Jaan Poldaas: 2018 The Last Picture Show

by Steve Rockwell

At the heart of his practice, Jaan Poldaas was a painter, albeit one with a rigorous conceptual bent. Whatever the systems and rules he may have set in the execution of the essentially minimalist geometries, his application of the paint alone was far from perfunctory. Patrick Barfoot’s 2020 documentary film Jaan Poldaas: New Work makes this evident. Shot in the artist’s studio in October 2013, Poldaas is seen at work remarking, “Part of the pleasure here is the anticipation…. I’ll get to see how these [yellows] look with the reds on them.” 

Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (1), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (1), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

Poldaas held strong views on representation in art, even on a symbolic level. “There is almost something morbid about dead pigment trying represent something alive.” Yet, the artist’s E.G. Series (1978–2011) suggests at least a nuanced qualification of what is meant by representation, if not an outright contradiction. The hinge of distinction appears to be colour as material extension. By matching the type of paint and its application, say of the Metro Police Security Yellow, or the Green of Metro Parks, palpable aspects of our lived environment are made concrete, the caveat here being their verbal tag. The designation of the hues in the E.G. Series were precise. If blue, it’s a Via Rail Blue, if red, it’s a Coca-Cola Red.

Paint allotments to Poldaas established their frame through language. To cite Barfoot’s documentary again, “Generally, I’ll try to represent as broad a range of yellows as can be comfortably accommodated by the word. There is a linguistic limit.” If the colour in question fell to chrome yellow, for instance, its import drew more from its public use as road and parking lot markers than the personal and emotive. It’s a colour philosophy in stark contrast to one held by Kandinsky, who saw yellow as “warm, cheeky, and exciting.”

Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (3), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (3), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

The artist’s reductionist impulse led him to delve deep into life’s foundational principles. Poldaas held the conviction that, “If we weren’t here to see it there would be no light. So the natural condition of things is darkness.” A pioneering minimalist work that addresses this theme directly is light artist Dan Flavin’s 1963 The Nominal Three (To William of Ockham). I learned in an 1998 interview with Poldaas that it’s a piece that had intrigued him for many years. Ockham’s Razor theory resonated with the artist: “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” Poldaas liked Ockham’s “minimalism,” but not his theology.

The 12 paintings in the 2018 Poldaas Last Series measure 60 by 60 centimetres. That they frame just beyond shoulder to shoulder and head to chest is significant. Each seem to demand a sequenced close view as if standing at a crosswalk. We wait for the vertical band to change colour before crossing. Put alternatively in the artist’s own words, “On a T-surface lines do not cross; they might be said to stop when meeting, and start again in passing each other.” As verticals we stop. The traffic passes, and we continue walking.

The passage of time may be extrapolated in the Last Series paintings from the 60 centimetre ticks of their square measure. There are 3,600 seconds in an hour that matches the number of centimetre bits in each painting. It can also be seen as ten 360 degree rotations of a circle, or ten 24 hour periods. It’s a bit of a stretch, but there are seven distinct painted areas in each work corresponding to the days of a week. Of course, if a month is assigned to each of the 12 paintings, it’s a year. The variations in colour of each painting has a precedent in Monet’s Haystack series, where the artist repeated the same subject with differences in light and atmosphere at different times of the day through the seasons in different types of weather.

Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (2), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
Jaan Poldaas, 1800 Series (2), 2018, enamel on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

The equatorial belt that binds each painting in the Last Series teases out at least a hint of geodesy as it cleaves its meridian. As Poldaas liked to tie specific things and places to his hues, I’m tempted to link our local Greenbelt as an association, aware that it may never have crossed the artist’s mind. It’s rather an application of the colour designation method that Poldaas practiced over his career. It might just as well have been one of the several colour belts required before reaching the Karate Black Belt. This later reference has the advantage of signalling the rigour and mental discipline we have come to know of the artist’s work habits.

The legacy that Jaan Poldaas left to the arts community was a model of integrity to a vision that survived the fluctuations of fads and fashions, not only of decades past, but very possibly ones to come. 

