Paper Diaries

Art speaks where words are unable to explain – Unknown

Diary of a Leitmotif

Leitmotif is a term originating from opera, where it referred to a recurring melody or  that played along with a character or allusion to a theme (idea or situation) whenever one or the other appeared on stage. It derives from the German words for “leading” (leit) and “motive” (motif).  But these are only words.

Last Thursday I attended the opening of Berlin based artist Deborah Wargon’s Diary of a Leitmotif at the Back Gallery Project on Vancouver’s East Side.  A most intricate and thought-provoking display of lines, contemplations and vibrations. Made from elaborately cut paper works and presented like archived insects in entomological display drawers from the Natural History Museum, Berlin.

Our fellow friend & filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming curated this intriguing exhibition which runs until October 8th.

With Deborah Wargon against a painstaking paper cut backdrop

More info:

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

Trashy Art

We belong to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist, and greedy. It’s total garbage!  But here’s how an inspiring artist gets around it while creating breathtakingly beautiful work.

Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known by the moniker Bordalo II, is showing off some bold new street art in an abandoned Lisbon warehouse. The artist, who was born in 1987, revitalizes end-of-life materials discarded by others to create his pieces. Bordalo draws attention to wastefulness by creating massive vibrant animals out of discarded plastic car parts, and other trash  – and the whimsical designs are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Garbage is given new life as colorful animal sculptures in Bordalo II’s solo exhibition Attero – the Latin word for ‘waste.’ The trash is locally sourced and might come from old cars, construction materials, or whatever else the artist happens to find. He often transforms the debris into animals because they are particularly vulnerable to harm from our society which too often throws items away, polluting the environment.

Attero calls us to reflect on our own consumption, according to Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of nonprofit arts organization Mistaker Maker, which curated Attero. She remarked “Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist, and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us.”

Check out more of Bordalo II’s pieces on Facebook and Instagram.

Taken from article by Lacy Cooke




Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

Speaking of Inspiring Women…

O’Keeffe in a 1929 gelatin silver print by her husband. Credit ALFRED STIEGLITZ; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection

You’ve got to admire how O’Keeffe was the master of her own public persona at a time when there was no social media.  She told photographers how to “shoot her”, not the other way around.

A refreshing new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (on until July 23, 2017) for the first time combines O’Keeffe’s art and her wardrobe with photographic portraits. “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

The painter of simplified images of enlarged flowers, Lake George tree trunks and New Mexico’s terra-cotta hills applied her meticulous sense of austerity and detail to every garment she owned. Some she designed and sewed herself, others she had custom made, and still others she bought off the rack or in antique shops (Japanese kimonos, for example).

O’Keeffe’s self-created image shaped her work’s accessibility, while at the same time shielding her privacy. This unity is revealed in the links drawn among some 50 works of art and 50 garments or ensembles, accessories included, and nearly 100 photographs of the artist taken by 23 photographers, from Ansel Adams and Cecil Beaton to Andy Warhol and Bruce Weber.

The greatest number of these images were taken by O’Keeffe’s husband, the eminent photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, often considered her domineering mentor, whom she met in 1916, began living with in 1918 and married in 1924.

For years, O’Keeffe limited her wardrobe to mainly black and/or white, until the Southwest loosened her color sense a bit and also introduced her to denim and jeans. She favored an androgynous look, frequenting the same New York men’s tailor — Knize — (as did Marlene Dietrich), liked Ferragamo flats and wore little jewelry. A rare favorite, visible in many photographs, was a brass brooch made for her by Alexander Calder. It represents her initials, OK, with ancient rock-painting complexity, and she wore it vertically to make it more abstract. In later years, she had it copied in silver, because she thought brass didn’t look good with her white hair.

Source: NY Times

Art/Culture: Dressing Downton

For those few who are completely oblivious to the popular series Downton Abbey®….and who are these pour souls? Downton has nothing to do with Downtown.downton7This is one series that I admit to have binge watched.  Aside from the exquisite costumes (imagine getting dressed up like that everyday?), I wasn’t even expecting to like it all that much. I’m pretty particular about what I watch in general, but the quality of the overall show, scenery, characters and let’s face it the clothing had me hooked.  And Maggie Smith alone is mesmerizing. I also loved Shirley Maclaine’s cameo.downton2downton1

Guess I have an addictive personality when it comes to drama, intrigue, history, fashion, romance, power and politics. And everything sounds much more enticing with a British accent.  So I joined the masses and ended up binge-watching season six on Netflix.  Apparently it was one of the most widely watched television dramas in the world. At least I wasn’t alone.downton3downton4

Which brings me to the very point of this blog post Dressing Downton; a traveling exhibit that showcases nearly 40 period costumes and jewelry from the hit series!

