The annual art show by the Society of Estonian Artists in Toronto (EKKT) held at the gallery in the Estonian House was again a visual success. The show featured both long-time members and newer faces that continue to vitalize the Canadian Estonian art community. In its 52nd year, the three-day exhibition and sale reflected many styles, techniques and media. Reflected in many of the show’s art pieces were motifs of Canada.
Always a favourite for viewers are the familiar strokes of oil paintings such as Ingrid Heinmaa’s striking jewel-toned “Night Flowers”, or the serene and soothing scene of “Sunset in Collingwood” by Valve Jaamul. Along that same theme of celebrating things Canadian, Jennifer Simmons’ thoughtful work of symbolic vignettes of each province reflected a sense of peace and calm. Valmar Kurol’s “Aurora” in variations of violet tones provided a sense of movement on a night sky.
Aarne Roosman’s soft brush strokes and composition of scenery bring “Kingston” to life. Arville Pustrom’s vivid purple “Lilacs” and Peter Shoebridge’s large oil painting of “The Dancer” provided art images of pleasant familiarity. The old world appeal of Erich Lokbik’s “Lone Cottage” and Walter Lood’s “Still Life” of deep earth and rich red tones were a contrast to Eha Luik’s outdoor vision of activity and movement in “Niagara Falls”. Other oil paintings such as Magda Spirka’s “Still Life with Hat” and Ellen Männapso’s “Treppoja” “Kloogaranna” reflected a traditional taste in the exceptionality of the everyday. The brushwork in Aime Halliko’s oil portrait of Voldemar Siimon reflected an interest in the strong character of the personality of the subject.
Acrylic a popular medium
Acrylic has shown to be a popular medium as it has the ability to be used in different ways to project many moods. New member and scholarship recipient Christine Bulionis used acrylic in a watery, playful method for her untitled piece. The linear quality of Kitty Järve’s painting “Composition” holds a construction of lines that echo the same colour in Zoelle Vares’ “Still” painting. The contrast of white and red softens with blending. Similarly her father Rein Vares shows vibrant teal, black and orange working together to suggest energy and contrast in his work called “Storm Warning”. This excitement of colour also works well in Aarne Vahtra’s “Fall of the Leaf”. The black background gives the imprinted coloured leaves a timeless, floating quality.
The black background also works well for Hele Gelzins’ “Thanksgiving”. The personal Canadian symbols in her painting are also suggested in the vividly colourful landscape in Mai Vomm-Järve’s “Autumn in Canada”. Riho Pild’s “Northern Sunset” and Hugo Silberberg’s “View from Kotkajärve, Muskoka” both evoke a typical soothing sight for outdoor enthusiasts traveling north in this country. Similarly Villem Leppik’s “Old Tree by the Lake” and Mary Männapso’s “Remembering Loksa (Estonia)” echo a sense of generation still connected to the roots of a past culture that remains in their hearts. Viive Jaason’s “Northern Fantasy” and Jaan Teng’s “Poppies” have distinctive styles that draw the viewer into their landscapes by virtue of the depth of turquoise and lime green tones.
A masterful juxtaposition of abstract shapes is held in “Abstraction” by Johannes Tanner. Ted Põdra’s “Mysteries of Life” surprises the viewer with subtle colour tones in purple and red that, on closer look, reveal an elusive figure in the depth of the painting. “Butterfly and Flowers” is a bright, smooth-toned, retro-style painting in sherbet tones of orange, pink, and purple created by Hans Moks.
Acrylic also allows for multi variations in blending ability. Figurative portraits, such as “Lute Player Resting” by Monika Uesson-Talpak use the paint in a way that suggests music notes. “Wired” by Olja Müller suggests an internal connection to the words of listened music with the use of the smoother, flatter strokes of paint. The blended tones of grey, brown and black set an ominous mood in the image of ancient defenders painted by Jaak Järve in “Leonides”. The acrylic wash in yellow and black works well for the very gestural work by Toomas Heinar. “Bottle and Plate” are given notice through the energy of the strokes.
Range of watercolours
Honourary member Abel Lee’s watercolour and graphite artwork called “Relaxing” has a timeless quality about the figures that move about on a graphic plane of organic and architectural lines. Done in 1979, it seemed as if it were done just yesterday. The deep and engaging colour tones in Linda Landre’s “Irises” have a different range of watercolour quality than that of Selma Pihel. “Flower Garden” uses a playful style of shape and light tones to engage the viewer. This contrast in style is also seen with Viivi Jaanimägi’s watercolour portrait called “Artist”. These soft lines and washes suit the female subject while the “Portrait of Jüri Puusaag” by Aapo Pukk is appropriately worked with pastel to create a more textured quality of his male subject. Merike Kivi’s “Deer Meadow” shows a good technical ability to capture the animals in specifically directed light.
