idol worship

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Francis Bacon, Second Version of Triptych 1944 (1988)

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Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait VI (1953)

We have always been huge fans of Francis Bacon’s work so it was such a treat to get to see some of his most iconic and monumental pieces in plain sight. His use of colour and his treatment of form are to this day as raw and exciting as they were over fifty years ago when they first made their premiere to the world at large. His vivid triptych, with its monolithic expanse, as well as his haunting portrait and studies of the Pope are alive with wonder, and indeed, beauty and terror.

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Bill Brandt, Henry Moore in His Studio (1940)

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Henry Moore, Spanish Prisoner (1939)

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Falling Warrior

Henry Moore, Falling Warrior (1956 – 57)

No stranger to the work of Henry Moore, the AGO has always housed an impressive collection of his work since first stepping foot in the museum as a child, and has since remained a pleasure to gaze at. His contorted figures which resonate with an almost ancient wisdom and mystic mystery were given new life juxtaposed amongst Bacon’s equally amorphous figures and mysterious backdrops.

Curator Dan Adler has done an excellent job of showcasing equally the similarities and discrepancies between the two artists, and is sure to bring fresh views on both artists’ life and works.

Francis bacon in studio

Francis Bacon – classic menswear style. vintage style supreme. divine inspiration. 

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Not only does the show offer a comprehensive and distinct juxtaposition of the artists, it also lends the viewer a greater vision of the world as a whole, and how history and the events therein contribute to the creation of our culture.

Some of the most stunning, but quiet works include Moore’s beautiful depictions of sleeping figures inspired by the surrealistic memories of the thousands of people who made their ways to the underground during the London Blitz.

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These sketches, and photographs of London during the blitz provide further insight into our own world today, and the devastating affects they have had on our society, and the musings these travesties have inspired.

The most interesting thing about the show was that although the artists’ aesthetic similarities are plain to see, it is impossible to ignore the individual voice of the artists and seeing the differences between the two. The mind easily deciphers them, and while so much in their lives run parallel, I never felt like there was a true intersection. Henry Moore was very much in his realm, and Bacon very much in his, and it’s these differences that really sing throughout your time walking amongst the spaces filled with their individual iconographies.

We hold them both very close to our hearts now, and no doubt, our soul will be pumping with the inspiration the AGO has brought forward with this exquisite showing of two of the world’s finest architects of the mind.

Brandt-Francis-Bacon

We also can’t wait for what they have in store for us next!

Rumor has it: MICHELANGELO!! 

In the meantime, lets invoke the spirit and seek our style inspiration from the master of modernity himself-

+FRANCIS BACON+

FANCIS BACON- Vintage menswear inspiration- PVC trench coat

Here he is rocking out a black PVC trench coat in front of one of his wicked fine masterworks. The classic mens trench coat is given an ample boost of modernity and edge crafted from oil slick black vinyl, giving the look a dark cool that is the epitome of Bacon’s style. He wears it with slim cut trouser and a black turtleneck for a sophisticated and timeless togetherness.

Now, you can get the look at our {SHOP}!

A fine black vinyl PVC trench coat exclusively from The Eye of Faith Vintage! A rare find, indeed . . .

eye of faith vintage- black pvc trench coat

INVOKE THE SPIRIT!

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Get it while you can . . .

And if you’re in Toronto, don’t miss out on the show!

Details and tickets can be found at the AGO website. 

You won’t regret it!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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{E.O.F. STYLE IDOL} Ai Wei Wei: According to What?

Ai Weiwei

AI WEI WEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT? at the AGO (August 17, 2013 – October 27, 2013)

Ai Wei Wei is currently the world’s leading bad ass.

Arguably the world’s most influential contemporary artist (no doubt, the most popular), Ai Wei Wei has made a name for himself with politically charged works that bring insight into the current politics of his Chinese homeland by fusing elements of the {past} and {present} together to incite change for the {future}.

Ai WEI WEI- NamesColored_Vases_03Ai-Weiwei-Sunflowers

The seed is a household object but at the same time is a revolutionary symbol.

-Ai Wei Wei

His works go far beyond the physical art he creates with teams of talented craftsmen who use thousand-yea-old techniques to create many of his most intricate works, but also stems into the world of photography and new media using video and cell phone imagery to capture significant moments of his life and the world around him.

