Posts Tagged ‘AGO’

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry,
an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944) was the 4th child of five, daughter of  Joseph and Rosetta.  Joseph, a banker, abandoned the family early on and was never mentioned again.  Older siblings Walter and Stella married and moved out while the younger three girls, Ettie, Florine and Carrie remained in the same household with their mother until their deaths.   They became known as “the Stetties”.  They hosted salons in Manhattan and lived a life of leisure and artistic pleasure.

below:  Family Portrait II, 1933, This painting has flowers, New York City references, and Florine Stettheimer’s immediate family portrayed in a theatrical setting/arrangement.  These are themes that occur over and over again in Stettheimer’s work.  Here Ettie is reading, Rosetta is playing cards, Florine is painting, and Carrie is playing hostess.

painting by Florine Stettheimer on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario

The Stettheimer children were born in Rochester NY.  Between 1906 and 1914 Florine and her mother and sisters lived in Europe before settling in Manhattan.

A portion of the exhibit features  a collection of designs for costumes for a ballet that Florine wrote while she was in Paris in 1912.  ‘Orphee of the Quat-z-Arts’ (or ‘Revellers of the Four Arts Ball’) was based on a costume parade organized by Parisian art students and in it the main character, Georgette, encounters the ancient Greek minstrel Orpheus and a parade of mythical creatures, as she and her father walk down the Champs Elysee.  The ballet was never performed.

below: One of 42 sketches and 9 relief maquettes, Georgette.

costume design mockup by Florine Stettheimer, AGO exhibit,

below: People, both men and women, were painted with elongated willowy shaped bodies.

a woman looking at a painting by Florine Stettheimer, AGO,

Florine also wrote poetry and she liked to send her poems to her friends.  In 1949 her sister Ettie published a book of Florine’s poems titled ‘Crystal Flowers’.  This is one of the poems:

And Things I Loved
a poem by Florine Stettheimer

Mother in a low-cut dress
Her neck like alabaster
A laced up bodice of Veronese green
A skirt all puffs of deeper shades
With flounces of point lace
Shawls of Blonde and Chantilly
Fichues of Honeton and Point d’Espirit
A silk jewel box painted with morning glories
Filled with ropes of Roman pearls
Mother playing the Beautiful Blue Danube
We children dancing to her tunes
Embroidered dresses of White Marseilles
Adored sashes of pale watered silk
Ribbons with gay Roman stripes
A carpet strewn with flower bouquets
Sevres vases and gilt console tables
When sick in bed with childhood ills –
All loved and unforgettable thrills.

 

below:  The painting in the foreground of this picture is ‘Self-Portrait with Palette (Painter and Faun)’, 1910s.  According to the words that accompany the painting, the faun behind her symbolizes a memory inspired by Russian ballet star Vaslav Nijinsky whom she saw perform in Paris in 1912.  After the performance, Florine wrote: “Nijinsky the faun was marvelous.  He seemed to be truly half beast… He knew not civilization – he was archaic – so were the nymphs.  He is the most wonderful male dancer I have seen”.

people at the Art Gallery of Ontario in a gallery featuring paintings by Florine Stettheimer,

below: Self-portrait, 1933

two women looking at a portrait painted by FLorine Stettheimer,

“For a long time
I gave myself
To the arrested moment
To the unfulfilled moment
To the moment of quiet expectation
I painted the trance moment
The promise moment
The moment in the balance
In mellow golden tones…
Then I saw
Time
Noise
Color
Outside me
Around me
Knocking me
Jarring me
Hurting me
Rousing me
Smiling
Singing
Forcing me in joy to paint them…”

This exhibit continues at the AGO until 28 January 2018

‘Room for Mystics’
An exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario by Sandra Meigs and Christopher Butterfield.

artwork by sandra Meigs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, paintings back to back, standing on the floor, bright colours, banners hanging on the walls of concentric yellow circles on white

Scattered around the room are bright coloured, simple paintings that are displayed back to back.  Banners with concentric yellow circles hang on the walls.  The solid colour boxes beside the paintings hide speakers.

artwork by sandra Meigs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, paintings back to back, standing on the floor, bright colours, banners hanging on the walls of concentric yellow circles on white

