twist gallery

Meet Elizabeth "Ela" Szymczak!

Our exhibit, Energy, has a special place in Ela’s heart, quite literally. She started painting late last year after suffering a heart attack at 48 years old. This event jolted her onto a new life trajectory that includes a special focus on art. 

Ela’s Heart

She bravely took fear from this traumatic experience and used it to facilitate a new love and appreciation for life. For her, energy translates to life. While inspiration sometimes comes to her in dreams, her paintings always exude pure, raw emotion. 

“Catharsis” acrylic on canvas (30”x 40”) $750

“Catharsis” acrylic on canvas (30”x 40”) $750

While she hates talking about herself, her art does the speaking for her. Her piece, “Catharsis” illustrates a purge from repressed emotions and the subsequent relief created through this expression. The deep yet bright red oscillating lines seem to call to the lines created on a heart rate monitor. This new heartbeat is painted over the dark background, representing the new life created out of trauma. The thick textures create dimension, making the piece come to life, much like she did. It hangs on the wall with her other works seemingly radiating from it and creates a storyboard on the gallery wall for her experiences.

“Energy to me is life. All my paintings are driven by pure emotion. Some have come to me in dreams. I really don’t know how else to explain it. It’s raw emotion.”

- Elizabeth “Ela” Szymczak

Energy at Twist

Don’t miss this rest of this amazing collection! Be sure to visit Twist at 1100 Queen Street West and check out our newest exhibits. Our doors are open every Tuesday to Saturday from 11am till 6pm.

You can call us at (416) 588 - 2222 or email your questions and inquiries to

And since you’re here, why not browse the Twist Artist Showcase? CLICK HERE.

To see what’s Upcoming at Twist Gallery CLICK HERE.

Follow us @Twistgalleryand @TwistGallery!

3 Tips for Hanging a Painting

So, you’ve just fallen in love with a piece of art you’ve seen in your local art gallery. You know that it would be the PERFECT addition to your home, so you pass through and buy it. The gallery director puts a little red sticker on it, signifying that this particular piece is spoken for; its dance card is full. Now comes the hard part: waiting for the exhibition to be over, so you can proudly display your new cherished treasure. But how should one display art? There must be rules to follow or a guideline? Sort of. Below are Twist Gallery’s 3 Tips for Hanging a Painting. Enjoy!

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🎨 Hang a painting by its focal point.

Every piece of art is exceptional and different. Art tells unique stories, boasts diverse triumphs and impacts viewers individually. Therefore, it’s your job; nay your duty, scratch that; your privilege to decide where the art’s focal point is located. Essentially, the focal point, is where the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn. Often times, this is the centre of the painting, however many artists play with asymmetry in space and varying scale. So, what does that mean? It’s up to you! You fell in love with this painting for a reason. Where does your eye naturally fall on the canvas? This part of the painting should be hung level with your eye. 

For instance, check out this vivid piece by Sandra Di Leo below.

Figure 1 “Rebel” by Sandra Di Leo; 30 X 40 acrylic on canvas; $2,100

Figure 1 “Rebel” by Sandra Di Leo; 30 X 40 acrylic on canvas; $2,100

At Twist, we’ve been debating where one’s eye instinctively falls on Di Leo’s work. Some follow the curves of the powerful black lines reaching rest inside the circular shapes. However, other eyes tend to focus on the bright colours, especially the electrifying greens and glowing pinks. Wherever you decide the focal point is located, it should be hung close to eye level. 


🎨 Carefully think about lighting the artwork. 


Lighting can be tricky, especially if you don’t have track mounted lights at your home. You want to avoid direct sunlight because it can be very damaging to surfaces. Try to mount the art in a room with lots of natural indirect light. Also, you’ll want to give your artwork even light. This is why many gallery’s mount works on walls with numerous light sources to ensure an even amount of light bathing the canvas. Lastly, consider the type of light (if not natural light). Fluorescent light is awful for dramatic art.  You’d be wise to stick with bulbs and light sources that replicate soft daylight. For example, take a glance at Courtney Senior’s “Where the Magic Happens”.