This god-like attention to the details of his environments have gotten him into major trouble with the government of China which have their own god-like attention to detail when it comes to censoring sensitive subject matters they would rather seen brushed under the rug and forgotten. Ai Wei Wei creates works so that we we will never forget.

He knows the importance of the truth and works like “Snake Ceiling” and “Straight” aim to bring awareness to matters the government would rather leave in the dust.

Ai-Weiwei-installation-Straight

“Straight” acts as a catalyst to remember the tragic earthquake in the Sichuan province of China which killed over 90,000 people. Wei Wei salvaged the rebar of various buildings that were destroyed in the earthquake and had teams of craftsmen painstakingly straighten each bar by hand, and used the revamped rebar to create a piece reminiscent of a series of waves (perhaps invoking the wave-like motion of the earthquake).

The piece is part of the Ai Wei Wei: According to What? exhibit which is making its North American debut in Toronto at the AGO. The piece provided curators of the exhibit a specific challenge as the sculpture was delivered in 40 crates each weighing 2,500 lbs requiring the gallery to seek critique from engineers to ensure the building’s safety during the installation. The entire installation process took 70 hours over a period of six days to complete. The challenge of the piece is a testament to Ai Wei Wei’s relentless vision that sees very little bounds.

“Snake Ceiling” is a beautiful, organic sculpture created entirely from backpacks to commemorate the more than 5,000 children who were killed in the Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008 due to clumsy engineering and construction of schools. While the government refused to release the number of children killed, Ai Wei Wei conducted his own citizen’s investigation into the incident to uncover the names of the children killed which were celebrated in a spoken-word performance called “Say Their Name” which was performed at the AGO on August 18, 2013 in conjunction with the “Ai Wei Wei: According the What?” exhibit which runs at the AGO from August 17 until October 27.

Censorship is saying: ‘I’m the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.’ But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power fill collapse because of a whisper.

-Ai Wei Wei

According to What refers to a series of lithographs created by one of Ai Wei Wei’s own personal idols – Jasper Johns, and is a poignant phrase that encapsulates Ai Wei Wei’s own personal mentality to always question authority and the things people tell you are true, and to be responsible for your own life and destiny without the interference of others to tell you what to do.

One of the most powerful pieces in the exhibit is a blown up ink-jet print of a brain scan of Ai Wei Wei’s own head after being bludgeoned by police during a protest. Other pieces like beautiful marble sculptures of security cameras and hand-cuffs are also a powerful reminder of the heavy weight of authority and the permanence of the damage this authority can do on individuals.

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To the media, I have become a symbolic figure, critical of China. According to the government, I am a dangerous threat.

– Ai Wei Wei

Being a child of the People’s Revolution and seeing his own father, a poet, detained for his beliefs- Ai Wei Wei has never been a stranger to police detainment or having alternate beliefs to that which his government demands of his people, and for 80 days was detained in complete isolation with the company of two guards at all times which he has immortalized in a righteous music video called “Dumb Ass”.

He sees no fear, and this quality is very important, and is something to be looked up to in an idol. Don’t back down from your beliefs, and if you see something wrong – point it out and say it. What is the point of being afraid to be arrested or detained for doing what is right. If this is the case – the truth will be known, as is the case with Ai Wei Wei who is almost always in trouble with the Chinese government. What can they do, though? They detain him and arrest him, but in the end, they have nothing against him but the fact his beliefs are not in line with what they want him to believe. It’s an impossible cause on their part, as we, as humans, were born free. Never forget this.

Ai-Weiwei-installation-GrapesAi-Weiwei-installation-Kippe

While his politics are front and center of his work and persona, its some of his other pieces which really strike a chord with The Eye of Faith. Pieces like “Grapes”, “Kippe”, and “Divina Proportione” (after a study in geometrics by our own master and mentor, Leonardo Da Vinci) use antique furniture and pieces from dismantled Qing dynasty temples, as well as century-old woodworking techniques to create masterful sculptures that can make a man weep in its craft, care, and detail. These pieces take from the history of his culture, his past and memories, and create something new in the now that hopes to also provoke future generations to look at art and history in a revolutionary way.

