ART@ebar… it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? And if all goes according to plan, loose as said plan may be, it will look even better than it sounds. Please allow me to introduce myself: I’m Eric, and I am the newest curator of art and art related happenings at the ebar. I’m a mixed media assemblage sculptor and show promoter, with a career making and showing art and fine craft going back over 35 years and spanning galleries and events from Toronto to Vancouver and BC’s Sunshine Coast to here in Guelph.
Some of you will know me as “The Purple Guy” from my years in the Guelph Farmers Market, others from my participation in the annual Art On The Street (winner of Best In Show in 2013) and as one of the Quebec St “banner artists." Others will know me as organizer of the ACE (Art Craft Excellence) show and sale, or maybe from my supplying you with materials and insights at Wyndham Art Supplies. Still others of you may recall my years as an organizer with the Guelph Groove and Soulshaker Dance Party. I’m hoping to bring all those experiences to my new role here at the ebar!
My first unofficial role at ebar began with the Wyndham Art Supply staff group show, Material Goods. I have the wonderful fortune of working with some amazingly talented artists, so hanging a group show of work from 11 people with diverse views and techniques was made easy by the quality of content. I think we are kicking off the new art showcases at ebar with a bang.
The newest show at ebar, ‘Sincerely Naive Paintings For Progressives’ is by Belleville artist, Shawn Talbot. Shawn comes to ebar through the auspices of his step-daughter Fiona, one of the wonderful staff members here.
Shawn is primarily self taught, although as he notes, he “studied a bit at Toronto School of Art in the 90’s." This is his first solo show, showcasing a cross section of his works in acrylic on canvas. Previously he has been in two group shows, one in Stirling ON and one in Belleville ON, and he was Artist In Residence at the now defunct Organic Underground Cafe in Belleville.
Shawn’s work “reflects [his] attraction to whimsical juxtaposition." He delves deeply into worlds swirling and pulsing with colour and form. Working seasonally within eastern farm communities he spends a great deal of his days outside and his work draws inspiration from the natural world, but also voyages deeply into inner worlds, taking the viewer with him on his kaleidoscopic journeys layered in abstract elements, and recognizable forms like trees and animals:
“I also like to situate obviously designed and painstakingly worked areas within visual range of the seemingly spontaneous. I play with pattern overtly at times and also in a “is it really there” method. Like a fool or a Zen practitioner which I am, perhaps both, I challenge myself and my viewers to find comfort in an attitude of "not knowing" or "just this” and to sink into the world of the painting. To sum up, I really like circles and lines and colours and layers and transparency and opacity. Also I’m not too cool to be decorative."
I hope that you will enjoy exploring Shawn’s vibrant worlds, whether it’s as a focal point for a few moments of hypnotic voyaging or whether you’re enticed to take something home to add to your décor – he won’t mind if you think it matches your obviously cosmically inclined sofa.
I look forward to bringing more art exhibitions and events to the ebar and adding another layer to the overall incredible experience that makes up the interwoven layers of Guelph’s Bookshelf. It is my intent to curate both solo and group shows in the future – I’ve several ideas for themed shows, to inspire and amuse both artists and audience. I hope you’ll join us in these endeavors.