First Thursday @ the Glenbow Museum: August 1, 2019

My son, Pat and I attended the first Thursday event on August 1st.  Recently, this exhibit includes the work by the amazing Nick Cave.  I’m so happy that we had opportunity to enjoy this work.  Very provocative, unique and obviously born of tremendous industry.  There is also such depth of meaning and I’ve tried to include some of the background here.

Loved the piece, the Enchanted Forest!!

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In the second gallery space Ed Pien’s work, Our Beloved was a difficult piece for me to spend too much time with.  I actually spent some time thinking about Jordan Bearshirt in this space and my recent trip to Blackfoot Crossing to say prayers at his resting place…I snapped a few photographs while James and Pat chatted and then moved on.

Second Skin was most obviously about the artist’s embodiment of their art.  While the art was engaging, I felt unnerved or uncomfortable about it.  

First Thursday was a most wonderful evening.  I enjoyed the company of both Pat and James.  We wandered the gift shop for a while and I found some lovely books for my grandson, things that I’m certain he will enjoy.

I loved the conversation and the company.  Another great night in YYC!  I’ve heard many people complain that Calgary is a tough city for making connections or sharing in community.  My own experience is one where I simply don’t have enough time to take in all of the events that are absolutely accessible.  While the sprawl does create a physical distance between many of my friends and myself, it is always a good idea to meet in the middle.

I still enjoyed my time at the river, but at this time, already began to suspect that something was up with the female Bald Eagle.  Dad seemed to have assumed all of the duties and there was even the appearance of a sub Adult, maybe 3 or 4 years of age.  I took a close up shot of Dad’s talons to confirm that it was him, although I’ve become accustomed to his handsome face.

Art Walking in Calgary

Here’s the thing.  From Thursday on, each and every week, I tend to be out art-walking, usually some time just after Max-walking.  But, for some folk, this might be an activity yet to be enjoyed and so I thought I’d jot a quick post about it. Each and every year, the city invites Calgarians out for an event titled Calgary Artwalk.  This year, the celebration of our 31st anniversary took place on September 20 and 21.

Art Walk

I think that what this event attempts to do is to knock down a particular kind of boundary that seems to separate art from viewer OR artist from viewer.  It is an imagined construct that comes out of some odd sense of mystery or entitlement.  Sometimes I think that the public might even imagine that art-walking isn’t even fun.   Artwalk is about the accessibility of visual art to the general public.

Because I’m ‘a single’ in the world, art-walking provides the perfect pastime.  In fact, I met another single person at the cross walk heading for the opening of VANISHING ICE: ALPINE AND POLAR LANDSCAPES IN ART 1775-2012 at the Glenbow the other night and we shared a pleasant conversation about her living in New York previously and how she has a difficult time taking in all of the possible events that this city offers over time.  Art-walking provides for opportunities to meet people you might not have bumped into in any other setting.  It also helps artists reconnect with friend-artists who are important mentors and inspirations.  This happens regularly for me.

Back to Artwalk…I had booked myself into several different things (some art related-some not) that particular weekend, but since I was flying along 9th Ave at some point, I knew that I wanted to stop into Collectors’ Art Gallery to view my friend Douglas Williamson’s recent work.  There was only one person in attendance at the same time and he was in a deep conversation with the owner about the status of ‘real’ art and the gallery scene.  Another magical thing about visiting art galleries is that they are generally quiet places where you can be privy to some very interesting dialogues.  If you are someone who enjoys a more rowdy visual arts activity, attend a Gorilla or Rumble House event and see those boundaries removed at warp speed.  These can be noisy places.

The work featured in the exhibit, FOUR, was varied and elegant, but I was drawn immediately to Doug’s work.  He has tremendous ambition while exploring the traditions of very technical painting, through both process and directional lighting of his subject matter.  There is always a bit of a back story, so I don’t make assumptions about his work.  Usually he is exploring a theme of utmost importance to him at the time and uses his subjects, most often still life objects, to communicate a message.  His works are always thought provoking.

