Holiday artistry

Joan Sullivan
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Leyton Gallery hosting final exhibition prior to Christmas

“Passion Dip” by Ginok Song, oil on canvas.

This group show, The Leyton Gallery’s closing exhibition for the year, is arranged for Christmas time. But these 14 visual artists featured aren’t necessarily being seasonal. Instead, they have looked outward, and made observances of the people and things and scenes around them. The resulting blend of imagery includes animals and flowers, urban vistas and abstract panoplies, dreamed-up creatures and fully realistic figures.

Elena Popova has a number of monotypes, bright and bouncy, full of waltzing squares and beating hearts. “Home Love” and “Love Boat” are two examples, as vibrant in line as they are in colour, their areas of forms assembled by shape and united in a zaggy, jazzy vigour. They “read” like their own version of cuneiform, dynamic narratives in visual cipher.

Another kind of energy sways through Ginok Song’s “dancers” paintings, which show a blond woman in a sleeveless blue dress and a man with short, light hair with rolled up white shirtsleeves. Their outfits imply it is hot, and their choreography suggests things are really hot, and getting hotter. Their faces, in “Passion Place” and “Passion Dip,” are mainly obscured, but their body alignment says it all.

Song, who has other figurative work in the show, has a real feel for such performers; she has shown pairs in movement before, always nicely evocative, although sometimes they seemed sad, or sadly nostalgic; the sexual charge here is well-rendered.

Also touched with the erotic are two photographs from Rhonda Pelley.

These are subtly, finely coloured. One is a female nude, seated, back on, her dark hair falling against her skin. The other is a woman, again back on, in a white slip, sitting on a bed, leaning slightly, the cream of her lingerie in cool, seductive contrast to the blue of the bedspread.

Other media include two encaustics from Jillian Waite. These, titled “Alisha Study I” and “Alisha Study II,” show buildings and street fronts, in stone and tile, buff and warm under what seems a Mediterranean sun.

Margaret Ryall, known for her thick, lustrous pieces, has “Rhythms,” a beautifully toned piece of red poppies against a blue sky.

The title could refer to the lovely spacing of the floral stems, or the sweet interplay between the aptly matched and measured red and blue. This really draws you in.

Jennifer Barrett works her usual funky charms with her contour paintings, bold black lines in gestural participation with flat, vibrant colours. Her works here include portraits of an owl and a polar bear. James Rosen’s “Study after Chardin & Morandi” is a poised and alluring work of flowers in a vase, so delicate, yet blooming with a pristine volume.

And Audrey Feltham’s paint and fabric pieces are small-sized homages to a bird goddess, rich in texture and hue.

Iakov Afanassiev, Jack Botsford, Jonathan Green, Bonnie Leyton, Toby Rabinowitz and Anita Singh also have works in this exhibition.


Joan Sullivan is a St. John’s-based

 journalist and editor of

The Newfoundland Quarterly.

Organizations: The Newfoundland Quarterly

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