Sunday, 29 November 2015

Quentin Maki and the Definitely Superior Art Gallery's 27th Annual Group Show

      Two shows at the Definitely Superior Art gallery represent great diversity when it comes to contemporary approaches to visual art, in terms of style, materials, and ideas. The creative works also represent the diverse background of their creators, culturally and in age, from a young teenage beginner to the well established professional. With the theme for the juried show being the intellectually infused term, Sensibilia, the show was guaranteed to draw like minded experimentalists interested in playing with approaches that either recently caught their fancy or are part of an established style that they have been running with for many years.
     Complementing the juried show are new works in the main gallery by Quentin Maki, who produced most of the works over the summer. Quentin teaches in the Lakehead University Fine Arts Department. His show is a stellar display of experimental and moody works that represents both his interest in total abstraction and the human figure. Both human and aesthetic expression combine to give his paintings more depth.
     Exploding in most of of Quentin’s textural mixed media works are strips taken from other paintings and drawings collaged into bigger works, some huge. The dynamism results from the jagged tearing of these pieces existing within the splatter of torn and scratched areas of the canvas or paper. The paintings are like sections of worn walls of abandoned factories, prison cells or institutions where people were housed or worked. The viewer might feel a little like an explorer of a defunct world. Or to state it more plainly the backgrounds might represent a sad person’s state of mind.
     This however, is unfair, for it is just as likely that a viewer could fall in love with the limited splashes of colour in works that clearly had to be produced with a good deal of expended physical energy. Big works require bigger efforts and the energy within makes some of these paintings appear as if the tar-like substance of carbon and manganese dioxide filled batteries has burst open on the canvases. 
    So in spite of being dark and moody the works bounce and shout with energy, most often in contrast with the sad people depicted who are living in their dark world. As is seen with titles like, Even at Rest a Fire Burned Her Eyes, Down and Out, Dislocation, Turning Away, and Solo. The results are works that offer up some very interesting uses of contrasts.
     The annual group exhibition is in its twenty-seventh year. Out of 65 submissions 39 were accepted, which makes it one of the biggest group shows DEFSUP has had. Surprisingly with so many diverse styles the cohesion is a result of international styles represented. For as much as artists are individuals, they knowingly or unknowingly tend to choose styles that best reflect their interests and attitudes with a plethora of international styles coming at them from the Internet, magazines and their own journeys to Toronto, New York, etc. and abroad. So, many of the works may seem very familiar to regular gallery goers; a window into a local individual’s style and simultaneously into a more cosmopolitan scene.
     The show, states David K…. “is very inclusive. Of course everyone has something to say. And people, at the openings, even tourists, can’t believe the contemporary art coming out of Thunder Bay. I think the diversity, and different mediums, is of interest to people.”
      David also points out, “It’s professionally show where the artists get paid, and a deadline offers very good a stimulant for artist. Also it’s good for their resume and to help them obtain grants from councils.” Later David pointed out that all the works are for sale, but the gallery doesn’t act as a shop. “We put the interested party in touch with the artist and the artist gets one hundred percent of the sale.”    
     Both shows run till December 19. You can get details on the gallery at The gallery is located at 250 Park Ave, open Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 6pm.

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