AFTER GLOW EXHIBITION RUNS UNTIL MARCH 29TH
Story by Laura Chang
Navillus Gallery, located in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, exhibits art as a facet of life. “It can energize a space, inspire you, make you think and feel, and enrich your life,” says head curator, Taylor Sullivan. Recently opened in October 2011, the gallery has established itself as a space for the celebration of art, reveling in its ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The gallery’s first exhibition of 2012, After Glow, opened January 17th, and further asserts Sullivan’s ideas. Presenting a collection of works by artists Gloria Vanderbilt, Mary Conover, and Mike Smalley, After Glow represents their “creative outpouring the wake of important and varied artistic careers.” The artists each led distinctive lives before exploring a passionate connection with art, reminding us that one’s life has infinite greatness. The exhibition reveals the connecting of dots within mysterious lives. According to the press release for the show,
“After Glow is the arch of red light that appears in the sky after twilight. In the few moments it lasts, the surreal colour has the power to transcend reality. It sparks curiosity and expands the possibilities of our imaginations. Moments later it fades, darkening with the night sky, drawing viewers back into the folds of reality.”
The opening was sponsored by Chubb Insurance and HUB International. Dorit Straus, Worldwide Specialty Fine Art Manager of Chubb Insurance New York, spoke at the event about the international world of fine art collecting.
Plaid caught up the head curator, Taylor Sullivan, to learn more about the show and gallery.
What was your inspiration for After Glow?
A photograph by Mary Conover, which captures the raw openness of the desert at sunset, inspired the title “After Glow”. The light traveling unbroken for miles creates a potent, almost ethereal effect in this photograph. It struck me that the “after glow” of the sunset was a lovely metaphor for the way that art can function – in an instant, charging the viewer with passion and energy, pleasing the eyes and opening up the mind to a new way of looking at the world.
Can you provide us with more information on the artists?
In these artist’s lives, their work serves as an “after glow”, an outpouring of creativity marrying a diverse range of experiences in the wake of extraordinary lives.
Gloria Vanderbilt became a preeminent designer, pioneering the first “designer jeans” in the mid-1970s. She also had a colourful life as a socialite in New York, maintaining friendships with leading literary figures, as well as artists and cultural icons. Vanderbilt’s artworks are inspired by memories of her childhood and people who have proved enigmatic in her life. The whole of her unconventional life is channeled into her art. Vanderbilt, (born in 1924), remains vibrant and continues to search for inspiration.
Mary Conover worked as a fashion photographer for the International Herald Tribune in Paris in the 1970s. She later became a photojournalist for Condé Nast and travelled extensively in North Africa and Spain. Her paintings and photographs are inspired by her extensive travels and awe for the landscape. Her artwork is influenced by her deep connection to the Earth, as well as her spiritual investigation.
Mike Smalley had an important career as an art director in the advertising business in Toronto, before retiring to pursue a career as an artist. Mike’s bold, graphic work is influenced by a style cultivated during an earlier career. Rediscovering the wilderness of Muskoka after years in the city, his works are bold and energetic, channeling his boundless creativity and ardour for the landscape.
As a relatively new gallery, what are you hoping to establish with After Glow?
I hope to solidify the Navillus brand with this show. I want Navillus Gallery to be known for paring prominent, internationally-based artists with emerging Canadians in our exhibitions. Navillus Gallery should be known as a space that is very approachable (and wildly inspiring). We want to have something that is attainable for everyone – enthusiasts, young professionals just beginning their collections, as well as experienced collectors.
How do you think the Navillus Gallery will influence Toronto’s art culture?
I hope that the Navillus Gallery will bring new life to the Toronto art world, with a pulse beat on what is happening worldwide. All of the staff at the gallery have worked in New York and have a great sense of the international contemporary market. We try to exhibit work that is entirely fresh and thought-provoking while remaining incredibly collectable.
As a collector myself, I feel that young people are too often intimidated by the process of walking into a gallery. There is huge threshold barrier. People believe that everything is either too expensive or esoteric for them.
I hope to engage young people in the process of starting a collection (even if that means a $75 print) and helping them to connect with the beauty and innovative ideas that the art world generates.
I found After Glow inspiring in that it presents three artists with very diverse lifestyles; they have experienced different careers and found a second life within art. How do you think this exhibition could inspire other artists, future and current?
I hope After Glow opens people’s minds and inspires them to search for themselves through a creative venture, whether that means experimenting with their own artwork, fashion or starting to build an art collection that expresses their personal taste. I believe that experimenting creatively is incredibly important for finding one’s sense of self.
What is your vision for this gallery in terms of goals, future exhibitions and showcased artists?
At Navillus Gallery, we hope to present dynamic and highly approachable exhibitions featuring prominent international artists, as well as emerging talents to Toronto. I hope to help people connect with art in the way that Thomas Hoving (former director of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC) describes:
“As you climb the stairs of quality, you’ll meet individual works that you’ll need for the rest of your life, works that will thrill you, energize you, lift your soul, soothe you, make you smile; make you think about the fate of mankind and the universe, make you have to see them again and again for the good of your psyche, state of mind, and strength of heart.”
Located in Barton Myer’s classic Post Modern clock-tower building at Bay and Davenport (110 Davenport Road, Toronto), Navillus Gallery’s After Glow will be on display until March 29th, 2012.