Posts Tagged ‘ice’

It’s been a while, I know.   Part of my excuse – the holidays got in the way.  But more importantly, it’s been very cold with bitter winds adding to our discomfort.  The very cold days are beautiful with their bright blue skies.  Although I have walked once or twice in -20C weather, the pictures here are from a warmer day when it was possible to take pictures without freezing my fingers off.  Unfortunately, in the winter warmer often means greyer.  I thought of calling this post “In Search of Winter” but that would be silly as no search is needed, it hits you in the face and it surrounds you.  Everyone is talking about the cold.

below: Winter in the city isn’t always picturesque.  Salt and sand and snow mix together to form slush.   Brown ugly slush, especially on the roads and sidewalks as seen here on Queens Quay West.  Of course, if you live in Toronto you are already well aware of this!

dirty slush along the streetcar tracks on Queens Quay

below: H2O park now has a pink #TOwaterfront sign (sculpture?) to go with its yellow umbrellas and white Muskoka chairs.  The weakened winter sun tried to break through the wall of clouds.

H 2 O park on Toronto's waterfront with yellow umbrellas over white Muskoka chairs on what is a beach in the summer but is covered with snow in the picture. A pink sign that says #TOwaterfront made of pink wood that is supposed to look like pieces of driftwood

below: The other morning there was a small group of Toronto firemen all dressed for the icy water as they practiced winter rescue procedures.  Both men were tethered to the shore.

two Toronto firemen in their yellow cold water suits, life jackets on, and tethered to ropes, practicing breaking through ice and then recovering by makng their way to stronger ice, practising ice rescues

below: Just a few footprints in the snow. I wasn’t the only one walking this way but there certainly weren’t any crowds.

a few footprints in the snow on a bridge

below: A cold and lonely barbecue, as well as one under wraps, waiting out the winter on the dock.

barbecues under tarps on snow covered docks in partially frozen harbour

below: Access to the docks along the waterfront was discouraged. It was easy to get out there but I suspect that if I’d fallen in I would have gotten in trouble, and not just from being wet. I wonder how thick the ice was there?

a danger do not enter sign and yellow caution tape across a dock on the waterfront, windswept snow, old railing,

below: Instead of comic relief, we have colour relief!

close up of porthole and red wall on boat in the harbour, railing and rope knotted, both with snow on them

below: Ducks on ice.  Have you ever seen a duck land in the snow?  It looks exactly like a landing in water but with a much shorter skid at it comes to a stop.   Or maybe that was obvious because how else would a duck land?

ducks onthe ice on Lake Ontario in the foreground, Canada Malting Co silos in the backgrounds

below: More ducks… ducks swimming in the small patch of open water.  There can’t be much food for them these days.

snow covered docks with one small snow covered boat, harbour, some ice and some open water

tall ship in harbour, with condos along Queens Quay in the background

snow covered boats on snowy docks, bottom of larger boat is in the background.

ice covered ropes that are holding a boat tied to the shore

below:  Lake Ontario with the Port Lands and the Toronto Islands in the background.  Windswept snow on the ice.

frozen harbour, Lake Ontario, with some snow covered docks

Stay warm everyone!

And don’t lose your gloves!  There are so many lost and lonely gloves out there… I hope that this one isn’t yours because if you’re like me, you lose at least one every winter.  I wonder they end up? In landfills?  … where archeologists of the future will dig up all these single gloves and mitts and wonder what it says about our society?  [smile!]

one black wool glove that has been dropped on a slushy wet sidewalk in winter

This past weekend was the 5th annual Bloor Yorkville Icefest.
It’s an event that features ice sculptures in the park at Cumberland and Bellair.

The theme this year was Canada 150, as 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday.

a group of people sit and stand on a large rock behind an ice sculpture of a maple leaf with the words Canada 150 under it, all carved in ice.

below: Sculptures in an enclosure (i.e. no one gets close enough to touch).  The Parliament building in Ottawa is on the left with a very tall RCMP Mountie standing beside it.  I’m not sure who the sculpture in the middle is supposed to represent.   On the right, a large 1867, the year of Confederation, on top of a large 2017.

people standing on a large rock to look at ice sculptures of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, a tall RCMP mountie and the numbers 1867 2017 .

below: A number of artists worked on their sculptures as part of the festival.  This mountie and beaver had  just been completed before I arrived.

an ice sculpture of a mountie and a beaver has just been finished. The tools used by the artist are lying around on the ground below the sculpture.

below:  A large chunk of ice gets cut into smaller cubes.   Each cube contains a small toy that had been frozen in the ice.  For $2 you could buy an ice cube and smash it to liberate the toy.

a man is using a chainsaw to cut a chunk of ice into smaller cubes. Small toys have been frozen into the ice. Other people are watching, especially two kids.

