It’s hot out there, Ottawa. If you need a reason to escape the heat this weekend, head over to Wall Space Gallery for a night of dancing, DJing, lasers and live digital painting by one of our favourite local artists, Stefan Thompson.
You may already be familiar with Thompson’s work if you frequent the Idle Hands Craft Sale – he also had a show awhile back at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Known for his mysterious, other-worldly bestial figures, Thompson is a part of the group exhibition, Night Light Masquerade, opening on Friday night.
Not only is Thompson presenting new drawings in the exhibition, over the last few weeks he has been working in the gallery installing a 40-foot mural, made with commercial and homemade nontoxic paints. On Friday, he will be creating digital paintings alongside DJ Caityln Pascal (aka CPI) and lighting designer Samuel Arsenault-Brassard. Additionally, there are live mural painting sessions planned by graffiti crew WZRDS GNG.
Using a tablet, Thompson’s digital painting has evolved out of years of working around the limitations of certain artistic materials. “I gave up a lot of bright colours because I was not comfortable with the material itself or the sourcing method,” he says. “I experimented with different mediums… I found that I missed certain colours and by digital painting I get the whole palette again. I also just really enjoy painting with light, and for an audience, it’s really a different thing than painting alone. I get a lot of vibes off the audience, and I think that shapes the work.”
Wall Space Gallery is partnering with the Third Wall Theatre Company and 100 Watt Productions for the event. When asked where the concept for Night Light Masquerade stemmed from, curator Cynthia Mykytyshyn says, “Stefan took the lead on this idea and we just went with it. We were invigorated by the prospect of alternative media and new/different formats for exhibitions. It’s the first time we’ve ever had something like this at Wall Space, so it’s been a very organic, exciting and continually developing concept.”
Thompson is excited by the prospect of hosting a party that crosses many artistic disciplines. “I enjoy dance music and live art, and I’ve seen the two put together in a few venues,” he says, “but nothing that was really a full experience – by that I mean totally captivating. I think the objective of Night Light Masquerade is to create a really exciting audio visual experience.”
Night Light Masquerade gets underway at 9pm on Friday, July 19 at Wall Space Gallery (358 Richmond Road). Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Third Wall Theatre Company and 100 Watt Productions). Masks and face paint are encouraged.