While the Matissean mantra of Luxe, Calme et Volupte will always hold its honoured position in the art world, the last 70 years … post-WWII, post-Cold War, post-9/11, have seen a growing number of artists whose agendas serve to remind us, the public, of our obligation to the welfare and best interests of the society in which we live. In visually documenting their personal experiences, these artists serve as messenger and inspire us with an appeal to our better selves.

Andrew Ross (whose work is in the permanent collection of the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo) witnessed a seismic assault on the most powerful financial symbol in the Western World. In doing so, he confronted the twin demons of codependency and alcohol abuse, behaviours which affect the lives of millions in the U.S. and Canada. 9/11 Step 11 is Ross’ visual journey over the past 15 years as he gained control of his life.

With the best wishes and warm regards of the United States Ambassador Heyman, the opening reception of 9/11 Step 11 on September 24th was a truly wonderful and memorable evening. President Dona Eull-Schultz and the Leon Frazer team greeted guests from the business, arts, and media communities including the artist’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Ross and sister Jane Ross, journalist and political historian Richard Gwyn OC, philanthropist Suzanne Bradshaw OC, OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond, journalist and broadcaster Libby Znaimer, and representing his mother Mrs. Seymour Knox III, her son Seymour Knox IV.

Guests paused, visibly moved, on entering the Leon Frazer boardroom standing face to face across “Ashes to Ashes.” An installation of building debris and dust (where guests were invited to write either their name or a response using a finger) covering the entire eighteen foot length of the boardroom table with three 3-D scanned avatars of the artist in front of each of three works: the wall mounted “9:03 a.m.” an abstracted depiction on canvas of the Twin Tower inferno, “Beauty & The Beast” a 110” installation of hung drawings and ephemera, and “Rapacious Creditor” a looped video clip. “LXXII Virgins War” a mixed media work was made in 2015 as a replacement to a stolen work from 2001.

Andrew Ross Exhibit

The Leon Frazer Art Gallery was opened in May 2014. Leon Frazer clients, who are also artists, are invited to submit work to hang on the Boardroom, Reception and Executive area walls of its Toronto office at 26 Wellington Avenue East. All work is for sale with the proceeds going directly to the artist. To date $36,000 worth of art work has been sold.

The idea of mounting an exhibition around “Art as a Social Statement” was conceived by Leon Frazer President, Dona Eull-Schultz when she met Andrew Ross, fell in love with his work and heard about his journey into recovery. Substance abuse has destroyed the lives of millions of Canadians and has reached epidemic proportions. Please read Andrew Ross’ Artist Statement below to learn more about how Art has changed his life.

By: Virginia Trieloff, Painter, Curator and Vice President of OCAD University Alumni Association

Virginia Trieloff – Biography

Virginia Bio PictureA practising Visual Artist/Curator (Surrey College of Art & Design, UK (Industrial Design/OCAD University BFA) Virginia Trieloff is Vice President of OCAD University Alumni Association, is a member of the OCADU Senate, and Curator of the OCADU Alumni exhibitions.

A Canadian citizen of German/Scottish heritage, Virginia’s early education in Barbados, Switzerland and England has honed a somewhat Peripatetic nature: landing her on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore to rescue and restore invalided Saltbox houses and of course, “hang out” with the St. John’s Arts and Literary communities in the Summers.

Virginia is professional member of the Toronto Arts & Letters Club (est. 1908) and Women’s Arts Association of Canada (est. 1892).

Virginia Painting

ARTIST STATEMENT

Boyhood memories … me painting away with my ears filled with the sounds of my three favorite albums which I played over and over and over. Ferrante and Teicher’s fabulous piano duets, the Broadway hits from The Boyfriend and Salad Days, and a wonderful album of Sixties’ dance hits which would inspire the Frug and the Shake. Who would have thought that those boyhood days filled with creative energy would become the cornerstone of my art practice. I just knew I had to keep creating work. And this became the life line which would lead to healing. The healing I so desired.

Early success as a museum placed artist before the age of 30 together with my tremendous ego and equally tremendous insecurities created the perfect alcoholic storm. All Ego was smashed standing on the corner of Avenue C and Houston at 9:03 a.m. as I witnessed the second plane scream across the west side of Manhattan to slam through the south tower. Every major trauma – of which there had been many in my life – broke to the surface. Witnessing the events of 9/11 was the last straw I could cope with. The only hope I had was to create … and create I did, involving my neighbors, friends, street pals and fellow sufferers. I threw myself into my passion, my Art – making work I’d only dared dream to create – inspired by Karl Appel’s Toy Series.

My obsessions ruled my physical state to the point of certain death. My survivor’s guilt, omnipresent in my personal and professional life – as yet untreated. My passion survived. By the grace of a higher power my obsessions were arrested by recovery. My surviving passions were given room to develop and settle.

Today at the age of 48 I know the journey was not of my own making. The pathway has always been guided by a spirit, one much bigger than me. In church basements and through 12 step work, I have finally found a conscious contact with personal freedom and love in my Step 11 body of work. The union of meditation and form, meditation and prayer, paint and color. It is the play of light, the light of spiritual joy bringing together images of childhood places, inner rhythms and ancient lines fuelling the desire to let go of closed mindedness and embrace an open acceptance towards the world.

It is an honor to be able to unveil previously unseen 9/11 works and recent Step 11 works in an environment that only a financial institution like Leon Frazer & Associates can provide. My deepest thanks to Dona Eull-Schultz, her colleagues and the staff at Leon Frazer for their total support and dedication. By exhibiting these bodies of work and installation, Leon Frazer & Associates has allowed me to bring the events of 9/11 back to full circle by commemorating the glass and steel of the Twin Towers, the senseless loss of lives and the bravery, in many cases unsung, of so many on that dreadful day. The pain of 9/11 changed all our lives in profound ways, but pain can be a healer. Through acceptance and love there lives a simple truth, the truth of sharing and baring one’s soul and knowing that WE are heard. This is the gift of my journey as a painter. My gift of a human being, being human – defects and strengths of character exposed, accepted and understood.

 

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