Jaan Poldaas: 2018 The Last Picture Show and Anniversary: TTC Commission Proposal Studies: April 25 – May25, 2024 at Birch Contemporary, 129 Tecumseth Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 2H2 Canada 

Shining Seas: Works by Eleen Lin

D. Dominick Lombardi

Over the past twelve years, artist Eleen Lin has looked to Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick for inspiration, in the production of her long running series collectively titled Mythopoeia. With great and expanding depth and detail, Lin takes every angle, including “the idiosyncratic mistranslations between English and Mandarin versions of the book,” up to today’s lesser looked at undercurrents of homoeroticism and multiculturalism to guide her layered narratives. As a result, this stunningly beautiful and curiously complex solo exhibition stands as a must see show for art lovers and artists alike.

Eleen Lin: Shining Seas, Installation View @ C24 Gallery, (All Photo Credit: Daniel Krieger)
Eleen Lin: Shining Seas, Installation View @ C24 Gallery, (All Photo Credit: Daniel Krieger)

In Shining Seas, Lin reveals in exquisite style and varied technical transitions of color and clarity a mystical world in a slightly upturned space that slowly builds in detail and thickness of paint. Here, viewers are left with an expanding experience with surprising clarity that at times crackles and glows in works like The young philosopher (2015), where the ship’s decorative railing, or what is left of the bulwark from the Pequod, appears to protect a nest of eggs perched atop a dangerously damaged deck. Then there are the secondary and tertiary objects like the Chinese yo-yo that hangs from the main mast, the clothespins and the plastic bag attached to one of the cross ropes, the classic red and white life preserver in the distant seas and the large looming ‘shape of water’ woman that bounds up on the horizon. All these components point to both a playful and purposeful approach, adding personal history and global environmental concerns that seep into our subconscious.

Eleen Lin, The young philosopher (2015), oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 84 inches
Eleen Lin, The young philosopher (2015), oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 84 inches

Born in Taiwan, raised in Thailand and now living and working in New York City, Lin carries with her three distinct aesthetic influences that produce surprisingly clean color, a flair for the striking narrative and a pliable use of the metaphor. The central moral of the story that has inspired Lin all these years is the dangers of unrelenting thoughts of revenge. In the novel, all the characters die except the novel’s narrator Ishmael, who survives by using his good friend Queequeg’s coffin as a flotation device. In this presentation of the series, the sense of the fruitlessness of revenge moves from the central theme allowing the artist more range to explore the novel’s after effects on her personal past and present.

Eleen Lin, Crow’s nest (2015), oil and acrylic on canvas, 28 x 36 inches
Eleen Lin, Crow’s nest (2015), oil and acrylic on canvas, 28 x 36 inches

As the Mythopoeia series has evolved and expanded over the past dozen or so years, Lin continues to push the narrative both inwardly and outward resulting in visual spaces that pull you into the action, tweaking the viewer’s awareness of the natural trajectory of life. A sensation especially felt in the two larger works The young philosopher (2015) and Life folded Death; Death trellised Life (2024), and the medium sized Crow’s nest (2015).

Eleen Lin, Life folded Death; Death trellised Life (2024), oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches
Eleen Lin, Life folded Death; Death trellised Life (2024), oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches

Of the three works mentioned so far, Life folded Death; Death trellised Life is the one that takes place on what looks like a stage set made to look as if it is completely under water. Technically speaking, this painting clearly shows the artist’s process working first with thinned layers of acrylic paint applied to a stretched, unprimed cotton canvas, which in this instance sets up a prismatic background that dazzles the eye. A second layer of thin paint is applied with edgy details revealing large leaf flora and shoots of bamboo rendered just enough not to take attention away from the main subject in center stage, the great sperm whale’s complete skeleton. From there, it looks like Lin switches to oils, painting in the precisely rendered whale remains emerging from the confines of a large net, with its head adorned with peacock feathers. Animated as a puppet hanging from several thin black strings, the whale performs on a stage that has curious details, including a computerized light source that periodically changes color.