Figure 2 “Where the Magic Happens” by Courtney Senior; 48 x 48 acrylic on canvas; $2,000

Figure 2 “Where the Magic Happens” by Courtney Senior; 48 x 48 acrylic on canvas; $2,000

As the bright colours shatter and splinter apart revealing the strong dark tones of the background, Senior’s expression is fully realized. A robust piece such as this requires a room full of indirect light. Any direct sunshine or incandescent light would overwhelm the already strong colour pallet presented. 


🎨 Group pieces of art together for dramatic effect.

When you are decorating a space, consider how several paintings can work together. Perhaps the canvas’ were created by the same artist and represent similar thematic elements or feelings? Conversely, this can work when the paintings are dissimilar. Imagine the contrast and complication to viewers by pairing pieces that clash or challenge each other. Can you think of a time when artistic elements clashed so strongly that the effect was incredibly profound and memorable? After all, art is about expression and creativity. Ultimately, it's up to you. Consider the work of Elena Dinissuk featured next.

Figure 3 “Beach Tranquility” by Elena Dinissuk; 24 x 24 acrylic on wood; $500

Figure 3 “Beach Tranquility” by Elena Dinissuk; 24 x 24 acrylic on wood; $500

Figure 4 “Flying Over the Ocean” by Elena Dinissuk; 24 x 24 acrylic on wood; $500

Figure 4 “Flying Over the Ocean” by Elena Dinissuk; 24 x 24 acrylic on wood; $500

These two pieces compliment and accent each other. The wild and energetic ocean waters of the first painting is referenced by the same blue hues in the second. Furthermore, viewers regard the land and sky embodied with oranges and pale blues in the second painting. This only highlights the lack of land in the first painting. As viewers begin to consider both paintings simultaneously, they see elements that are repeated and elements that exists individually. Dinissuk’s work instigates an exciting story of the majestic mighty ocean and our beautiful planet.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our 3 tips for hanging a painting. And if you think we’ve missed anything, please comment below and let us know your tips. We’d also love to hear from anyone who has purchased from Twist Gallery in the past. How did you hang your art? Share a picture on Instagram and remember to tag us! @twistgalley 


And since you’re here, why not check out the other artists in our Artist Showcase? CLICK HERE.

To see what’s Upcoming at Twist Gallery CLICK HERE.

Keep us in your focal point by following us @Twistgallery and @TwistGallery!

Art: How it Benefits Everyone

Written by Aleksandra Kaliszuk

Art is good for you! Yes, you read that right. The process of creating or experiencing art, whether it be a painting, music, writing, you name it, has positive benefits on one’s psychological well being! Engaging in a creative activity will result in ample health benefits.

Distraction From Everyday Life

Art is a great way to get distracted from that crazy daily routine. We are all constantly bombarded with information and notifications. Taking a moment (or two) to slow down and create something is a great way to unwind and get distracted from all those responsibilities and tasks you've been thinking about all day.

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

Stress Relief

Its no secret as to why art and creativity are used as a form of therapy. Research has shown that the right kind of art can affect a hospital patients’ well being by stimulating their brain, taking their mind off their worries and decreasing their stress levels! Art is a form of meditation, and is used to nonverbally express emotions. So yes, go buy yourself that adult colouring book you were eyeing!

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

Sense of Accomplishment

Creating something, anything, will trigger an individual’s sense of accomplishment. Feeling accomplished, could result in an increase in self esteem and happiness. Be proud of what you create!

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

Problem Solving

By creating art, you challenge your imagination and ability to continue working on a project, making mistakes and facing potential obstacles. This can promote personal growth and problem solving skills which can be reflected in various situations in your life.

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

Critical Thinking

Creating and experiencing art can help develop critical thinking skills that can be applied in all areas of one’s life. A recent study at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Northwest Arkansas found that students that were taken to the museum improved their ability to think critically! Other benefits of visiting the museum included historical empathy and a sparked interest in art museums.

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

There is evidently a relationship between creativity, individual development and healing. So create something beautiful or visit a gallery… Art is for everyone!

