Visit the Toronto studio of art star Elly Smallwood

OCAD University student Oscar Fletcher takes us on a visit to the Toronto studio of emerging art star Elly Smallwood to chat about her work and her over 220,000 Instagram followers. 

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Kristin Morthens: Busting out of tradition

Third-year OCAD U student, Kristin Morthens describes her work as “busting out of the conventional picture frame.” And literally she does just that, in many of her works. Perhaps it’s her life and love of travel that draws her to the unconventional. Born in Iceland, Morthens has travelled the world. From growing up in Iceland, to living as a teen in Kenya, where she was home-schooled, to painting walls in Brazil for five months, to studying at OCAD U in Toronto, Morthens believes that all of the places and cultures she has experienced have given her a broader perspective of the world. And now, as an exchange student at The Art Institute of Chicago, she further explores new territory.

“When I first started painting, I was doing graffiti as a teenager, and later  ̶  street art  ̶  so I didn’t start painting on canvasses until a couple of years ago,” says Morthens.  “I think in a sense, I was always very connected to site-specific pictures and painting on walls that were not a square or a rectangle.”



Morthens’ work is digitally inspired, contrasting between materials such as traditional paint and spray paint, exploring textures, mark making and colours. Lately, she has been fascinated by fabrication and the materiality of the canvas. “I’ve been dying canvasses and using bleach, painting a lot on raw canvas, and using unstretched canvas,” says Morthens.  “I feel like I want to go in an installation direction with creating a space that you enter… busting out of the rectangle. It’s not new, it has been done for many decades, but the idealization of the rectangle is something that an art student in 2016 should question.”



As an exchange student living in the United States during the recent election, Morthens encountered a different sort of cultural experience. “The country was paralyzed… people were crying and the energy here is very heavy,” says Morthens.  And how did this affect her work? “I couldn’t paint for a bit, after the election and I decided to do a portrait of a friend of mine from Chicago. I haven’t done a portrait on a canvas in two years, but it was an urge that I felt that I had to document something.”



Grateful for her time at OCAD U, Morthens, who was awarded the Curry's Art Store Prize this year, and the Helen Eisen Scholarship last year, asserts that she has been shaped and very influenced by her professors, fellow students and the aesthetics that are happening in Toronto. “The scene has pushed me into new directions. I feel like since I started OCAD, I haven’t stopped evolving.”

Check out more of Morthens’ work online.

Natalie Pavlenko
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And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, new paintings by Nick Ostoff, Faculty of Art

painting_circular frame-like image on background
Friday, December 2, 2016 - 5:00am to Saturday, January 14, 2017 - 5:00am

Christie Contemporary is pleased to present And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Nick Ostoff, opening Friday, December 2 from 6-8pm. 

This body of work continues Ostoff’s exploration of objects and spaces within the interior domestic sphere—cast shadows, reflected light, random surface marks, and fragments of commonplace objects, the type of overlooked elements one might find half-concealed in the background of a generic family snapshot—with the aim of addressing both memory, and the unheimlich (Freud’s term for the ‘estranged familiar’). Despite the intimacy of this context, Ostoff is not interested in autobiography, self-portraiture, or sentimentalizing the familial. Rather, he is attracted to these objects and spaces for their very banality and ordinariness. Through his particular working process, they are agents ripe for perceptual reshaping, not unlike scenes viewed through a cinematic filter.

Looking to the way in which quotidian space is naturally transformed through a condition of absence into a reflexive index in memory, Nick Ostoff further amplifies this quality of the imperfect echo with the mechanics of representation and the painterly process. In re-framing overlooked but familiar visual phenomena, Ostoff seeks to heighten their perceptual ambiguity, to suggest suppressed elements of the uncanny, and in so doing, activate a kind of phenomenological intensity. There is a palpable sense of the ‘not seen,’ in part achieved with a working methodology that involves reduction and restraint, where seemingly straightforward imagery is all but ushered away from the conventions of representation, reconfigured as ostensible abstraction, to create an elliptical viewing experience in which fixed perspectives are destabilized. 

Working from anecdotal photographs, each painting is deliberately built up through multiple layers of translucent pigment, a crucial aspect to the recontextualization of these images, a process which effectively dissolves the spatial/temporal specificity of the photographic source, while retaining its pictorial trace. Thus, each painting is situated in an ambiguous realm that is proximate to, yet utterly removed from our quotidian experience. 

Venue & Address: 
Christie Contemporary 64 Miller Street Toronto, Ontario
416 551-2005

Laura Millard, Faculty of Art, Showing in the Group Show: Strange Geometries

Image of circular snowmobile tracks in the snow
Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 5:00am to Sunday, February 19, 2017 - 5:00am

A labyrinth of trees, empty spaces, fractured architectural forms… we try to find our bearings in a vast terrain.

