Studio Sixty Six


these may (not) be places VERNISSAGE: JUNE 30, 2016 (6 - 9 PM) EXHIBITION: JUNE 30 - AUGUST 27 2016 these may (not) be...

Posted on June 30, 2016

these may (not) be places

VERNISSAGE: JUNE 30, 2016 (6 - 9 PM)


these may (not) be places explores the depictions and abstractions of what place might be – and what its absence could look like. The exhibition invokes responses from artists working in mixed media, including etching, illustration, painting, and pyrography.

Place may be structure, expressed in the character of architecture or the clear textures of geography. But it is also, always, distant – the first idea of space, its memory, its secretive nature. The landscape is the point of departure for Toronto-based artist Laura Bydlowska, replicating the idea of nature through pyrography. Pyrography mimics the techniques of illustration, as the artist draws lines into the wood with heat. The grain of the wood remains visible, enhanced by transparent ink, or by carving texture into the wood. By burning and carving away at wood, and creating collages out of fragments of her etchings, Bydlowska depicts the earth, nature as the first place. Caverns and escarpments are tinted by shadowy palettes reminiscent of dusk, damp soil, granite, and exposed fragments of jasper or malachite. The textures of Bydlowska’s scenes mimic geological patterns – reflecting the slow, natural processes of the spaces she depicts. The landscape is imagined not as a static scene, but as an active, changing and tumultuous act of place in a process of becoming – devoid of the human hand.

In direct contrast to Bydlowska’s landscapes, Alex Thompson’s engravings capture sites of human presence and making. Thompson’s renders these urban scenes with the voyeuristic eye of a photographer, reconfiguring the focus as in the tilted perspective of Vertigo. Thompson shows buildings in construction, elements of the urban landscape that are often on the periphery—raised platforms, cables, construction workers. Space-in-construction is then re-imagined out of its intermediary stage, into a point of focus in itself.

Thompson examines the architectural character depicted through a study of ubiquitous geometries –buildings and their shapes that are resilient in time. Ancient and contemporary structural forms are juxtaposed in his studies Parthenon II and Aqueduct, where the monolithic shape of ancient infrastructures is translated into new contexts in the contemporary city. The aqueduct was crucial to the formation of early civilisations — influencing, and determining, the shape of a city. This urban infrastructure modeled itself on the naturally occurring forms of land – a suspended, artificial river that had its own ebbs and flows. Bridges are intermediary spaces, indicating and ferrying people toward possible destinations. In a similar manner, the contemporary city relies on the fluidity and speed of movement along roadways, connecting arterial lines between the heart of a city and its farther-removed enclaves. And as water has become interchangeable with ever-expanding trade of resources – an endless flow, networks of roads growing more distant, more interconnected – so the transportation of resources have become synonymous with the movement of people.

The making of place by people is also addressed in Guillermo Trejo’s flags from nowhere, mocking the grandeur of imagined geopolitical identities – artificial places that are made out of borders. Trejo’s flags for non-existent states challenge the way a nation exists as both idea and land. The emotional appeal of nationalism to some imagined or embodied connection to a particular parcel of earth is, nonetheless, the dominant framework by which we define a relationship to the places we live in. The way we treat land and the way we treat other beings, these are shaped by limits placed on movement, creativity, communication – limits that exist in words, and are often kept alive by the distancing of people. flags from nowhere is a sketch of the iconographic role objects have in rallying societies around these ideas of place, even though these places are crude abstractions of living through the land.

Relating to this intangibility, Kathryn Shriver’s delicate and surreal illustrations tell narratives of mental space, as it occurs through the passage of time, the interiority of ritual, and the terms of recollection. The illustrations are intricate depictions of spaces in turmoil, in formation, or in a state of decay. Shriver’s work is largely narrative, with her more recent excerpts from The Myth of the Phrasemaker’s Parrot borrowing parsed phrases and sketches from her journals, unravelling an intimate and poetic text. As a collected series, these illustrations not only reflect the conceptual processes of relating to space, but the materials that make a world. Here there are small encounters with windows and wooden beams, beaded drapery and palm fronds.

Meditations on time are given form: in her illustrations, they take on the highly symbolic shape of braids, ropes, knots – while Shriver’s beaded works refer to another element of her practice. In her multimedia installation This is not forever, Shriver works with beaded sculpture and performance – the simple act of threading beads associating with meditation, the performance of costume and clothing, and possibly to the enactment of femininity. While the small wooden pieces are excerpts from this body of work, Shriver’s larger installations put into material form this metaphorical weight. Thousands of tiny beads are interconnected on fragile strings to make heavy, draping sheets.