Circle the Wagons by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

Circle the Wagons by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

The Answer

The Answer by Douglas Williamson Photo Credit: Douglas Williamson

Heh…I was in the neighbourhood, so I crossed over to DaDe Art & Design Lab where Greg Fraser and Darcy Lundgren were flopped out on a comfortable sofa while guests gathered at the fancy coffee bar in the other room.  Always amicable and welcoming, we shared a laugh and then I went strolling, taking in the whimsical and layered works of Darcy Lundgren.  This is a go-to place for art, design, furnishings and general inspiration.  Handy to lovely eating spots (my favourite…the Dragon Pearl) and good music (The Blue’s Can and Ironwood), this is a fascinating place for a wander.

DSC_0635 DSC_0634 DSC_0633 DSC_0632 DSC_0631 DSC_0630 DSC_0629I highly recommend the current exhibit in the Glenbow Museum, Made in Calgary: the 2000s, where you will enjoy powerful work by our contemporaries.  Still on my list, Contemporary Calgary’s exhibitsHomecoming/Kim Dorland until January 18, 2015 at the Stephen Ave. Mall location and Voted Most Likely curated by Kim Dorland at the City Hall location.

Some art venues provide opportunities for art talks, as well as hand’s on art projects and these are advertised in FFWD as well as through the individual websites.  The Esker Foundation provides some of the most intriguing talks/events and I highly recommend you visit their website for registration through Eventbrite.  Recently, I heard Dick Averns speak on the topic War Art Then: War Art Now.  I enjoyed perusing his collection of family and other artifacts and learned about the Canadian Forces Artists Programs. Fantastic!

On a more local community level, I recently attended, along with my besties, an exhibit of art works at the Fish Creek Library where we enjoyed samplings of wines and cheeses provided by Springbank Cheese Company.  Calgary Public Art programs are varied and generous.  All you need to do is purchase a library card.  A must!

In conclusion, I find myself, this weekend, enjoying a lengthy sojourn on my red sofa, drinking ruby red grapefruit juice and blowing my nose.  Having participated in the Martin Sadlon Scholarship Fundraising Concert and Art Battle/Auction on Friday night, the weekend has been a Netflix fling ever since.  As a result of my current situation, I have missed the recent opening of Sculpture at Trepanier Baer and the opening at Jarvis Hall Fine Art.  Art-walking is something that needs to be done in moderation as it can take you over and can be hazardous to your health!  I am sitting here laughing at that.  (Pulling a tissue from the box.)

Art Auction Martin Sadlong

 

 

 

Art on the Rocks

I struggled with two bolts from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00.  Between 5:00 and 6:00, I constructed another raised bed in the back yard and I had sheep manure edging my finger nails, when I headed out with Max for a quick round about the neighbourhood.  It was so nice to float in the bath tub for fifteen minutes before gathering my things and driving down to the Glenbow Museum for the surreal experience of having a former student guide me and a packed house of keen participants in a night of figure drawing.  I feel so proud of Tim Belliveau, for so many reasons, but especially because he’s always had such a big heart.  He is a true gentleman.  It’s time I head for bed, but I’m going to publish a few photos of a variety of exercises Tim gave as challenges.

I enjoyed the music…the opportunity to draw from life…wine…conversation…new people.  Thanks to Penny of the Glenbow.

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More Made in Calgary: the 1990s!

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

It was a bitterly cold night, but I decided that I really wanted to take in the events at the Glenbow, after leaving Contemporary Calgary (formerly AGC).  The walk was nice and there was a definite hum as I was going over the delights of the evening in my head.

I didn’t take photographs in the Glenbow, but am pleased to notice that there is good coverage about the present exhibits on line and in the news..  The air was charged with conversation and excellent music when I arrived.  I guess you could say that ‘the place was rockin’.  Extensions of one another, the art happening at the Glenbow complemented the Contemporary Calgary experience.

First, the Graceland Arcade offering by Bart Habermiller and purchase of two post cards.  The background for Grace’s land Calgary and the arcade piece is articulated in the following note of appreciation left on the event’s Facebook write up.  It is evident that there were wondrous experiences shared out on ‘the land’.  “Grace’s Land, formally Calgary Demolition was 7 acres of land, out buildings, scrap materials, energy & fire on the edge of Calgary, Canada from 1986 -1997.”  I selected two cards from the vending machine, the one at bottom Music Student 1 by Carmina Trsic 2014.

