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Great Big Smalls, and Everybody's an Artist at Irene's Pub

Art for children in the back room of the CUBE Gallery

Wooden cut-out art for children in the back room of the CUBE Gallery

GC and I went to my favourite art show of the year yesterday: Great Big Smalls, at the Cube Gallery. It’s amazing how much little wee art can be packed in there.

We actually went during the day, hours before the vernissage, because I found out it was open and sales were already taking place. So I phoned to double-check, and the owner, Don, said yes, come on down.

But when we got there he was a little frazzled. He hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, he needed to put prices up,  his assistant was late, he was stressed out and alternately cranky and apologetic for his crankiness. He even explicitly said at one point that he wished we would all leave so he could do what needed doing.

Sharon Lafferty pieces that I covet

Sharon Lafferty pieces that I covet

Well nobody ever said GC and I couldn’t take a hint. Especially such a subtle one as “I wish you would leave.”

So we left.

Before we left though, Don was kind enough to put red hold stickers on the two pieces we were interested in.  We had lunch, visited Patrick Gordon Framing, and went on a high quality olive oil buying mission on Preston Street. And when we came back a few hours later, Don had eaten breakfast and lunch and done what he needed to do  and  he was smiling and gracious and helpful –  an entirely new man.

Reid McLachlin works

Reid McLachlin works

I bought a charming wee piece called Sometimes That Cat Gives Me the Creeps by Janet Moore, and GC bought a Reid McLachlin piece, which is something he’s been wanting for ages.

If you get a chance, go check out Great Big Smalls at the CUBE Gallery.  There’s also a fantastic show in the back room called PLAY. It’s art for kids’ rooms. Some of it’s a little freaky, especially the Sharon Lafferty stuff, but it’s hilarious. I loved it.

Speaking of art, it’s time to start creating art for Everybody’s Art Show at Irene’s Pub. This is another of my favourite art events of the year, and that’s because it’s so inclusive. According to Irene’s Pub, everybody is an artist, even you and me. We’re all invited to create and submit art for this annual charity fundraiser. GC and I submitted pieces last year and they actually sold. We’ll be doing it again this year. I’m not sure where the proceeds will be going this time –  I heard something about the Food Bank as a possibility.

The auction will be held at Irene’s Pub (885 Bank Street) on January 27th. Art donations will be accepted until the end of December. Pretty much any media is acceptable, but they ask that it be no larger than 11 x 14, ready to hang, and in the $50-$200 value range. The art you donate can be made by you or by someone else.  If you have any questions, contact Pat Golding at Put ‘auction’ in the subject line.

8 comments to Great Big Smalls, and Everybody’s an Artist at Irene’s Pub

  • Barb

    I went to the big smalls show at the Cube Gallery last night and was very pleased. There was a big diverse crowd with all the electricity and sense of happening you would see at any top gallery show in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or many big cities in the US. No wonder as the small works for the most part were superb, not the usual insipid backwater crap most Ottawa galleries offer. My favourites Norman Takeuchi and Doug Cosbie. Neither artist is remotely alike in style but both have that masterly look of a confident painter with verve and personal style. Great show Cube Gallery! Good luck

  • I’ve always wanted to check out the CUBE gallery, I’ve walked past it so many times, especially when I was living over on Gladstone.

    Sounds pretty frickin’ awesome! I’ve always wanted to play an open mic night at Irene’s or something, I like to be able to contribute musically.


  • Good Art is hard to find in Ottawa

    I came across the comments about Cube Gallery and is that ever true! I’ve visited commercial galleries in major cities around the world and many all over North America. What is it about Ottawa’s taste in “fine art” ? Cheap prints of animals, flower paintings and all these city funded art galleries that sell schlock. I’ve been to Cube Gallery a few times and I’m always impressed that even though its a commercial gallery, its showing quality not the traditional commercial stuff you see everywhere else in Ottawa. A good cross section of the best artists in the city are at Cube…. period!

  • Oma

    I felt a little sad when I read the first three posts. It was like reading about Canadian writing in the seventies when one heard that the only good writing in English was being done in the States or Britain. Nothing good was happening in Canada. A few stalwart souls taught the rest of us that Canlit was alive but struggling to remain so; that colonial literature was valid and had a distinct identity to which readers had to be open. Canadian writers no longer need to apologize, thank heavens.

    I think there is all kinds of good art to be found in Ottawa and its environs, but maybe that’s because I think of art as far more than just paintings that hang on walls. I don’t spend nearly as much time visiting galleries as I probably should, but I do manage to get to some of the many studio tours that are on every year, and we have some great pottery shows.

  • hm, maybe I’ll organize something for the show this year.
    have you seen the biology knit?

  • elmaks

    If anyone’s interested in some street art, I happened to be in town this weekend and there’s now a street-art piece up on Elgin Street in front of the Sugar Mountain. Check it out!

  • felonius bunk

    your don anecdote reminds me of a former colleague who would get downright cranky on occasion, it turned out she had low blood sugar and needed regular small meals to deter periods of sincere grouchiness – much strife could be eliminated if this effect were more widely recognized (i’m not diagnosing your artist, just trying to draw a parallel); btw, am i eligible to vote for blogs? i find that ‘knit-nut’ is splendid but it’s also the only one i read (timetable issues, global domination campaign) – so am i disqualified?

  • Mr. Bunk, of COURSE you can vote…early and often, as they say. As for the low blood sugar, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were the case here. I myself have been known to get a little deflated when my blood sugar falls. I don’t get cranky, but I’m not much fun either.

    Elmaks, I’m so happy to hear that, and I’m going to try to get downtown to see it.

    Pearl, that’s so weird. Thank you.

    Oma, I think we have lots of good art in this city too.

    GAHFO, maybe your visits to art galleries in major cities all over the world have turned you into an art snob and now you only like snobby art?

    JM, there are interesting galleries all over Ottawa. You might also like Petite Mort in the Market.