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Dropping_a_Han_Dynasty_Urn_03Ai-Weiwei-installation-Colored Vases

Above all, the ultimate example of this revolutionary fusion of {past}, {present}, and {future} has to be his Colored Vases series which takes ancient Chinese vases (between 1,000 – 4,000 years old) and has them dipped into brightly colored house paint to make something completely new from the very, very old. While this technique has been seen as controversial, it’s another form of fearlessness, and a bold statement on the history of his culture, and the call for rebirth and  perhaps even rebellion.

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You can take a lot from Ai Wei Wei, and we were so lucky to get to see so many of his pieces up close and personal at the AGO. If you have the chance to see these works, please do go. While much of contemporary art can come off as superfluous and unrefined – Ai Wei Wei’s work is sophisticated both intellectually and aesthetically, and each and every piece cries out in its importance and significance in the grand scheme of art and our growing global culture.

Style isn’t always about what you wear. It’s a lot about what you do. The most important thing you can take away from it is the power to ask “According to What?”, and see the ever growing power of art and thought in our contemporary culture.

Ai Wei Wei - Jump

A nation that has no music and no fairy tales is a tragedy.

-Ai Wei Wei

Click here to visit his official site.

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{theEye}
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The Art Gallery of Ontario Wants To See The Ziggy Stardust In YOU!

ziggy-stardust-guitar-david-bowieZiggy Stadust

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) wants to see the Ziggy Stardust in you, and is inviting the first 200 people to show up at the exhibition‘s much anticipated September 25th opening night in costume to attend the highly publicized exhibit for FREE!!! God, I love that word .  . .

The exhibit which originally premiered at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London was a record breaker, and I’m expecting to see the same thing happen here in Toronto!  {theEye} is getting an exclusive preview of the show next week, and will be sure to let you know all about it, but until then, we wanted to load you up with some David Bowie inspiration so you can skip the line and see all of Bowie’s dazzling duds and fascinating personal articles up close and personal without making a dent in your wallet!

 

If you can’t make it to Opening Night make it to David Bowie is Herethe glam Official Opening Party!

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The Eye of Faith Gets “Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller”

 

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[Photo: Zev Tiefenbach]

The world of Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and Geroge Bures Miller exist somewhere between reality and the vortex of our imaginations. . . 

The artist duo are known for their of-this-world out-of-this-world creations that combine objects, sound, images, mechanics, lighting, construction, and cinema to create one-of-kind experiments and showcases in the transcendental quality and nature of art.

As one of the world’s most internationally respected artist partnerships, we were lucky to get a chance to enjoy a retrospective of their work, in an exhibit appropriately title “Lost in the Memory Palace”, which runs from April 6 until August 18, 2013 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

From the beginning of their partnership in 1995 to their work today, the artist duo have expertly managed to create evocative and multi-textural and dimensional works that transport its viewers to other worlds and often exotic states of mind.

portrait-janet cardiff and george miller_Bodtlaender

The duo has cited cinema as a major driving force in their work, bringing the immersive technology of the cinema to life in a gallery setting,  allowing the viewers an accessibility and availability that is mostly foreign to other works in the art gallery setting. While we are often encouraged to keep a distance in the world of art, Cardiff-Miller’s pieces are encouragingly tactile and require a closer look.

This is not a show that you can skim through and really “get” immediately. Going into it with this frame of mind would be disaster.

Like a film, the pieces require a dose of commitment, and an ability to get lost in the world being offered to you by the artists. The worlds are often slightly disturbing as you notice odd-looking effigies, or are startled by an abrupt sound; the element of mystery is definitely in the air, forcing you to question your own reality.

Such is the case with “Dark Pool”, the couple’s first installation created in 1995.

Cardiff Miller- Dark Pool

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I like that the technology is so popular it is almost invisible so that people can become intimate with it. At the same time the recorded voice is removed and has a sense of past that a real voice doesn’t, so it can actually get closer to the audience through that removal. They feel safe being intimate with a removed voice.

