The works in Beyond Borders: an Exhibition of Fine Art From Canada represent the broad range of the talent coming out of Canada’s eclectic art scene. Each piece is grounded in the real world, yet nonetheless manages to exist on a spiritual level, generating an intangible and powerful force that is both appealing to our real-world sensibilities and to our deeper instincts.
Canadian artist Edward Bahoric paints figures that emerge slowly in the viewer’s eye. With twisting, truncated bodies and bold, primary colors, from a distance Bahoric’s work often appears abstract, only to reveal the puzzle-like pieces of arms, legs, torsos and faces upon closer examination. Stylistically many of his paintings can be compared to the mathematical, illusionistic works of M.C. Escher or the dreamlike images of Surrealism.
An accomplished figure skater, coach and choreographer, as an artist Bahoric uses his knowledge of the human body to recreate the same sense of movement through space and time that he experiences on the ice. Bahoric employs contorted and layered limbs to create dynamic paintings full of movement and feeling. He says he has no desire to illustrate the human body in motion, but rather uses the human body as a means of expression, just as figure skaters use their bodies on the ice. Like a dancer, with a flick of a hand or the stretching of a leg, Bahoric’s figures convey to the viewer a myriad of emotions.
Working in acrylic and collage, Canadian painter Côté creates works filled with exhilarating color. In fact, every element found in Côté’s images is filled with an energy that is hard to overstate. In his soaring lines, his packed compositions, his depiction of dramatic moments, and not least his powerful deployment of symbolism and multiple meanings, the artist uses every tool he can to produce a narrative of motion and mystery. Côté paints people, animals, and even familiar objects compressing and expanding and floating in space. Magic and the logic of dreams infuse the images. In a virtuoso display of color technique, Côté constructs his work like perfectly balanced quilts of texture. His palette is loosely realistic, but with enriched brightness and heightened contrasts. A shadow on a shirt can become a tangible field of peaks and valleys. Light and dark are distributed throughout each canvas like shards of illumination, each adding new direction.
Born Paul-André Côté in Pont-Rouge, Québec, Côté currently lives in Montréal. In addition to painting, he has worked in dry pastel and furniture design.
As she opens a poignantly emotional dialog of longing, sorrow, and hope, Syrian-Canadian artist Lina Faroussi brings forth reflections of reality in paint. Throughout these expressively abstracted works the figure becomes a powerful symbol of the struggles of humanity and a yearning for peace, dynamically portrayed in a vibrant dance of color and motion as faces and forms are repeated in layers of transparency. A spiritual vitality emerges within Faroussi’s art, creating universal connections spanning cultural divides as she discovers a passionate journey of the soul in the soft immediacy of her mark. Faroussi builds her paintings in acrylic on canvas, occasionally adding elements of mixed media and sand to add to the tactile sensation of her works.
Born and educated in Syria, Lina Faroussi grew up surrounded by political turmoil, including the imprisonment of her father, and has deeply felt the impact of watching her homeland torn apart by the recent war. After spending time in both Egypt and Dubai, the artist now lives in Toronto, Canada, and exhibits in numerous group and solo shows throughout the Middle East and Canada.
Contemporary painter Donna Giraud’s large scale acrylic on canvas works are richly textured and rendered in thick expanses of pigment. Interested in capturing the “authentic” stories of human existence, her horizontal compositions fuse an abstract and gestural aesthetic with intimate, deep-seated psychological narrative. Inspired by human existence itself – its challenges, disappointments, triumphs, and dreams – her works are visceral, and draw the viewer deep into their enchanting folds. Abstract meets atmospheric, with low saturation hues and smoky void space occupying the fore of these vigorous compositions. Raw earth, rainfall, erosion and natural disasters could be references, with each painting rich with both tactile reality and the most powerful and absorbing kind of sensitivity to our feelings towards it. Committed to art as a spontaneous and therapeutic process, Giraud creates works that are layered with ample residues of emotional physicality.
Artist Donna Giraud was born and raised in Vancouver B.C., Canada. Her paintings can be found in numerous private collections in Canada and the United States.
Drips and the intriguing contrast formed by a combination of hard edged lines and hazy contours interweave through the vast expanses of void space in Jennifer Gough’s acrylic and mixed media paintings. A self-taught, multidisciplinary artist, Gough’s process is governed by massive, sweeping brushstrokes and revels in the sheer emotional physicality of mark-making. Her careful use of color and texture highlights dramatic and powerful gestural compositions and communicates a wide array of emotional vacillations. Playing with the visual border of order and chaos, the works make a compelling case for self-evolution. Although abstract in nature and open to multiple interpretations, Gough is clear about imbuing her paintings with a positive and uplifting intention, “I want people to view my work and feel empowered… connected to their own potential… inspired by possibilities.”
Jennifer Gough was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She currently lives and works in the Kitchener/Waterloo region where she runs M.E.S.A (Minds Eye Studio Art), a studio and gallery she founded herself. Gough was recently named “Best Local Artist” by the Cord Community.
