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ARTS: Discover Mirvish Village’s artistic diversity

April 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Galleries & Studios Hop returns to Markham Street April 23 and 24

 

Landscape artist Jill Boschulte, who works from small planes, creates monoprints, water-coloured pencil drawings, and collages. Her Furrows (above) will feature at Art Zone during the Hop. COURTESY?ART?ZONE

Landscape artist Jill Boschulte, who works from small planes, creates monoprints, water-coloured pencil drawings, and collages. Her Furrows (above) will feature at Art Zone during the Hop.
COURTESY ART ZONE

By Annemarie Brissenden

A Lithuanian pioneer of avant-garde photography will be in the spotlight during the Mirvish Village Galleries & Studios Spring Gallery Hop later this month. Still relatively unknown in North America, Vitas Luckus (1943-87) was a Soviet-era photographer whose work challenged convention.

“He didn’t subscribe to the party line about what to photograph. He was one of the most compelling photographers at a time when [Lithuania] was still under Soviet rule,” said Charlotte Hale, whose eponymous gallery on Markham Street in Mirvish Village is mounting an exhibition of Luckus’s work. “His portraits are of the common man in common situations. You could tell he had a way of making people feel comfortable.”

She first discovered the “rebel” photographer when she was a young artist herself, and was drawn to his exquisite style of composition.

The work of Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus (shown in a photo taken by his widow Tanya Luckiene-Aldag) will be on display in Vitas Luckus: The Prince of Obscurity at Charlotte Hale & Associates April 9 to 30. It’s the first time limited editions of Luckus’s photographs will be available for sale in North America. COURRTESY?CHARLOTTE?HALE

The work of Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus (shown in a photo taken by his widow Tanya Luckiene-Aldag) will be on display in Vitas Luckus: The Prince of Obscurity at Charlotte Hale & Associates April 9 to 30. It’s the first time limited editions of Luckus’s photographs will be available for sale in North America.
COURRTESY CHARLOTTE HALE

“It’s so exciting for me. This exhibition is a labour of love and the result of many, many years of work,” said Hale, who is working with Luckus’s widow, Tanya Luckiene-Aldag, on bringing more prominence to the photographer’s work. Luckiene-Aldag will be in Toronto for the Hop, which will also mark the first time that limited edition Luckus prints will be available for sale in North America.

Hale started the Hop two years ago with the intention of bringing visitors to the galleries, and to remind people of what she calls the wonderful dynamic of Markham Street. Mirvish Village is an interesting mix of artists’ studios, galleries, and small businesses, believes the gallery owner, who thinks it might be unique in Toronto.

“It’s still an event that we are trying to build,” she acknowledged, “and it might be the last year [because of the pending Westbank development], but we are going ahead anyway.

“We want to generate more interest in Mirvish Village, and get more people on the street this spring, summer, and fall.”

Jane Irwin, who along with her sister Kathryn Irwin, owns and operates Art Zone, a contemporary glass artworks studio on Markham Street, agreed.

“It’s good to let people know that we’re still here”—Jane Irwin, Art Zone

“It’s good to let people know that we’re still here, and we would love to see them,” said Irwin, who has been on the street for 28 years.

Art Zone will have several pieces on display during the Hop, including some of the sculpture and stained glass work done in the studio. As well, the exhibition will feature pieces by landscape artist Jill Boschulte, also an Irwin sister.

Boschulte, who works on paper, creates monoprints, water-coloured pencil drawings, and collages.

“She works from small airplanes, looking down on the landscape,” said Irwin, “which gives her two points of perspective.”

Irwin said the Hop not only provides galleries and studios with the opportunity to reconnect with existing clients, but the opportunity to reach new ones as well.

“We have had people turn up at our space that know others better,” she explained. “It’s also a chance for people we’ve done business with before to come in and see new work.”

Irwin emphasized that the Hop will have a wide array of work on view.

Other participants include the Black Rock Studio, which features handmade tiles by Catherine Carroll, and the Spence Gallery, which is celebrating its 10th year on the street and specializes in Caribbean, Latin, and African art.

Joan Spence said that her gallery’s mandate is “to represent a diversity that we thought was missing from Toronto galleries”, and that three newer artists who have never been shown before at the gallery will be exhibited during the Hop: Peter Barelkowski, Laurie Skantzos, and Diana Rosa.

Rosa is originally from Cuba, added Spence, and “her work really reflects the vibrancy and energy of the country.” Similarly, there’s a “cultural perspective that’s quite present in Barelkowski’s work”.

Spence said she thinks that some people have the mistaken impression that Mirvish Village has already closed down, and so, like Irwin and Hale, she hopes this spring’s Hop will remind visitors that “we’re still here, alive, vibrant, engaging, and [that it will encourage them] to continue to support us no matter where in the city we go.”

Mostly, though, she’d like “people to see lots of work they love and want to take home with them”.

The Mirvish Village Galleries & Studios Spring Gallery Hop runs April 23 and 24 from noon to 6 p.m.

 

READ MORE:

Preserving Mirvish Village: Collection of photographs captures spirit and character of the area (July 2015) by Annemarie Brissenden

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