Joani Tremblay deconstructs place into graphic elements, explicitly mocking the trends of commercial art markets and the academic exploitation of naïve art. Tremblay’s practice is skillfully refined in large-scale illustrations, her expressive gestures evoking scenes of minimalist calligraphic art, shorthand writing, and classical landscape compositions. Tremblay’s current series is a more condensed, but obsessive portraiture of plants – mall-tropics and office-plant installation trends sending off echoes of Los Angeles and the disillusionment of young MFA graduates searching for life in barren, white wastelands. The deceptive naivety of her illustrations conceals a critique of the celebratory plastic kitsch of popular culture, within a collage of candycoated satire.

The influence of graphic design – its colour-blocked divisions of space and accents of simple geometric shapes – is exemplified in Prioritizing Connoisseurship Of The Mainstream, where space must be filled by all means, must be balanced with an appealing correctness and approachability of experimentation. In the absence of abrupt gestures, tiny graphite scribbles or bright IKEA-friendly colours frame each neat plant portrait with prettiness and safeness. This commercial accessibility – after all, the neutrality of Tremblay’s illustrations would perfectly accent any interior space with minimal intrusion and maximum compatibility – is seeped into the artist’s choice of paint. Gouache is similar to acrylic in its opacity and the vibrance of its colours, so when it dries, it can do so without leaving the impression of depth. Gouache is often marketed as a children’s paint – cheap and simple. Where art is product, optimized for the consumer, the artist can forego the elite materials of art-making, displacing value from the object and into its friendly, relatable nature.

Curatorial text by Lital Khaikin.

the game doesn't start until you say YES ARTIST TALK THUR. JUNE 23: 6 - 8 PM By digitally resculpting consoles in the game...

Posted on June 23, 2016

the game doesn’t start until you say YES


THUR. JUNE 23: 6 - 8 PM

By digitally resculpting consoles in the game doesn’t start until you say YES, Alana Latincic changes the logical operating rules of these objects. Latincic’s consoles sometimes take on new representations of furniture—by assuming new possible functions, or simply representing the banality of their presence — but in her more recent work, these consoles are transformed further, into more abstract and sculptural concepts. There is a seductive luxury to the inert object. The material nostalgia in Latincic’s work examines the evolution of video game consoles, while questioning their relevance and utility as gaming objects.

Artist Talk discussion points:

This series came out of my longtime interest in graphic design and the visual language of advertising and my newfound urge to make art about video games.

- Thought about the physical form of the game console - how the designs change and develop.

- The meaning of consoles - their use as an intermediary for a gaming experience, their rise in popularity through time that has lead to a ubiquitousness in the modern home.

- Game consoles as a sort of new “furniture”

- Domesticity of these objects; how they inhabit our homes

- IKEA catalogue items and treatment of imagery

There is still a demand for a synthetic reality to virtual objects, where they replicate the material qualities and behaviours that are familiar. These digital objects too have a material weight: their glistening rendedered plastics and crisp edges. Latincic skews this familiarity with deceptive and varying perspectives, creating optical illusions of flatness or depth in unnatural places.

- More focus on stripping utility of the original form, but also leaving the identity of these objects intact

- Playing with the idea of the virtual space as my studio - I can create and recreate these objects in a sculptural way using tools that are so intrinsically related to their own nature - games are virtual, but the console is the physical body needed to emulate the experience.

The virtual object hovers at the edge of sensory feedback, scintillating and suggestive. When Latincic describes the consoles she is replicating, she uses a more intimate description—the objects as “severe” or having an “emotional surface”. The response of the Xbox Kinect to gesture or interaction means that it “intervenes more than other objects”, pushing against the boundaries between person and machine. It functions between the material and the intangible, at a distance from the body. Latincic’s digital sculpture, Are you ready for your final journey?, allows the viewer to manipulate the object, twisting it, turning it — and in effect, holding it.

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A...

Posted on May 14, 2016

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A website is also an important tool when it comes to showing curators, gallerists, and potential clients that you are a professional artist, that you are serious about your work, and in turn, that they should take it seriously too.

At Studio Sixty Six, we have found several of our artists through their artist websites, and we continue to scour the Internet for new, exciting emerging Canadian artists to include in our upcoming exhibition programmes. Through our experience, we have developed a list of tips for artists on how to best present their work on their artist website.

