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Old Friends + vermicelli

We trundled off to yumart today as our old friend Claude Breeze’s exhibition TOYBOX was opening up. We’ve known Claude since about 1980 or 1981, when we were among his painting students at York University. Somehow or another, after we graduated from York we remained good friends with Claude and his wife Ardis. Today was not only the opening of Claude’s exhibition but also Ardis’ birthday – so we took the opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to her in the gallery.


Sheila with Claude Breeze

Claude’s exhibition featured a combination of large paintings from his Toybox series as well as small photo-reproductions of the larger paintings. These works offer up playful subject matter, with darker psychological undertones. Check out the exhibition at yumart at 401 Richmond. It’s on until the 25th of the month.


A large painting from Claude Breeze’s Toybox series

While at the gallery, we had a chance to chat with another old friend, Barry Andrews.


Cowboy Buddha Barry

I met Barry back in 1982 when I worked as a summer student at what was then the Harbourfront Art Gallery in Toronto. What a fun summer! As well as working with Barry, I had a chance to work with the wonderful (late) Anita Aarons, who was the gallery director at the time. I loved her spirit and her willingness to get behind the work of local Toronto artists. I also had the opportunity to work with Ihor Holubitzky, a young curator at Harbourfront who these days is the senior curator at the McMaster Museum of Art.

Back in the day, Barry was pretty darned good on slide guitar and at one time played with some others under the name Rev. Barry and the Rodeo-a-go-go, or was that Cowboy Buddha Barry and the Rodeo-a-go-go? At the time I made a feeble effort to stum a guitar and occasionally got together with Barry to play some music, which I enjoyed very much. By that time I was living in a storefront studio on Ossington Ave. That was back before Ossington was a swanky restaurant haven and even before it was Little Saigon, back when there were kitchen shops and a smattering of artists. Barry  and I fell out of touch for quite a number of years, but  managed to re-connect a couple years ago, and we see one another from time to time these days.

When Tuffy P and I left the gallery this afternoon, we stopped into a little Vietnamese joint on King Street for some take-out, called Bắc Kỳ Vietnamese Canteen. It’s the one across the road from Lee Valley Tools. The take out was very good, better than your average Pho joint. Along with  some  shrimp fresh rolls, here’s what we had…

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