P1150114“Thank you to the many friends who came out to celebrate the 90’s show that Bart Habermiller was curated into as a result of his impressive 11 year collaboration with the Calgary Art Scene called Graceland. Way back then, Grace Coulter provided bart with an opportunity to make art on her land and in true Bart fashion he did not hoard the opportunity but shared it with anyone who wanted to make something interesting happen. Art rodeos, performance art, and massive sculpture and installations were a regular occurrence, devoid of funding agents, institution protocol or collect-ability. It wasn’t about how to make money with art it was about how to make friends, art and good ideas. It was raw and it was real. Graceland was an important part of the shaping of what Calgary’s art scene is today and I am tremendously proud of all that Bart has done to try and make things happen for artists. Oh and the proceeds of his art piece, the vending machines (for which once again he shared his opportunity with other artists) that are in the lobby of the Glenbow will be donated to the elephant Artist Relief fund, a not for profit that helps artists financially during the serious stages of illness.” (sic)

CKUA featured a bit of description of Bart’s search for a community of artists who built an important ‘happening’ on Grace Coulter’s land, on January 26 on ArtBeat.  Go to 5:11.

Chris Cran’s monumental work welcomed me on the feature wall to the right, as I made the walk up the stairs into the main gallery where I enjoyed the Made in Calgary: the 1990s, curated by Nancy Tousley.

Directly from the Glenbow exhibit…

“Featuring over 100 works by 55 artists – Rita McKeough, Chris Cran, John Will, Faye Heavyshield, and Allan Dunning, among many others – Made in Calgary: The 1990s reflects this exciting time which saw local artists continuing to redefine both their own art and the city’s place in the global art scene.

Made in Calgary is a multi-season exhibition series explores the character of Calgary’s artistic community from 1960 to 2010. Each exhibition reflects the contributions of individual artists in the context of the social and cultural factors that influenced their worked”(sic)

I enjoyed artist, David Garneau’s piece How the West, created in 1998...a piece that nicely transitioned this exhibit into the fun experience of Worn to be Wild!  Nancy Tousley describes the piece as a rewritten history of the west.  “He was making it look like an advertisement or look like an illustration from a child’s historical account.”  This, found in The Calgary Herald, February 6, 2014…an article written by Jon Roe of Swerve.  From Glenbow’s own collection, the piece is visually demanding and magically engaging. The image, here, is a detail of the work from Glenbow’s own site.

garneau_ecardWorn to be Wild clearly demonstrates the history of the black leather jacket.  It is beautifully displayed and is potent in its content and its colour.  I want to get out and buy myself a black leather jacket after viewing this one…and certainly, given the crowds of opening night, I am going to return and take this exhibit in again.  A list of the artifacts on display can be viewed here.

The following photographs were borrowed from the official collection of Harley-Davidson and the photographer is not credited there.

Execution Style

Execution Style

Rocker

Rocker

As I stepped out of the Glenbow and into the cold night air, I met up with two bikers, both wearing their black leather.  I asked them if they had been upstairs to the show and told them that they were dressed perfectly for the exhibit.  The female laughed and said, “We are the REAL DEAL, sweetie!  We haven’t had these jackets off for 30 years.”  We stood and visited for a while…a very fun exchange!

Taking the train south that night, I felt that I had reached the saturation point on my art experience for a while…time to take up some of the labor and get out to the studio.  My apologies that this review is coming out five days later, but it’s taken some time to do the research.  There is much to take in in Calgary…get out there, Calgarians!  Our city is rocking the art!

 

 

M.C. Escher: The Present, Now the Past

P1120271This past weekend, my arts and culture Ya Yas and I headed down to the M.C. Escher exhibit that was having its closing on Sunday at the Glenbow Gallery and Museum.  When a friend turned to ask where Escher was born, I didn’t know exactly.  Sad, but true.  What I did remember, however, was the magic shared with students over thirty years of education every time I pointed out his work and the transformative qualities of that work.  My focus was primarily about his geometric pieces, given my interest in tessellations and fractals.  I realized, while perusing the exhibit, that I didn’t really share with them the earlier works of Escher, landscapes eventually becoming explorations of space and perspective in his prints.  It is interesting how artists develop and grow from such a powerful experience of creating.  It would be easy to say that the process of years of work is like the revealing of a much larger piece of art, that being the evolving soul of the creator.