Eleen Lin, Meet. Greet. Fleet. (2018), oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches
Eleen Lin, Meet. Greet. Fleet. (2018), oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 inches

Meet. Greet. Fleet. (2018), one of the first paintings you will encounter when entering the exhibit, is one that addresses the homoerotic aspect Lin finds in Moby Dick. Here we see two fishermen meeting in the open sea, in multi-colored boats set against a colorful rainbowed sky. Like the preliminary painting method previously mentioned, Lin begins with a stunning wash of bright colors across an unprimed canvas. Over this, the artist adds a swirling sea populated by a feisty swordfish who pierces the checkered side of one vessel as it fights for its freedom. Since the many-colored rope that winds around the fish to its imperiled state spools out from a box in the boat on the left, and the fact that the attached fish is nosed nicely into the adjacent boat on the right links the two men together in an extended virtual embrace. An embrace that portends to end in a more personal encounter as signified by the unseen sperm whale that spouts water up and into the point where the two men touch.

Eleen Lin: Shining Seas, Installation View @ C24 Gallery
Eleen Lin: Shining Seas, Installation View @ C24 Gallery

What I find most telling in Meet. Greet. Fleet. (2018) is the thickly textured clouds in the sky. Using plaster or perhaps modeling paste in the acrylic paint, Lin attaches weighty clouds that seem to suggest trouble ahead, even though both Thailand and Taiwan had or were debating protections for same sex couples at the time of this painting. Then there are the intricately painted hats and shadows that obscure the men’s faces. Perhaps it is a prophetic reference to the middle of the Trump era as we see so clearly today, how certain politicians and supreme court judges are trying hard to turn back the sands of time.

The exhibition Eleen Lin: Shining Seas features paintings, drawings and watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper by Eleen Lin, and runs through July 19 at C24 Gallery in Chelsea, New York City.

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva: New Spiritual Abstraction

by Steve Rockwell

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva’s New Spiritual Abstraction carries a vital charge that fulfills Bruce Nauman’s claim in the text of his iconic 1967 neon wall sign, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths. There is an import to Suarez-Kanerva’s paintings that impels the viewer toward the sublime, the evident dynamism of the artist’s execution rendering its draught irresistible. 

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Wheel within a Wheel 50, 2008, watercolor and gouache, 62  x 45 inches
Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Wheel within a Wheel 50, 2008, watercolor and gouache, 62  x 45 inches

The visual gestalt of Elan Flow 6, and particularly Wheel within a Wheel 50, form whirlpools of meticulously painted slivers that deliver A Descent into the Maelström as described by Edgar Allen Poe in his 1841 short story. While Suarez-Kanerva depicts a wheel within a wheel, Poe’s is a story within a story, both revelatory encounters with nature, altogether beautiful and awesome as creations. 

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel experienced his Wheel within a Wheel as a rupture of the visible heavens, revealing the fiery fabric beneath its skin. He described the appearance and structure of the wheels as sparkling like topaz, all four alike, “Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went.” Not surprisingly, interpreters of our age have imagined alien space craft.

Attempts over the centuries to depict what Ezekiel saw tended to the literal. Modernism, however, has bestowed Suarez-Kanerva the mantle of abstraction, a providential gift to tell her own visual story through her art. The employment of her own brand of the fractal contrasts with the complex mathematical class of geometric shapes. While computers by means of Mandelbrot Sets may generate these forms from virtually anything in our environment from coastlines to mountains, and clouds to hurricanes, each Suarez-Kanerva painting is a unique synthesis of elements directly observed in nature. A fluency in the language of abstraction has made the transcription of her insights in paint authoritative. 

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Breath of Life 3, 2022, acrylic, 40 x 30 inches
Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Breath of Life 3, 2022, acrylic, 40 x 30 inches

Suarez-Kanerva’s art conforms to a law of geometry that generates a sense of the living from the inorganic. The connection to nature rooted in childhood memories of nature-hikes and world travels had clearly seeded the artist’s vision for creative possibilities. Having grown up in diverse environments such as Oregon and Venezuela further broadened her scope, enabling the inference of broader principles at play in the biosphere. This identification with the “living matrix” has found its medium of expression in the material tools of her craft. The inherent qualities of ink, pencil, pastels, water-colour, gouache and acrylic combined with the properties of paper canvas, and wood, are chemically reactive within the viewer’s sensorium, producing a virtual light show in the rods and cones in the retinal wall of the eye. When channeled through a variety of geometric forms and templates, energy is released. Within the “wheel within a wheel” theme alone, the painterly possibilities presented are virtually infinite. 