-Janet Cardiff

You are invited to open a paint chipped antiquated door to enter a long, dark, small room filled to the brim with boxes, books, furniture, rolling racks, and antique objects. You might want to, at first, turn back in fear of what could be lurking in the shadows, but very quickly you find yourself exhilarated by curiosity. As you walk through the room, you hear voices and whispers from the past (children, an elderly woman, a young couple), and begin to notice the clues all around you:

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[Photos: Cardiff/Miller]

An opened book on reading tea leaves sits behind a tray full of dirty empty tea cups. Two viewfinders, side by side, show a man and woman in a passionate embrace, the other shows a couple with signs of stagnant disdain. You see a collection of porcelain hands. A half-eaten biscuit on a plate. You hear the sound of Judy Garland launch from the radio singing her tragic anthem, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. You notice a book that dictates the signs of mental instability.

Often times, as in the case of “Storm Room” (2009), the imagined world is created so thoroughly, you really do question whether the artists have perhaps maneuvered a time slip or some sort of trans-continental teleportation device to get you to the empty Dentist’s office near Tokamachi, Japan, that was recreated for the piece.

Storm Room 1

[Photo: N.M. Hutcgubson]

An elaborate system of pipes, lighting, and speakers provide an uber realistic rendition of finding yourself unsure, even whilst in the comfort of “safety”. You can hear the coughing of a neighbour in the next “room”, and while you wait for the storm to “end”, you find yourself wondering where exactly you might have landed.

Storm Room 2

[Photo: N.M. Hutcgubson]

As water streams down the windows, and the rolling sound of thunder rattles the floor, you notice a roll of Japanese dental floss, buckets filling with water, a telephone, some old Japanese calendars, and a floor fan that only helps instil the uncomfortable quality of a 1960s Hiroshi Teshigahara film.

The Killing Machine- Cardiff Miller

[Photo: Seber Ugarte & Lorena Lopez]

Another unsettling piece, 2007’s  “The Killing Machine”, transports to a world unexpected and unknown. Forcing the viewer to imagine the violence and pain of being held on its soft pink fur chair at the will of two  elegantly choreographed, rotating stabbing wands, the piece is equally unsettling as it is beautiful.

Cardiff Miller- the killing machine - 2007

[Photo: Seber Ugarte & Lorena Lopez]

A statement on the nature of capital punishment, as well as a riff off Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony”, the piece works on the level that it blends these horrors with a beautiful array of coloured lights, a disco ball (who doesn’t love a disco ball?), and almost triumphant orchestration for a bizarrely amusing and eerie imagining of our society’s indifference to killing.

The most impacting piece, had to be the first piece ventured to in the gallery – “Opera for a Small Room” which the couple created in 2005. The piece is a 20 minute long immersion into the tale of a sad and mysterious man (“R DENNEHY”) who speaks throughout the piece about his sad tale of lost love, and a seemingly lost sense of self.

Cardiff Miller - Opera for a Small Room

[Photo: Cardiff/Miller]

Contained in a small shed-like space filled to the brim with nearly 2,000 individual records, eight record players, and twenty-four antique loudspeakers; the piece encapsulate a mysterious, melancholy, and mildly sinister mood, all while telling the story of the strange man who embodies the space between the sounds of various arias, sounds, songs, and pop music. The entire story is aligned with the change of synchronized light and colour.

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[Photo: Cardiff/Miller]

As the piece progresses you are enticed to circle the “room” to peer through the wall’s various cut-outs and doorways in hopes of gaining new perspectives on the world inside. As your eyes begin to wander you notice bowling trophies, suitcases, and other objects that add to this strange simulated reality. Its an opus of emotion, and another testament to the artists’ unique craft.

opera for a small room- cardiff miller- room

[Photo: Kunsthaus Bregenz]

   Writing is like a 3-Dimensional process for me. The words and sentences have to work with a physical space, resonate with that space. One thing works on the page but it’s a different thing when they are juxtaposed with a physical environment.

Janet Cardiff

Like a movie in real time playing before your eyes, the works of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are remarkable and exciting works of contemporary Canadian art that we are lucky enough to have gotten the chance to enjoy so closely and thoroughly.

The artists’ cinematic tendencies and unusual combination of various sound and media point to a world where the disparate worlds of various arts and industry can coincide and exist together, for engaging and elevating works of art that not only provide an aesthetic experience, but delve deep into the psyche to penetrate the world of dream, nightmare, and emotion.