Instagram @twistgallery

Instagram @twistgallery

An Interview with Kim Puil, the Artist Behind Inner Landscapes, Arisings from the Space of Being

Written By Simran Birk

This month's exhibition at Twist Gallery, Inner Landscapes, Arisings from the Space of Being, features the extraordinary work of Kim Puil. Half way into the show, Kim’s work has met many positive reviews. Each piece is a big, bold and colorful collage that has its own backstory. We sat down with Kim to gain some perspective on how she was able to create such magnificent pieces.

I understand that you started off as a dancer, was art something you’ve always been interested in? or did you find it as another medium that you could express yourself?

 I have always been interested in art and cannot imagine a world without it. I had the privilege of being a young artist in a very exciting time in the art world. The 70’s were bristling with artists breaking boundaries and rules- and the independent art scene was thriving. The dance form that I trained in was technically very hard to do requiring discipline and commitment yet it was full of emotion, intensity and included the shadow side of the psyche. I have been drawing and creating alongside my dance since the beginning.

I understand Bon-Buddhism and yoga are important influences to this exhibition. Could you elaborate on this? Could you describe what Bon Buddhism is?

The dancer and yoga have always walked hand-in-hand so from a very young age I have practiced yoga and continue to do so. They are very complimentary to one another- i.e. movement and stillness etc. As a seeker in life, meditation was the next natural step and I even paused from my life to enter an ashram for a number of months to deepen my experience.

For me, meditation is not about “exiting” the reality of one’s life here on this planet, but it is to understand and work with the realities on all levels, of what it is to be a human. This includes all parts of us whether they are labelled “good” or “bad”, “pleasant” or “unpleasant”. I feel blessed that I was fortunate in my life to have an art form whose purpose of expression and content was to transmit these realities to the audience.

Buddhism has always peaked my curiosity because the teachings are about how to navigate the waters of this life. There is acknowledgement that suffering does exist but at the same time the idea is that we are responsible for and can mitigate how we cope with and react to the challenges that we come across.

Bon buddhism has its roots in the ancient shamans of Tibet and its culminates in the advanced meditative practices of Dzogchen- “The Great Perfection”. The Bon practices encompass the “whole” - our external world as seen in nature and the universe, and the internal world of our mind, emotions and thoughts.

I enrolled in a self-transformational program in the United States called The 3 Doors Academy that was started by my Bon teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche . Over a period of 2 1/2 years one had to practice various meditation techniques, do group and personal retreats and reflect on challenges, resistance or blockages (a.k.a.”pain”) in three areas of our life: personal self, family and work/community. This culminated in 63 written “transformations” where over a period of time by working with formal and informal mediation practices we “dissolved” or experienced a “shift” in the nature of our “pain”.

Kim Puil and  In the Midist of It All

Kim Puil and In the Midist of It All

Could you also explain the processes behind these collages? They’ve must have taken hours and hours of work! Could you elaborate on the type of mediums you used?

The first step in my process is meditation practice either with or without a purposeful intention. My subject is my experience of “how things are living in me” at a particular moment in time and my working relationship with the meditation practices in any given moment. It’s funny that my work space is very, very tiny and yet the collages are big! I am choreographing in a new way - and at times I am moving my body all over the place as I cut and try to reproduce the kinesthetic sense of what it is that I have felt. I like to use handmade papers from around the world, discarded and found objects as well as the recycled cardboard that is the “canvas.” It takes usually 3-4 weeks to lay down the layers of paper and objects. The job I hate the most is the gluing as I do not usually glue as I go along. I have to make sure that I am well-centered and not tired as this is an arduous process that requires concentration and great patience - a practice of its own!

Inner Landscapes, Arisings from the space of being. Why this title?

“Inner Landscapes” refers to me, the traveler, and my reactions and feelings travelling through the different terrains of my life. “Arisings From The Space Of Being” alludes to what they refer to in Dzogchen as the base of all or on the elemental level - the element of space where everything in existence arises from and dissolves back into. These collages are my arisings- past, present and future and an expression of what it is to be alive.

Finally, what is your favorite piece in this work? Why?