Changing Fashion for Changing Timesdownton5

Set in the early twentieth century, Dressing Downton traces the events that uprooted British society on the eve of World War I and ushered in the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age and a new way of life.

“Dressing Downton highlights a time in British history when industry, fashion, and politics were changing drastically,” expressed Amy Noble Seitz, Founder & CEO of EDG.  “This exhibition quickly filled its three-year tour which says something about our obsession with all things British and our thirst for Fashion.”

About the Exhibit:

This exhibit started off appropriately at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina and will go on to tour other North American cities including Chicago, Cincinnati, Nashville & various cities in California and Florida through 2017.

The exhibition is designed and produced by *Exhibits Development Group (EDG – see below) in collaboration with award winning costumier, Cosprop Ltd; London, Museum of London, NBCUniversal International Television Production and Carnival Films, PBS Masterpieces.

How many of you have watched this series?

For more information on exhibit tour and dates please visit:

New on Netflix: Janis: Little Girl Bluejanis

Never a voice like this. Watch this fascinating documentary on the life and career of super singer-songwriter Janis Joplin.  See archival footage and interviews with Janis, her family, friends and fellow musicians that highlight her rise to fame in the 60’s. Aside from her unfortunate battle with alcohol and heroin addiction I found a whole new appreciation for Janis Joplin.


*Exhibits Development Group (EDG) is dedicated to the development, production, marketing and distribution of traveling museum exhibitions and cultural projects. EDG also serves as a partner to other exhibition organizers, museums, foundations and collection owners in the U.S. and abroad, in the care and stewardship of their exhibitions and collections. EDG’s mission is to initiate and promote international cultural and intellectual exchange by bringing high-quality traveling exhibitions of art, science and history to broad and diverse audiences. For more information, please visit

Art/Culture/Fashion – Bellissima

Italy High Fashion 1945 – 1968.  Okay, if you must know…this to me is emozionante.


A new exhibit offers an up-close look at dresses, handbags, and jewelry from some of Italy’s most iconic fashion houses.  How can I not find this exciting?

Milan 3 Photo by Steven Brooke Jewelry from Bulgari is shown alongside elegant gowns.
Photo by Steven Brooke
Jewelry from Bulgari is shown alongside elegant gowns.
Photo by Steven Brooke Italian design gets the front row in Fort Lauderdale.
Photo by Steven Brooke
Italian design gets the front row in Fort Lauderdale.

Didn’t make it to Milan for Fashion Week? Good news: “Bellissima,” an exhibit focusing on Italian style, will make its sole American appearance at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale. Bellissima highlights looks from the 1945–1968 period of groundbreaking Italian design and features pieces from houses like Pucci, Fendi, Valentino, and Simonetta. And the big names aren’t only represented on labels: one of the exhibit’s curators is W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi, and the whole project is a partnership with Maxxi, the buzzy Rome contemporary art museum designed by Zaha Hadid. Of the 230 garments on display, many were custom pieces handmade for movie stars like Ingrid Bergman and Ava Gardner. And because no Italian fashion exhibit would be complete without them, there will also be handbags and leather goods in the show, plus plenty of jewels from corporate sponsor Bulgari. (It’s not just necklaces and earrings—be on the lookout for a gem-encrusted cigarette case.) Many of the looks will be displayed alongside film clips, fashion magazine spreads, or gorgeous black-and-white photos of Elizabeth Taylor to give a sense of context.

This moment in history laid the foundation for Italy’s future ready-to-wear fashion, and the exhibition traces its beginnings within the social and cultural context,” Tonchi said in a statement. “The high fashion of that time was grounded in a strong sense of reality: They were luxury creations, but nonetheless practical; precious, embroidered textiles that had a certain simplicity; short cocktail dresses that allowed for movement; and warm, roomy coats accompanied by oversized handbags. This awareness of reality created an opportunity for a fashion system that truly served its patrons, with garments designed for the life of the modern woman.” The post-World War II period was crucial in Italy, as the country built its economy back up largely by encouraging manufacturing, especially for textiles—which gave the country’s emerging design stars plenty of local goods to work with.

Relive the era of Alta Moda at NSU Art Museum, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida until June 5th.

While in south Florida, might we suggest staying in one of these Traveler-approved hotels and resorts?

Source: Lilit Marcus for CN Traveler


Tonight (April 25th) join me at the fun annual Arts Club California Wine Fair taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Rounding out the rich array of 400 premium wines is an extensive silent auction featuring  premium California wines, luxury goods, and entertainment and travel packages.

As the Arts Club’s signature spring fundraiser, all proceeds from event ticket sales and auction packages go toward the development of new Canadian plays and staging world-class theatre created by Vancouver artists.

