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Basquiat at the AGO: An Untitled Portrait

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Basquiat at the AGO: An Untitled Portrait

When asked about his frequent use of "carbon" (tar, asbestos), Basquiat shot back, "How black do you think I have to be?"1 Basquiat, quintessential black artist, brilliant rebel whose astronomical rise in the international art market in his 20s, was dead of a heroin over-dose by age 27. During his short lifetime, he produced thousands of paintings and drawings. Driven, talented, full of paradoxes, aware and vulnerable, Basquiat, wild child of his times, is the focus of a blockbuster show, 'Now's the Time,' currently on at the AGO, where over 80 of his paintings and drawings are on display until May 10, 2015.

His blackness, like everything in his life and oeuvre, is entangled with paradoxes. While he would give us each bars of black soap (Black Soap, 1981) so that when we washed we would become blacker, he moved in an almost exclusively white world. Phoebe Hoban, who knew Basquiat and wrote a vivid biography of hi…

Struggling with my Basquiat review

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I'm really struggling with my Basquiat article. While I knew this would happen - there are too many tangents, too many things that need further explanation, and I do have a tendency to give too much background, and any more writing will weigh it down into tedium - so I need to finish up with a bunch of his images and tidy what I've written with a bit of prepositional dusting, vacuuming stray adverbs and whatnot, and polishing with that word-i-dex spray. Oh, lol. I like and don't like Basquiat's work, and think I'll be cremated alive as I try to articulate some of my issues since he is so popular presently.
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The Minions (MOesch & Saskia) perform ‘Iceland,’ a Pong, and Brenda dances

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direct link: Iceland

The Minions (Michael Oesch and Saskia van Tetering) perform, ‘Iceland,’ a Pong (poem song) and Brenda Clews dances in her Split Mask at the January 2015 Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery in Toronto.

It was a fun Poetry Salon! While there are photos to come, and one long video of the Salon, I edited this clip, shot on another camera by Barry (thank you), to bring out the ice and strangeness and transcendence of Iceland in Saskia's poem and Michael's music, especially with the theramin.




Sketch from Shab-e She'r (Poetry Night)

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A little sketch of Dionne Samuels, aka The Bird of Paradise, while she was performing last night (Jan 27th) at Shab-e She'r (Poetry Night). Fabulous performance; fabulous evening!

While I am satisfied with the drawing, it looks like her and she liked it and signed it last night, there wasn't enough time for me to properly draw that arm, which, as an animated performer, she kept moving anyhow. I do not take reference photos when I sketch at poetry readings ever. Then, I'd become obsessed and continue to work on them, wouldn't I.
©Brenda Clews, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2015, Moleskine folio Sketchbook, graphite.
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The Butterfly Men, underdrawing (in-process)

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One of the small canvases I am currently working on. This is drawn in charcoal and then fixed with Golden's sizer, Gak100, which is very tricky to do without smearing everything. My plan is to add two more butterflies and lightly colour the painting in oils - I'd like to leave the underdrawing visible through colour washes.
The Butterfly Men, underdrawing (in process), ©BrendaClews, 16" x 20", charcoal fixed with Gak100 on 1.5" stretched gallery canvas. Two more butterflies are coming. ___

I WILL! I WON'T!

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It really is "I WILL! I WON'T!" Look at the body language of the two poses. Amazing.
There are a couple of gesture sketches from a January drop-in life-drawing session, and I am working on a 16" x 20" canvas of two of the poses I drew that day. I guess photographing is becoming more of a 'task.' Finally I took this drawing outside and snapped it.

I WILL; I WON'T. Sketch at Bampot Bohemian Tea House life-drawing, 11 Jan 2015. ©Brenda Clews. 18" x 22" Permanent inks on archival drawing paper.
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Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery next Saturday, Jan 31st

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Please do come out on January 31st, 3-5pm, to Urban Gallery where I will be hosting another beautiful Poetry Salon if you are in Toronto. Yummy hot apple cider and mineral water on the house. Pass-the-hat. Open mic. After we go to a nearby restaurant to have a drink, snacks or dinner, chat. It's a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Toronto's KAREN SHENFELD has three books of poetry to her credit, published by Guernica Editions: The Law of Return, (1999), The Fertile Crescent (2005) and My Father’s Hands Spoke in Yiddish (2010). Her poetry has been published in numerous poetry journals in the USA, UK, South Africa, Bangladesh and Canada. She won the 2001 Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry and was long-listed for the Relit Award in 2005. Along with being a poet, Karen is a widely published magazine journalist, editor (both print and screen) and filmmaker. Her indie documentary, Il Giardino, The Gardens of Little Italy, screened at several film festivals, including Plan…

Rough draft of a small painting

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Because I would like to participate in group shows more often, I need some smaller canvases. So I have decided to begin a 16" x 20" canvas (on a 1.5" Gallery stretcher) during the final 40 minute pose at Bampot's drop-in life-drawing sessions. I am working on filling in the details on this one, of Amanda, that I began on Dec. 21, 2014. I also did a sketch of Paris a week or so back and, again, I put the 40 min pose, and a 20 min one, on the same canvas. I guess doubles and dopplegängers are my thing anyway. :) I took some photos of Amanda's (when I began charcoaling in some anatomical detail in the face and neck, it stopped looking like her) inside in sunlight from the window. Since I've hardly been sharing what I've been up to, I thought it was time to post something, even if it has a ways to go to completion (I turned the canvas, the foreground Amanda was sideways, lying down).

Travel as Interior Journey: Photographs by Lyndon Wiebe at Urban Gallery

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Lyndon Wiebe: Travel as Interior Journey by Brenda Clews

Lydon Wiebe, ‘Masai Tribesman, Tanzania’ (gallery photo)
Lydon’s first photography show is currently at Urban Gallery: LYNDON WIEBE: Lost in Travels: Solitary Confinement, from Jan 15 - Feb 28, 2015. He is the Head Chef at UrbanSource Catering, and while his hor d’oeuvres at the Opening were a visual and gustatory art, his photographs are not of food, but of people and animals and scenes in warm earth tones and bright colours from Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

Wiebe’s photographs are often meditative, sometimes humorous. He describes his photographic aesthetic as capturing a moment, and framing it in way that it might resonate with the viewer. His photographs are not cluttered. There is sparing but good use of bright colour in his figures and scenes. We gaze at a stillness, a moment of a person or animal or place in the world engraved simply and strikingly.

Wiebe photographs never show a subject looking at the camera; r…

Drawing & Some Thoughts on Bill Douglas' 'My Childhood (1972)'

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'My Childhood (1972)', directed by Douglas, on Mubi, which I watched last night, and then way too late in the wee hours thought I'd pause and draw... wrote some thoughts on the film into the image... https://mubi.com/films/my-childhood (runs from today's date for maybe another 28 days)


HAPPY NEW YEAR'S 2015!!

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Wishing y'all a safe and happy New Year's and a special, wondrous and exciting 2015!

Many blessings and good wishes,

Brenda xoxo
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(photo from Nuit Blanche this year)