I don't have a favourite piece. I know all of them very intimately as they are all “me” and are a visual, kinetic experience from a very real moment of time in my life. My connection to them is much like that of 2 lovers…we shared, we loved, we travelled the heart and corners of ourselves and now it is time to part, to continue the journey of exploration and share the love with others.

With many great reviews, Inner Landscapes, Arisings from the Space of Being is not to be missed. Come on down to Twist Gallery before June 30th, to see the work before it is gone!


150 Years of Canadian Art

Written By: Simran Birk

Canada is short of its 150th birthday in a few weeks. Over a century of development and progress has ranked Canada among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. However, Canada’s progress and flourishment in cultural and artistic movements should also be acknowledged and recognized.  Let us recount Canada’s finest artists from the past century and half.

It is important to start this article with recognizing and celebrating indigenous art. Indigenous art is an important part of Canadian art as it describes a history and culture that has been established in Canada for centuries. It should also be acknowledged that the word ‘Canada’ is believed to originates from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement". Bill Reid is a renowned Haida artist who specializes in jewelry, sculpture, screen-printing, and paintings. His work has can be found in various galleries and museums across Canada. An important accomplishment of Reid’s is that two of his sculptures, Raven and the First Men and Spirit of Haida Gwaii, are prominently featured on the $20 Canadian note from 2004 to 2012.

Bill Reid,  Spirit of Haida Gwaii, 1986

Bill Reid, Spirit of Haida Gwaii, 1986

Another aboriginal artist that deserve recognition for their artistic work is Rebecca Belmore. Belmore specializes in installations and performance pieces. Belmore is especially important as her piece’s addresses history, voice and voice-lessness, place, and identity. Belmore work incorporates art, history, and politics to create a truly impactful piece of work. Some of Belmore accomplishments include the 2013 Governors General Awards as well as being the first aboriginal woman representing Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Rebecca Belmore

Rebecca Belmore

Moving on to other artists who have influenced the Canadian art scene, the Group of Seven is a name that is known by many Canadians. The Group of Seven is a group of artists who specialized in painting Canadian landscape during the early 20th century. The group originally consisted of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley. The Group of Seven is best known for initiating a national art movement in Canadian art. The Group traveled across Canada, depicting its varying landscapes in a new perspective, that gained popularity among Canadian society.

Emily Carr is name that is often associated with the group of Seven and Canadian artists. Although Carr was not officially member of the group, she was closely associated. Carr is known for being one of the first artist to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style. Initially, Carr’s work is focused on indigenous culture and art. However, there is an evident shift to landscape paintings later in her life, when she became involved with the Group of Seven. Carr is an important figure in Canadian art history as she broke and changed the customary representational form of landscape paintings by painting the landscape and spirit of Canada in a modern style. Carr’s life and work is recognized through the many Canadian art institutions named in her honor and the various galleries and museums that hold her work.

Emily Carr,  The Indian Church,  1929

Emily Carr, The Indian Church, 1929

The late 20th century and early 21st century art scene has also been impacted with various artists from different movements and mediums. One group that should be mentioned is the media based artists, General Idea. General Idea was an active art group from 1967 to 1994, that is made up of artists Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson. General Idea’s work specialized in the twisting forms of popular mass media culture, such as beauty pageants, television talk shows and trade fair pavilions into unconventional media forms. These forms would include postcards, posters, balloons etc. General Idea’s later work addresses the AIDS crisis’s, spreading awareness of this disease through various projects. General Idea’s accomplishments include being featured in the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Canada.

A.Y. Jackson,  Red Maple,  1914

A.Y. Jackson, Red Maple, 1914

General Idea,  AIDS,  1988

General Idea, AIDS, 1988

Canada’s art scene is much like the country; incredibly diverse with passion and culture. The artists in this article are a few of the many who contribute to Canadian art.  However, it is important to understand that art in Canada is influential and impactful in various ways; whether its making a statement about politics or bringing awareness to a disease, art always has a purpose. With Canada’s 150th birthday coming up, it is important to not only celebrate the birth of this great nation but also to recognize it many accomplishments throughout the years, whether it be in science, culture or art.

Priceless Art; Five Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold.