In Donald Kuspit’s Whitehot Magazine article, The New Abstraction: Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, he observed that the artist has tapped into the sublime by means of a play of opposites, effectively harnessing the tensions between “biosphere and noosphere,” something that Kant had found terrifying and beyond comprehension. Through an active “spiralling” of the universe as a whole, a kind of unity or Omega Point is inferred, arriving at the transcendence that Emerson in his philosophy advanced. Suarez-Kanerva clearly substantiates Nauman’s contention that the work of true artist plays an essential role in the revelation of “mystic truths.” 

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Beholder, 2023, watercolor and gouache, 30 x 41 inches
Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Beholder, 2023, watercolor and gouache, 30 x 41 inches

The 2023 water-colour and gouache, Beholder is an integration and refraction of tree, flower and insect as if by laser beam, the 2022 Breath of Life acrylic a dissolution into gentle waft, a dematerialization to airy essence. Each atomized fragment, like DNA, carries its blueprint as seeded potential, sealing the image with the hope for perpetuity. With the Elan Flow series, the germinative release of energy verges on the explosive. Here again is an echo of what Poe described as sublimely beautiful, yet awesome in power as latency.

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Elan Flow 6, 2019, acrylic, 60 x 60 inches
Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Elan Flow 6, 2019, acrylic, 60 x 60 inches

Suarez-Kanerva is a metamodernist by virtue of the vitalist optimism that infuses her art. The artist’s ability to integrate multiple techniques and theories allow for a plumb of the “the structure of feeling.” Works such as Wildflower Fields, (California Native Plants #2) 2023 and Wheel within a Wheel 112, 2017 retain evidence of the hand, the living gesture as affirmation. Within the diversity of Suarez-Kanerva’s “Visionary Geometries” the point of unifying singularity is the circle, a restless orb in perpetual motion, seeding a harvest from one series of works into another. While the recent Wooded Terrain series of raw wood panel works are devoid of this element, the aura of restless vitality remains.

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Wooded Terrain 5, 2021, charcoal, pastel and ink on raw wood panel, 20  x 24 inches
Lorien Suarez-Kanerva, Wooded Terrain 5, 2021, charcoal, pastel and ink on raw wood panel, 20  x 24 inches

“I build multiple levels and layers of elaborate designs that emerge from an underlying matrix to create a strong sensation of growth, movement and depth.” The artist’s operating principle of constructing her painting in levels and layers is an understatement. More aptly, Suarez-Kanerva engages in a joyous plunder of the corpus of modernism, its roots and the art of the past. Having surveyed the dazzling complexity of her output, this romp through art history has yielded amply productive treasure. The artist possesses the gift of precisely gleaning the element required from an artist. With Joseph Stella it might have been his dense lattice of abstracted forms. A gloss of the Bauhaus zeitgeist combined with the Abstraction-Creation artists of the 1930s has streamed her influences into an apex in harmony with the Orphism of Robert and Sonia Delaunay. As Robert Delaynay elegantly summarized, “Painting by nature is a luminous language.”

Lorien Suarez-Kanerva’s New Spiritual Abstraction Exhibitions:

June 14 – August 30, 2024 at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden, AL

June 13 – October 18, 2025 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, GA

January 2026 – April 2026 at the Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA

Delhy Tejero: Mysterious Geometry

by D. Dominck Lombardi

When first entering the exhibition Delhy Tejero: Mysterious Geometry, one observation you will most likely make is the diversity of styles the artist engaged in. From folkish traditional, illustrative and playful to Modernist, non–representational and fantastical, she endeavored them all. Never a forerunner in any particular movement, Tejero clearly contributed to many of the popular movements of her day and in her own distinct way, often combining disparate approaches such as abstraction and surrealism. This was her way of visually responding to the art world, putting her own spin on things as if to say “I am here too.”

There is also a great sense of pride in the works of Tejero, a sureness that can be seen in lively to illusive colors and a passion that comes through in the believability of her subjects. This is the eclectic energy one experiences when walking through this delightful and comprehensive exhibition in one of the more elegant and impressive settings in the whole of Valladolid, Museo Herreriano Patio.