Other nature motifs such as Viva Mankin’s “Jack Pine in Ontario” and Amilde Sarapuu Siekierski’s “Fall Scene” both resonate the beauty and serenity of a Canadian autumn north of the urban centres. The richly red and blue partnership of Henry Nurmet’s “Flowers” suggests a lively quality of the objects celebrated by the artist. In contrast, the soft edges and willowy lines of “Tulips” by Inda Subi Sabatini define a very reserved and quiet moment. Juta Marie Tuul uses long elegant strokes for “Gladiolas” while the watery medium in its natural transformation helps create an abstract with much meaning in Hilda Truupere’s “Couple”.
Another quiet moment is represented in Ellen Bishop’s beautifully rendered felt pen and pastel female in “Waiting”. Malle Jürima-Romet uses vibrant and soft green pastels to accompany intense pinks in her pond scene called “Waterlilies”. The same quality of depth in landscape is done with layers of darker pastels in Natalie Gerasimchuk’s “Dundas Valley”. Reet Paldrok works with variations on a green and white pastel palette to create “White Roses”. Lauri Kapp, the other recipient of the art scholarship, used pastel effectively to flatten, simplify and outline the image in “Women’s Portrait.”
Prints and collages
From an original chalk pastel, Erika Agur has created a print of a supersized cricket rendered in a face-to-face stance. Called “Entomophobia #2”, this print is captivating with its size and soft earth tones. Margi Taylor-Self’s “By the Pond” is a monotype and collage art piece done in a soothing blue colour range. Another tribute to Canadiana by Marjut Karu-Nousiainen, called “My Newfoundland”, is a creative collage of torn paper with a bright, cheerful quality. Another inventive format of textured paper is seen with Eva Oja’s electrical light-enhanced wall relief called “Wave”.
Pen and ink was a favoured medium for realism of goats in Lia Kaljurand’s “Capra”. Toomas Tamm used ink in an abstract swirl to emulate dance movement in his large artwork called “Polka”. The sensitive lines and engaging subject matter in Hille Viires’ coloured woodcut reflect her deep understanding of form in her untitled art piece. Anne Tori’s creative use of fabric and beach stones, painted swirls and symbols enhance the memory of a moment in time in “Beach Stone-Green Chair”. That same quality of energy intensifies in Andres Musta’s mixed media painting called “Scugog Sunset”. The impasto use of paint, paper and small objects of interest are blended into a more three dimensional format.
The mixed media artwork “Mystery” by Anne Remmel shows a highly developed ability in colour layering with simple abstraction. Elva Palo’s mixed media work called “email@example.com” uses realism photo print to draw Canadian attention to the threat of control of Estonian infrastructure through new technology. That new technology in art is more visible in computer generated art and photography. A master of this technique is Peter Toivo Maricq whose work has a futuristic feel of science, space and mathematical design that reflects the direction of experimentation of art with computers in “Atomic Age”. Randel Palo also uses computer-generated photo and art to project a sense of the human condition in an urban park setting called “Made in Canada”. Peter Mällo’s “The Storm” uses photography in a three-picture sequence to depict the inner landscape of human emotion. Also touching on the viewer’s emotion was the large portrait of a child called “ Untitled Uganda” by Aleksander Wallner. Stark reality is emphasized by the skilled use of white conte on black paper.
Sculptures enhance show
Sculpture’s hard-surface materials always enhance the EKKT show. Ilse Arak’s warm and graceful fired clay piece called “Sister Maria” added a very traditional quality to the show. Elmar Gelzins used copper, bronze and steel effectively as appropriate media to capture the typically Canadian motif of maple leaves in a large grouping. Guest artist Arvo Luik from Sweden displayed an intriguing, brightly coloured, enamel-faced metal wall plaque titled “Composition.” The ancient pillar motifs juxtaposed on modern enamel created much visual interest. Peter Shoebridge’s cold cast bronze sculpture “Daphne II” is visually soothing and beautifully crafted in precise proportion.
The members of The Society of Estonian Artists in Toronto and guest artists create their works with passion and individuality. This group shows the immense diversity of interests and devotion to the field of visual art. The committee executives Mai Vomm-Järve, Elva Palo, Jaak Järve and Linda Landre thank all members for participating, assisting and promoting this annual show. It is inspiring to see several generations of our Estonian-Canadian population work together to represent an important aspect of our self-expression.
52nd annual EKKT art show