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Urban Gallery presents
our December 2018 Exhibition
BRIO
Solo Exhibition Of Paintings By VANESSA CUARTAS

Curator Allen Shugar and Artist Judith McKay
Vanessa Cuartas loves horses. "They were a big part of my childhood. For sixteen years I horseback rode." Vanessa isn't able to ride as often now but is putting her passion of horses on canvas.

Unlike most artwork featuring horses, Cuartas approaches her subjects with bold abstract strokes. Her choice of vibrant colour adds to the modern contemporary art style of her paintings.

At the artist reception at Urban Gallery this Saturday Cuartas said that she has always been attracted to the abstract medium. An artist for life Cuartas has been focused for the past two years with her paintings, painting every spare minute when she isn't at her day job as a graphic designer.

She studied at the University of Central Florida, with an emphasis in graphic design, and later received an Art Direction Diploma from Miami Ad School. She moved to Toronto from Miami just a few years ago.

The Urban Gallery show is her first solo exhibition after being part in several impressive group showings.

"Painting horses reminds me of the freedom and energy I feel when riding and by simply being around them. It allows me to have a piece of my heart in all of my paintings and gives me the chance to be close to my father, always.

I paint my horses in acrylics in a modern/contemporary style. I often paint with bold colours to convey energy and movement throughout the paintings.

As an artist, I just want to keep growing and learning. For me, it’s important to learn with every work I make and continue demonstrating the passion that I feel in every painting I make."   



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Urban Gallery Presents FAÇADE
Solo Exhibition by OSVALDO NAPOLI

Curator Allen Shugar and Artist Osvaldo Napoli
Toronto's Urban Gallery has been the venue for several established artists and emerging artists over the past few years. Many of the shows have had impressive collections that are noteworthy. This month it is hosting the first solo exhibition for artist Osvaldo Napoli, one of Canada's most exciting artists who are on the cusp of discovery.

Born in Uruguay Osvaldo Napoli has been living in Toronto since 1975. The mostly self-taught artist studied at OCAD during the 1980s and has been creating art for the past three decades.

Napoli finds the inspiration behind all of my work is people in general and the intricacies of social behaviour. He uses art to examine the world and humanity within us all.

On Saturday, October 10 before the crowds arrived for Osvaldo Napoli's first artist reception of FAÇADE we took some time to discuss a few of his pieces and the meanings behind them.

A common theme for Napoli is the use of masks. Asked what the masks represent the artist said, "We live in a world where a lot of superficialities are presented to us daily. Basically, we are content with that. We want the truth, we want honestly but there seems to be a protocol that we need to present ourselves a certain way to get by. Masks are not always all falsehoods, they can be a shield, a protective film that just gets you by for the day. The mask has multipurpose, they can be good, they can be bad but they serve as our companions, I believe." Napoli says his measuring stick is little children who do not wear masks.















Masks figure into the character of the sculpture MOMENT OF TRUTH in a very compelling way. "This is someone who lies all the time, who is carrying the burden of all of their lies. But the thing is he finds that he needs to have a moment of truth within himself, that he is not going to lie. He puts his mask upright and looks into the mirror to see himself without any masks. The trick though for this piece is that the mirror in itself is a magnifying glass, so you cannot see yourself very well in it. So by looking into the mirror, the man is deceiving himself, trying to look honest."






The sculpture HORIZONS has a very modern edge to it. "As you can see one figure represents man and the other machine, which was invented by the man," Napoli continues, "The artificial intelligence is pointing the way. It's that partnership, they need each other, the partnership is back and forth but now it seems like that the technology part is pointing forward. That seems to be the future." When I had viewed the piece earlier I gained a different story from the piece. As I related that to Napoli he smiled, "I just get the conversation started. Art continues to evolve with every set of eyes that observe it."

















The painting PUZZLERS is very much the story of modern Toronto. In silver and blue the large-scale piece tells the tale of fitting in and out of the city. "This piece shows the people of the city as they have to fit within the grid of the city at every level, mentally and physically. Part of who you are becomes part of the whole imagery of the city in the main mask of this piece. As the day goes by everything is tired and want to go home. Finally, the person detaches to become their own self at the end of the day."

When coming to a piece like PUZZLERS Napoli's goal is to mirror life. He says that he gets visions of the piece and is hooked. "I just have to do it! I like to find universality between people, that we all go through the same thing between time and space. I think that people in the city can relate to something like this because they all live here, it's a common experience that they all have. I just see it and if it's strong enough I execute it."