Delhy Tejero, Self Portrait (1950), oil on canvas, 29 x 23 ½ inches
Delhy Tejero, Self Portrait (1950), oil on canvas, 29 x 23 ½ inches

The one common thread that runs through all of Tejero’s art is a wonderful, and at times rather unpredictable sense of color combined with a striking command of media. Take for instance Self Portrait (1950), where we see the artist in repose seated at a table. The soft lighting and compelling color theory, the consistent and seamless handling of paint, the geometry of the interlocking – yin yang-like ‘L’ sections of the background and how that is mimicked in the gesture of the right hand tells us much of the artist’s thoughts and tendencies at the time. This preference for inter-responsive forms is further investigated in an abstract way in The Music (1952-53) where highly stylized figures twist and intertwine presumably inspired by spirited music. Working again with a somewhat limited palette, Tajero composes with strong diagonals in streaks of light and dark, a dynamic space that highlights the larger figures on the left, resulting in their elevation of importance. Perhaps these two are seasoned performers, possibly Flamenco dancers turning the three or four forms to the right into admiring onlookers.

Delhy Tejero, The Music (1952-53), oil on panel, 43 x 43 inches
Delhy Tejero, The Music (1952-53), oil on panel, 43 x 43 inches

Then there are the paintings that have that soft, Beat generation style with overtones of a cool 1950’s Madison Avenue aesthetic that I love seeing, which probably has a lot to do with my being born in the same decade. Mussia (1954) is right in the wheelhouse of that genre, and it speaks very specifically about the artist’s public persona that was poised and progressive. More importantly, this painting shows a willingness to reflect what interests the artist with regard to the contemporary art scene. I say this because the faux painted vertical cuts in the canvas are a direct reference to Lucio Fontana, who would have been very well known by the mid 1950’s. Then there are the shadows or ghost features that surround the main subject that suggest movement, impatience or even changes made to the pose that are monochromatically painted in and emphasized. Being a painter myself, sometimes it is easier to multiply gestures than trying to restore a background that consists of a thinly applied wash, which can take several attempts and likely ruin the surface of a painting.

Delhy Tejero, Mussia (María Dolores) (1954), oil on linen, 73 ¼ x 35 ½ inches
Delhy Tejero, Mussia (María Dolores) (1954), oil on linen, 73 ¼ x 35 ½ inches

In a surprisingly different direction are Rabina, Taruja and Pitocha (1929-32), handmade dolls referring to three of the six ‘witches’ that Tejero sees as her little helpers during the creative process. There are a number of drawings and gouache paintings here as well, that show how engaged the artist was with these six distinctive, elf-like characters, revealing a very personal and playful side of Tejero, who was most often thought of as being rather exotic and mysterious in her self designed attire that enhanced her uncommon manners. Seeing these designs, which are far more cartoon-like than realistic, I wonder if Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) may have stumbled upon one or two of these characters. If this is so, I can clearly see how they may have inspired his famous children’s books, especially the stories with the now famous, or infamous Grinch.

Delhy Tejero, Rabina, Taruja and Pitocha (1929-32), fabric, chrome metal, felt, paint, stitching, 11 x 1 ¾ x 2, 12 x 7 x 2, 10 ½, 2 ¾, 2 inches
Delhy Tejero, Rabina, Taruja and Pitocha (1929-32), fabric, chrome metal, felt, paint, stitching, 11 x 1 ¾ x 2, 12 x 7 x 2, 10 ½, 2 ¾, 2 inches

Delhy Tejero: Mysterious Geometry, Museo Herreriano Patio, Spanish Contemporary Art Museum, Valladolid, Spain

In Conversation With Herb Tookey

by Roy Bernardi and Jennifer Leskiw

When you enter the home of art collector Herb Tookey, you are overwhelmed and dazzled by what you see. From floor to ceiling in almost every room of this charming abode is a collection of art works, sculpture and textiles, currently some 200 pieces. Herb, with the help of his wife Paula, meticulously curated the placement of each piece. You see and feel the relationship of one work to another and can only admire the energetic vision of this collector. 

Herb Tookey is an entrepreneur and obviously, a passionate lover of art.  He was once a former partner of the Cameron House, an establishment in downtown Toronto known for being an intimate, bohemian bar with ceiling murals and nightly performances. This funky place is where many creative minds and personalities hang out. Artists, writers, performers and musicians all sharing creative thoughts and ideas.

