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Patty Osborne's Blog

Seth, Shuebrook and Guelph

Patty Osborne

Last week I tagged along with Robert Everett-Green on an outing to Guelph (which we were told has a thriving arts community) where he interviewed the artist known as Seth, who is the creator of the Palookaville comic (Drawn and Quarterly).

Seth wore a hat that reminded me of the one worn by the companion of Curious George, except Seth's hat was grey, as was his retro suit. His dark hair was slicked right back, his shirt was crisp and white, and he wore glasses that made me think of the word spectacles. Shuebrook wore a tweed jacket over a vest and a dark shirt and with his white hair and beard he looked like a typical artsy baby boomer.

Ranaan (the gallery owner) and I got out of the way of the interview by going next door to OX Guelph, a trendy coffee shop that opens into an independent bookstore called The Bookshelf, and when we got back to the gallery we joined a lively discussion of how drawing is the outsider in the North American art world, how difficult it is to review the work of others in the tiny world of Canadian arts and letters, and how Seth embraces drab.

The interspersing of Shuebrook's big, exuberant black and white abstracts among Seth's small, more static paintings works perfectly and is worth several walkarounds in the small gallery.

For a deeper and more thoughtful take Seth and his work, read Everett-Green's Globe and Mail article.

The show is called "Drawings in Black and White—Paintings in Gold" and it runs until Dec 23, 2014 at Renaan Isaacs Contemporary Art on Quebec Street in Guelph. Shuebrook has a concurrent show at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa that runs until January 25, 2015 and Seth's Dominion, an NFB film about Seth, was part of the Guelph film festival this past weekend.

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