Arts and Culture Events in the Glebe
By Bhat Boy
No longer quite satisfied with painting nuns and mounties, the unsung heroes of Canada, Bhat Boy has moved on – to historical figures including such public faces as Jim Watson, Sir John A. Macdonald, Margaret Atwood, Pierre Trudeau, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Roberta Bondar and even Stephen Harper. All appear in the Heroes and Heroines series along with some other surprises from history. Drawn to painting characters in iconic costumes, Bhat Boy’s whimsical take on Canadian history, Heroes and Heroines, is opening at Orange Gallery this month. You will agree that it is definitely a departure from his traditional streetscape style.
“I felt in a rut last winter, as if I had painted every building in Ottawa, and nothing felt fresh any more. I thought I would take the summer to see if I could move my work in a new direction. I started the series of waltzing nuns and mounties while travelling through central Europe last spring. I moved from city to city, each time finding it more difficult to pack my suitcase as I accumulated canvases along the journey. I went to one art store in Budapest and they only had two canvases. I said ‘I’ll take them all.’ It was such a crisis packing at one point that it was becoming more of an art than painting.
“When I returned to my home base in the U.K. last July, I began to paint beefeaters and grenadiers, then Anne Boleyn losing her head. There are so many historical British heroes and heroines that I started thinking, who are my Canadian heroes? That was when I thought of painting Atwood versus Harper. Margaret Atwood, mounted on a white horse, slays Stephen Harper, in tribute to St. George and the Dragon, a traditional English folk tale told since medieval times. What better backdrop than the gothic landscape of Parliament Hill? Ms Atwood, wearing a ’70s leotard, is being crowned a saint by a passing Canada goose as she is about to pierce the prime minister. I thought it impolite and possibly illegal to make Mr. Harper bleed, regardless of my political convictions. That is why I chose to depict the moment before the kill.”
There are more than 40 new paintings from the Heroes and Heroines collection featuring figures from British and Canadian history. In another painting, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, nun and founder of Canada’s first school for girls in 1671, receives a visitation from modern-day heroine, Dr. Roberta Bondar, who descends from the heavens as an astronaut to meet the recently canonized saint in Old Montreal. “People sometimes ask me if I believe in magic. I think magic is a relative thing; technology that we do not understand is no different from medieval magic. That’s why we still go ‘awww’ when we see someone’s phone do something we have never seen before.
“Contemporary people are more difficult to paint, as they tend not to come with iconic costumes unless it is related to their profession. I saw Jim Watson at the Gay Pride parade. He had his own float and he was squirting all the gay men with his huge water pistol, and I thought, wow, that would make a great painting. I was nervous at first, as the other characters I had painted were mostly from the past. People know the mayor, so it’s really got to look like him. But I got him, I got him good, at least I think so. I am not sure what Mr.Watson would think, but in the painting I am thinking of him as a hero.”
Bhat Boy is a long standing resident of the Glebe. He started his art career doing house portraits while still at Glebe Collegiate Institute in the 1980s before attending the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. His website is at www.bhatboy.com
Luminosity of spirit: Jaya Krishnan Studio Gallery
By Lorrie Loewen
Sometimes life imitates art. Recently, while seeking inspiration and musing about the possibility of an art gallery/studio space in the vibrant Glebe neighbourhood, local artist Jaya Krishnan found his mind wandering down paths similar to those he travels in his artwork. These are the paths that compel viewers to look beyond the luminous and powerful expressions of place, humanity and beauty before them and make them wonder what lies around the next corner.
Should you, a potential viewer, wander down Bank Street and around the corner where Bank meets Second Avenue, you will come upon the real life manifestation of these musings in the form of the Jaya Krishnan Studio Gallery. Beyond being a place where an artist can be alone with his paints and brushes or mount exhibitions, Krishnan envisions a space in which art lovers of all ages can enjoy the artwork, learn and observe the artist at work and mingle with others. Formally opened last month, the studio and gallery will offer school tours that will include drawing sessions, art lessons for all ages, an art rental program and private bookings for special events.
Born in Malaysia, Krishnan studied art in Kuala Lumpur, but is a self taught artist versed in the traditions of the French Barbizon School. He approaches the canvas not only with a mastery of technique, but also with a creativity textured by his own experience, imagination and spiritual nature. Krishnan has travelled extensively and volunteered overseas at Cambodian orphanages in Phnom Penn, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, teaching young children art and English.
Back in Ottawa, he reflected both on his own childhood and on how much he had learned during lessons or daily activities such as visits to the rice fields and markets with the children. This past summer, while walking along Glebe streets showy with large white hydrangea blossoms, dramatic green foliage and tumbling roses in various hues, Krishnan found his muse. In every blossom, he saw the delighted faces of the children – bright, bold, spontaneous faces pushing to the front; shy, quiet ones peering from behind, all eyes shining with wonder and light. “I was overcome with a feeling of tremendous love, a sense of joy, a luminosity of spirit,” said Krishnan.” I began to paint the flowers, but in each blossom I felt able to express the joyful spirit of the children and my empathy for the human condition.”