Don’t miss the sign in the background!

below: Complete with spelling mistake. Charlottetown is spelled wrong.
Also, the term Newfie is included? Apparently it’s no longer an insult to call someone a Newfie.

a young woman in black coat and brown tuque stands beside a block of ice that has the names of some of Canada's cities carved into it.

below: The warm temperatures were making some of the thinner pieces more fragile than usual.   The little ‘knobs’ on this replica of the Taj Mahal were barely hanging on.  Luckily the temperatures dropped enough that most of the sculptures survived.

a woman is standing behind an ice sculpture of the taj mahal.

people at the Bloor Yorkville Icefest

a girl in a bright pink jacket stands behind a podium built of ice and in front of a wall made of ice. Both have curvy lines and swirls carved into them.

an ice sculpture of a face, perhaps a man weraing a hat with a black hat band?, crowd scene in the background, a woman's face on the left side of the photo.

a ice sculpture of a mountie standing at attention and saluting, light by pink and red lights,

a young man stands behind an ice sculpture to pose for a picture, one hand up with peace sign of two fingers, a young woman is looking at him from the other side of the sculpture

a coouple stand on a set of stairs behind an ice sculpture to have their picture taken.

#blooryorkville | #icefest17

Yesterday afternoon I wandered into The Power Plant Art Gallery.  It was late enough in the day that the sun was already low in the sky.  It shone through the large windows in the main gallery and cast a warm glow on the current exhibit, works by Yto Barrada titled ‘Faux Guide’ .

The first thing you see when you enter the rooms is a collection of carpets.  This is ‘Geological Time Scale’ and it consists of bright and bold red, blue, and green carpets – Beni Mguild, Marmoucha and Ait Sgougou pile rugs from Western Central, Middle Atlas, Morocco.   It’s definitely eye catching and it definitely draws the viewer into the exhibit.

main exhibit room of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, large room with two large windows in which the low afternoon sun is shining. Exhibit by Yto Barrada consisting of red, green and blue carpets on the floor. some framed pictures on the far wall, walls have been painted yellow up to about 4 feet from the floor.

A series of  small exhibits are arranged around the room and most of them are the result of the artist’s research on Moroccan dinosaurs, fossils, and the industry that has built up around them including the trade in fake fossils sold to tourists and museums.   I have not shown most of these exhibits – I will leave it up to you to discover them.

below: “I am not exotic I am exhausted”.  I suspect that this comes as Barrada’s response to living in a place (Tangiers Morroco) where tourists come to see “exotic things”.  But it is also the lament of anyone trying to live and work in a place that is also a “tourist attraction”.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. 6 shown in this photo. Including one that only has a few word on it, I am not exotic I am exhausted.

below: The whole of ‘A Modest Proposal’ and ‘Faux Guide’, 2015.  A set of 48 posters loosely tacked to the wall.  A mix of humorous and poignant.  One is an alphabetical listing of all the types of dinosaurs found in Morocco.  One says “Miss Colorado and Miss Finland are Moroccan” – which did happen in 2012.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. They are arranged in a grid of 12 x 8 pictures. A woman is standing in front of them, reading the words on one. Blue and red carpets are on the floor in the foreground.

below: ‘Plumber Assemblage’ by the window, with skaters outside in the fading light.

plumber assemblage, an artwork by Yto Barrada consisting of a few sculpture like pieces made from pipes, faucets, taps, shower heads and other plumbing things.

There are many, many things that you can take from this exhibit.  Many things to think about.

An article in the  Toronto Star claims that Barrada  “explores the cultural heritage of her homeland through a colonial lens” and how that heritage has been used to make money from tourists.   But….   Is this the making of money by exploiting one’s culture and history?  Or the exploiting of Moroccan culture and history by the tourists?

Tourists go searching for the foreign and the exotic.  Many of them are souvenir hunters – Sometimes it’s a selfie in front of every “famous” place (or interesting building or whatever) and sometimes it’s a “find”.  But we live in a world that is full of  ‘made in China’ souvenirs and we are a people that don’t care to distinguish between the real and the fake.  We just want a story to tell the folks back home.

There were once dinosaurs living in a tropical land in what is now Morocco….  how the world has changed, and is changing.   Insert your opinions on climate change here.

Because it is a collection of exhibits under one umbrella, it has been compared to a museum.  Very trendy.   One description of the exhibit claims that it is “Meant to make us question the ways in which museums confer value on things”.  Can I take that one step further by asking, how do art galleries confer status on art and artists?  Museums make curatorial choices and so do art galleries.  Barrada too has surely made choices as have I.

