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Home » Exhibitions » The Evolution of Abstraction | Curated by Gwen Tooth

The Evolution of Abstraction | Curated by Gwen Tooth

April 5 – 15, 2017

Exhibiting Artists:

  • Jacques Descoteaux 
  • Irina Litinsky
  • Bianka Guna
  • Shannon Moynagh
  • Michelle Letarte
  • Gwen Tooth



JACQUES DESCOTEAUX – Jacques’ oil paintings are about abstraction; about the idea, the memory of landscape – the atmosphere, the impression left by a sunset or sunrise, by a glance at the clouds, by a moment staring at the horizon, at the land, at the sea.  They are about the beauty of the land and the sky and the sea. They are about colour and imagination. They are about landscape. They are beyond landscape.  Recently, Jacques has been playing with adding streaks – sometimes on the side, sometimes at the bottom; at times very bold, at times more subtle, and at times, they’re not there.  He started doing these for a few reasons, but mostly because some of his landscapes seemed to be too literally landscapes. By adding this element, the image becomes something else. It is a landscape, and yet it isn’t. He is taking the image from landscape to “beyond landscape”.
Jacques has studied with a number of professional artists in Toronto and New York. In 2015, Jacques was granted an art residency on the west coast of Ireland as part of the Cill Rialaig project. Here he further explored his work pushing his boundaries to “beyond landscape”. Previously a CPA, CMA designated accountant by day, an artist by night, Jacques is a full time artist and has exhibited in the longstanding Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. He has also shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in Toronto and New York. Art is his passion. He is a member of Propeller.  www.jdcoto.com


BIANKA GUNA – Bianka is an abstract expressionist artist who explores universal themes and symbols of humanity.  Her work draws the viewer in through its strong, vivid colours and highly textured surface.  The imagery is whimsical, serene, ethereal, and delicate, yet bold and direct.  She believes in unity, diversity, proportions, contrast, balance and the unexpected. She has recently been working extensively with incorporating complex acrylic skins into her paintings. She works diligently in her studio in The Distillery District, Toronto and teaches abstraction in many locations.
Bianka is an elected member of various prestigious art societies in Canada like SCPWC, SCA, OSA, TWS, IGA, CARFAC. She has won several juried exhibitions in Canada and abroad and participated in numerous group and solo shows. She is also a Certified Golden Working Professional Artist since 2014.  Her distinctive contemporary work has been purchased by private and corporate collectors from many countries – Canada, USA, Sweden, France, China, Australia, Romania, Israel, Russia, South Africa and UK.  www.biankaguna.com


MICHELLE LETARTE – Michelle travels the world extensively and develops a new series of paintings from each unique experience. She often uses various textures to elaborate her artistic statement. In her Anatolia series, she reflects images that witnessed history but are eroded by time and earthquakes and are now integrated into natural fresh landscapes. In her painting of an old wall in a former Turkish town, Michelle abstractly depicts the wall of an old house returned to its primitive patterned under-structure by abandon and neglect over the years. She uses pumice and sand to create the texture of these large surfaces.  Her palette reflects the colours of Anatolia and its ancient sea.  
In addition to developing a brilliant career in science, and to being a highly awarded volunteer around the world, Michelle Letarte, PhD.  has maintained a parallel art career. She has received training in sculpture and painting at many great art institutions including Ontario College of Art and Design and the Haliburton School of Art and Design. She is a member of Propeller.  www.michelleletarte.ca


IRINA LITINSKY – Irina is currently merging her background in graphic design with her painterly approach to develop a unique style that reflects her cultural history and identity.  She paints because it is her natural emotional response to the world and people around her.  She finds that her reaction to what she sees is a fascination with the inner world of human beings and their aesthetic external beauty.  Pursuits of both these interests come together in her painting.
Her techniques combine pencil drawing sensitivity with the energy of fluid acrylic paint strokes.  The result is colours, shapes and lines that generate a unified image that is also ambiguous and open-ended. Her aim is to engage the viewer’s imagination with work that provokes thoughts and feelings and resonates with personal experiences. She often engages the use of abstracted figures in her work. Irina is a successful graphic designer and a visual artist.  She is a member of Propeller.  www.irinalitinsky.com


SHANNON MOYNAGH – Shannon explores various themes in nature through her work, including biology and evolution. For the painting series ‘Organics’ she combined her study of microscopic organisms with experimental paint methods. These experiments began in 2007, and continue to evolve. Regarding the paintings and prints from this series, Shannon states: “My artistic goal is to create living, breathing microcosms of paint, artworks that borrow forms wondrous and varied from the natural world. Executed by a combination of systematic and improvisational methods, and utilizing the behaviour of the paint itself, the finished painting is like a fossilization of the paint in motion, a relic of those precious viscous moments of the paint’s ‘life’ frozen in time.”
Shannon is also a printmaker and is a member of the InPrint Collective, a Toronto-based group of printmakers who exhibit together and host community-based art events at various Museums in Toronto and beyond.
Shannon Moynagh is an artist and arts educator from Brampton Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University in 2009. Since then she has exhibited and sold her work in Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto and Montreal. Shannon is a member of Beaux-Arts Brampton, a not-for-profit artist-run centre in Downtown Brampton, where she occupies Studio #7 (Echo Base Studio).
Shannon’s art: https://www.facebook.com/shannonsproudpapa/
InPrint: http://inprintstudio.ca/   


GWEN TOOTH – Gwen is an expressionist painter. She paints to express energy, soul and mood.  She has recently completed several series of paintings revealing the various moods and energies of water – whirlpools, waterfalls, and tsunamis.  Her most recent series “Red Series: Gentle Waterfalls”, was an exhibition of acrylic paintings interpreting gentle waterfalls on red backgrounds. Nature was full of joy once more.
Gwen’s current installation project, “Indian Ocean Variations”, showing concurrently, is a series of acrylic paintings inspired by the many vibrant colours, visual sights, sounds, and scents of India.  Gwen experienced these in depth during four visits to the Indian subcontinent.  During this process, she studied basic Hindi, varied styles of Indian cuisine and she immersed herself in the deep history, architecture and culture of a very dynamic nation.  The colours used in Gwen’s expressionistic paintings are reminiscent of spice markets, silk factories, richly ornamented temples, beautiful saris, exquisite jewellery and they evoke the churning energy of the Indian Ocean.
Gwen holds a B.A. from Western University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from Ontario College of Art and Design University.  She teaches adult classes in acrylic abstraction at Fleming College – Haliburton School of Art and Design as well as experimental drawing and painting at various cultural centres.  Gwen is a member of Propeller, Gallery 1313 and of Beaux-Arts Brampton.  She is represented by The Ethel Curry Gallery in Haliburton, Ontario. www.zhibit.org/gwentooth

Special thanks to our community partners and ongoing sponsors. 

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