When it comes to designing your artist website, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:


Artist websites typically follow a certain structure and they usually include the following pages:

  • About / Bio. This is the page where the visitor to your website will get a sense of who you are as an artist. It should include a short biographical paragraph, an artist statement, and a link to your artistic C.V. Some artists do not put a link to their C.V., but this is important information for galleries, collectors, and art competitions.
  • Portfolio (A.K.A. the MOST important page on your website). The portfolio page should be a curated collection of your work that best represent your practice and how you want to be seen as an artist. The images should be high-res and look professional (there is nothing more off-putting than looking at poorly photographed artworks).
  • Contact. This is the page where an interested visitor – say a curator, gallerist, or collector – will go to get in touch with you about your work. Avoid using a generic contact form. Be sure to inlcude a couple of different ways visitors can get in touch with you, like your email address and any other relevant points of contact, such as links to your social media pages – you want to make it easy for visitors to communicate with you.

  • // DESIGN.

    The design of your website should reflect your work. Generally speaking, it should highlight and emphasize your work and not distract a visitor. Try using a clean, modern template without loud colours (for example, white is a popular choice in web design circles for 2016-2017), and limit yourself to 1-2 font choices.


    Make sure that your website navigation is clear and usable. Visitors to your website should be able to figure out how to use the navigation within 3-seconds or else they might navigate away from your page. Stick to a simple navigation menu that is horizontal or vertical that will appear in the same place on all of your pages.

    Another usability feature to keep in mind is your portfolio page. It is up to you on how you would like to set up this page, but make sure that if you are using a thumbnail-to-lightbox viewer, slideshow gallery, or a horizontal-scroll plugin that your users will be able to figure out how to use them easily and that they can easily find their way back to your websites.

    // OTHER TIPS.

  • Be sure to make your website mobile-friendly! More and more web-users are using mobile devices to look at websites, so this is a very important feature to consider when thinking about your own artist website.
  • Do highlight your new work on your website! It will help to contextualize you and your practice and give a sense of what you are currently working on.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to have a 1-2 lines or a short paragraph describing an artistic project or series. This information will help curators, gallerists, and collectors understand and contextualize your work.


  • Any design elements that will shift focus from your work.
  • Avoid any website elements that use Adobe Flash. It is not mobile-friendly, and Adobe recently stopped suporting this software.
  • Do not include older work on your website if it does not reflect your professional practice (e.g. early student work, works in progress, etc).
  • Keep the content on your website relatively brief – do not present visitors with an information overload!

  • In summary, your artist website should be a professional online space that puts your best foot forward, it should reflect your practice and your artworks. When you’re designing your site, have fun and make sure that it is something that you are happy with – the most important part is that you have taken that first step into the World Wide Web, and you will find that it will open your work to entirely new audiences.

    Written by Danuta Sierhuis

    Want to start an art collection but are unsure where to start? It is repeatedly said that starting an art collection can be...

    Posted on April 30, 2016

    Want to start an art collection but are unsure where to start?

    It is repeatedly said that starting an art collection can be intimidating and just a bit scary for those who are new to the art world. This has a lot to do with the perception that the art world is a place for those “already in the know,” a place not for the everyday person. However, in our experience, the art world is full of people who want to share and talk about their art with those who admire their work!

    To us, the basics of starting an art collection really has to do with engaging with art by going to galleries and asking a million questions of the artists and gallerists before committing to purchasing an artwork. As important as it is to learn about the art world itself, it is more important that you have a connection to the work that you want to add to your collection.

    The following are some quick tips and suggestions on how to start an art collection of your very own and building a connection to artworks:

  • Go to galleries. Go to vernissages. Find your local galleries and go and visit them. These are the best places to look when you are not sure where to find artists’ work. Go to as many galleries and exhibitions as you can (Ottawa has lots!) to whet your visual palette and to get a sense of what kind of aesthetics you are drawn to.
    Also, talk to the gallerists in your local gallery if you have questions about an artist, exhibition, or really just don’t know where to start in your quest for finding art to build your collection. Gallerists are there to help you with these sorts of questions and can often point you in the direction of a variety artworks that will suit your taste.

  • Dante-Penman-Castle-Bureaucracy
  • Know your budget. Starting out, you really should have an idea of how much money you are willing to commit to buying art. Even if you are limited to a very small budget, there are artworks out there that will be within your price range.
    A good way to start an art collection (without breaking the bank) is to collect emerging artists. Emerging artists are just at the beginning of their careers and their work is typically more affordable than more established artists – not to mention that collecting work by emerging artists is also a great way to nurture their talent!

