Open To Be

SAMARA Contemporary is pleased to present Open To Be, a new exhibition of work by Toronto-based artists Brianna Gluszak and Johanna Reynolds, curated by Rafi Ghanaghounian. Gluszak’s dynamic glass sculptures and Reynolds’ abstract paintings are contemplative mirrors of the artists’ interactions with everyday life, and illicit audience reflection.

Reynolds creates dynamic abstractions using oil and acrylic paint, drawing inspiration by consciously tuning herself in to the natural world. Her work is known for elegant, contemplative layers interrupted by moody, gestural bursts of unexpected colour. Reynolds is often inspired by elements including plant life, rocks, water and sky. These elemental forces create sweeping nuances which cause emotional stirrings within the viewer. The non-representational landscapes aim to hint at something familiar, yet remain open-ended to allow the viewer’s imagination to complete the story.

Gluszak is a collector of visual information, and gathers inspiration for her forms from human relationships. Often considering the tension and comfort within her own kinships, Gluszak personifies these exchanges into glass shapes which represent her personal life. An attempt to relate to one another is a key component of our human existence and is a universal commonality, and through showcasing these endeavors, her work pulls the viewer into an onlooking perspective. Gluszak’s work allows for a contemplation of one’s own relationships through viewing the complexity of others.

Both artists, while working in the fields of abstraction, are interested in how the viewer’s participation is central to their respective work. Through showcasing their individual experiences with relationships and nature, the artists allow the viewer an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences in the world. This particular synergy between artist and viewer that Gluszak and Reynolds explore in their work, speaks to the very spirit of optimism within it.

Johanna Reynolds is a Toronto based artist who began her art career studying Art History and Studio Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.  After more than twenty years of pouring her creative energies into various artistic and curatorial endeavours, Johanna is currently focusing on her abstract painting practice. Reynolds recently had her first international solo exhibition, a show called Suspension with Nordic Stories Contemporary Art that featured 12 of her paintings in Sweden.

Another recent professional milestone was Air Canada’s acquisition of four large works for their permanent collection, currently installed at the Maple Leaf Lounge at LaGuardia airport in New York City. Reynolds currently lives and works in her hometown of Toronto with her husband and two children, where her abstract paintings are gaining an impressive local and international following. Her work can be found in private and corporate collections across Canada, the US and Europe.

Brianna Gluszak is a Toronto-based sculptor who received a Bachelors in Fine Art with distinction in glass from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2016. Currently, Gluszak works primarily in the medium of glass with a focus on utilizing the acts of observation, relationships, and formal investigations. Her sculptural work focuses on the creation of vibrant and optimistic objects, to escape from the mundanity of everyday life.

Gluszak has travelled internationally to participate in residencies at the Royal Danish Academy of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Nexø, Denmark, as well as at Northland’s Creative Glass in Lybster, Scotland. Gluszak recently joined the esteemed craft and design residency at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Canada.

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