To put it plainly, “Lost in the Memory Palace” is as close to Utopia as we’ve seen in this world yet. There are plenty of other pieces by the couple to enjoy at the exhibit, so be sure not to miss out on this incredibly poignant and realized showing on now at the AGO.

“Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller” at the Art Gallery of Ontario {April 6, 2013 – August 18, 2013}, for more info click here.

Until we meet again,

{theEye}

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Don Draper Goes Medieval! Is Mad Men Don Draper’s “Inferno”?

Man Men - season 6 episoe 1 - don draper reading dantes inferno on the beach

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost. . .

Those were the first words we hear Don Draper speak in the season 6 premier of AMC’s hit show, “Mad Men” which aired last night. Dante Alighieri’s legendary Medieval poem is not one’s expected choice to be reading on the beaches of Mauii, but for Don Draper it seems to have opened many questions of himself.

You could even point out that throughout the series, Don has endured through many of the nine circles of sin described in Dante’s “Inferno” (such as gluttony, lust, and sin), so to capture the man of perceived strength and self confidence bring alongside with him a poem about the author’s personal midlife crisis really speaks volumes. Don, however, doesn’t speak for another 10 minutes into the episode.

Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” is a piece of Dante’s collection of poems known as “The Divine Comedy“. Written between 1308 and his death in 1321, the work is still seen as a pinnacle in literacy for mankind, and is still read today by students and scholars around the world. Split into three parts: Inferno, Purgatoria, and Paradiso; the story tells of the author’s descent into hell before ascending to paradise.

And as Don puts it, “Heaven is a little morbid. How do you get to heaven? Something terrible has to happen”.

As Dante had Virgil at his side, Don has Sterling; and like Dante’s muse Beatrice, Don seems to have found a new muse in his latest mistress who leant him the copy for his vacation. It’s strange life he is living, but luckily he notes he must stop “doing this”, before he never figures it out.

Dantes Purification on the Deserted Shore of Pergatory- The Divine COmedy - Dantes Inferno - Master of the Dominican Effigies (1325 - 1355) - AGO Revealing the Renaissance

We got a chance to see one of first illustrated copies of Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Revealing the Early Renaissance: Secrets and Stories in Florentine Art, by The Master of the Dominican Effigies between 1325 and 1355. Today, it still one of the most important works written.

A season back, or so, Don criticized Universities as a “Medieval” system, in an almost dismissive way, so its interesting to see him now delving into the pinnacle of Medieval philosophy. I guess it’s always good to stay well-rounded. And 800 year old wisdom, is just as good as any.

One of the most famous publications of “The Divine Comedy” featured engravings by French artist Gustave Doré, offering fantastical and surreal visuals to compliment Dante’s classic words. We thought them a wonderful showcase to accompany Don Draper and his voyage of self-discovery, and maybe provide a little insight and intrigue into the world of Dante Alighieri.

Maybe we will go on one too. Anyone want to join us?

Everyone’s got a little figuring out to do.

Why not get lost a little on the way.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. Style Divinity: Patti Smith { Punk N’ Pretty}

patti smith with a crown of flowers

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon.

In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.

-Patti Smith

patti smith- yearbook photo

[photo courtesy:  Sexuality and Love in the Arts ]

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of browsing Patti Smith’s “Camera Solo” at the AGO, and really got an opportunity to get an inside glimpse of the one-of-a-kind artist and human being.

Her works are exhibited in a sparse open gallery with a few antique chairs for sitting, on top of an aptly bohemian rug you most definitely would find in her own living space, surrounded by her snapshots and polaroids, her letters, her drawings, and beloved objects from her past all come together to expose the tender romantic heart beneath that hard rock shell you might at first perceive her.

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There are photographs of her children, and of her idols (Frida Kahlo’s bed, Nureyev’s ballet shoe, Walt Whitman’s tomb, and of course her beloved Mapplethorpe, who understandably is a resonating force in her life and work), and they are displayed with the kind of simple black-and-white wisdom she must have come to understand over the course of her life.