  • Natalie-Bruvels-France
  • Let yourself enjoy what you enjoy. Don’t question your tastes There is no such thing as the “right art” to buy when it comes to starting a collection of your very own. Your personal taste should dictate the art that you collect. Ask yourself: What colours am I drawn to? What genres? What kind of textures? What kind of shapes? What kind of media? These questions can be answered after some research by going to galleries, searching the web, and speaking to gallerists, artists, and friends/family. The most important thing is that you LOVE the artworks that you collect. An artwork must speak to you in some way for you to feel confident about the purchase.
  • Let the pieces in your collection speak to one another. Over time, your art collection will grow and you may start to notice trends in the kinds of artworks that you have collected – be it a similar colour palette, tone, or subject matter. This will also give you a stronger sense of your aesthetic inclinations.

  • Daniel-Moisan-Cell
  • Have FUN. This is probably the most important piece of of advice we can give you. Have fun exploring the art world, meeting new people, seeing new things. Get excited about art in new ways by just exploring and you will build an art collection that you will cherish for the rest of your life!

  • For more tips on art collecting, stop by Studio Sixty Six to chat and see how we can help you find your first/next artwork!

    Written by Danuta Sierhuis

    IN THE BEGINNING Memory and nostalgic place in Gabriela Avila-Yiptong's abstracted landscapes EXHIBITION: Thursday April 14 –...

    Posted on April 27, 2016


    Memory and nostalgic place in Gabriela Avila-Yiptong’s abstracted landscapes

    EXHIBITION: Thursday April 14 – Saturday May 21

    In the Beginning maps the upturned geography of places that aren’t entirely real, wavering between the uncertain allusions of memory and the certainty of ground. Transferring vague impressions of tropical Mauritius from photographic artefacts, into dripping vespers and errant line, Gabriela Avila-Yiptong paints scenes of a rootless land, an idea space—land as it cannot be translated across memory or language. Place is no more a certainty than it is a soft impression of nostalgia, interpreted and misconstrued through recollection. Contours alternately fade into mist, or appear prominent and topographical—the latter alluding to Avila-Yiptong’s earlier works, such as her series Tectonic Gastronomy, where land is deconstructed into its geological layers.

    Fictional topographies of Mauritius are created out of the negative space where the borders and margins of earth decompose. The behaviour of the earth becomes reflective of the permeability of memory: processes that take millennia to create new land are compacted into an instant, where the ground is present for a moment, and just as simply disappears. Mountain ranges become ancient seafloors. Islands erupt out of ancient volcanic action. Avila-Yiptong emphasises the contrasts between the photographic and impressionistic memories that she manipulates—at the same time, indicating to a sense of longing for the unknown, the untenable. 95% Remains Undiscovered appears submerged in dark liquid, bleeding at its horizon—a photograph undergoing chemical transformation, the disappearing certainty of an event that is sinking into the void, an ecological depth that remains unattainable.

    The greater part of In the Beginning is communicated through subtlety and introspection. Spaces are fluid, temporary, cloudy—a sense of a half-shut, dreamy eye in Just Barely, or the physical recoil to the temperature of Sweaty Sunburn Weather. When Avila-Yiptong works on a larger scale, the murkiness of her spaces becomes overwhelming, immersing the viewer beyond a separation between the person and space—the viewer enters and becomes a part of the land. The fickle temperament of light as it falls, sometimes uncertainly, in inverted rays or stray glares—as in Inverse Glare, Memory Block or Foggy Memory—emphasises the alternating immensity and density of the scenes. A sense of the uncanny is heavy in Studying for the Trip; and Extraterrestrial, where nuclear colour auras seem to radiate in an alien time. Creating these experiences through the use of large, dominant colour fields, Avila-Yiptong conveys a hint of the alienation of the self, as it explores a planet that should feel familiar, but is always growing absent.

    The humidity Avila-Yiptong paints into her atmospheres creates a sensation of “old place”—an ancient world that is revisioned with a contemporary lightness, as in I feel small, smaller than a drip. In the Beginning resolves with a greater sense of clarity in the triptych The Dream ft. Paved Fluid, where Avila-Yiptong seems to return to a topographic expression that feels more resonant with real places. All of the transient moments depicted in fragments, seem to culminate towards a destination, drawn out in a pathway, a horizon—perhaps a familiar or reassuring sense of place and belonging in the midst of uncertainty.

    Written by Lital Khaikin.


    Studio Sixty Six is a contemporary art gallery devoted to showcasing unique, thought-provoking Canadian art located at 858 Bank Street, Suite 101, in the Glebe. This is our official blog, where we share what's happening at the gallery, as well as in the broader fine art and design communities of Ottawa.

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