A large red mobile hangs from the ceiling, happiness with closed eyes.  Happiness and joy are two of the emotions that this room evokes.  Walking through the room is definitely a positive experience!  You can’t help but smile.

artwork by sandra Meigs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, paintings back to back, standing on the floor, bright colours, banners hanging on the walls of concentric yellow circles on white plus a large mobile of a red smile and two ele lashes from closed eyes

The paintings and mobile are the work of Sandra Meigs, a Canadian artist based in British Columbia.   Accompanying the exhibit is a ‘sound installation’ composed by Christopher Butterfield.

artwork by sandra Meigs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, paintings back to back, standing on the floor, bright colours, banners hanging on the walls of concentric yellow circles on white

artwork by sandra Meigs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, paintings back to back, standing on the floor, bright colours, banners hanging on the walls of concentric yellow circles on white

The exhibit continues until 14 January 2018

If you go looking for Henry Moore at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, you will be disappointed.

green construction fence around a small part of the sidewalk at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, equipment inside, one small gingko tree, building says Art Gallery of Ontario

Instead, you have to walk around the corner.

yellow pedestrian crossing sign that has been altered to look like 2 art students, one with a cardboard tube and the other with a portfolio case

After residing at the corner of Dundas and McCaul since 1974,  Henry Moore’s sculpture “Large Two Forms” was moved to the newly renovated Grange Park on the 3rd of June.   Grange Park is behind the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).

 the Henry Moore sculpture, Large Two Forms, in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario , a couple on a bench beside it

The new setting suits the sculpture.  There is more room for people to interact with the sculpture and the park makes a more picturesque background for those who like to take photos.

 the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario - Large Two Forms, with the blue wall of the AGO in the background

a girl in orange shorts and purple shoes stands on top of the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario

I’d be interested in knowing if the AGO has any plans for the now empty corner at Dundas and McCaul.  Was the construction pictured above just to remove the platform that the sculpture used to be on?  Or is there more to it than that?

Also, I don’t mean to spoil your fun, but how long will it be until a “do not climb” sign appears in Grange Park?   I’m not advocating for one – I just know how the city acts on things like this.   Part of me says, “Quick, get your selfie from on top of the sculpture while you can!”

A little extra that I discovered this morning.   As I wrote this blog post I kept thinking about “Down By the Henry Moore”, a song from my past.   All I could recall was the title.   I found a great version of it on youtube –  the song was written and sung by Murray McLauchlan and was released in 1974.   The Henry Moore referred to in the song is the one in front of City Hall but the video on youtube has some fabulous old picture of Toronto!  Many thanks to john allore who made the video and uploaded it to youtube.  I really enjoyed seeing the old images, down memory lane and all that.   If you are interested, this is the link;  it will open youtube in a new page.  You may have to suffer through a few seconds of ads and you have my apologies for that.

small painting of a red headed woman torso, amrs, and head, in a gold frame on a wall with lots of other paintings, except on e is missing and there is a white sign saying why its missing

All kinds of thoughts went through my head as I stood and looked at this painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  A little ho hum and a little melancholy and a little well what next.  There were no new exhibits since the last time that I visited the AGO and quite a few galleries were being prepared for new showings (i.e. closed).   A little bit of that’s a waste of time.   Even here there’s a painting missing.  … no, it’s only a waste of time if I let it be.

I stood and studied her face, the expression on her face, the tilt of her head and one hand held up.  What was going through her head?  Was the artist trying to tell us something about her?  Or was he just playing with composition in a limited space?  And that’s when the game began – what expressions hang on the walls of the AGO?  A sample:

 

below: part of “Time Dissolve” created around 1992 by Carl Beam (M’Chigeeng Ontario 1943-2000) using photo emulsion, acrylic and pencil on canvas.

part of Time Dissolve, an artwork by Carl Beam. Old photo of a woman seated on the ground bRed letters saying my mother are written on the woman and a red circle is around the boy's head

below: manipulating a series of portraits by Will Gorlitz (b. Argentina 1952).  The paintings were done in 1984 and are called Genre IV, Genre XVI, etc.  Nameless.   Unless her name was Genre and he’s painted her 6 times (one of the paintings in the row is not included here).

a series of 5 women's faces hung in a row on the art gallery wall, paintings by Will Gorlitz

below: Two pieces.  A sculpture called  “Eskimo Mother and Child” (about 1938) by Frances Loring and the portrait “Bess” by Canadian painter Lawren Harris.   I have talked about Loring in a previous post.

