Tag: Contemporary

The Hidden Art of Yonge + St. Clair

Public art has the ability to make a neighbourhood better. It can even elevate its profile by taking underutilized public space and transforming it into something that helps shape the definition of a community. Yonge + St. Clair is lucky to have a collection of public artworks that not only stay true to the history of the intersection, but display the neighbourhood’s evolution towards the modern and the contemporary.

Earlier this summer, NOW Toronto released a list of 50 of the city’s best-kept secrets, focusing primarily on the murals, buildings, monuments, and landmarks around Toronto. Yonge + St. Clair had four works make the list: The Rosehill Reservoir, the St. Clair Mural, the Peter Pan Sculpture at St. Clair and Avenue Road, and the Story of Oils mural in the lobby of Imperial Plaza.

Those four pieces are excellent representations of the public artwork that has been present around Yonge + St. Clair for almost 150 years, but are just the tip of the iceberg. What other art is hidden around the area?

Mother and Child, 1947


Yonge + St. Clair is home to a collection of pieces by renowned Canadian sculptor Florence Wyle, a resident in the area. Her 1947 piece, Mother and Child, was commissioned by the Canadian Mothercraft Society and sits outside their building on Heath St. Additionally, at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue East and Mount Pleasant Road is Loring and Wyle Park, dedicated to the two sculptors, who for many years had a studio established in the area.

Reclining Figure, 1968


Outside of 95 St. Clair West rests a figure mounted in a horizontal position, lying on it’s back, and cut off at the knees with the barest stumps for arms. Commissioned by Imperial Life Insurance, the Reclining Figure was produced in 1967 by Canadian sculpture John Fillion and adds a compelling masculine presence to the street.

Relief Figures, 1968


Latvian born, Canadian sculptor Augusts Kopmanis was commissioned by the St. John’s Latvian Lutheran Church to produce this piece in 1968. This hidden sculpture is one of the most dynamic pieces around Yonge + St. Clair – the figures are initially only etched into the stone, but as the people become younger and more vigorous, they are given more depth until they penetrate the stone completely and acquire three dimensions.

Sails, 1981


Prominently placed between two flights of stairs leading up to the entrance of the Weston Centre, stands Sails by renowned Canadian sculptor, Gord Smith. This stainless-steel abstract welds three gleaming steel panels angled like sails on a boat that’s experiencing harsh winds. This 1981 abstract commemorates Garfield Weston and is one of only three prominent public sculptures in Toronto that honours an individual entrepreneur.

Electric Green, 2014


Over the years, the “Mysterious Date” faces by Toronto street artist Anser have become an unmistakable and irreplaceable part of the Toronto Street Art scene. Yonge + St. Clair has been home to his Electric Green piece since early 2014, being scrawled onto a small building across from the Rosehill Reservoir. Anser’s work shows an ability to meld “high art” portrait techniques into the contemporary graffiti scene, melding the old with the new.

Su Sheedy’s “Quiet Out Loud” Opens at Muse Gallery

Yonge + St. Clair is a community that takes pride in the sophisticated – exquisite food, contemporary art, and refined culture. While art and culture is constantly getting better in the neighbourhood, it’s important to appreciate the contemporary work that’s here, now. Last weekend, Yonge + St. Clair’s own Muse Gallery held their opening for Canadian Contemporary Artist Su Sheedy’s solo show “Quiet Out Loud.”

Su Sheedy was born and raised in Toronto and has lived in Kingston, Ontario since 1992. She began painting full time in 2001 and since then has marshalled her fascination with surface effects into a substantial art practice.

Sheedy has always had a great deal of interest in the preservation of the Canadian wetlands, which can be seen across all of her previous painting series titled Marsh, Pond, Bog, and Lichen. Her abstracts appear to be a lush blend of wildflowers, vines, grasses and reeds with patches of water or even snow. Su Sheedy’s works are anything but typical paintings – they have a frenetic energy that is calmed and restrained by her use of natural beeswax and tree resin. The translucence of the beeswax and her dynamic colour range engages the viewer like the 3D atmosphere of a backlit aquarium.


“I began the Pond series in 2009 as a homage to the wetlands near my home in Kingston, Ontario. My painting process is instinctual, spontaneous and quite physical. Rich layers of pigmented beeswax are gouged into, poured, and torched creating rowdy and random markings.”

Twenty years a registered massage therapist, Sheedy remains interested in cellular memory, sensory perception, and our visceral response to texture. Her works reside all across Canada and she has been Chief Hanger and Adjudicator in several Art Exhibitions.

Su Sheedy (left) with the Muse Gallery owners.

‘Quiet Out Loud’ is open at the Muse Gallery until October 13th.