Here…a few biographical facts about Escher’s early years from Wikipedia.

“Maurits Cornelis, nicknamed “Mauk”,[2] was born in Leeuwarden, Friesland, in a house that forms part of the Princessehof Ceramics Museum today. He was the youngest son of civil engineer George Arnold Escher and his second wife, Sara Gleichman. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem, where he attended primary school and secondary school until 1918.

He was a sickly child, and was placed in a special school at the age of seven and failed the second grade.[3] Though he excelled at drawing, his grades were generally poor. He also took carpentry and piano lessons until he was thirteen years old. In 1919, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts. He briefly studied architecture, but he failed a number of subjects (partly due to a persistent skin infection) and switched to decorative arts.[3] Here he studied under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, with whom he would remain friends for years. In 1922 Escher left the school, having gained experience in drawing and making woodcuts.”

I was stunned by the precision of work on his lithographs and woodblock prints…the crisp edges and the meticulous effort.  Equally impressive was this particular sampling and the prolific execution of so many technical pieces.  I was thinking about my Grade Nine art teacher again…David Carlin...and the interesting inclusion of these elements in his own work.  I have yet to write about my adventure to Callander, Ontario this past summer and my attendance at his exhibit.  I was in awe of my teacher’s work!  Stay tuned.

Jester TricksterIt was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have enjoyed so many of Escher’s works in a single space.  In my head, I had imagined the works of Escher at a larger scale, so the physicality of them was surprising.

A Chronological Biography of M. C. Escher…obtained from here, with images/notes added in.

 1898, Jun 17 Maurits Cornelis Escher is born in Leeuwarden, the third son of G.A. Escher, an engineer, and his second wife, a government minister’s daughter, in the house which later becomes the Princessehof Museum.

 

1903 Escher’s family moves to Arnhem, Holland.

 

1912 – 1918 Escher attends secondary school in Arnhem.

 

1916 Escher completes his first graphic work, a linoleum cut in purple of his father, G.A. Escher.

 

1917 Escher’s family moves to Oosterbeek, Holland.

It turns out that Escher made many moves in his life and traveled extensively, many of these travels directly impacting his work through the physical experiences of the places he visited OR the people he met.

 

1918 – 1919 Escher attends Technical College in Delft.

 

1919 – 1922 Escher attends the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem; he takes lessons from S. Jessurun de Mesquita, a vitally important figure in Escher’s life and work.

 

1921, Mar – May Escher takes a holiday trip with parents along the French Riviera and through Italy.

 

1921, Nov The booklet ‘Flor de Pascua’, by A.P. van Stolk, illustrated with woodcuts by Escher, is published.

 Art work from the Flor de Pascua book can be viewed and purchased here.

1922 Escher produces ‘Eight Heads’, a woodcut and his first regular division of the plane.

Escher_eight_heads-300x300

 

1922, Apr – Jun Escher takes trip through Northern Italy.

 

1922, Sep – Nov Escher travels by freighter to Tarragona; the trip continues through Spain and he makes his first visit to the Alhambra, the Moorish palace in Grenada; he travels on to Italy, where he lives from November 1922 until 1935.

 

1923, Mar – Jun Escher stays in Ravello, where he meets his future wife Jetta Umiker, the daughter of a Swiss industrialist, then goes back to Sienna.

Maurits and Jetta. The Newly Married Couple in Leiden. 28 August 1924

Maurits and Jetta.
The Newly Married Couple in Leiden.
28 August 1924

 

1923, Aug 13-26 Escher’s first one-man exhibition is held in Sienna, ‘Circolo Artistico’.

Image Obtained HERE

Image Obtained HERE

 

1923, Nov Escher moves to Rome.

 

1924, Feb Escher’s first exhibition is held in Holland.

 

1924, Jun 12 Escher and Jetta are married.

 

1925, Oct Escher and Jetta return to Rome and live in their own home.

Image Obtained from Wikipedia

Image Obtained from Wikipedia

 

1926, May 2 – 16 Escher has an exhibition in Rome, ‘Gruppo Romano Incisori Artisti’.

