Neighbourhood Studios: Dynamo Arts Association Across The Street


Have you ever noticed Dynamo Arts Association across the street from Woodward’s at 142 West Hastings Street?  I remember looking up one night and seeing a seated figure painting at an easel. I wondered, what is it like to paint by a window overlooking this part of Hastings Street?  I had a chance to go upstairs one day and look out from those very windows.

I met Kuh Del Rosario (pronounced koo), one of the artists in Dynamo through Twitter. I announced my plan to add a section on Woodwardsmile to feature people in and around Woodward’s and Kuh said hello! We made plans and met on a Saturday afternoon.

Kuh is painting on the left and at his desk is Jeff Bosworth.  Kuh has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Her current work involves creating sculptures out of salvage materials like egg cartons, flooring, styrofoam, and foam.

When I went home that day and I showed J. some photos of Kuh’s work, he asked an excellent question:

What is her muse?

The answer is simple — the materials. The key to understanding mixed media art composed of found objects is figuring out why artists pick the materials that they do.

Kuh is interested in the varied uses and lifespans of materials that are “made to be thrown”. She is drawn to foam because it is a protective material that is hidden and yet pervasive. It is unseen as insulation in walls of houses, and it is ubiquitous in packaging. Foam fluctuates in its lifespan of use: it has an extended life as insulation and brief one as packaging.

Kuh’s sculptures are about exploring the relationship between people and salvage materials. Kuh is originally from the Philippines and came to Canada when she was a child. She visited Philippines as a teenager and remembers seeing shanty towns of shacks built with discarded objects. This memory stands in contrast to her life in Canada, and it is an example of how circumstances alter our relationship to materials, changing the parameters of designating something as completely unusable refuse.

Kuh pointed out that her sculptures resemble baked goods. They have “confectionery” colours, and the plaster and spray foam look like frosting and cream.

These sculptures are meant to be hung from the ceiling. In the last show of these pieces, people were immediately drawn to the tactile quality and reached up to touch them.

The fluorescent orange colour on the above sculpture is marking chalk.

I looked through the sculptures on Kuh’s desk and found this one to be the most interesting. It has a variety of textures and the colour palette is pleasing.

The above are Kuh’s most recent works. She is drawn to the uniform shapes of the ice cubes and egg cartons.

This is Jeff Bosworth, a painter who is also a graduate of Albert College of Art and Design. Jeff paints circles. It’s more complicated than it sounds, and to understand his work, you need to know about his painting process, more specifically, the order in which he paints circles.

The above is a maquette, a small scale model. 12 sections join to form one canvas. According to previously set rules, Jeff slides one rectangle out, paints a circle (or part of one) which must touch or complete another circle (or touch no other circle).  He moves the pieces around and places the freshly painted section back into place.

The secret to Jeff’s circles are written on these pieces of cardboard. In the glass mug and on the desk are handmade wooden dice which Jeff uses in his process of painting by chance.

Currently there are 20 artists working in Dynamo. I’d like to interview more artists at some point. I think you’ll agree that the secretive guy who works behind the curtain should be a priority.

The studios in Dynamo are filled with an eclectic array of objects.  It is what I imagined the inside of a creative art space to look like.

A tree branch hanging on the wall echoes branches outside.

Look up next time you walk by Dynamo!

 

Find out more:

Kuh Del Rosario at www.kuhdelrosario.com

Jeff Bosworth at www.jbosworth.com.

Dynamo Art Association: http://dynamoarts.tumblr.com/

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