A VISIT TO THE STUDIO GALLERY
I stepped into a naturally lit space filled with vibrant artworks, and gazed on familiar scenes with a new appreciation. Thoughtfully curated, the space is filled with warm summer and icy winter scenes of local and Canadian landscapes cleverly juxtaposed with the images of our dreams – ancient temples and the unfathomable beauty of Asia, astonishing green rice fields, lotus flowers, serene monks, funeral processions and beautiful people along with the vibrant flora and fauna of Bali, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
I found the artist at work in his studio. As I watched, Krishnan applied diaphanous blue highlights and textures with free flowing brushstrokes to a work of breathtaking beauty. The white hydrangea among fresh green foliage began to reflect light and radiate energy. The feeling was evocative of a warm summer morning – full of hope and light. “Each visitor will experience and connect to the artwork in relation to their own life experience,” says Krishnan. “I paint as if I am the first person to witness a scene. I hope to share a sense of what I felt and saw at a particular time in a certain light. But everyone relates to certain paintings in a unique way as they integrate the scenery into the landscape of their own experience.”
Inspired by painters such as Jean Baptiste Camille Corot and Jean- François Millet (Barbizon School), Krishnan finds the freedom to look and feel rather than analyze and produce according to rigid guidelines. He also enjoys abstract expressionism. Krishnan listens to rock music while he paints and is often surprised and amused by the blissful serenity of the end result. His favourite medium is acrylic for the luminosity and vibrancy of colour. Adding glazes and varnish brings out the transparency. Scratching the surface and adding under-layers of texture give a realistic edge. “Life is not a smooth ride. It is full of rough edges.”
“My family will be pleased to have my artwork displayed at the studio gallery and not placed all over our home,” smiles Krishnan. “My beautiful wife and I are happy to be part of the Glebe community. We have raised two wonderful boys, made good friends. I am proud of our achievements and feel happy with this art in my life,” says Krishnan, who volunteers in the Ottawa community at the St. Joseph Food and Shelter Program and the Ottawa Greek Festival. He also teaches a popular art course for seniors at Abbotsford House at the Glebe Centre.
Resident Lorrie Loewen, an attentive and enthusiastic witness of life in the Glebe, brings her skills in photography and writing to the task of capturing events on the page. She is our guest Business Buzz columnist this month.
Gallery 5 – Let’s talk photography
Ottawa photographer Mark Schacter is pleased to announce the opening of Gallery 5, located at 5 Linden Terrace in the Glebe. The launch of Gallery 5 on November 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. coincides with the publication of Mark Schacter’s third book of photography, Houses of Worship.
Gallery 5 will open to the public every other month on the last Saturday of the month. It will feature framed limited-edition prints by Schacter, as well as some unframed pieces. Inspired by their own enjoyment of fine art, Schacter and his wife, Shereen Miller, felt that their 85-year-old home overlooking Patterson Creek would be the ideal setting for a unique, intimate viewing experience.
Signed copies of Schacter’s three books (the other two are Roads and Sweet Seas: Portraits of the Great Lakes will also be available. The Ottawa Citizencalled Roads a “compelling work.” Canadian Geographic described Sweet Seas as “a remarkable study … a visual tour of the delicate beauty around the Great Lakes.”
Said Schacter, “Gallery 5 is a great opportunity for me to connect directly with people interested in photography and a chance for the public to purchase my work at a significant discount to prices charged by conventional galleries.”
A large selection of Schacter’s work can be seen at www.luxetveritas.net. For further information about Gallery 5 or the photography of Mark Schacter, contact Mark Schacter at 613-277-6777 or Shereen Miller at 613-277-6778.
Handel’s Messiah in 20th year at St. Matthew’s
by Kevan Pipe
On Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church will present Handel’s Messiah, commemorating the 20th anniversary of its first performance.
St. Matthew’s production of Handel’s Messiah, arguably the world’s most performed oratorio, was first performed on Sunday, November 21, 1993 by the Choir of Men and Boys and the Choir of Women and Girls under the direction of then choir master Andrew Teague. These same choirs, under the direction of Kirkland Adsett, St. Matthew’s current director of music, will be joined by guest soloists and a professional orchestra to celebrate the coming of the advent season, which kicks off the Christmas season for many members of the audience.
The Messiah was composed in 1741 by George Frederic Handel and first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. It is in an intimate church setting and by candlelight that St. Matthew’s Choir presents its annual production. This performance varies somewhat from Handel’s original, however, as children form a large part of the St. Matthew’s Combined Choir. Given the complexity of the music to be learned, it is a challenge well met by such young and talented choristers.
“I am grateful for the commitment and dedication of the almost 75 members of our choirs in presenting such a high-calibre performance,” said music director Kirkland Adsett. “Given the amount of music that must be prepared every week for the full schedule of services at St. Matthew’s, and this added to the repertoire, the choristers are to be commended for all their conscientious work. Along with the professional orchestra, it is a joy to conduct this wonderful work with such fine musicians.”
