Thorn­hill artist tack­les con­tro­ver­sial art forms

New ex­hibit at Vaughan city hall brings graf­fiti in from the street

Richmond Hill Post - - NEWS - by Jo-Anne Craine

Vaughan’s city hall has been tagged by graf­fiti since Septem­ber, but it’s not what you think. The on the slate Atrium Gallery is host­ing a new ex­hibit by Thorn­hill artist Suzanne Metz.

The ur­ban­graf­fiti col­lec­tion al­lows Metz to bring her in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the some­times con­tro­ver­sial style to the pub­lic. Not ev­ery­one thinks of graf­fiti as a form of art, es­pe­cially in light of some racist and anti-Semitic van­dal­ism that has re­cently popped up around York Re­gion. Although this ex­hibit is not a di­rect re­sponse to those events, Metz wanted to change that im­pres­sion of the ur­ban art form.

The painter has been a Thorn­hill res­i­dent since she moved from South Africa with her two daugh­ters back in 1986. Metz teaches dif­fer­ent styles of art at var­i­ous art cen­tres and stu­dios in Rich­mond Hill and North York, such as Schwartz/Reis­man Cen­tre in Rich­mond Hill, Prosser­man Jewish Com­mu­nity Cen­tre at Bathurst and Shep­pard, and a stu­dio at Eglin­ton and Laird called Art Em­bassy. Metz, who prac­tises var­i­ous art forms aside from graf­fiti, said she’s not a “po­lit­i­cally ori­ented artist.”

“The act of van­dal­ism is what some peo­ple as­so­ciate with graf­fiti. This par­tic­u­lar show is about pos­i­tive­ness,” said Metz. “[Graf­fiti art] is a so­cial ex­pres­sion that is more pos­i­tive for me than neg­a­tive. I don’t want peo­ple to as­so­ciate graf­fiti art with van­dal­ism and neg­a­tiv­ity.”

The ex­hibit, which was com­mis­sioned by the City of Vaughan, com­prises 11 dif­fer­ent pieces that are the artist’s con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion of a vi­brant rein­vig­o­ra­tion of the Vaughan Metropoli­tan Cen­tre. The ur­ban­graf­fiti ex­hibit is her re­flec­tion on the grow­ing cityscape.

“It’s re­flec­tive of the moder­nity, the vi­brancy, the con­tra­dic­tion of the open spa­ces, the ur­ban squares, busi­nesses, build­ings, walls, ma­te­ri­als in the city,” said Metz.

Ur­ban­graf­fiti will be ex­hib­ited on the slate in the Atrium Gallery un­til Nov. 10 at Vaughan city hall.

The artist Suzanne Metz in front of her graf­fiti-in­spired art piece at the Vaughan Metropoli­tan Cen­tre

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