You are probably wondering what carpets on the floor have to do with all those words that I just wrote.  Good question.  I think that Yto Barrada is on to something – an exhibit that has visual appeal, offends no one, and is flexible in its interpretation (i.e. it says something different to everyone and fits nicely into most people’s narratives).   You can agree with me, or disagree.  Best to go and see it for yourself and form your own opinions…. mine just might be fake.

below: People skating on the frozen Natrel Pond beside The Power Plant.

late afternoon with the sun low in the sky casting yellowish glow on the world, Toronto skyline in the background with its condos and construction cranes, also The Power Plant Center and art gallery. In the foreground is the frozen Natrel Pond of Harbourfront and on it people are skating.

Yto Barrada’s exhibit will be on at The Power Plant until the 2nd of January.

A comparison of sorts.  Two painters from two different time periods.  One looked north and the other looks south.  The north with its barren cold and blue in comparison to the south and its lush greenness.  A famous anglo Canadian painter who went searching for simplicity and a relatively new British painter with Jamaican roots who explores complexities.

Lawren Harris and Hurvin Anderson.  You should know which is which!

I didn’t purposely set out to compare them.  I saw the ‘The Idea of North’ exhibit that features the Steve Martin paintings of Lawren Harris first.  As much as I like the Group of Seven, Harris’s minimalist snow and ice paintings have never been my favorite.  Still, it was an interesting collection to see.  After I finished there, I headed up to the contemporary art floors.  The fifth floor is still closed (new installation opening later this week) but I discovered that the fourth floor is devoted to the works of Hurvin Anderson.  As I walked around the Anderson installation I kept thinking of similarities and differences between him and Lawren Harris.

many people in a room in an art gallery, standing around and looking at paintings.

below: Mountains in Snow: Rocky Mountain Paintings VII, 1929.  One of the many famous Lawren Harris snow and ice paintings.  Light, reflected light, shadows, and contrasts.  The elements reduced to their simplest form.   The landscape itself is almost secondary.  Or the landscape is the medium, not the message.

a Lawren Harris painting of a snow covered mountain, blue sky in the background.

below: The large painting on the right is ‘Pic Island’ painted about 1924.  Pic Island is an unpopulated island along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Today the island is part of Neys Provincial Park.

a woman walks through a gallery with paintings on the wall. She stops to look at one of them.

below: Two of Hurvin Anderson’s paintings from his Caribbean landscape collection.  On the left is ‘Beaded Curtain – Red Apples’, 2010.

three young women sitting on a couch with their backs to the camera, they are looking at two large paintings on a wall, by Hurvin Anderson.

below:  ‘Constructed View’, 2010.  Anderson’s Caribbean paintings have grilles incorporated into them.  These are the security features prevalent on houses and businesses in the Caribbean (and elsewhere in the world), metal fixtures over windows and doors to keep out the unwanted.  They contain what’s inside.  They are a barrier.  They intrude on the landscape and cut it up.  Again, the landscape is almost secondary.  The message, or emotion, is more important.  [aside – There is a grille in the painting above (right) but it’s more subtle.]

a landscape painting in shades of green with fragments of white grille overlayed, repeating pattern of 4 circles with a square

Lawren Harris painted his famous mountain pictures in the late 1920’s.  In 1930 he visited Baffin Island and a few paintings resulted from that trip.  I learned that although I associate Harris with icebergs and arctic scenery, most of his snow and ice paintings were from the north shore of Lake Superior or from the mountains around Banff Alberta.

The repetoire of both painters is not limited to landscapes.  Harris painted many houses and street scenes from downtown Toronto including houses and streets that were demolished years ago.  The examples of Anderson’s non-landscape work were interiors.  Both men used bold colours but Anderson tends to show more detail in his paintings.

below: ‘Welcome: Carib’  The Welcome sign of the bar in  juxtaposition with the red metal work covering the window.  The picture beckons to us but keeps us out.

a man in a straw fedora stands in front of a painting called Welcome: Carib by Hurvin anderson, it features a red star patterned grille over the painting, over the window that is in front of the interior scene.

below: One of the paintings from Anderson’s Barbershop collection, ‘Flat Top’ 2008.

two young women walk away from a large painting hanging on an art gallerywall.  two barber chairs in a barber shop, empty.  Bright pink wall with squares of colour.

below: A selection of colourful Toronto houses in winter painted by Harris in the 1920s.

two women look at a line Lawren Harris paintings of brightly coloured houses in winter on a wall in an art gallery

