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  • 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art is now accepting entries for the 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art..
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  • Call for Art - 11th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Poetic Notions

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Bringing together 30 artists and poets, curators & participants Holly Friesen and Carolyn..
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  • Sometimes Always Never Film Screening

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    North Van Arts International Film Series is back! Our first film in the..
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  • Call for Art - 4th Annual Colors Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 4th Annual Colors online art competition. For this..
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  • Open Studio with Cassie Suche

    Location: Calgary, AB

    On January 30 from 6-8pm, join our current resident, Cassie Suche, at..
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  • RGD Designathon

    Location: Toronto, Vancouver, Moncton, Sudbury, ON

    The RGD Designathon is a 12-hour design challenge where design students and recent..
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  • Call for Makers - Calgary Stampede Maker Market - Deadline 02/15/2020

    Location: Calgary , AB

    Calling all Makers! This year's Calgary Stampede Maker Market July 2 - 12..
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  • Cut/Paste/Resist

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Call for Submissions Cut/Paste/Resist: A Pop-Up Exhibition In times of protest and social upheaval..
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  • Art Rental Show

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Come and visit CityScape Community ArtSpace to view 200 new works of original..
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  • Art Exhibit at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Vancouver Civic Theatres is proud to present a visual arts gallery open house..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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  • Jane Selbie and Joseph Farrugia

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • Dianne Davis and the WAP Collective

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • Robyn Rennie & Mary Louise White

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. February 1 – February 13, reception: Feb 2 from..
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  • Lorène Bourgeois

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. January 18 – January 30.Reception: Jan 19, 2020 1..
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  • “Grey” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline February 28, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Grey surrounds us, sometimes in surprising ways. In beach pebbles, a..
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  • on thin ice Polar Bear Art Exhibit

    Location: Toronto, ON

    On thin ice is a solo exhibit of polar bear portrait paintings by..
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  • Self Portrait

    Location: Ajax , ON

    I am looking for an Artist that would be willing to do a..
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  • Call for Art - 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Support the Worldwide Art Community | Participate in 6x6x2020

    Location: Rochester, ON

    Hello Artists in Canada, We want YOU to participate in 6x6x2020! Let your creative..
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  • 5th Annual Artist's Choice Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Artist’s Choice online art competition. For..
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  • Olivier Du Tre: New Works

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    January 7 to February 29, 2020 At HUB@302 302-1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB..
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  • Call for Artists + Photographers - $550.00 Innovate Grants

    Location: , DE

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Winter Cycle. Innovate Grant awards..
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  • Mix Artist Collective Winter Show 2020 January 7-February 11

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Mix Artist Collective Winter Show 2020, January 7 - February 11, Reception January..
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  • WAAH 124th Juried Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

    Location: Hamilton, ON

    Who:  The Women’s Art Association of Hamilton (WAAH) at the Art Gallery of..
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  • HELD OVER TO JAN31/20 LOOK AGAIN!

    Location: SASKATOON, SK

    LOOK AGAIN! HELD OVER TO JAN 31 2020 Exhibition at University..
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  • The Indian Contemporary Art Competition

    Location: New York, NY, ON

    The Indian Contemporary Art Competition (ICAC) aims to discover and promote talented artists..
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  • The Loft On King Street

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Loft On King Street is one of the most unique private event..
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  • Cut/Paste/Resist

    Location: Fredericton , NB

    Call for Submissions Cut/Paste/Resist: A Pop-Up Exhibition In times of protest and social upheaval..
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  • 2021 Multifaith Calendar – Call for Submissions

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Each year, the Multifaith Action Society invites artists to submit works of art..
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  • Overzealous Fine Art Exhibition 2020 Call for Entry

    Location: Toronto (GTA), ON

    Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 1st, 2020 -- Exhibition Dates: March 30 – April 18,..
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  • VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism 2020 is an annual international art exhibition, dedicated..
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  • Call for Artists - 59th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

    Location: Toronto, ON

    CALL FOR ARTISTS The #CallForArtists for @TorontoOutdoorArtFair, Canada’s leading outdoor art fair, opens November..
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  • Call for Artists | Spring 2020