a sculpture of a woman with a child on her back, called Eskimo Mother and child by Frances Loring. She stands by a painting by Lawren Harris called Bess which a portrait of a woman in a black hat and black coat

below: part of “Melancholy”, oil on canvas, by Hendrick Terbrugghen (The Netherlands, 1588-1629)

a painting of a young woman sitting, with her hand resting on her hand, elbow on table, lit by candle light, called Melancholy painted by Hendrick Terbrugghen

below: part of “Waitress”, oil on canvas, by Shelley Niro, 1986  (b. USA 1954)

a painting of a waitress wearing black glasses serving a plate of food to a surprised looking red head woman with green eyes, called Waitress, painted by Shelley Niro

below: Engraving on paper, “Drunken Men at a Table” by Gillis Van Breen, Dutch, around 1600.

engraving on paper called Drunken men at a table, by Karel Van Mander, done late in the 1500's

below: The last picture is obviously from a painting with a religious theme. Unfortunately, the photo that I took of the tag with the artist’s name is too blurry to read.  I tried a google search on the image and the first hit was the Wikipedia page for Paul Bernardo.  Oh dear, Google that’s a fail… apparently it’s similar to a figure in a painting by Bernardo Carbone who was a painter in the 1600’s.   So Google put 2 and 2 together and got 17.   Hopefully you (and I) don’t get many 17’s!

part of a religious painting of a young man in a red robe kneeling before another man in white who has one hand on the young man's shoulder.

It was a foggy morning when I walked down McCaul Street.
The CN Tower had its head in the clouds.

looking south on McCaul street towards the CN tower, the top of the tower is covered in low cloud.

below: As I walked south on McCaul, this wall caught my eye.  It’s in an alley that runs perpendicular to McCaul but it can be seen from the street.

A quote by Voltaire in large capital letters, Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.

below: There are a number of small lanes and alleys in the area and like most alleys, there was graffiti to be found such as these two animals – a whale and a bird having a friendly chat.

Two roughly drawn graffit animals on a wall, a duck and a whale, both in white paint with red details

below: Bugs Bunny is easy to find; he’s on McCaul.

mural of bugs bunny lying on the ground, head on elbow, eating a carrot

below: Just around the corner from the Wascally Wabbit is the Cat in the Hat from the Dr. Suess book of the same name.  This time, the cat’s mischief involves a can of spray paint.   Extra info: yes, you can still get Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Toronto.

mural of the cat from the cat in the hat, the kids book by Dr. Suess, he's holding a can of spray paint.

below: More Dr. Suess, this time Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They are on the same mural as the Cat in the Hat and are running towards him.

thing 1 anf thing 2 from Dr. Suess Cat in the Hat in a mural on the side of a building.

below: Once upon a time you could smell fresh bread when you walked down McCaul but now Silversides bakery sits empty.

empty brick building, with ghost of sign that said Silversides in cursive writing,

below: Old row houses on Baldwin Street.  Most of the remaining old houses on Baldwin, especially those close to McCaul, have been converted into restaurants.

row houses on Baldwin street, three storey old brick houses with gabled roofs. One is now a restaurant.

below: A cheerful yellow house – another example of the older houses in the neighbourhood.

a small yellow bungalow is between two largeer and taller houses. It has a hedge in front and a yellow awning over the front door.

below: More colours…. evenly divided in pink and yellow.  They share a gable and a porch, both of which have interesting details in the woodwork.

a semi divided house, one side pink and the other side yellow, the gable of the house belongs half to one side and half to the other

below:  There’s not as much paint on these houses.  Instead, there is two coloured  brick pattern on all walls of the front of the house.  I wonder how many other houses have brick patterns hiding under their paint?

large semi divided brick house with a center gable and woodedn porch, also wooded oriel window over the front door.  Two colours in the brick work, eachhouse has painted wood a different colour

below: The sign beside the door says: Chinese Seniors Health & Recreation Association of Ontario.  An old Bell telephone booth sits on the corner.