Marianne Meyer’s paintings are formed through layers of abstraction, creating a beautiful tangle of color interactions. The movement between figure and ground build what could be read as partial scenes or objects. At times, it seems as if one could make out faintly recognizable imagery in her paintings - perhaps the cross-section of a wine bottle, the earpiece of a phone, or a rolling hill sliced by valley winds. These moments never fully materialize into landscape, still life, or portraiture, but rather set up a unique arena upon each canvas - charged with the vitality and rhythm of the artist’s hand.
Meyer’s use of abstraction in her paintings forces us to understand the discreet actions and materials that go into each piece. The vibrant colors and off-kilter shapes of paint become the main content, creating a beautiful interplay of visual forms through each simple gesture. To heighten this effect, Meyer uses primary colors to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of their relationships – highlighting the vibrations and harmonies of their emanating light. In doing so, we get a palette of visual information, which translates into sensation and emotion.
Intricate, detailed, and impressive, NEEOCO’s watercolors push the accepted limits of the medium. NEEOCO depicts story-based scenes with an exceptional sense of time and place – the kind of grand work usually done by epic or history oil painters. In fact the paintings, which vary widely in subject matter, are inspired by real life practices and events that the artist has discovered through study and travel. One work depicts a group of native Greek shepherds, flocks in tow, dwarfed by a precise reproduction of the Pindus mountains. Another shows members of the Xhosa tribe, their stunning yellow garments richly observed, under the vast South African sky. The paintings’ high, unromantic realism is achieved via meticulousness; as NEEOCO herself says, “Accomplishment is met when an artwork embodies enough detail to hinder an individual from taking it all in during one sitting.” She uses a brush with only a few bristles, adding each detail with meticulous care.
Born Nicole Westbrook, NEEOCO is Canadian and currently lives in Goderich, Ontario. She also works in alabaster carving and will soon move into bronze sculpture.
Working in the emergent tradition of Afro-futurism, Komi Olaf’s surrealistic art bridges cultural divides and speaks of the immigrant's perspective, bringing together disjunctive images with perfect unity in a playfully profound vision of a futuristic diaspora. Olaf pushes his art in wondrous directions, immersing his realistically portrayed characters in mysterious dreamworlds of splendor and soul. Moving beyond reality in striking and luminous detail, he builds his art in acrylic paints on canvas with a richly considered clarity of color and tone. As he serves as a witness to the persistence of beauty within a turbulent world and develops powerfully complex connections, the artist allows his zeal for life to fuel his creative energies.
Born in Kaduna, Nigeria and now living in Toronto, Canada, Olaf discovered his passion for painting while earning his Masters degree in architecture at Carleton University. A driven artist and poet, Olaf won the 2009 Canadian Slam poetry competition and has had his art featured on the cover of TCHAD Quarterly Magazine and in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Characterized by sculptural depth of pigment, architectonic grooves and radiant hues, contemporary Canadian artist Zaineb Shaban’s 3D acrylic on canvas paintings are a visual pleasure to behold. Incorporating a variety of techniques and media – layers, gold leaf, texture, mosaic and modeling paste – serves to enhance the multi-dimensionality of the paintings. Influenced heavily by her work as an architect, Shaban’s visual art is a revelation concerning the relationship between nature and culture, and how the two transform one another over time. Having evolved from early work rendering traditional scenes of socio-cultural significance, in her current oeuvre Shaban tackles issues of human temporality and transcendence, and in the artist’s own words, the “symbolic conscientiousness of material culture.” Using visual representation of architecture as a “bridge across time,” this work is grounded in a type of utopian futurity fusing a diversity of socio-cultural views.
Canadian artist Zaineb Shaban has received diplomas in Architecture, Interior Design and Environment & Energy from prestigious universities in Canada and the UK. A fulltime visual artist since 2012, she has exhibited work professionally throughout Canada.
Characterized by brightly vibrant primary and pastel hues, the paintings of Canadian artist Carole St-Germain are strikingly joyful. Using loose yet delicate brushstrokes, St-Germain elegantly portrays both abstract and lifelike forms on her canvases. Evoking a palpable sense of movement and life, these paintings activate the space around them, imbuing it with a feeling of vigor and vitality. Seamlessly blending colors and tones with a soulful uniqueness, these paintings speak to St-Germain's individuality as an artist, as well as the independence of those who view them. Taking her subjects from both life and imagination, the painter allows herself to be guided by emotion when she is at work, a process that yields a spark of feeling that extends from the canvas into the viewer's space. Dedicated to making her passion for painting tangible, St-Germain invigorates her work with expressive abstraction and a meticulous attention to line and detail. “People really can feel the emotions I had when creating this art piece just by looking at it,” she says.
Carole St-Germain lives and works in Canada, where her work has been the subject of many exhibitions.