 

1926, Jul 23 Escher’s first son George A. Escher is born.

 

1927 – 1935 Escher takes yearly spring trips through inhospitable areas of Italy.

 

1928, Dec 8 Escher’s second son Arthur E. Escher is born.

 

1929, Summer During a visit to his parents, Escher makes his first lithograph, ‘Goriano Sicoli, Abruzzi’, a mountain village in the Abruzzi.

 

1932 The book ‘XXIV Emblemata’, with epigrams by A.E. Drijfhout and woodcuts by Escher, is published in the summer.

 

1933 The book ‘De vreeselijke avonturen van Scholastica’, by Jan Walch and woodcuts by Escher, is published in the fall.

 

1934 Escher is awarded third prize for his lithograph ‘Nonza, Corsica’ at an exhibition in Chicago.

 

1934, Dec 12 – 22 Escher exhibits at the Dutch Historical Institute in Rome.

 

1935, May Escher travels through Sicily.

 

1935, July The Escher family moves to Switzerland.

 

1936, Apr – Jun Escher takes a sea trip along the coasts of Italy and France to Spain, he makes his second visit to the Alhambra and also visits the mosque in Cordoba, Spain. This is a pivotal point in Escher’s work – he moves from landscapes to ‘mental imagery’, the graphic works and tilings.

Escher tiling

 1937 The first ‘Metamorphosis’ is made. The Escher family moves to Brussels, Belgium.

Metamorphosis III

Metamorphosis III

 

1938, Mar 6 Escher’s third son Jan C. Escher is born.

 

1939, Jun 14 Escher’s father dies.

Losing a parent bears tremendous weight on a person’s heart and causes the world to look differently.  This is a very significant notation.  Escher loses his mother a year later.

1939, Nov – 1940, Mar Escher works on ‘Metamorphosis II’.

1940, May 10 The German’s invade the Low Countries.

1940, May 27 Escher’s mother dies.

1940 The German occupation forces the Escher’s to move to The Netherlands.

 

1941, Feb 20 The family moves to Baarn, Holland where Escher resides for the rest of his life. Five intarsia panels by Escher are placed in Leiden Town Hall.

 

1944, Feb 1 The Germans arrest Escher’s teacher, S. Jessurun de Mesquita. He is never seen again.

Jessurun de MesquitaAn excellent post to read about S. Jessurun de Mesquita can be found here

 

1946 Escher organizes a memorial exhibition in honor of Mesquita and begins the study of the mezzotint technique.

 

1951 Articles on Escher are published in ‘The Studio’ (Feb), ‘Time’ (Apr 2), and ‘Life’ (May 7) magazines.

 

1954 – 1961 Each year Escher makes a sea voyage to and/or from Italy.

 

1954, Sep Escher has a large one-man exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on the occasion of the International Mathematical Conference. He meets Canadian professor H.S.M. Coxeter.

An excellent read about Donald Coxeter can be found here at Science.ca.

 

1954, Oct – Nov Escher exhibits in the Whyte Gallery, Washington, D.C. Sells more than 100 prints.

 

1955, Feb The Escher’s move to a new home in Baarn.

 

1955, Apr 30 Escher is knighted, he receives the Knighthood of the Order of Oranje Nassau.

I was born only a week after Escher received his Knighthood.

 

1956 Escher meets Bruno Ernst.

Read about Bruno here.

 

1958 Early in the year Escher’s book ‘Regelmatige vlak verdeling’ (The Regular Division of the Plane), written and illustrated by Escher is published.

 

1959, Nov ‘Grafiek en tekeningen M.C. Escher’ (The Graphic Work of M.C. Escher) is published.

 

1959 Escher meets Caroline H. MacGillavry, professor of crystallography at Amsterdam University.

1960 He meets L.S. and Roger Penrose who become important in later works.


1960, Aug Escher holds an exhibition and lectures in conjunction with the Congress of the International Union of Crystallography in Cambridge, England.

 

1960, Aug – Oct Escher takes a sea voyage to Canada.

1960, Oct Escher lectures at MIT in Cambridge Massachusetts.