old Bell telephone booth in front of a large semi divided three story house, painted white, fence in front, bikes parked against fence

below: The blue wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario as seen from the other side of Grange Park.  Grange Park has been under renovation for a number of months now but it is looking like it is close to completion.  Part of the renovation has involved creating a new space for Henry Moore’s sculpture, Large Two Forms, which sits on the corner of Dundas and McCaul at the moment.   The couple in this photo caught my eye because she’s in shorts and he’s in a parka with the hood up.

two people are walking up a wide path in a park, Grange Park, with the blue wall of the Art Gallery in the distance

below: Another Grange Park upgrade is the playground.

new playground in Grange Park with the box on pencil structure of OCAD behind it.

below: A lonely urban tree hiding amongst the clutter on the sidewalk.

a lonely tree grows out of a square of dirt on the sidewalk, street scene around it.

below: A large mural celebrating the Ride to Conquer Cancer covers the wall beside the entrance to the parking lot of Princess Margaret Hospital.

very large mural for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer showing scenes from a fund raising bike ride. Men and women and their bikes

below: This is painted in a slightly different style than the one above!

a mural showing a scantily dressed large breasted blonde woman kneeling amongst red mushrooms.

below: Sitting beside the anser face.

two pieces of street art, an anser face on one side, and a painting of a long haird blond woman sitting in a chair beside it, her back is to the viewer

below: More faces, this time two faces merged into one.

a line drawing graffiti of two faces merged into one, 2 noses, trhee eyes, two mouths,

below: Someone also has a homonym problem.

graffiti on a metal box on the sidewalk says I new this would happen. the words don't fit across the box and the en in happen are written below it

below: Not just a poser bunny, but an honest poser bunny.

a green piece of metal attached to a wood hydro pole with a white drawing of a poser bunny on it.   The word honest in white letters is written beside the bunny

below: A lone survivor.  The Richard Purdom House is the last house standing on this stretch of McCaul.  Richard Purdom was the architect and original owner of the house (1877).  It is a heritage building that “displays features of the Italinate style”.  Most of the buildings around it are hospital buildings (Mt. Sinai and Princess Margaret).  There is usually a car parked in front.

old brick house in front, modern hospital buildings in the background

below: Another bit of history – the bell tower of St. George the Martyr Anglican Church stands near the south entrance of Grange Park.   The original church first opened its doors here in 1845.  It could seat 750 people and the tower was topped with a spire that reached 150 feet.  In the early morning of 13 Feb 1955, the church burned.   The new church is behind the tower and part of the grounds is now a garden dedicated to the memory of the old church and its early congregations

old brick bell tower of a church.  The church burned down many years ago, leaving the tower.  A new church was built behind but you can't see it in the picture

below: Just before the end of the post…  I’m throwing in one window picture because every walk needs a window as much as this wall needs a fresh coat of paint!

two windows with brown frames on a cream coloured wall with the paint peeling to reveal the red brick beneath

Toronto street sign, McCaul St.

Keeping warm at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Below are 5 works of art that I saw recently when I decided to spend the afternoon inside instead of walking in the cold.  The AGO is definitely a great way to stay warm!

below: There is a room at the Art Gallery of Ontario that is home to four large metal sculptures at the moment.  Large structural pieces. These creations are the work of Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013).  They are made of discarded metal pieces.  At one point in his career, he made scale models for a giant art project for Park Avenue in New York City.  When the project was cancelled, he took apart the models and used the pieces to make a new series.  Three of those on display here are from that series, ‘Sculpture Laid Bare’.  It would be interesting to see what the Park Avenue sculpture models looked like.

a woman with long hair walks away from a large metal sculpture made of cast off pieces of metal, on display at the Art gallery of Ontario,

In the early part of his career, Caro made modeled figurative pieces cast in bronze.  In the 1960’s he started to use prefabricated steel and aluminum, sometimes in bright colours such as the example below:

red sculpture by anthony caro, metal, 4 upright cylindrical tubes with metal mesh forming an X on top of them.

Red Splash, by Anthony Caro. Image found online at source.

If they were outside, they would invite interaction.  Touch them.  Climb on them.  In this gallery setting, there is a no touching policy.   The words on the wall says that: “He [Caro] meditates on the passage of time, processes of decay, the painful realities of aging, and the future of modern sculpture.”  Isn’t that why the gallery is doing their best to preserve them just the way they are?


below: ‘The Distinctive Line Between One Subject and Another’ by John McEwen, 1980.  Two steel wolves looking at each other across the room.  On the wall behind the wolves is ‘Folia Series #1 and #2 by Nobuo Kubota, 1976, representations of the wrinkles on the cerebellum in the brain.

two metal sculptures of life sized wolves looking at each other across the room, a large panel art work is on the wall behind them, half black and half yellow.