Now 66 years old, her soul seems as vital and vibrant as ever. And while we will always remember her as the Punk Rock Queen, her “Camera Solo” really helps display her sense of bohemian elegance. The mix of old and new is obviously something of great interest to us here at The Eye of Faith, and Patti Smith does well to juxtapose her personal memories, the memories of others, and the present day, all in a peaceful vortex of still life serenity.

[photo courtesy: CBC]

There is the sense of a true individual, a libertinian quality, in everything showcased. The sum of the parts, are nothing without her own experience, and thereby no singular person could recreate the moments captured forever by Patti Smith in her writing, drawings, music, film, and photography. Indeed, she is quite the Renaissance woman, and so we thought it apropo to put together a collection of some of our favourite images of the Rebel Goddess, and hopefully ignite that same age old wisdom and passion Patti Smith inherently seems to possess.

And though she is known for her punk rock roots, it was great to see such a refined vision. There wasn’t that garbage, safety pin, and spray paint aesthetic some people immediately cling to when you say “PUNK”. If you think about it, it’s just a state of being that denies following the “norm”. Being “punk” says  you’re doing it your way. No apologies. That’s where her divine sensibility sets in for us.

So as you look through these photos, just let it take over. You don’t have to be right all the time. Just feel it, and let it just be.

patti smith- vintage photograph- high school

[photo courtesy:  Sexuality and Love in the Arts ]

Artist are traditionally resistant to labels.

-Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s “Camera Solo” is running through until May 19 at the AGO, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to spy through the window of a true punk rock soul.

Also check out her official website for concerts and other details. 

patti smith- class clown -yearbook vintage

[photo courtesy:  Sexuality and Love in the Arts ]

To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.

-Patti Smith

Until next time,

{theEye}

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God is in the Details: Revealing the Early Renaissance @AGOToronto

Revealing the Renaissance at the AGO - secrets in florentine art - the Peruzzi Altar Piece

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art (March 16 – June 16, 2013)

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO (317 Dundas Street West)

$25 adult admission (includes admission to the rest of the gallery)

When thinking of the Renaissance, one might automatically conjure up images of Da Vinci, his Vetruvian man, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It is a period in history renowned for its surge of creativity, knowledge, and innovation in areas of art, literature, music, architecture, and science.

It is a period that is also become more and more in vogue due to its resurgence in popular culture with T.V. shows like “The Tudors”, “The Borgias”, and the upcoming “Da Vinci’s Demons”, all putting their spin to this exciting and important moment in history.

But, what is rarely captured is the true birth of this period, and the movers and shakers who brought it all to life.

Perhaps its the fact that most art historians do not even know the names of most of the incredible artisans who painstakingly brought the churches of Florence to life with incredibly illuminated manuscripts, carvings, stained glass windows, and beautifully detailed panel paintings, between the years 1300 and 1350, that truly did start it all.

Revealing the renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art

This is what Sasha Suda and the curators of the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s latest exhibition, “Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art“, aim to bring to the forefront, allowing visitors to explore the lost masterworks that truly sparked a revolution, and would change the face of history forever.

In partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the curators have painstakingly worked on this exhibition for the past 10 years, travelling far and wide to analyze and bring overseas for the first time some of the most elaborate examples of work from this period that define the breaking point from the flatness of Medieval art to a more expressive and “humanized” perspective that has come to characterize the Renaissance.

Many of these pieces have been shut away from the public for centuries, making this one of the most impressive exhibits the AGO has ever premiered, and one that is sure to capture the imagination of all those lucky enough to visit.

The main gallery at Revealing the early renaissance- stories and secrets in florentine art - AGO- March 12, 2013

Sasha Suda Talks Art With Culture Minister Michael Chan

Curator Sasha Suda talks art with Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport.  

One might, at first, be intimidated by the prestige of such an exhibit, but fear not, as this portal on the past is as much a reflection of our present day, as it is the 14th Century.

Whether or not you know a great deal about Renaissance art, the exhibition is packed full of information, from the audio guide, to the i-pads strategically placed amongst the exhibition to give you the full backstory on some of the exhibition’s most intriguing pieces. The curators have created an easy to understand story, that truly captures all the excitement and mystery of the artists and the works they created amidst the social context of Florence during this period.