The piece that means the most to Napoli is currently not for sale. BLISS is a spiritual piece of a woman finding herself living in a higher spiritual plane. From the abandoned mask on the floor to the lotus flower the woman has evolved to a higher place.

Napoli is an artist that will be going further in his career. His pieces sing with talent and deep meaning. Make sure to view his collection on display all October at Urban Gallery.



EXHIBITION DATES
October 4 to October 27, 2018
MEET THE ARTIST
Saturdays throughout the show

  1. FACADE & PUZZLERS
    FACADE & PUZZLERS
  2. MOMENT OF TRUTH & CELL FACE
    MOMENT OF TRUTH & CELL FACE
  3. HORIZONS
    HORIZONS
  4. BLISS
    BLISS
  5. OSVALDO NAPOLI WITH BLISS
    OSVALDO NAPOLI WITH BLISS
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Grace Dam Brings Sex Love Lies to Urban Gallery

Artist Grace Dam (photo by Glenda Fordham)
   Artist Grace Dam is being showcased at Urban Gallery from Thursday, September 6, 2018 to Saturday, September 29, 2018 with her exhibition Sex Love Lies. Her work shows the complexity of life around us and our connection to the relationships of the human perspective.

The world at large inspires Toronto artist Grace Dam. Her large canvas abstract and moving paintings that capture the human narrative show her raw talent. Her "The Paper" brings sorrow and frustration to life from the canvas with subtle and body colour. 

Dam says of her work, "Body language, the second way of communication. The unspoken, silent signs. They are more potent, longer lasting and much more interesting to receive. Art is a form of silent language which I hope to convey. Oil is long-lasting, the medium is the message."

Dam has been featured several times at Urban Gallery with wide acclaim. She has committed herself to the study of art after a successful career in finance. This year she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCADU.  


Dam will be at Urban Gallery to meet with visitors and discuss her work on Saturday, September 15 2018 from 2-4.

(photography provided by Glenda Fordham)

Art of Food at Urban Gallery This Month

Urban Gallery  was the place to be on Saturday during the opening reception for Art of Food
Can food be considered art? For Urban Gallery, the answer is a resounding yes. It makes perfect sense. Urban Gallery is owned by Calvin Hambrook who also owns the renowned Urban Source Creative Catering. Hambrook's love of art leads to the opening of Urban Gallery almost six years ago with the goal to showcase the works of up and coming Toronto artists.

Urban Gallery opened in November 2012 and has become a mecca for artists in Toronto since. Each month a new theme is in place giving artists a vision to achieve. The monthly exhibits feature new talent as well as notable works from artists that have had their works displayed in galleries around the world. With the talented Allen Shugar​ curating the shows each artist featured is given a world class showing with a welcoming reception, catered by Urban Source.

This month's featured artists for the Art of Food exhibit are Aisha Chiguichon, Anushka Deshpande, Lisa Hemeon, Janna Kroupko, Valerie McMurray, Judy Sherman,
Kirk Sutherland and Lyndon Wiebe.

Toronto native Judy Sherman's paintings have something to say. Inspired by life these oils use humour to deliver a very real message. "My artwork always has to say something," Sherman said at the opening reception Saturday, "This is a new series I am working on. It actually started with a painting of a pet pig. I painted her and I got such a good response I continued." Sherman has been painting seriously for the past 18 years. She said that during her 30s she had a 'mid-life crisis' and ventured to Italy training with a Master. Today her work is hung in corporate and private collections worldwide.

The intricate quilling work of Anushka Deshpande has a 3D quality. These brightly coloured pieces bring a sense of whimsey and cheer. It's hard to believe that she is a newcomer to the art world. Deshpande started working as an artist as a way to spend quality time with her daughter in 2016. Her first show was in Brussels and this is the first one in North America. "I get inspired by memories and happy thoughts. Nature is so beautiful and perfect." She likes to capture that perfection in her designs.

Lisa Hemeon's waterscapes may seem a bit out of place in an exhibition on food until you consider that much of our food comes from the sea. Using acrylic and heavy gels that give a waxy feel to colour her canvases Hemeon "They are reminiscent of my life in British Columbia growing up." Curator Shugar invited Hemeon to the show, letting her know that he felt that he could honour her work in relation to this show. Hemeon has been an artist since 2002 integrating it with a career in animation and design.

Valerie J McMurray is no stranger to Urban Source. In the past, she worked at the Catering company as a chef. The BC native painted a series of Spanish Lemons in oil while she was visiting Spain with a friend. McMurray has been oil painting for a few decades. She uses just three primary colours in her work, mixing the oils herself as she paints. "My paintings are generally much larger," McMurray said. She enjoys painting a single flower on large scale to show the intensity in her design.

