We are now Richard Johnson groupies

“Where are you going to be tomorrow?” Danica asked, after Richard Johnson’s talk to the Beach Photo Club tonight. We spent an hour at his gallery, yesterday.

groupiesWe had front row seats for the presentation at Beach United Church.

Because he was speaking to a photo club audience, Richard added technical and business information to the stories we enjoyed at the gallery. He also brought his rare and EXPENSIVE camera, tripod and accessories to show us.

We walked home talking about how happy we were to have heard the talk. Three hours passed like nothing, it was so entertaining and informative.

Rocking on …

rocks-bookI’m glad to be sticking with this book despite feeling a slump after its promising start. It picks up again in the middle and pulls together facts about our present financial environment of day traders, system-gaming algorithms, venture capitalists and exit strategies.

The subject matter is not new, but Rushkoff puts it in context for me, writing clearly about complex issues. He has biases in his perspective, but he doesn’t hide them, so it’s fairly easy to set them aside in pursuit of facts. For the record, I share some of his opinions, anyway.

I am learning about whole enterprise categories that I have only been dimly aware of … micro-financing organizations, benefit corporations, time dollar systems and other stuff you probably think you don’t care about … but you do!

We are building financial castles in the air and turning over control of our material lives to algorithms that act faster than we can. Our risky position makes for exciting reading.

A wonderful treat today

johnson-gallery

This afternoon, we had no idea our visit to the Richard Johnson Gallery on Broadview [Map] would turn into such an amazing hour or so. My eyes popped out and my jaw dropped when I saw the wall full of photos. Ice huts. Beautifully, consistently, subtly, intelligently composed. So many of them!

Lucie Bergeron came out of the back studio area and greeted us warmly. We explained that her daughter Emilie was a friend of friends. We were finally following up on the tip Emilie gave us a couple of months ago.

Then the photographer himself came out. Believe it or not, Richard Johnson gave us about an hour of his time, showing us through his gorgeous large format prints, sharing stories and details about each location.

danica-lucy-richardDanica, Lucie Bergeron and Richard Johnson in front of a new, large format piece.

We were looking at a 10 year project that has spanned the country. The body of work is masterful … and what could be more Canadian than ice huts? See them online here, but go to the gallery if you can.

Richard Johnson’s insight into the potential of this theme is brilliant. He has used it well and doggedly. The results have style, the best kind of style. It doesn’t impose itself. Rather, it draws us in, free to observe details, differences, individualistic touches, social dimensions and relationships of humans to the land.

Consistency of lighting and composition let us see abstract relationships between single huts, transforming them into icons. Milky sky backgrounds and snowy foregrounds reminded me of Inuit prints with their white paper and bright, flat colours. There is something Zen about them, too.

mu-qi-persimmonsLook at the arrangement in this Richard Johnson ice village to see why I am showing you these persimmons by the Zen master Mu Qi.

Canadian as the ice hut photos are, they also have a universal quality. Hut dwellers in India, Africa or the barrios of Latin America will relate to these images much more than they ever would to our glass-metal-concrete architecture. Ice huts are good for Canada’s image.

There is no question in my mind. Richard Johnson is producing fine art of the highest calibre. Savvy corporate clients already know this and Justin Trudeau has a Johnson print hanging in his office.

Tomorrow night I’ll be listening intently when Richard Johnson gives a presentation to the Beach Photo Club.

Stefan Berg: Project Gallery

The Works on Paper show opened last Thursday, but we couldn’t make it until this weekend. In particular, we wanted to see linocuts by Stefan Berg. He has 6 artist’s proofs on display, most bearing sold stickers already.

project-galleryProject Gallery in Leslieville, beside Ben Navaee Gallery where Lloyd Cooke has shown.

Mr Berg was in good company … and plenty of it. The walls are packed, floor to ceiling, with a wide range of styles and subjects.

danica-at-project

Works are priced to be affordable … many in the 200 to 300 dollar range, some well under $100.

bill-upstairsUp a fews stairs at the back of the gallery, more walls of art.

While the art scene around Leslieville is really taking hold, there is a spirit of cooperation rather than competition. Compliment  Leslievillagers on the vibrancy of their area and they often cite the Gerrard Street Bazaar as another east end  spot that’s taking off.

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