 

1961, Jun – Jul Escher crosses the Mediterranean by boat for the last time.

 

1961, Jul ‘The Saturday Evening Post’ (Jul 29) publishes an article on Escher by E.H. Gombrich.

 

1962, Apr Escher is admitted to hospital for an emergency operation; he takes a long time to recover.

 

1964, Oct 1 Escher and Jetta fly to Canada; he falls ill again and has to undergo another operation in Toronto.

 

1965, Mar Escher is awarded the cultural prize of the city of Hilversum.

 

1965, Aug ‘Symmetry Aspects of M.C. Escher’s Periodic Drawings’ by Caroline H. MacGillavry, a crystallographer, is published.

Symmetry Aspects

 

1965, Oct An article on Escher appears in the October issue of ‘Jardin des Arts’.

 

1966, Apr Scientific American publishes a long article on Escher in its April issue.

 

1967 – 1968 Escher designs ‘Metamorphosis III’ for post office in The Hague, unveiled Feb 20, 1969.

 

1968 Escher exhibits in Washington, D.C. (Mickelson Gallery) and The Hague (Gemeentemuseum), at the end of the year Jetta leaves for Switzerland, Escher lives on his own with a housekeeper. The Escher Foundation is set up.

 

1969, Jul Escher makes his last graphic work, a woodcut, ‘Snakes’.

Snakes by Escher

Snakes by Escher

1970 In the spring Escher is readmitted to the hospital for another major operation.

 

1970, Aug Escher moves to the Rosa Spier house in Laren.

 

1970 A film about Escher is shown at the Osaka World Fair.

 

1971, Dec ‘De werelden van M.C. Escher’ (The World of M.C. Escher, 1972) is published.

 

1972, Mar 27 Escher dies, at the age of 73, in the hospital in Hilversum.

 

A year after Escher’s passing, I graduated from high school.

 

Finally, an interesting question came up for us around Japan Paper and it is amusing to note that many people have the same question.  A detailed description of Washi can be found here.

Escher De werelden van M.C. Escher'

 

Return to Hamilton: Queen Victoria Statue

I think the most entertaining monument that I saw on my walk about Hamilton was the sculpture of Queen Victoria, not so much the sculpture, but the engraved words attached.  VICTORIA QUEEN AND EMPRESS: A MODEL WIFE AND MOTHER

From the Hamilton Public Library website, we read a detailed account about the history of the construction and maintenance of the sculpture over the years.  Very interesting stuff.  As was with most architecture of the time in the City of Hamilton, the industrial environment reeked havoc on stone, given the high oxidation factor.

On May 23, 1908, the Spectator wrote: “Hamilton women are becoming renowned all over Canada for their patriotism. One good deed after another is accomplished by the loyal women of the city, and each good deed rebounds to the credit of Hamilton as a whole.”

Note:

†Local newspapers reported the sculptor’s name as Philippe Hebert. The sculptor was christened Louis-Philippe Hébert, but usually went by the name Philippe Hébert. The Hamilton sculpture of Queen Victoria is signed “Philippe Hébert.” [Colin S. MacDonald, A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol. 2, 1989, p. 411.]

P1110492 P1110496This was quite a contrast to the bustling world of 2013 Hamiltonian society; the shopping, the cabs and the Tim Horton’s cups tossed down on the sidewalk.  The Queen would not have approved of the women’s summer fashion either!

From Henley’s Hamilton, we see this analysis of photographs taken in the period.

Queen Victoria Statue Unveiling

A photographic essay – all images taken by Cochrane.

Above is part of the crowd, estimated at 22,000, on hand to witness the unveiling of the Queen Victoria  statue. Note the military guard of 100 members of the 13th Regiment (white pith helmets on right) and 100 member of the 91st Highland Regiment (kilts and bear skin hats, left.)

Taken moments later, camera turning slightly north from James st. – the crowd in this view fills the north branch of King street completely.

Crowd opens to allow the arrival of Canada’s Governor-General Early Grey and the rest of the official party.

The statue is unvelied and the gentlemen in attendance doff their hats.

The governor-general addresses the assembled after the unveiling.

All photos courtesy, PreVIEW, Local History and Archives, Hamilton Public Library.