Lyndon Wiebe was doing double duty during Saturday's reception, currently, the as head chef at Urban Source his art was on the wall and at the refreshment table. Wiebe's photography has been featured several times at Urban Gallery. Merging a love of travel, food and art is a passion of Wiebe's. Wiebe talked about his inspiration of his current work, "I always liked the signage fronts of Cote Be Boeuf." A favourite spot to get a snack Wiebe loves the storefront display at the eatery. Wiebe said that shooting food is not a passion of his, rather he enjoys capturing the fronts of his favourite restaurants.

Art of Food will be on display through August 31.


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WILD IN THE CITY AT URBAN GALLERY THIS JULY

Urban Gallery owner Calvin Hambrook welcomes guests to the July show Wild In the City
 Artists Lindsey MacKay, Erik Chong, Osvaldo Napoli and Libby Simms explore their personal takes on the effect an urban environment has on its inhabitants and they have on it -whether plant, animal or human with wildly different approaches.

On Saturday, July 7 Urban Gallery was packed with visitors for the July exhibition's opening of WILD IN THE CITY. Three of the four artists featured this month Chong, Napoli and Simms were on hand to talk about their pieces. Fredericton resident MacKay was unable to make the long trip to Toronto.

Artist Eric Chong came to the show with two completely different approaches to dealing with plastic pollution. Using found items for PLASTIC STATE OF MIND and THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY Chong shows the dangers of plastics on our environment. "We all have to do our share to save the environment," Chong says. In his other works, Chong has a gentler approach.

Chong explained that he used a new acrylic paint that recently came on the market on aluminum foil as a canvas. "I find it very interesting," Chong said during the opening adding that the foil gives the art a mirror-like finish. The artist gave these pieces more serene titles. He also revealed that some of the paintings also glow in the dark.


Jayne Libby Sims has been painting since 2001 focusing on abstract art. A student of expressionist Frank Arnold this Toronto artist uses music as a muse when she paints. Her paintings can take years to complete as is the case of SURVIVOR BENEFITS. The painting follows her journey as a widow. It started shortly after her late husband's death and each step of the brush came as she went through the emotional steps of grieving. "I painted the painting the day after my husband died. It is completely different from the first go round. I knew more about the process of death so I went back at it and redid it. I stuck with that for a while and then a year later I looked at it again. And then I knew what I wanted to do. I never know how many paintings are going to turn out."

Osvaldo Napoli is an artist to keep your eyes on. This is his first large exhibition, with a planned solo show coming in October to Urban Gallery. He may have come to the art world later in life but his work has a very talented maturity about it. His paintings and sculptures reflect the human body and social condition.

"I am fascinated by the complexity of the human mind and the mystery's about how we all perceive reality."

Take the time to explore his work and his approach to revealing how society and the mind of people take form. He comes to his work with the humble eye of a true observer. Each piece is like a piece of his family.  

'WILD IN THE CITY' will be on exhibit through July 28.
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Urban Gallery Features the Theme Women at Work for 2018 CONTACT

The work that women do is essential to society, yet it is still often under-appreciated, underpaid and undervalued, and in many cases undocumented.

Photography is hot in May around Toronto with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in full swing. At Queen St. East's hot Urban Gallery 4 stand out photographers were tasked with showing their versions of the theme 'Women at Work'. The results show how varied the worldview of work when it comes to women making this show a notable collection to take in during the coming weeks.

Artists Dorothy Chiotti, Wally Jay Parker, Erin McGean and Lyndon Wiebe each came to their version of what work is for women from a different vantage point. From working with rescue horses to boxing to making a social commentary on how women are viewed in media the pieces that grace the gallery this month reflect how photography can capture the world around us.


Dorothy Chiotti's collection features the hard work involved in caring for the horses at her own farm. She likes to work with light and shadow play with her photography.

This is Wally Jay Parker's first exhibition. Parker's new to the craft. She captures people that are in her life.

The only male photographer in the show is Lyndon Wiebe. Wiebe splits his creative passions between photography and food. A well-known celebrity chef Wiebe has been featured on the TV show "Chefs Run Wild". When it came to what he wanted to highlight for the Women at Work theme Wiebe said during the artist reception on May 5,"I wanted to show grace because I was raised by my mom and my sisters. For me it isn't about women physically doing work, it's about doing what they do with a touch of grace that men never have. It's a parallel but at the same time with showing what they do with their teaching and training."