Detail of the Peruzzi Altarpiece - christ wounds- revealing the early renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art at the AGORevealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO -

God is in the Details . . .

As you first step into the gallery, it may not immediately strike you how these works differ from the Medieval illustrations and paintings you are used to, but upon closer examination, you will find how rich, textured, and full of emotion each piece truly is.

They are not works of art to be admired from afar, but works that deserve an acute eye, and a willingness to get lost in the stories being told within them.

There is a certain excitement generated as you begin to see the layers of colour, and painstakingly small brush strokes that capture the most miniscule details of hair and embroidery. While our culture might be used to multiple images rapidly flashing before our eyes (surely a luxury akin to witchcraft for the men and women of the Renaissance), one must note that the multi-faceted panels and illuminated manuscripts are akin to the cinema of the Renaissance, with all the drama, suspense, horror, and spectacle you could expect from a film of today, with even a bit of special effects here and there.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO

An exquisite panel painting. Blood, gore, and devotion. The piece reads almost like an expensive 14th Century comic . . .

It”s all for devotion sake, of course; used to invoke prayer, meditation, deep-thought, or contemplation. There’s definitely that sense of entertainment in the midst, often showcasing the more brutal and tumultuous moments of martyrs and Christ: Agatha with her breasts being cut off, another martyr is grilled on coals in ecstasy, and check out any crucified Christ in the mix and you’re bound to see more than your year’s worth of blood squirt (the most impressive, hands down, being Pacino Di Bonaguido’s “The Crucifixion” from 1315-1320, whose flowing blood rains on the spectators of the scene, as well as a juicy squirt from the chest for the viewer).

The Crucifixion by Pacino Bonaguida at the AGO - March 12, 2013 - Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and secrets in florentine art Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO - Detail of Bonaguida's "THE CRUCIFIXION"

Pacino De Bonaguida’s “The Crucifixion” and Detail of (1315-1320)

And while, we might cringe at the sight of this, its patrons felt the bloodshed and pain was the human aspect of their faith, and that one day perhaps, they may themselves reach divination, as did their faithful predecessors.

Getting lost in each piece, you begin to see that this society was obsessed with their idols, and their chance to be a part of them was as easy as getting a master to paint them into a panel or manuscript. In essence, it equated a wealthy merchant to the status of celebrity, having made his way onto the pages alongside the kingdom of heaven complete with Christ, the Virgin, and all the many martyrs who gave their life to the dedication of their fate.

The most entertaining example of this is the Laudario of Sant’Agnesse; an illuminated choir book commissioned by the Compagnia di Sant’Agnese, a fraternity of merchants, for use in charitable events and prayer, and who are also illustrated along the margins of the music. This remarkable collection of 24 illustrated manuscripts have been framed and reunited for the first time since the early 1800s, and will be performed by musical guests Lionheart on April 6 in the Walker Court of the AGO (click for more details).

Detail of Daddi's "Crowned Virgin Martyr" - Revealin ghte Early Renaissance at the AGO - Toronto

Detail of “A Crowned Virgin Martyr {Catherine of Alexandria}” (1334 – 1338) by Bernardo Daddi. 

It is amazing to think that at one time, masters like Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo must have set their gaze on these exact works to hone their own craft, and garner inspiration to create the masterpieces of the Renaissance we marvel at today. For when staring at the suggestive expression of Bernardo Daddi’s “A Crowned Virgin Martyr” (1334-1338), a glimpse of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”  with her mysterious stare, and face full of subtle shadows that delicately sculpt her face, can definitely be seen,  which make the exhibition all the more exciting, and relevant.

In many ways, the exhibition brings to light that not much has changed in the world of art and commerce; citing the importance of banking and the prosperous merchant class to the creation of these vital works of art. Being so wealthy, members of the merchant class became so concerned that they may not  reach heaven, that they began spending their fortunes on commissioning buildings, and filling them with new art that expressed their hopes, fears, ideals, and emotions.

Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO-A view of Bernardo Daddi Italian The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula and 11,000 Virgins

With prosperity, comes art – and not much has changed today, as many of the world’s most successful artists rely on wealthy investors and corporate big wigs to the cut the cheque on a commission. Perhaps they no longer fear purgatory for their sins, but they are most definitely keeping their fingers crossed that their commission could strike them big dollars, and in that way, achieve idol status, and a bit of heaven.