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Beacon Original Art is thrilled to announce our Call for Artists to apply..
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Gary Spearin: Name Paintings

By Gil McElroy March 1, 2004

} Gary Spearin: Name Paintings by Gil McElroy September 11 - November 9, 2003 The Robert McLaughlin Gallery Oshawa, Ontario, Canada The childhood game of laying on the ground and looking for the shapes of familiar things (animals, people, etc.) in cloud formations comes in adult sizes. We are, after all, the species best able to hear the signal amidst the noise, to discern pattern in what might otherwise seem random and incoherent. In the visual arts, our approach toward abstraction perhaps best exemplifies the craving we have to find (or even create) something representational where it is not. Maybe it’s a genetic thing. Gary Spearin, Big Name, 2003,oil on canvas, 180 x 150 cm. Whether or not we’re hardwired to see this way, Gary Spearin has made the representational urge central to the abstract paintings of his Name Paintings. The exhibition title refers to Spearin’s conceit of resisting the idea of titling abstract paintings “untitled” —what he calls “the post-1950 convention” — and instead using the word “name” within the title of every work. The result is paintings called Big Name, Name?, Left Unnamed, etc. Beyond a titular denial of what has come to be a convention of abstraction, Spearin’s very markmaking is a rejection of the spontaneous and gestural kind of painterly activity that have become hallmarks of abstraction courtesy the historical pre-eminence given Action Painting. Spearin’s work is, instead, intentional and deliberate — qualities we associate, like it or not, with representation. Gary Spearin, Being Your Name, 2003,oil on canvas, 75 x 75 cm. All this by way of saying that we come to Spearin’s paintings with representational expectations. How do you spell that name? (2002) is one of the larger pieces in this exhibition, a work primarily composed of a large painterly mass of intertwined red lines that is no amalgam of abstract swipes and daubs, but rather a composite of carefully and individually delineated markings. Spearin laboriously painted each one, creating something representationally akin to, say, a disordered pile of yarn, a mass of worms (like the “red wigglers” of WKRP in Cincinnati notoriety), or perhaps even something more personally biological, like the lengthy mass of our lower intestines squashed into a compact area. This large and intentional gathering of shapes is disrupted by, and juxtaposed with, an area of truly abstraction intentions. Here, Spearin vertically smears and combs a section of canvas, blurring the colors of his palette into fuzzy bands of reds, pinks and whites of non-representational intentions. This tug of war between abstraction and representation is enhanced by other smeared and combed areas that are worked in behind Spearin’s red wigglers — an effect that optically adds loads of depth to the canvas. In Image Name (2002), Spearin has reduced the number of red wigglers to three small and lonely strands that extend into the central part of the canvas from three edges. The work is otherwise engulfed by the abstraction of a large combed and smeared area, its blurry bands of paint blending from black at its fringes to narrow filaments of yellow in the middle that make for plaintive echoes of the lively intertwining red shapes of other works. Gary Spearin, Image Name, 2002,oil on canvas, 180x 125 cm. With Being Your Name (2003), Spearin digs further into the possibilities of the representational/abstract dichotomy. Here, set in isolation from one another, six small red wigglers lay scattered across the canvas, each situated within painterly whorls of light colors that are set against a background of vertical lines of candystripe reds, blues and pinks that ascend and descend the canvas in long continuous loops. Gary Spearin’s arguments with abstraction boil down to the deceptively difficult question, “what’s in a name?” The give-and-take dynamic between abstract and representational in his paintings affords some fresh lines of aesthetic enquiry, and if names are named in the process, so much the better. This review originally appeared in Art Papers Magazine, January/February 2004. ___________________________________________ Gil McElroy is a critic, independent curator, artist, and poet currently living in Colborne, Ontario. His latest books are Gravity & Grace: Selected Writing on Contemporary Canadian Art (Gaspereau Press), and a book of poetry, Dream Pool Essays (Talonbooks). View Gil's curriculum vitae.