Tag Archives: canadian

Modern Art Monday Presents: Paraskeva Clark, Self Portrait With a Concert Program

paraskeva clark self portrait photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Paraskeva Clark  (18981986) came to Toronto via Paris as a Russian émigré, arriving in 1931. Having experienced the 1917 Russian revolution firsthand, she never forgot its terrors or its utopian promise. Once in Canada, she remain committed to her homeland. In 1942, the year in which she painted Self Portrait With a Concert Program, her country was under siege during the Second World War.  At that time, she held a sale of her paintings in support of the Canadian Aid to Russia Fund. In this painting, she incorporates the paper program from a concert of Russian music into the surface of her work, her gaze meeting ours with wary pride.

Photographed in the Vancouver Art Museum in Vancouver BC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Deserted Mine Shaft, Cobalt, By Yvonne McKague Housser

deserted mine shaft cobalt photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Cobalt is a town in Ontario, Canada, which had a population of 1,118 at the 2016 Census. In the early 1900s, the area was heavily mined for silver; the silver ore also contained cobalt. By 1910, the community was the fourth highest producer of silver in the world. Canadian artist Yvonne McKague Housser’s depictions of Cobalt ranged from the downright scruffy to the homey and cozy to the faceted and austere as she wrestled with her subject matter. Some of her larger paintings of Cobalt, made later in her Toronto studio, express a bold utopian vision of industry in the North, a view she relates in her letters to friends. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Deserted Mine Shaft, Cobalt, By Yvonne McKague Housser

Modern Art Monday Presents: Anne Savage, Country Scene

anne savage country scene photo by gail rorley
Photo by Gail

Known for her lyrical, rhythmic landscapes, Anne Savage (18961971) was one of several important women artists who were active in Montreal after the First World War. As with the Group of Seven, she shared  a romantic vision of the Canadian landscape as a symbol of nationalism, as well as a modernist concern for the formal elements of painting. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Anne Savage, Country Scene

Video Clip of The Week: CROSSS, “Dance Down”

OK, I realize that this is asking a lot (i.e. too much) of those out there who are wantonly ignorant of all music recorded before 1995, but imagine if you can a mash-up of Jefferson Airplane’s “Lather,” The Zombies “Beachwood Park”, and any Sid Barrett-era Pink Floyd tune that teeters on the precipice of sanity, only one million billion times creepier, and that’s what “Dance Down” by Canadian trio, CROSSS (yes there are three “S”s) reminds me of.

“Dance Down” is a song that is mastered so loud that I bet when the volume is on zero you can still hear it, and it is Fucking Amazing. Visually, the no-frills (and yet, highly stylized) Monty Pythonesque animation resembles a series of Edward Gorey drawings come to life. This my favorite thing I’ve seen or heard in months, though I admit that the first time I played the video I had to stop and re-start it three times to make it to the end, because it freaked me out so Intensely.

“Dance Down” comes from CROSSS’s sophomore LP, LO, which was released on June 16th, 2015. Take some drugs and listen to this one in the dark. Enjoy!


Video Clip of The Week: Big Wreck, “Come What May”

I’ve got a story about the band Big Wreck – specifically involving lead vocalist/ guitarist Ian Thornley — and it goes all the way back to 1997. In those glory days, I was writing about Rock music exclusively and interviewing bands at a pretty steady clip. Big Wreck had signed to Atlantic Records and their debut, In Loving Memory Of… was creating a pretty respectable buzz (radio hits, etc), so I was assigned to Interview Ian for I don’t even remember which outlet. Since Big Wreck had a gig booked at NYC’s Irving Plaza, the interview was scheduled to take place at the venue during sound check the evening of the show. Pretty standard procedure.

Aside from the fact that Ian was a cool and candid guy who did a hilarious Eddie Vedder imitation (plus, I was a fan of the record), what makes this incident stand out in my memory from hundreds of other interviews is that it took place in the ladies restroom. This was pre-renovation Irving Plaza, so the place still had tons of character and the Ladies Room had a big, antique velvet sofa, so we had a nice, quiet and comfortable place to chat. Plus the acoustics were insane. Ah, Big Wreck. What a good Rock band.

Big Wreck has been through some changes in the 17 years since Ian and I hung out together in the bathroom. The group’s original lineup disbanded in 2002. Ian went on to have a very successful career in his native Toronto with his band Thornley, and in 2010 he and original Big Wreck guitarist Brian Doherty reformed the band, absorbing the members of Thornley into the new Big Wreck.

Big Wreck’s fourth album, Ghosts, was just released in the US on July 15th, 2024 (on Rounder Records) and the biggest compliment I can pay it is to say that Ghosts – represented here by this amazing performance of “Come What May” – proves that Big Wreck is still a force to be reckoned with, both in the studio and live. Obviously, Ian Thornley knows that he can let the music do all the talking. Enjoy!

Big Wreck Ghosts
Ian Thornley (Far Left) and Big Wreck