Being in the thick of February, particularly in Toronto, isn't an easy climate to weather. It's brittle freezing to the point where you worry your fingers might shatter if you remove your gloves, and the moment you walk indoors those of us with eye wear need a mini scraper to remove the instant icy film coating our lenses. It's precisely around this moment where we Torontonians begin to despise winter, plus those of us who are managing to escape it! In the city where winter essentially means slippery ice patches and gritty snow, our crank is seriously coming on. At this point urban Canucks have two options. Either we stay home cocooned in our duvets snacking on popcorn watching bad reality tv, or we suck it up, put on our parkas and trudge somewhere with a fun cool vibe.
On Thursday evening I joined my fun friends Nan and David at the Thompson Landry Gallery opening for Yoakim Belanger's "In Front Of Us" debut. Open since March 2006, TL Galleries are set in 6000 square feet of jaw-dropping Historic Distillery District spaces and showcases "both the very best of the new generation of contemporary artists, as well as the great masters of Quebec." Specializing purely in Quebec artists and sculptors, Thompson Landry Gallery is architecturally captivating and the ideal setting for Art. Plus, the gallery is also the setting for dynamic proprietors Joanne and Sylvain's sister business, A Taste of Quebec. This tasty terroir food and artisan cheese boutique is quintessentially Quebec. Check out their Taste of Quebec website by clicking here.
Yoakim Belanger's work is vivid, dramatic and eye-poppingly captivating with its cacophony of colours and yet, the underlying images of human form possess a stillness that invites reflection and rumination. His use of oxidized steel and aluminum brings a metallic sheen that contrasts the strong brush strokes of acrylics and oils. His work is lively yet contemplative making it visually powerful and compelling. I loved it. Happily. the opening was strong with a flurry of red dots hitting the title cards signifying their sales. One patron, who has just relocated to Toronto from Atlanta, was all aglow for her purchase. The piece, a woman's profile vibrantly adorned in a feast of pinks and reds, will soon be making its imminent debut in her new Riverdale residence. This delighted me, both for the piece to find a home, and to see a new arrival's nesting instinct already kicking in. Here is a sample of lovely Yoakim's work:
After oogling the art with a couple of delicious lemon puckering Amaretto Sours we made a freezing 20 metre dash to the Mill St. Brewery. Nothing says Homespun Canadian comfort like a good ole brew pub, especially one located in an original Distillery.
Our time at the Mill St. Brewery was perfect. Great food, drink and laughter prevailed, which is pretty much all one truly needs to keep the winter blues at bay. That, and a fun gallery opening!
* See this exhibit until March 6th at Thompson Landry Gallery - 55 Mill Street, The Cooperage Building 32, Toronto, Ontario Tel.: 416-364-4955
* Eat good eats all the time at Mill St. Brewery - 55 Mill Street, Building 63, Toronto, Ontario Tel: 416-681-0338
*Distillery District Photo courtesy www.distillerydistrict.com
*Pub Photo courtesy of Mill St. Brewery