Face-to-face art

Amanda Clyne, a talented young Toronto artist, has a solo exhibition at PM Gallery, 1518 Dundas St. W. Her work is unique. She begins with a woman’s head and shoulders taken from a fashion magazine and makes a print on special paper that never dries resulting in an image that looks like it’s been done on a blotter. Next, Amanda uses Photoshop to further refine the image, fractures it into vertical strips, then creates large-scale, compelling paintings based on the outcome.

I’m oversimplifying a labor-intensive process; take a look at her website for examples. See how the eyes meet yours; some will disturb, others seem vulnerable.

My daughter Alison and I attended Amanda’s talk at the gallery yesterday. Alison, who is a professor of Art History at McMaster University, listens to a lot of such presentations. She said this was the best she’d ever heard. In addition to explaining her methodology, Amanda told the gathering about the intellectual underpinnings. In doing so, she cited other artists such as Jeff Wall, Gerhard Richter, Francis Bacon and Chuck Close. She also quoted literary giant Northrop Frye and art critic Gary Michael Dault. Few people could rattle off such authorities without sounding pretentious; Amanda made them sound like an integral part of her everyday life.

Half the paintings in the show are already sold but all remain to amaze the eye and touch the heart. You’ll have to hurry. The show closes January 28.

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