From above, the land provides a larger surface to inscribe our presence. Google earth and drone technology have turned the earth into a giant can- vas. Leaving traces of our presence we sketch strange geometries onto the land.

The three artists in Strange Geometries, Sylvie Bouchard, Laura Millard and Ross Racine, invoke these ideas through painting, photography and video. Compelling an investigation of the landscape from different vantage points the works in this exhibition conjure the myriad ways we attempt to tame our environment and reshape the land to reflect our reasoning.

Venue & Address: 
BOXOTEL GALERIE 175B 175 rue Ontario Est Montréal, Québec


Monday, December 5, 2016 - 5:00pm to Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 11:00pm

Monstrum is a performative painting exhibition that ‘demonstrates’ how one can artistically subvert all kinds of moral degradation associated with the demonization of other. The exhibition highlights a first-hand perspective of recent dramatic political events involving excessive cruelty. Oncu utilizes the monster as a metaphor to problematize the clashing of extremes by introducing it as a third party to antagonistic conflicts of various kinds. Her monsters resist any classification built on hierarchic dual oppositions, and thereby confront any categorization based on moral judgment.

OCAD U Student Gallery's is holding an artist talk with Yasemin Oncu on December 8th at 2:30pm.

Venue & Address: 
52 McCaul Street Student Gallery
(416)977-6000 ext263

here alone together, new paintings by Stella Cade

colourful abstract image of two figures
Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 5:00am

November 5, 12, 19 and 26 2016

2 -­ 6

here alone together

new paintings by Stella Cade

Join us Saturdays in November. The Artist will be present. Essay by Michael Davidson

"Picture this.

You and I, sitting on the couch. I'm at one end, you're at the other. We haven’t spoken a

word in a while. The room feels silent, but it’s not really. The sounds of the building are

around us. The clock is ticking, the whir of the lights is faint. We are hearing all of this on our

own but also know it is shared experience. We are both in this air, this light, this space

around us.

Picture this.

You and I engaged in thought. Completely and comfortably lost in our own moment in time.

Picture this.

Here we are. Alone, together."

Stella Cade 2016

About the Artist:

Stella Cade (1988, Toronto) has studied at the Art Students League, Concordia University and

received her BFA from OCADU in 2013. Her expressive figures create a dialogue regarding the

complications of intimacy and identity. Cade was awarded the People's Choice Award at the

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 2011 and The Donna Maclean Award for portraiture and

representational painting from OCADU in 2013. Cade is the Co-­Founder of Nest


26 is a domestic viewing space for contemporary art in the Beaconsfield neighborhood of Toronto, Canada.

A curatorial collaboration between artists Nicole Collins and Michael Davidson, 26 features an open program

of diverse local and international artists and seeks to engage the viewer in a critical and relaxed experience

with art.

26 Mackenzie Crescent, Toronto, ON, M6J 1T1

Saturdays, 2-­6 or by appointment

416 346 3246



Venue & Address: 
26 Mackenzie Crescent, Toronto, ON, Saturdays, 2-­6 or by appointment
416 346 3246

Newzones is pleased to present "Chrominance", a solo exhibition by Anda Kubis, Faculty of Art

Series of colourful abstract digital paintings installed in a gallery
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 5:00am to Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 5:00am

Newzones is pleased to present "Chrominance", a solo exhibition by Anda Kubis.

October 22, 2016 - November 26, 2016

--> Anda Kubis    in attendance -->Artist reception: Saturday, October 22, 2016, 12:30-3:00 PM

Part of the new Abstraction movement in Canada, Kubis continues her play with colour, space and illusion. Due to the prominence of colour in her work, her research considers how a conscious engagement with aesthetics and creativity positively impact human flourishing and quality of life.

In addition to her painting practice, Kubis explores new media through a digital process that creates the foundation from which this new body of oil paintings and digital prints are produced. In finished form, the digital paintings exist beyond the screen where they are entirely informed by the digital software, chroma and layers, which modelled their creation. Although inspired by a digital source, the colour is material and substantial. The luminance - the glow within - is created through Kubis’ intentional play on hue and value perception. Colour is a positive means of aesthetic expression through mixing new and traditional approaches to image making.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Anda Kubis received her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and her MFA at York University. For eight years, Kubis taught at York University and at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. Currently, Kubis is the Associate Dean of Outreach and Innovation in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University. In this role, she manages and develops the many external relationships that support rich opportunities for students and faculty members in the Faculty of Art.

Kubis' paintings have been widely exhibited across Canada in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her work can be found in private and corporate collections throughout North America.


Venue & Address: 
Newzones 730 Eleventh Avenue Southwest Calgary, Alberta, Canada

IAMD Florence Residency - David Constantino Salazar

In-progress bird sculpture by David Constantino Salazar
Friday, October 14, 2016 - 4:00am

Current Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design student David Constantino Salazar shares his expereince studying in Florence this past summer as part of the OCAD U Florence Off-Campus Study Program:

"My Independent Study in Florence, Italy, began in the spring of 2016, with my research and studio production overseen by Professor Dr. Martha Ladly.