Written by Simran Birk

It is an ironic statement, priceless art; when in fact most Van Gogh’s or Picasso's pieces are sold in the millions. So how can be art be referred as priceless if there is often a selling price. The idea that famous works of art are considered priceless, is the result of the inflating value of the artwork overtime. When a museum or private buyer acquire the infamous artworks of Warhol or Da Vinci, there is no reason to sell the work for it will always be considered valuable. With time, these pieces will be worth more than what was invested. Therefore, essentially they are considered priceless due to its exponentially increasing worth.

What classifies a ‘priceless’ work of art. The title of the most expensive artwork is shared between, Willem de Kooning, Interchange and Paul Gauguin Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?). Each were purchased at 303 million and now inhabit a museum or the collections of private buyer.

Paul Gauguin,  Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) , 1892

Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), 1892

Willem de Kooning,  Interchange, 1955

Willem de Kooning, Interchange, 1955

Paul Cézanne, The Card Players is the third most expensive piece of art. It was sold at a 256 million to the Royal Family of Qatar. The fourth most expensive piece of art sold is Jackson Pollock, Number 17A which sold at 202 million to a private buyer.

Paul Cézanne,  The Card Players , 1894–1895

Paul Cézanne, The Card Players, 1894–1895

Jackson Pollock,  Number 17A , 1948

Jackson Pollock, Number 17A, 1948

Finally, the fifth most expensive piece of artwork ever sold is No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko. It was purchased by Dmitry Rybolovlev in a private sale for 188 million.

Mark Rothko,  No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) , 1951

Mark Rothko, No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), 1951

The value of art is a subjective matter; as cliché as it sounds, one mans garbage is another’s treasure. It is believed that Van Gogh had only sold one painting in his whole life; however, he is now considered a prominent figure in the world of art and his work is worth millions. This demonstrates that the value of art is ever changing. However, it is evident that the most valuable art is one whose intensity and expression has the power to impact the emotions of another. That is truly priceless art.


Who knew so much went into planning an exhibition when making the artwork was hard enough in itself? Unfortunately putting on exhibition is more than simply printing photographs and framing them onto the wall but never fear, we have complied a small list of things for you to consider before displaying your lovely work!


It is important to consider the type of the lighting your work will be placed under. If you have fairly warm tones in your photograph and it is placed under tungsten or natural lighting, this could create an overall warm tone to your photograph that you may not want. It is key to view the space beforehand and colour balance your work to fit the lighting accordingly or bring in additional lighting as needed. Windows will also affect lighting and mixing different colour temperatures can cause an odd colour balance. Remember, the photographs will appear darker and less vibrant once printed than on your computer screen so it is always good to make multiple test prints!


There is more than one way to exhibit your work than simply hanging it on a wall. You can use magnets to create a seamless and borderless look or use frames for a geometric structure but be sure to consider the reflection on top of the glass! The artwork could be tethered to wire and suspended from the ceiling or at the top of a wall to appear as if floating.  Depending on what surface you choose to print or paint onto such as a fabric, it can then be folded and draped across a wall. Light boxes are also a unique and innovative way to display photographs that further illuminate and intensify the details of the images.


Depending on the type of surface your work is printed or painted on, the texture could create an unwanted appearance. Glossy paper is going to be highly reflective once a light is shone on it, however it makes coloured images look more vibrant and lively. Matte paper can appear quite flat and cause photographs to loose depth. It is always good to print on multiple surfaces and bring them into the gallery space to see how the look under the lighting. You could also print on: metal, wood, fabrics or glass; the possibilities are endless.


If you’ve created a body of work that all flows and connects with one another, consider how they will be placed and sequenced on the wall. You can place the images chronologically as if to tell a story or if the images do not necessary belong together, they can be grouped by colour or content. Sequencing is important to keep in the back of your mind when arranging the images. Try to think as a viewer walking into the gallery and where their eyes will travel first and carry through onto the next image. How do you want the work to be observed? Be sure to leave space between each piece to allow it to be observed solely on its own or keep them together if you wish to create a different affect.

We hope these tips and tricks have given you some things to consider when planning your next exhibition! You can always draw inspiration from other galleries to see how they display their work or call on other artists for assistance and opinions. Best of luck!