In the 1930’s Lawren Harris’s personal life went awry.  The words on the wall at the AGO says that he divorced, remarried and moved to the states.  That’s a bit of spin.  He didn’t divorce his wife because that would be messy, apparently.  Instead in 1934 he just married the wife of an old friend.   And of course that turned messy and the new couple left for the USA for a few years before eventually settling in Vancouver BC.   Harris’s post-1934 work is very abstract and was never as successful as his earlier paintings.

below:  You can see the influence of the mountain paintings in this,  ‘Painting No. 4’, about 1939, painted when he was a member of the Transcendental Painting Group.  This was a collective of artists in New Mexico that Harris help to found.

an abstract painting by Lawren Harris, circles and diamonds in an egg shape

below: Since I have no idea where the art of Hurvin Anderson is headed, I will leave you with one more of his present paintings (I’m not sure those two ideas actually go together!).  ‘Foska Foska’, the interior of a shop behind yellow bars and black mesh.

a painting by Hurvin Anderson called Foska Foska, shows the interior of a store with a yellow metal gate in front.  and a wire structure covering the ceiling too

 

The Idea of North – until 18 September

Hurvin Anderson – until 21 August

#HarrisAGO | #HurvinAndersonAGO

Bloor Yorkville Icefest, Frozen in Time
Cumberland Ave., February 21 & 22

 Ice sculpture beside a sidewalk.  The top part has the words Bloor Yorkville icefest and the bottom part has the words Frozen in time, icefest 15.   The middle section looks like a large face made of Egyptian motifs.

The 10th annual Icefest featured the carving of blocks of ice into Ancient Egypt themed sculptures.

Four ice sculptures with Ancient Egyptian themes - King Tut, and a pyramid amongst them.   Also a wall of hieroglypics with two guards beside it.

Both Saturday and Sunday were snowy days but the weather didn’t deter the crowds, or their picture taking.  I’m sure that there are thousands of photographs of the sculptures!
Here are a few of mine.

A man in a white parka is standing beside a sculpture with his elbow resting on it.  A woman in white coat and hat is taking his picture.

A woman is facing a sculpture of a dinosaur.  Both of them have their mouths wide open.

A boy is standing beside a sculpture

A mother with two little kids is posing with an ice sculpture.

A little girl in a pink snow suit it peaking throw a whole in an ice sculpture

A father is taking a photograph of his son beside an ice sculpture

A group of four people are standing around an ice sculpture.  They all have puzzled looks on their faces as though they can't figure out what the sculpture is supposed to be.

An ice sculpture of a bear with it's front paws raised, looms over the interesection of Yonge and Bloor.

This bear loomed over the NE corner of Yonge and Bloor.

Most of the sculptures along Cumberland Ave (west of Bellair) are still there and will remain as long as the temperatures remain low and no one vandalizes them.

5 lifeguard posts
5 art installations
5 places to sit and/or get out of the wind

All in one place – along the waterfront at Kew & Balmy Beaches
until 20 March 2015

1. Snowcone by Lily Jeon and Diana Koncan

Art installation that looks like a giant white pinecone on the beach in winter.  The inside of the parts of the cone are bright translucent coloured plexiglass

Looking from inside a dome shaped structure that is made of geometric shapes of coloured plastic, looking to the bright blue sky, with snow on some of the pieces of plastic.  Lots of bright colours.

From the inside of the Snowcone, looking up through the center.

 metal frame of a lifeguard stand surrounded by brightly coloured shapes of translucent plastic
2. Driftwood Throne by Daniel Madeiros

Beach in winter, snow, snow fence and lots of blue sky.  There is a wooden art installation that is also seating for those who want to sit and look out over the cold lake.

Lifeguard station that has been partially enclosed by a wooden structure.  Two people are sitting on the lifeguard chair with their backs to the camera

3. Sling Swing by Ed Butler, Daniel Wiltshire and Frances McGeown

The art installation, Sling Swing, in the breeze on a frozen snow covered beach.  It consists of large pieces of orange fabric slings hanging from a metal frame. One can use the slings as swings.

Two women sitting on the orange sling swings on a cold winter day at the beach

orange lovebot sticker inside an orange life ring on a lifeguard chair.  Pieces of orange fabric are draped around the chair.

4.  Wing Back by Tim Olson

Wooden structure on a winter beach between a snow fence and the lake

wooden structure on the beach in winter.   Part in painted red.  It is supposed to be a large chair, semi-circle, can seat a number of people.

5. Hot Box by Michaela MacLeod and Nicholas Croft

A large black box on a winter beach.  The box is large enough to fit several people inside it.

This one feels creepy inside. No windows. Interior walls form narrow passageways.

Happy December!

Stay warm!

skating rink with brightly lit Chrsistmas tree behind it

It’s a chilly evening but skaters take to the ice at Nathan Phillips square. Christmas stars overhead and a brightly lit tree in the background for it’s December again.