Monday, October 26, 2015

What a joyous experience! The Florence Biennale

 Steffie Wallace does beautiful, moody seascapes.
She put her hands in the air for her photo, and
picked up a prize in painting!  Yay Steffie.
here husband Neil is also a sweetie, and they hail
from Australia - a long, long way to travel.

When it comes to luck I really think I'm blessed.
I've just spent 10 days in one of the most beautiful
cities in the world, with a group of artists, who
were not only massively creative, but who formed
lovely connections, were filled with advice,
information, connections, support, and most of
all humour and joie de vie.
The painter Chu before the 
Happy People idea
Chu's wonderful paintings
(the two circular textured works 
And Chu getting happy (oh and
he won a prize in painting!)

On the second to last day Miranda Brouwers and I
began encouraging people to envision a world where
all of their work sold, they got super commissions,
-- they had no problems creating, and we took
photos of them showing their joy at how things
were going.  Instantly their mood changed, and we
had sooo much fun.
Puerto Rico's Gabriel Esquivel paints joy, 
and was delighted to become even happier!
Elisa Ana Bono is Italian, and her theme
is the ocean, like me in this Biennale.  We spent
10 days together.  I even drew her (that's
for another day), but we couldn't speak
to one another except for Hi and Goodbye --
yet a bond developed.  Elisa did the
happy people hands up, and won
a prize in ceramics (I'm just saying!)

 Switzerland's Astrid Bänziger does paintings
 in a variety of styles -- all bright and colourful.
Happiness is part of her vision. 
Encarna Díaz Velasco from Mexico showed
hangings featuring faces, and eyes that looked right
through you.  She also combined writing with drawing,
and one hanging was sculptural.  She won a prize in
mixed media.

Now here's an interesting fact, a great number of those
people became prize winners in the show!  So put your
hands in the air, put your hands in the air.  I'll show you
some of them today, and introduce you to some super
artists. Miranda and I envision this Happy People idea
continuing.  I do have more artists to introduce you to,
and I will do that next time.

Have a believing-artists-are-happy day.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Artists I've met at the Florence Biennale

Talking to visitors at the Florence Biennale

This past week has been an exciting and heady experience
talking to visitors to the Biennale, trying to communicate
whether in English, Italian, French, German, and sometimes
a word or two in other languages. And one of the best
parts of the experience has been spending time with and
learning about the art of other artists.  Above all it's been
fun. With 400 artists in the show, I cannot possibly discuss
all of them, but here are a few who've become my friends,
and I'll try to cover more tomorrow.
Wessel Huisman with his work Garden of Men
Dutch artist,Wessel Huysman displays three large canvasses
at the entrance to the Biennale, dramatic scenes in black,
white and shades of grey.  They are filled with figures,
depicting -- firs the technical world, and the greed which
is killing the planet, in the middle panel -- the world where we
are now, just carrying on with our daily life, and in the far
panel the possibility of heaven, with parachutes
ascending and a world filled with joy and wonder.

 Wessel explains his work to Florence Biennale visitors
This is a big theme at the Biennale. Kama Rosynska from Poland
is displaying two large photographs on the theme of waiting
for Dionysus. The bottom one shows faces shrouded with
transparent veils, not seeing the trees (beauty) around then.  Cattle
skulls float in the sky with brilliant moons.  In the top
one, Dionysus has arrived and it's both erotic and frightening.

 Kama Rosynska with her 
Waiting for Dionysus photo paintings
Betty Collier's exuberant abstract sculptures arise out of a
love for the natural world.  She is a huge fan of walking, and
during her walks in the woods in Australia has been fascinated
with the shapes of mushrooms -- the inspiration for these
two sculptures.
Betty Collier with her sculptures 
-- Cluster formations

Norway's Heidi Fosli, is primarily an abstract impressionist
who introduces figures that are almost hidden into
her work.  Her paintings talk about the lack of connection
people feel in the modern world, and the possibility of
change through caring about the planet, nature and one
another.  Her center panel is about disassociation, and the
bright coloured side panels offer hope.
Heidi Fosli with her Exposed Globe Triptych

Holland's Miranda Brouwers is exhibiting two striking
landscape paintings, which are about her love for her
country, and the beauty of the sky.  She has just finished
a commission for 100 landscape paintings and feels quite
delighted about that project.
 Miranda Brouwer's landscapes: Heading for Home
Miranda Brouwers with her husband Rolf

Have a going to an international art show day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Florence Biennale

 Me in front of my Wonder Water series
 with artist Gengliang Xu

Saturday was the opening of the Florence Biennale here in Italy.
 The opening ceremonies, dignitaries, flags, 
a procession through the exhibition
of people dressed in Renaissance costumes, 
playing drums. Lots of excitement!

The Biennale opens with wonderful fanfare. A procession of people in 14th century
Dress with flags and drummers marches through the exhibition. There are speeches
And so much excitement. Then the artists go and stay by their work, or circulate looking
at the vast show of 400 artists.

I met one of the actors in the procession, Cosimo who couldn't be more than 5 and
couldn't wait to get back to playing with his parents' tablet.
Cosimo -- a young actor in the procession

The wonderful thing about showing in international shows is meeting
artists from all over the world and enjoying great conversations. I will show
you more work another time.
Wonder water series © Barbara Muir 2015
And then there is Florence which is endlessly fascinating and beautiful.
I am exhibiting this work and my friend Patrick Luciani translated
the description for my show book.  Thank you to Patrick, to Heather Speers,
to Raylea Lambert, and everyone else who helped me and advised me.
It is a big deal to get ready for and participate in an international show.
I couldn't have figured it all out alone.

Have a going-to-an-art-show day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A really big show -- in T.O. this weekend!


In September I submitted 6 of my portraits
to a show opening this week in Toronto at the
Super Wonder Gallery.  Three of my ocean series
paintings have been accepted, and a self portrait.
I also submitted my The Conversation Continues
series, but am not sure if there will be room in the
show for them.

Why?  It is a huge show -- over 300 artists will have
work in the space -- which itself is impressively large.
There's a $10 charge for admission to cover the curator's
costs in renting the gallery, and a cash bar.  I think
it will be as the curator Daniel Anaka says, "epic."

If you're in Toronto please come out.  I will be there
both nights.

Daniel's title, ReVersion is about the resurgence of figurative
work in the city.  And from what I saw when I dropped
off my paintings, he is right -- everything from
abstract figurative, to classical work and all of the
possibilities in between -- all vibrantly alive.

Please come and check it out.  I'd love to see you at
the opening(s).

Have a coming-to-a-big-show day.

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!