Related, but to a very small degree, this, from Andrew Evan’s travels and his Alberta Story: Queen Victoria’s Underwear.

It was good to meet you, Chris Flodberg!

I have admired the work of Chris Flodberg for years.  From the time I used up my father’s leftover pots of oil colour (He was a real fan in the late 50s/early 60s of paint-by-numbers.), I’ve enjoyed the smell of linseed oil.  The memory of the years and years of painting with oils when most artists were using acrylics, makes me smile.  Such a yummy medium!  It is also a rich experience to work with the paint over a longer period of time than what polymers will allow.  It is his sensitive use of this medium, that causes me to really, really enjoy Chris Flodberg’s work

On the day when I believed it to be unfortunate to be a day early for On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City featuring A Matter of Trust, hosted by the Public Library, I ended up being very-much blessed by the Encounters exhibit at the Glenbow Museum.  Second to that, I was exiting the second floor by the stairs,  just as the artist, Chris Flodberg, and a friend were heading up those same stairs.  Initially, we shared observations about the way that his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) was mounted in the stairwell.

It was a surprising and pleasant conversation because Chris then examined the context of the painting, its symbolism and explained how he staged his environment for the work.  It was such an awesome and serendipitous event!  I  recently wrote Chris, asking his permission to post the image of this interior here, so that I might more explicitly share some of those elements, so stay posted.

Uh huh!  Chris has given me his kind permission to post an image of his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) here.  A grander description to follow…but now, on to the off-leash!  Thanks, Chris.

"Love and War in the World of Men" 6'x4.5' 2004 Chris Flodberg

Chris pointed out some of the connections between Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and his own painting, Love and War in the World of Men.   If you look at the details; the orange perched on the window sill and the pair of shoes in the lower third of both compositions.  These elements create whimsy, along with an interesting continuity of what it means to be ‘a guy’ in a very intimate space.  I challenge my readers to find other such similarities in the content.

Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

 

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli

Where are you, Tanya Harnett? Connecting with photographs!

Cold Lake First Nations: Damaged Spring at Blueberry Point 2011, Collection of the artist, Tanya Harnett

Directly from the Glenbow Museum Exhibition Schedule…

Tanya Harnett is a photographer who uses her art form to explore notions of spirituality and materiality, technological modes of representation and hierarchy of media. Join Tanya as she discusses how her practice as a photographer engaged her in this curatorial process and how her own photography shaped her decision when selecting a Burtynsky photography for the exhibition.”

If you wander the internet, you will find all manner of project that Tanya Harnett has been involved with.  As guest curator for Encounters, she selected another Edward Burtynsky piece that is powerful for me, Nickle Tailings #30, Sudbury, Ontario.  Through my university-years 1973-1977, I used to travel back east by train, to visit my parents in Ontario.  I remember the view out my window, forehead against the glass window, as we journeyed early in the morning through the devastation of Sudbury’s landscape.  This was my place of birth.  This image spoke to my heart as I stood before it in the Glenbow Museum yesterday afternoon.  Thank you for selecting this particular piece, Tanya.

Nickel Tailings #30, Sudbury, Ontario Photographer: Edward Burtynsky

Where are you, Danny Michel? Connecting With a Photograph!

Oxford Tire Pile #2. Westley, California (1999). Photograph by Edward Burtynsky.

Of Edward Burtynsky’s photographs curated for the recent exhibit, Encounters, Danny Michel chose  Oxford Tire Pile #2 Westly, California.   It was a very frustrating thing, that the Glenbow did not provide, for purchase, a catologue of these works, along with the adjoining narrative.  The words shared by each guest curator were so fitting and in most cases, moving.  I had to plod along writing notes, as I always do, and spent a generous amount of time visiting with each photograph.  I’ve written about Burtynsky’s work before.  I went through a phase of needing to watch Manufactured Landscapes once a week…for a very long time…I never cease to be amazed by the beauty that this photographer captures in such ‘difficult’ subject matter! 

And what of Danny Michel?  One thing that he got me thinking about was, “Yeah….what would the Sumerians think about this photograph?  Inventors of the wheel…would they have ever imagined tires in such abundance, discarded in huge heaps?  Overwhelming imagery!