Siu finds inner (urban) beauty at Orange Art Gallery

Photo Credit: Trevor (aka tcp909), via Flickr

Siu Hong Yu is a scientist working at the National Research Council. Outside the lab he tries to stay out of trouble with live music, food outings, photography, gallery visits, running, hiking, good reads and cinema.

Traffic jams, coffee lineups, noisy neighbours . . . urban living could be annoying at times, if not downright claustrophobic and stressful. But Urban Magic, the new exhibit at Orange Art Gallery (just near the Parkdale Market), begs to differ. The show features two mixed-media artists — Megan D’Arcy and Matthew Jeffrey — who both demonstrate that amid the chaos, there will always exist some structures and forces that allow the inner beauty of an urban landscape to shine through.

Photo Credit: Siu Hong Yu

From an almost touch-and-go four-day trip to Cuba’s capital city — and 500+ photos — Megan’s Havana is pop and slick with a resin finish. Unlike her earlier works, where skyscrapers and graffiti are superimposed on one another like a scene in the movie Inception, this latest series feels more spacious. Viewers can indulge and breathe in more freely the history and culture of Cuba — and those glorious old cars and buildings that emanate under the open sky.

But Matthew’s playful approach is completely different. Weaving two seemingly unrelated large digital prints — like New York and an underwater shark scene, or a boring sidewalk and a sea turtle beaching — all of a sudden means they carry a whole new meaning.  It is much like the mosaic of urban life, where one plus one may not necessarily equal two!

Urban Magic runs until April 24 at the Orange Gallery, which is one of the newer contemporary art venues in town.

Photo Credit: Siu Hong Yu

Located just north of Wellington West, the gallery space used to house Stubby Soda Pop Factory. Now, the exposed wood ceilings and large windows fully complement the artwork the gallery showcases (my personal favorite has to be the deceivingly simple but deliciously seductive portraits by Stephen Frew). There is also a monthly art walk held on the first Thursday of every month, featuring Orange alongside five other art galleries in the neighborhood.

Maybe urban living is not so bad after all! Go check out the exhibit and find your own vibe of Ottawa, maybe during rush hour, when you’d rather be anywhere than stuck on the 417 . . .

Have any urban escapes you’d like to share? Tell us about them by leaving a comment below!