A few tickets are still available. Price: $90  To purchase please visit:


Art – unfinished

“Art completes what nature cannot bring to a finish” –  Aristotle

Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the catchy quote, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519) Head and Shoulders of a Woman (La Scapigliata) ca. 1500–1505 Oil, earth, and white lead pigments on poplar 9 3/4 × 8 1/4 in. (24.7 × 21 cm)
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519)
Head and Shoulders of a Woman (La Scapigliata)
ca. 1500–1505 Oil, earth, and white lead pigments on poplar
9 3/4 × 8 1/4 in. (24.7 × 21 cm)

But I say….”along with our perception for beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder.”

Intriguing, as a new exhibit features famous artists who’ve left works of art undone.  But to an untrained eye how are we to know the difference? Even unfinished works are breathtakingly beautiful and you have to wonder what they’d look like complete. Or at least what would the artist have liked us to see, feel and think?

With the Whitney now at home in the Meatpacking District, the old building has become an extension of the Metropolitan Museum and a chance for them to expand their contemporary collection. Now called the Met Breuer, the first exhibit is called “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” which is a compilation of unfinished work from artists throughout history.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) Street in Auvers-sur-Oise 1890 Oil on canvas 29 × 36 3⁄8 in. (73.5 × 92.5 cm)
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) Street in Auvers-sur-Oise
1890 – Oil on canvas 29 × 36 3⁄8 in. (73.5 × 92.5 cm)

My question is how do they know they’re unfinished unless it’s really obvious?  I guess we’ll leave that to the experts and take their word for granted.  I’m so curious.  Even surviving works of Leonardo da Vinci that look finished to modern eyes (above) in some cases were apparently not.  I find this fascinating.

Running until September 4, 2016, the Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible exhibition assembles 197 works spanning the Renaissance to the present, with the goal of exploring the notion of what it is for a work of art to be “finished.” As the show organizers put it:

“Beginning with the Renaissance masters, this scholarly and innovative exhibition examines the term ‘unfinished’ in its broadest possible sense, including works left incomplete by their makers, which often give insight into the process of their creation, but also those that partake of a non finito—intentionally unfinished—aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Some of history’s greatest artists explored such an aesthetic, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne.

 Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) Gardanne 1885–1886 Oil on canvas 31 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (80 x 64.1 cm)  
Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) Gardanne
1885–1886, Oil on canvas – 31 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (80 x 64.1 cm)

I never want projects to be finished; I have always believed in unfinished work. I got that from Schubert, you know, the ‘Unfinished Symphony.‘ Yoko Ono

Certainly intriguing… don’t you think?

The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue









ART/Culture: Undressed – a BRIEF history of Underwear

From practicality to provocation, one of our most everyday objects tends to attract interest, debate and sometimes controversy.


Every fashion maven knows there is an art to well-made undies.  And for those of us who appreciate them a new exhibit (CN Traveler Magazine calls it one of the ten best fashion exhibits) at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London from 16 April 2016 – 12 March 2017.

This exhibition will address the practicalities of underwear and its role in the fashionable wardrobe whilst highlighting its sensual, sexual appeal. The exhibition will explore dress reformers and designers who argued for the beauty of the natural body, as well as entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators who have played a critical role in the development of increasingly more effective and *comfortable underwear.

jesus fernandez lingerie (Buenos Aires)
jesus fernandez lingerie – the line I represented and sold in Canada after meeting my match in a  Buenos Aires shoppe window


A Brief History of Underwear will display more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day. In particular, it will investigate how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body. The exhibition will map developments in underwear design and explore the ways in which fashion designers have transformed underwear into outerwear.undressed2Curating an exhibition is a process built on collaboration, between conservators, researchers, designers and other specialists.

The exhibition, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, will be on display at the V&A from 16th April 2016 to 12th March 2017.  V&A Museum: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom

Sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon – two brands who aim to celebrate and empower women.

Agent Provocateur is delighted to partner with the V&A to be the leading lingerie sponsor for the Undressed Exhibition. Founded in 1994 Agent Provocateur’s unique brand image is renowned for being provocative while empowering women.

Revlon: With over 80 years’ experience revolutionizing the beauty industry and allowing women to express their most glamorous selves, Revlon are thrilled to be a sponsor of the exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.

A word from an undergarment connoisseur know-it-all:undressed3*Like most women I love a “no show” so I say hurrah for the invisible comfortable seamless pretty and practical (no VPL) every day wear brands like Commando and Cosabella .  Then there’s all the others………….let’s face it, G-strings and some bustiers are not the most comfortable undergarments.  But like high heels they make you feel sexier and in my opinion,  necessary options to the fashionable woman’s wardrobe.

Check out my love of lingerie board on Pinterest: