Beach Arts Scene: Gwynne Giles, roadside photographs, Blue Crow opening

Guests enjoy the art at the Blue Crow Gallery grand opening event, February 11. PHOTO: Lara O'Keefe
Artist Gwynne Giles at his Beach Hill studio.
Artist Gwynne Giles at his Beach Hill studio.

If you’ve spent any time walking along Gerrard Street in the Beach Hill neighbourhood, you’ve likely taken note of the charming front porch studio displaying minimalist, abstract paintings in mostly primary colours.

The space belongs to Gwynne Giles, personality as charming as his porch, and his catching work is a result of a dedicated practice begun not even 10 years ago.

Giles retired at 60 from a management position at the Toronto Golf Club – in a funny coincidence, his home is steps away from the club’s first location – and decided to take up painting. “I don’t know why,” he says, in a refrain he will use to describe many aspects of his art. Over time, his work progressed from busier geometric landscapes to the linear style we see today – he’s a study of the Dutch De Stijl movement  – and his methods have grown more detailed. He takes about a month to create each work, producing about 12 a year, and uses a four-step process that begins with a tiny sketch and grows to a large canvas. He has fun with titles – “The vikings are coming”, “Good morning Amsterdam” – and has recently produced an e-book to share his work abroad.

While he participates in community shows and events sporadically throughout the year, he shows yearly at the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair, on this weekend beginning tonight.

His “latest career” as he calls it, is rewarding in that it is reflective, relaxing and gives him something to focus on. When people look at his work, he simply hopes it brings them happiness.

Not a bad goal, indeed.

Giles will be at Booth 129 at the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair February 23 to 26 at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place at 195 Princes Boulevard. For more information visit or

With Just Another Roadside Attraction, the latest show at Neighbourhood Gallery, artist and curator Lauren Renzetti wants viewers to notice where they live.

“Urban landscapes start right at our doorstep in our neighbourhood,” she writes in her gallerist statement. “We stand on them, we walk by them, through them, in them, and add to them every day. Sometimes we are awake enough to notice them, and capture the worthy moments and recreate it artistically.”

She’s found several artists awake enough to notice and capture those moments, including East End photographer Brett Matthews who works to improve “financial numeracy skills among the world’s billion illiterate adults”. His photographs put the world in perspective – a picture of a couple sitting beside a motorbike, a vehicle that helps reduce income inequality, in South Asia; a cheerful Indian roadside barber.

Barber Gomti Nagar Lucknow
“Barber Gomti Nagar Lucknow”, Brett Matthews

Other artists showing include Irina Laskin, Aiden Lucea, Karin McLean, Diana Meredith, Asha Mohamud, Moira Ness, Lauren Renzetti, Brenda Stephenson, and Vivian Wong.

On until April 9, Neighbourhood Gallery is located in the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 79 Hiawatha Road. Viewing is available Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Blue Crow Gallery opened this past December, but last weekend held its official grand opening party – an event that was well attended by artists, aficionados and admirers alike.

Held on location and hosted by Jodi Wheeler, owner of Blue Crow Gallery, the opening showcased the work of a number of different artists including Robert Shuttleworth’s whimsical mechanical creations, Amy Wetton’s watercolour work, which is as vibrant as it is adorable, and Jamie MacRae’s mixed media pieces that showcase the beauty of Toronto.

Attendees enjoyed an array of wine, beer and finger foods while they browsed the beautiful gallery and chatted with some of the artists including Wetton.

Blue Crow Gallery has found its permanent home at 1610 Gerrard Street East at the corner of Coxwell and Gerrard.

Next up at the gallery is the Enigmatic Encaustics Exhibition from March 4-31. The exhibition will be featuring Joya Paul and Ann Shier who are both encaustics artists with styles that are unique to each artist, yet equally complimentary to the work of the other.

Paul’s work focuses on mixed media imagery while Shier takes inspiration from the northern Canadian landscape to produce colour fields.

For more information, please visit their website at www.bluecrowgallery.

See a gallery of the opening below:

[envira-gallery slug="blue-crow-gallery-opening"]


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