The Independent Studio was a focus on how in both painting and sculpture, narratives and allegory come together through form and matter in the work of the Renaissance masters, such as Michelangelo, Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti.  The visual study in Florence was fundamental to my studio practice as a sculptor, where I use a traditional hand modeling technique of clay and wax that are directly linked to the studio practice of many of the Italian Renaissance artists.

In Florence, with the help of art resident historian Dr. Katharina Giraldi. I studied the anatomical techniques and compositional approaches used by artists in the representation of both human and animal.  I gained an understanding of the symbolic imagery used to communicate cultural ideologies.  My proposal was to digest the research through a series of miniature plasticine clay studies. The choice to model on a small scale gave me the ability to fluidly work through ideas both structurally and conceptually.  My research in the IAMD program explores allegorical narrative through anthropomorphic animal sculptures. I am interested in how the physicality of matter through form and gestures bring characters to life.

In Florence, I developed a series of bird sculptures at the moment of impact of having crashed into a wall. The work is ignited by the viewer’s imagination when my offerings of forms and gestures become characters, narratives, metaphors and allegories in the mind of the viewer.

My research also involved traveling to, Pietrasanta, in order to visit contemporary artist Fernando Botero’s frescos (Heaven – Hell). 

I left Italy with an enormous amount of gratitude for having the privileged experience to further my research with the assistance of Professor Dr. Martha Ladly."

More about the IAMD Program: 

More about David Constantino Salazar's work:

Series of small sculptures sitting on a workbench in a sunny room with an open window overlooking a rooftop

Uniformitarian Principle

Uniformitarian Principle
Friday, November 28, 2008 - 5:00am to Saturday, January 3, 2009 - 5:00am

Angell Gallery in Toronto is pleased to present “Uniformitarian Principle,” the first solo exhibition by new gallery artist and current OCAD student, Min Hyung.

Drawing from the energy of the unpredictable yet inevitable geological events that contour the earth, Min Hyung’s spontaneous/logical paintings address the indelible links between our past and the present. Like tectonic plates, the varied layers of paint shift over one another, creating rumblings and disturbances, constructing and deconstructing spaces and depths. Each layer—whether composed of fine, linear drawings; thin washes of colour; or chunky, generous dabs of paint—alternately emerges or disappears in relation to one another. Among these shifting layers lies an exploration of the evolution of need and an awareness of how these emergent desires alter our environment.

Hyung describes her brightly coloured paintings as worlds of motion, flux, shifting languages—old and new—and contemporary references that are evolving and finding new translations. The canvases speak both to physical structures and to the foundations upon which contemporary society is built: the desire for and pursuit of protection, of secure living spaces. The sprawling villas, the cars, the idle times by the poolside, she suggests, are gestures back to humanity’s long-fought odyssey for comfort and shelter. Deploying these contemporary visual references—architecture, luxury commodities—Hyung’s paintings are concerned with space and how space can describe us individually or collectively, as a culture.

The most striking element to Hyung’s work is perhaps the vibrant populations of her signature “blobs” which undulate through paintings like Oe Island or Where is "In the line of fire playing" in glossy waves. The blobs operate as a language through which the viewer is invited to navigate and resolve the painting: they form sentences, statements, and stories; they play against each other, humming, conflicting, stimulating, and unifying in a gestalt of colour. Ultimately, each bright marble of paint relates to one another individually and communally; they each require space, have their own evolutionary needs, and yet exist necessarily within a collective.

In Blow Spaces Away From The Whirling Blades of The Fan and The Curtain Rises, the blobs are openly connected to the individual; they exist within the sinuous outlines of swimming and diving female figures. The contrast of these organic figural lines with sharply geometric architectural lines references our longing to exist within a golden mean of carefully articulated spaces. In the end, Hyung’s vivid and shifting picture planes address the search for a balance in our environmental desires. We exist simultaneously within our own bubbles of physical and psychological space as well as within the spaces needed to be part of a collective culture and society.

Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Min Hyung is a Toronto-based artist.

Venue & Address: 
Angell Gallery 890 Queen Street W, Toronto, Ontario


Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - 5:00am to Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 5:00am

Painters is an exhibition of new paintings by Sybil Goldstein, David Joron, Kristi Ropeleski and OCAD Instructor Natalie Waldburger. The four painters use their very developed and personal styles to create works that address the figure with an impetus towards a narrative.

All the artists have strong academic background and are currently teaching drawing or painting at various post secondary institutions. They are also being featured, in their respective categories, in the upcoming Carte Blanche volume on Canadian painters being released by Magenta Publishing for the Arts this November.

Venue & Address: 
Lennox Contemporary 12 Ossington Ave., Toronto, Ontario