Herb’s first recollection of acquiring an art piece was a portrait of himself painted by his Godmother and given to him when has was quite young. He feels that gift led him to a lifelong journey of collecting with a curiosity and interest that has grown and intensified over the years. Collecting has been in his blood since birth.

Herb Tookey in front of a large scale "Bunny-Man" by John Scott, above a small flower painting by Lorne Wagman and a print by indigenous artist Carl Ray.
Herb Tookey in front of a large scale “Bunny-Man” by John Scott, above a small flower painting by Lorne Wagman and a print by indigenous artist Carl Ray.
Entrance hallway into the home of Herb Tookey (left) featuring several artworks meticulously curated and placed. The kitchen (right) with several works surrounding a larger centrepiece painting by Rae Johnson titled “Mud on the Kitchen Table."
Entrance hallway into the home of Herb Tookey (left) featuring several artworks meticulously curated and placed. The kitchen (right) with several works surrounding a larger centrepiece painting by Rae Johnson titled “Mud on the Kitchen Table.”

What is your favourite art work in your collection? 
My collection is like a large family. It’s like being asked which one of my children I like the best. I can’t say as I love them all. I’ve a relationship with all of my art. In that vein of thought, I’ve created a relationship with many of the artists in my collection. I find art interesting and powerful. For instance, I’m so connected with the paintings by Rae Johnson that I can feel Rae in every one of the paintings I own by her. I think I connected with Rae the most. I do have connections with other artists in that most of my collection has been acquired directly from my interactions with the artists I have met over my lifetime. Art pleasure is an interaction with the art work.

Herb in his library living room in front of one of his master works, by Rae Johnson an untitled painting of the interior of the apartment that Rae and her husband Clarke Rogers lived in on Queen Street West before moving to Flesherton, Ontario.
Herb in his library living room in front of one of his master works, by Rae Johnson an untitled painting of the interior of the apartment that Rae and her husband Clarke Rogers lived in on Queen Street West before moving to Flesherton, Ontario.

What is the highlight for you when collecting?  Is it the search or the acquisition? 
Neither as it’s the experience of living with the art works. Collecting is extremely personal.  It’s educational because it’s an ongoing learning process with fascinating stories and anecdotes.  It’s not only the creative element in each piece but of life itself.  We human critters are hunters and gatherers looking for attention in craftsmanship and attention to meaning.

Herb has never collected art as an investment in money. It’s not the search or acquisition. For him, collecting art is a profound pleasure in the interaction with the work itself.  He feels privileged to be able to surround himself with his collection and enjoy living with it.

If you had unlimited funds which artist or artists would you like to own? 
That’s the easiest question of the lot. There were several paintings that made me weak in the knees when I first saw them at a museum exhibition years ago. The McMichael Gallery had a David Milne retrospective where there was a room of “en plein air” works that Milne painted in 1936 at Six Mile Lake near Georgian Bay, Ontario. When I looked at those paintings I felt that Milne had painted the face of God. Those paintings were of sheer air and glorious light. Another artist that touched me is Tom Thomson’s flower paintings from 1916-1917. And lastly, American artist Ralph Albert Blakelock whose intimate romanticist landscape paintings related to the atonalism movement which he developed into an idiosyncratic somber melancholic mood. Blakelock who was institutionalized in his later life was able to capture and create paintings of true personal intimacy. 

Herb sitting in front of an emotional work by Rae Johnson, a painting titled “Madonna at the Moment of Immaculate Conception” with paintings by Derek Caines (lower left) and J. Mac Reynolds (upper left).
Herb sitting in front of an emotional work by Rae Johnson, a painting titled “Madonna at the Moment of Immaculate Conception” with paintings by Derek Caines (lower left) and J. Mac Reynolds (upper left).

The Tookey Collection features art works by Rae Johnson, Lorne Wagman, Andy Fabo, John Scott, Robert Markle, Shary Boyle, Sybil Goldstein, Derek Caines, David Buchan, Randy Trudeau, Fiona Smyth, Tom Hodgson, Brian Burnett, Carl Ray and John MacGregor, to name a few. A short video of Tookey speaking about a Rae Johnson painting may be accessed here.