The exhibition has already been lauded by the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times as one of the most important exhibitions in recent years, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel through time, and take in 90 once-hidden masterworks that came to redefine life as we know it today.

Agony and the Ecstacy - Blood and Gore - Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO

All the Agony & The Ecstacy . . .

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Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art” opens at the AGO on March 16 and runs until June 16, 2013. To book your tickets today, click here!

Also be sure to check out the event schedule at the AGO for exciting insights inspired by this latest exhibit (Click here).

Sasha Suda, Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture), and CEO at the AGO, Matthew Teitelbaum - March 12, 2013 - AGO Press Preview

Matthew Teitelbaum (CEO at the AGO), Sasha Suda (Assistant Curator of European art at the AGO), and Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport) – March 12, 2013. 

Until next time,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. Style Idol: Pablo Picasso

What can we say about Pablo Picasso that hasn’t been said? Genius is a word that gets thrown around a lot , and justly so – the man completely reconfigured the landscape of creative and artistic possibility for all people that continues to flourish to this day.

{THANKS, PICASSO!}

However, in our one-stop society it’s easy to forget all the other titles that come to mind: rebel, clown, father, grandfather, playboy – but rarely do we find the artistic impresario ranking the  best dressed list for men’s style, and that’s a {goddamn} shame! Here is a man that not only redefined the art world, but took on menswear with an equally individualistic eye.

Luckily, we are always looking for idols to worship here at The Eye of Faith, so it was not hard to add Pablo Picasso to our growing rank of E.O.F. Style Idols! And here’s why:

Easily one of the most effortlessly stylish men to have graced the Earth, around here we’ve come to revere the art God’s sense for simplicity when it comes to getting dressed. With little more than a pair of shorts for the beach, a great pair of leather sandals, and a striped shirt- Picasso shows it doesn’t take much to get the job done.

Look for work wear inspiration at every turn – after all, much of Picasso’s life was spent working in his studio, so it’s no surprise to see a fine collection of simple cotton button-up shirts adorning the man in most of his photos.  These shirts are more often black, but we favor some of the bolder options- like polka dot, gingham, and check. Especially, for the warm weather, feel the urge and brighten up a little!

We can definitely learn a thing or two from the nonchalance and effortlessness of such a well-rounded and inspiring man. The key, is definitely in one’s own attitude. Picasso believed:

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

and it’s this sentiment exactly that we find in Picasso’s life day-to-day. The ability to laugh at life’s many pressures and queries, and enjoy life to the fullest is every man’s greatest challenge.

So, while the weather has shaped up for the better, best enjoy it to the fullest, and keep it easy and breezy like you’re on the beach with Picasso! That way, your time can be best spent living instead of all the fussing. After all, you never know when you might want to bust out the paint! Best pick articles of clothing that best suit paint splotches…

When it comes to summer- always look for comfort. It’s too hot to have to care, most of the time. So looking good doesn’t have to get you down whatsoever. Instead, just play your style cards few but freely, always seeking simple looks to get you through the hours, or day.

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Here in Toronto, we are lucky enough to get a visit from the artist. While under renovation, some of the artists’ most famous works from the Musee National Picasso are being housed at the AGO.

Staff of The Eye of Faith had a chance to visit the exhibition, which provided plenty of wonderful insight into Picasso’s character, as well as the chance to see some of his most famous works right up close! It’s a fairly large footprint, and the curators of the exhibit definitely do a great job at portraying Picasso’s long-lasting legacy.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of the everyday.”

-Pablo Picasso

How exciting! It’s not every day the AGO gets shipped such iconic (and expensive) pieces of history – from Paris, nonetheless! So if you’re lucky enough to be in Toronto, or are planning to make the visit, definitely make sure you add Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris to your TO-DO list.

The show runs until August 26, 2012 and is sponsored by BMO. Don’t waste another minute! The show was packed when we made our visit, so make sure you don’t miss out on your chance!

Picasso shares words with Brigitte Bardot {circa. 1955}

Until next time,

{THE EYE}

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