Erin McGean is one of those new artists that need to be watched. Her beautiful photographic collages bring social issues that face women every day into view with a subtlety that makes you really think about the images.

While McGean's work typically focuses on women in nature the theme of the show had her really thinking about how women are viewed by the media and advertising. As she prepared she poured over magazine ads featuring women she started to observe patterns, many that didn't sit well with her. "I got inspired as I was creating this work. The art isn't negative but there is a bit of negative undertone with the pieces." Realizing that in advertising women have not evolved that much today from the image of the 1950s housewife. McGean talked about her piece '9 to 5' during the artist reception, "When I came up with that title I started singing the Dolly Parton song 9 to 5 and remembering that I watched the movie as a young girl a lot. I went back to look at what the plotline was, angry secretaries who were treated unfairly. They kidnapped their boss to try to get fair wages and a good work environment. We haven't changed."

She also touched upon the images in National Geographic, a magazine that caterers to men and adventure travelling the globe, and how women are depicted; tribal women who are half naked, princesses or the occasional domestic kind of scene. "When you look at fashion magazines there are those vacant stares that the models have."

'Women at Work' will be on exhibit through May 31.   
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ABSTRACTIONS ON METAL
Solo Exhibition of Photography by Andre Vittorio

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Toronto photographer Andre Vittorio has been exploring his art since the age of 17. His work is currently on exhibit at Urban Gallery on Queen Street East.

Vittorio's current work has an impressive range, from crisp black and white architectural and street portraits to colourful bold stills of water reflection that showcase the buildings of Venice.

Walking into Urban Gallery I was struck by the bold colours staring at me from the back wall. This nine-piece collection has an abstract feel but it's not. Each piece is a true to life water reflection. While talking with Vittorio I was shown the full image of one of the reflections that had been cropped to highlight the boldness of colour and motion. The effect is stunning. "The colours were there, to begin with, I just upped the vibrancy of them."

Twenty-two years ago Vittorio went to the University of Toronto studying computer science and history. While at school he discovered photography and he was hooked. "I do it for the love of it," the artist said. The show at Urban Gallery is his second show. He was featured four years ago during CONTRACT focusing on his Cuban collection.

Asked what drives him to go for different styles of photography Vittorio said that he "sees the picture and then takes the picture. The trick is to organize it together with something that flows. This collection was taken at different times, they were not all shot together as part of a planned collection. It was just something I saw that I thought was really nice."

The lines of architecture draw this artist in. "Sometimes you don't know what you are going to get until you blow it up."

While Vittorio does use digital cameras he is old school when it comes to his love of using real film. His first camera was a 1950s Rolleiflex. Learning on the older camera was a learning process.

Curator Allen Shugar said Vittorio's work is beautifully presented. Shugar said that the style of mounting the metallic paper on aluminum plates is "just glorious". Shugar said that he has heard many comments during the artist reception from visitors that are interested in purchasing the art.

This collection is a must see this April. Be prepared to fall in love with the pieces. Priced very reasonably this collection is on sale all month.

Exhibition dates
Thursday April 5, 2018 to Saturday, April 28, 2018          
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Urban Gallery Starts Year Off With WAIT, WHAT?

 On Saturday, March 17 students from Centennial College's Fine Arts Studio Program took part in the annual First Year Student Exhibition at Urban Gallery. This event has taken place for the last four years at the trendy art gallery on Queen St. E giving students real-life experience in the business side of the art world.

Curator Allen Shugar gave students the parameters of using an 18-inch square shadow box leading to this year's theme of 'Wait, What?'

The students worked for a month to prepare their pieces using a variety of mediums for the exhibition. The results are pieces of art that beacon visitors to take a second look to explore universes of double meaning, hope, despair, humour, longing, madness, genius, and skillful virtuosity.

Program Coordinator for the college David McClyment was on hand encouraging his students at the Gallery.

Each year there are standouts among the students. This year Ayyappa Kumar's The Puppet Vendor was among the top pieces. What is most inspiring about this new artist is just how new to the medium he is. He first picked up a paintbrush around Christmas time and his raw talent is amazing.

Lillian Jang's Apnea shows a maturity with her brush strokes on her impressionist mixed media piece.

Danielle Northmann's acrylic Journey brings the peacefulness of a sunset to life with vibrant colour.

Takanya Marsh's Re-Examining Medusa captures the rage of sexual assault with intensity.

The exhibit is on display through Saturday, March 24, 2018.
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