The soloists for the performance are Jennifer Taverner, soprano; Andrew Robar, counter tenor; Jean-Philippe Fortier Lazure, tenor; and Gary Dahl, bass. Tickets are available at the church office at 217 First Avenue, Compact Music in the Glebe, The Leading Note on Elgin Street, and online at www. stmatthewsottawa.ca. Ticket prices range from $15 for students to $40 for reserved seating. For full information on pricing and to purchase tickets, visit St. Matthew’s website.
Kevan Pipe is a parishioner at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church who serves on the communications committee.
Ottawa Bach Choir to perform at Bachfest Leipzig 2014
by Misty Banyard
The Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC) is proud to announce that it has been invited, the first Canadian choir ever, to be among the performers in the world’s most prestigious international Bach festival, Bachfest Leipzig 2014, entitled “the true art.” The choir will be singing on June 20, 2014, and has planned a spectacular European tour next June, which will include other performances in Venice, Lübeck, Groningen and Amsterdam.
In preparation for this magnificent honour, the OBC will be presenting a series of fundraisers that will allow us to celebrate with our patrons over the course of the season. Want to walk in a winter wonderland with us this December 21? How about a trip to a traditional Venetian carnival on January 25? Maybe a nod back to the elegance of the black-tie balls of yesteryear on May 31? We will be bringing you all of these and more, as this exciting OBC season unfolds. Stay tuned to the Glebe Report and to our website, www.ottawabachchoir.ca, for details of these and other Bachfest fundraising events.
The choir’s subscription series includes three spectacular concerts to whet your musical appetite and inspire you! The first, The Glory of the Baroque, will be performed this November 30 at 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church in the Glebe, 130 Glebe Avenue, and will include Bach’s thrilling cantata, Meine Seelerhebt den Herren BWV 10, Buxtehude’s Alles was ihr tut BuxWV 4, Charpentier’s Magnificat H. 78, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach’s Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme and more, all accompanied by the superb baroque orchestra hailing from Montreal, Ensemble Caprice (Matthias Maute, director), and soloists.
The second concert in the series is The Tudors: Hidden Ecstasies, which will be presented on Saturday, March 8, 2014, 8 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street, and will feature moving a cappella works by Byrd, Gibbons, Parsons, Tallis and more. The final concert, Prélude – Europe 2014, will be performed on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 8 p.m., again at St. Matthew’s in the Glebe, and will include works which the choir will take on tour by Bach, Gabrieli, Palestrina, Schütz, Sweelinck, Victoria and more, accompanied by Ottawa’s own Jennifer Loveless, titular organist of Notre Dame Basilica.
Subscription tickets are now available and can be purchased through the Ottawa Bach Choir’s website at www.ottawabachchoir.ca, or by calling 613-291-3694 or 613-270-1015. Single tickets may be bought closer to concert dates from Compact Music, 785 1/2 Bank Street in the Glebe or 190 Bank St., The Leading Note, 370 Elgin Street or at any CD Warehouse location.
Misty Banyard is the general manager of the Ottawa Bach Choir.
Master Piano Recital Series 2013/14
By Roland Graham
The Ottawa classical music scene is seeing an exciting addition for the 2013/14 season. In November, a young and relatively unknown virtuoso from Montreal, Steven Massicotte, kicked off the new five-part series of piano recitals offered this year at Southminster United Church just south of the Glebe. The objectives of the series are to introduce outstanding young talent to the Ottawa public, showcase the vast riches of the solo piano repertory, and provide greater access to fine art and culture in our community.
While Ottawa is already home to an exceptional array of world-class professional and community-based performers and ensembles, the Master Piano Recital Series aims to fill a noticeable void in our city. Outside the National Arts Centre, and excluding piano concertos programmed by the city’s orchestras, there are not many opportunities to regularly hear established professional pianists performing repertoire in a format that is accessible and affordable.
Serhiy Salov, winner of the 2004 Montreal International Piano Competition. Photo: provided[/caption]The accomplished Steven Massicotte performed a selection of virtuoso works by 19th-century romantic composers. The second performer will be pianist Maria Sourjko, locally known to many, as she lived three years in the Glebe after her arrival in Canada.
On Saturday, December 14, she will play a Christmas-inspired program, including a magnificent piano arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, along with works by J. S. Bach, Gluck, and Rachmaninov, including the famous Vocalise. Families with children and anyone learning the piano will find the magical textures of Tchaikovsky’s ballet score especially appealing.
The third, fourth and final performers are Serhiy Salov (winner of the 2004 Montreal International Piano Competition, and just back from a South American tour with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra), Elizabeth Schumann (a formidably talented young performer from Boston, U.S.A., who will perform Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and a contemporary piano sonata written for her) and Samuel Deason (who studies and teaches in Indiana under the legendary Menahem Pressler). The profiles and programs of all performers can be found on our Facebook page (search for Master Piano Recital Series, Ottawa) or by writing to the email address below.
Concerts will be held on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. on the dates below. Tickets are $25 per concert ($10 for students); $60 for any three concerts ($20 for students); or $100 for all five concerts ($40 for students). Tickets: Ottawa Folklore Centre, Compact Music in the Glebe, The Leading Note on Elgin and Southminster Church office. Email MasterPianoRecitalSeries@gmail.com for detailed information.
Roland Graham is the artistic director of the Southminster United Church music program.