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Sandra Manzi is a contemporary realist painter from Toronto, currently residing in Hamilton. She is a graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCADU) where she received her diploma in Fine Arts/Experimental Arts, and also received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Guelph. Sandra has exhibited in galleries in and around Toronto and Hamilton. She is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council, and she is a two time finalist for the Boynes Emerging Artist Award. Her paintings can be found in private collections throughout Canada, Europe and the United States.




I make realistic paintings of everyday objects and events in which I capture transient moments in time. Images often get layered, creating a disruption in clarity and forcing the viewer to look longer then they would at a casual snapshot. I will often layer images as a way to connect them visually but also as a way to search for meaning between them. This is the path that guides my entire pictorial process. My chosen medium to express these feelings is paint in a realist style. This method is best suited for my artistic vision - details are important to me as it is a metaphor for the depth of life. It allows me to use delicate and subtle brushstrokes, almost imperceptible, with which I can capture moments frozen in time. By being very meticulous in my technique I can endow the people or objects to a higher level despite their everyday or mundane nature. 

I use the camera as a source to assist me in gathering information which is then combined with my own artistic input and vision. But I try to reveal what the camera can't see, which is the emotion that I feel when looking at someone or something...the subjective part of reality. I feel attracted to the detail that is easily missed in a world that moves quickly. My process involves layering images in order to look for relationships between them. It also allows me to seek out abstraction in color, form, and texture, between the layers of realistically painted imagery. Foliage and flowers appear repeatedly as a way to add a decorative element to the composition, but also a a reminder of the ephemerality of nature and life itself. My intention is to create more of an emotional reaction from the viewer where the meaning is open ended. By establishing a narrative where I'm leaving gaps, cropping, or obscuring certain images; I'm allowing the viewer to impose their own experiences onto the picture plane. My ultimate goal in choosing the images I do is to inspire a memory that is personal within us all, yet universal in feeling. 

Currently, I've been working on a series where these experiences get layered all into one composition. For inspiration I draw on candid photographs I take of people in their urban environment going about their daily lives. Cities have always fascinated me and I find that the more routine and mundane events of our urban existence are the ones that require closer observation. I paint them to bring these parts of our lives to a higher level. My compositions reference the casual snapshot and apparent randomness. But despite it's apparent spontaneity, this is deliberate, carefully chosen and meticulously edited image-making. People and objects are layered, cropped, partly obscured and fragmented to deliver an impression of fast-moving, undifferentiated urban life. By taking observations of the urban environment around me and layering and juxtaposing those observations to fracture familiar spaces, my paintings are forcing the viewer to slow down, look,  and pay attention to the details of the people, places, and objects around us. Many of these paintings contain closely packed figures of people going about their daily lives. I am interested in the relationships from one figure to the next - how one body presses up against the other, how the tilt or gesture of one figure can be repeated or clashes with the one behind or in front of it. As I paint, I find interesting visual pathways that move the eye through the painting, from one figure to another figure or to a random object from our urban existence. I'm excited by painting the complexity of many people, clothing and the accessories we take with us - such as bags, purses, cell phones, pets, etc,  street sign, and parts of buildings.




2023 - Square Foot Show - Florals, Online show, May 4 - 6, 2023

2023 - Centre3 Gallery, Hamilton, Ont., Three person show, Nov. 3 - 28, 2023


2023 - Art Gallery of Hamilton Annual Art Sale, Hamilton, Ont., April 27 - 30, 2023

2023 - Dundas Valley School of Art 52nd Annual Auction, Hamilton, Ont., April 10 - 15, 2023

2023 - Ironwood Cider House, Gallery, Solo Show, Niagara on The Lake, Ont., April 15 - May 4, 2023

2023 - Summer and Grace Gallery, "Joy" Exhibit, Dec. 1, 2022 - Feb. 27, 2023

2022 - Paula White Diamond Gallery, "Square Foot Show", Nov. 26 - Dec. 4, 2022, Waterloo, Ont.

2022 - Paula White Diamond Gallery, "Big Ideas Show", Oct. 27 - Nov. 12, 2022, Waterloo, Ont.

2022 - Art Gallery of Mississauga, Second Annual Juried Show of Visual Arts, Sept.13 - Oct. 23, 2022

2022 - Summer And Grace Gallery, Oakville, Ontario

2022 - Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Rental And Sales Gallery, April 28-May1, 2022, Hamilton, Ontario

2022 - Earls Court Gallery, "Bouquet", April 7 - May 7, 2022, Hamilton, Ontario

2022 - Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Rental And Sales Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2022 - McMaster Innovation Park, Artist's in the Workplace, Hamilton, Ontario

2021 - Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Rental And Sales Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2021 - Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, July 2-11., Toronto, Ontario

2010 - George Brown College Gallery, Three Person Show, Toronto, Ontario

2008 - Fran Hill Gallery – “The Portrait Challenge”, Group Show, Toronto, Ontario

2004 - The Burston Gallery, “Crooked Grind”, Solo Show, Toronto, Ontario

2002 - Luft Gallery, “Hockey Card Portraits”, Solo Show, Toronto, Ontario

2001 - West Wing Art Space, “Fleeting Moments”, Solo Show, Toronto, Ontario

1998 - 2007 - Gallery Moos, Toronto, Group Shows, Toronto, Ontario


2022 - Boynes Emerging Artist Award, 7th Edition Finalist.

2022 - Boynes Emerging Artist Award, 6th Edition Finalist. 

2021 - Ontario Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant

2003 -Toronto Arts Council, Exhibition Assistance Grant

2002 - Canada Council for the Arts Grant

2002 - Ontario Arts Council Grant


1988 - B.A., Fine Arts, University of Guelph

1987 - A.O.C.A., Fine Arts/Experimental Arts, Ontario College of Art and Design

1984 - C.T.S.A.D., Fine Arts, Central Technical School, Department of Fine Arts, Toronto


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