Posts Tagged ‘mitchikanabikong’

Lots of shiny silver balls, like bowling balls with bling, and lots of paint on large canvases…. on the surface these two things don’t really have anything in common.  But because they are two things that I saw at the Art Gallery of Ontario, I’m going to throw them together in this blog post.  The shiny spheres are part of a display by Yayoi Kusama  while the paintings I refer to are those by J.P. Riopelle and Joan Mitchell.

I saw the balls first.   There has been a lot of hype and publicity for the latest AGO exhibit, “Infinity Mirrors” by Yayoi Kusama that just opened this past weekend.  You’ve probably seen the all the red and white polka dots on the TTC and elsewhere around the city.   Last week when I was at the AGO I noticed that another Kusama exhibit was in the works, one that didn’t involve buying a “hard to get” ticket.  I was curious.  I’ve seen some photos of “Infinity Mirrors” so I went with great expectations.   Maybe that was my mistake.

below: “Narcissus Garden” consists of a large room with hundreds of shiny silver spheres laid out on the floor.

a large room, with 3 women looking at hundred of silver balls arranged on the floor. The balls are about the size of bowling balls

“Narcissus Garden” dates back to 1966 when it was a performance piece by Kusama at the Venice Bienalle.  She walked among the balls, picking them up, and looking at herself in them.   Here, at the AGO, they lie on the floor.   The ceiling is reflected over and over again.   It’s a dull ceiling.   The balls are scuffed up.   You might be able to lie on the floor to get a good look at the reflections bouncing around and that might be interesting.  As it is, “listless” is the word that I would use to describe it.  It’s the tag along mangy mutt to the main event.

reflections of a person in a few shiny silver balls

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to improve the presentation but, meh, no.  Instead I went upstairs to take a second look at the lesser known “new” exhibit at the AGO, the marvellous Mitchell and Riopelle show, “Nothing in Moderation”.  American abstract painter Joan Mitchell (1925 -1992) and Canadian abstract painter Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) met in Paris in 1955.  For 24 years they were colleagues, friends, and lovers.  This exhibit consists of more than 50 of their works on loan from collectors around the world and shown together.

below: Looking at (part of) ” Tilleul (the Linden Tree)”, 1992 by Mitchell.

A woman in dark bright pink hair, with matching purse and shoes stands in front of a large painting by Joan Mitchell in an art gallery

below: Three degrees of interest in “Chasse Interdit (Hunting Prohibited)” by Mitchell, 1973.  On loan from the George Pompidou Centre in Paris.   The title of the painting refers to a ban on hunting – apparently Riopelle loved hunting and Mitchell loathed it.

Three people are looking at a large Riopelle painting in an art gallery, two are sitting on a couch and the third is standing closer to the painting.

below: The painting here is “Avatac” by Riopelle, 1971.  It is acrylic paint on top of lithographs on canvas

an emptry art gallery room except for a security guard standing on one side, a brown couch is in the middle of the room and a large abstract painting by Riopelle is one one wall, you can see into the next room where there is also a painting on a wall.

below: This is a photo of a small part of the above painting.  If you look closely, you can see the lithograph peeping through.   I can see a small animal head near the top left (a cat?) and there seems to be another lower down.

acrylic paint on top of lithograph, a detail of a large work by J P Riopelle called Avatac, created in 1971.  abstract art.

below: One thing that intrigued me about Riopelle’s painting was that even though there is a lot of paint (palette knife?), there are still some places where the canvas is visible.  Just small bits.

a close up of a large abstract painting with lots of acrylic paint on it

below: The details in the above photo are from the top left square in ” Mitchikanabikong ” by Riopelle.

large painting by Riopelle called Mitchikanabikong which is sort of divided into 6 quares, 3 across the top row and 3 on the bottom.  they alternate light and dark

below: The gallery was quiet on Wednesday morning.   Both of these paintings are by Joan Mitchell.   On the left, on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC is “Marlin”, 1960.  The other is “Untitled” from 1961 and it is on loan from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York.

a flat bench in front of two paintings on a gallery wall

And to end, a couple more for you to enjoy.

two women looking at large paintings in an art gallery

a woman with her back to the camera is looking at a large painting in an art gallery, AGO, Art gallery of Ontario,