I got invited to the opening night of an art exhibit in Toronto’s Distillery District last week titled, “Gowns” by Stan Olthuis. Now, obsessed as I am with fashion and with a growing appreciation for art, I was at the Distillery in a heart beat. The Furbo Gallery’s intimate setting and white back drop posed as the perfect location for these whimsical pieces of art. I have to admit, knowing that the artist does not have a design background or heightened interest in fashion, I was blown away on his portrayal of these gowns…more specifically the attention to detail surrounding the bodice area. Majority of the collection reflected corseted mid-sections and glamorous, full skirts – both short and long.
Upon my first glance around the room I was convinced each piece was done on canvas but after taking a closer look, I realized it was actually layers and layers of construction hoarding on wood panel and this rawness was juxtaposed by the delicate and alluring gowns featured in each painting…BRILLIANT!
I had a quick glass of vino and chatted with the artist about the inspiration behind his latest work and he explained that he loves to take walks late at night. It’s during these walks, Stan notes that he’s always drawn to the window displays containing designer or bridal gowns. As a bride to be, I couldn’t agree with him more. Explaining that these illuminated displays always give off a magical glow, which in fact they actually do. Almost breathtaking!
Without giving too much of the exhibit away – as you MUST go check it out for yourself, the painting that literally jumped off the wall to me was “Bodice #2” featured below…
This is a certified showstopper, with the haunting black background and elaborate corseted dress with a skirt so full, it looks like a frothy confection. It’s just absolutely beautiful. Wouldn’t mind at all if my future husband purchased it for me as a wedding gift…hint hint! Sprinkled amongst the paintings, I found equally stunning sketches, also of various corseted gowns.
If you haven’t seen the collection yet, make sure to check it out at The Furbo Gallery (12 Case Goods Lane), in the Distillery District. …Exhibit runs until November 30th.
To contact the artist or to view more of his work, please visit StanOlthuis.com