In: Canadian painting

The Glamour Crew, 1993
May 8, 2021

Attila Richard Lukacs, The Glamour Crew, 1993

Atilla Richard Lukacs, for a time, was among the first rank of painters in Canada, if not the world, in his blend of figurative and narrative tropes, appropriating and fracturing art historical references. This work is from his E Werk series, and seeing this monumental (approximately four metres by six metres) painting in person (which I was lucky enough to do, in London, although dwarfed by the figures in his scenes) offers what painting can, and should, be. If you’ve read Timothy Findley’s book Headhunter, it’s understandable to think that his character Julian Slade is based upon Lukacs. At an opening of new paintings, by Slade, in the book, the fictional artist offers the following terse and confrontational statement: “You will see here…savage acts which have been done too long in darkness. It is my belief they should be done in the light. And to that end – these paintings.” Many more of Lukacs’ evocative, if unsettling, painted works can be seen here~ Bart Gazzola

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Dance With Desire
May 8, 2021

Irving Layton, Dance With Desire, Selected Love Poems with Drawings by Richard Gorman, 1992

It’s interesting to consider the vagaries of cultural history: what falls in and out of the community mind, and how something that was once a touchstone of cultural discourse may be forgotten. Dance with Desire (Selected Love Poems) by Irving Layton, with illustrations by the late Canadian artist Richard Gorman is notable in this light. Layton (1912 – 2016) offers poems that are often blunt and unflinching, whether about desire or despair in the realms of love and lust (‘...your unopened / Brittle beauty troubles an aging man / Who hobbles after you a little way / Fierce and ridiculous’). Comparisons to Catullus are appropriate. Gorman (1935 – 2010) intersperses and augments the text, with monochromatic, frenetic drawings, aswirl and emotional: one might see faces and forms, of lovers, perhaps entangled or trying to remove themselves from the fray. This was published by Porcupine Quill’s Press and Lake Galleries (the latter producing an additional 110 copies with numbered and signed prints by Gorman, as a limited edition artwork in book form). You can purchase it here. ~ Bart Gazzola

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