John McEwen is a Canadian sculptor.  A number of his sculptures can be found around Toronto.  He designed the boat hull like shapes for the Victory Peace memorial on the waterfront that I mentioned in a previous blog post – down to Coronation Park.  The three metal tubes outside the Air Canada Centre – the Searchlight Starlight Spotlight – are also his work.


below: More lines, this time its “Aforim” by Rita Letendre, 1975.  Which lines are parallel?  Is there a horizon line?  If so, which one is it?

horizontal lines, some parallel and some at slight angles, in blues and greys, painting on a gallery wall called Aforim by Rita Letendre


… And lastly, another reference to structure.  But not structure in the 3D, physical form, sense of the word.  Instead, it is a painting called ‘Number Structure II’ by Canadian artist Kazuo Nakamura (1926-2002).  Nakamura graphs out number-structure patterns and calculations and presents them as art.

below: One of the structures that Nakamura used was the Pascal Triangle.  This image shows the first 6 lines of the triangle.  Each number is the sum of the two numbers above it.  Can you figure out what the next line would be?   When expanded, it contains many number sequences and can be used to answer probability questions – as well as other mathematical things that I don’t understand.

the top 6 lines of pascals triangle, a mathematical structure of numbers

below: A small (maybe 1/8th) section of the painting … which unfortunately doesn’t give you much of an idea as to the composition of the artwork.  It does though give you an idea of the detail.  Some of the parts that I have omitted are triangle shapes that conform to Pascals triangle as pictured above.   Is it mathematics?  Is it art?  Where do you draw the line between the two?  Is there a line?

a detail picture of a painting by Kazuo Nakamura called Number Structure 2 which is based on Pascal Triangle. Lots of numbers written in white on blue and black background. the background is made into rectangles, squares and triangles.

It’s the kind of painting that a photograph can never do justice to.  It’s best seen in person.   Oh yes, the answer to the question above:  The next line of the triangle would be: 1, 6, 15, 20, 15, 6, 1.

First I heard a rumour that the Art Gallery of Ontario was going to remove that sculpture from the corner of Dundas & McCaul, you know, the one that everyone climbs on and takes their picture with, the one near the AGO entrance.

Then I read about in a newspaper.

You know, that curvy bulky slippery thing by Henry Moore, the one with a title that’s almost as shapeless as the sculpture, “Large Two Forms” although no one calls it that.   Oh, what do they call it anyhow?

Then I read about it online.

people are walking on the sidewalk, a woman is sitting by a sculpture by Henry Moore, the Art Gallery Of Ontario is beside the sculpture, street and other buildings in the background, street scene,

It’s sat on that corner since 1974.  That’s 42 years.  Longer than the average Torontonian has been alive.
Can you say synonymous? …. as in synonymous with the corner of Dundas and McCaul.

Apparently it’s going to be moved to Grange Park.  That’s the park behind the AGO, the one that is being renovated.

The expression “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” comes to mind.
How about new public art for a renewal of the park?

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated, the blue wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario is in the background.

But walking the site and looking at the plans made me start to think.  The sculpture is being moved into its own space in the park and as I looked at the drawings and the artist rendition of the future space, it dawned on me that the redesign of Grange Park was possibly (probably?) done specifically to accommodate the sculpture.  The Art Gallery owns Grange Park after all.  Toronto does a lousy job of placement of their public art so maybe I shouldn’t complain about this?

Maybe.

As I tried to take photos of the sculpture where it is, I was reminded of how the streetscape in Toronto gets short shrift.

blog_art_gallery_corner

Henry Moore competes with old poles as well as bus shelters that are designed to maximize Astral Media ads.  At least there isn’t a ghastly trash bin beside the sculpture.  And at least the art is solid enough and strong enough to hold its own.

But this is going to be a problem for any artwork that gets put on that corner.
Oh dear, assuming that something will replace Henry Moore?

Don’t mess it up even more AGO, don’t leave the corner empty.
We have more of a cultural memory than you give us credit for.