Posts Tagged ‘red’

Sunny September days make good walking in the alleys days.   Here are some of the walls I saw and the compositions that they make.  The textures of wood and metal, bright colours as well as subdued ones, the effects of light and shadow, as well as shapes and patterns – these are some of the things that catch my eye and make me stop.  Throw a little nature into the mix and the following photos are the result.

part of an old wood door that is part dark turquoise and part blue, with a rusted latch holding the two doors together and closed

a vine with two red leaves hangs in front of a grey wall, sunny day so there are shadows on the wall fromother plants that aren't in the picture

three small windows in a wall, the top part of the wall is brick and the bottom is plaster that has been painted white

old rusty downspout with part of a wire coat hanger wrapped around ut, in front of a grey shingle covered wall that has been partially covered with purple spray paint

trunks of three trees growing in front of an old white building with a green door. windows in door are covered with plywod and a piece of plywood is nailed over parts of the lower half of the doors to keep them closed.

a bashed up grey metal door with splotches of light and shadow

part of a bright red double metal door in a brick building

a bright turquoise door in a building that has been painted white - some of the old brick shows throw the peeling paint.

part of a brick wall that has old windows bricked over in a different brick, an old window with old wood frame, unpainted, some graffiti on the wall

corrugated plastic panels on angle in front of concrete block wall with window covered with plywood

white drips of paint on a wood garage door, metal door handle

chainlink fence in front of rows of construction equipment

a grey plaster attempt to patch a broken rusted metal panel on the side of a garage - rust in shades of yellow and brown, a painted green stripe

red, white, and blue spray paint on three wood slats of a fence, tied together with string, some nails sticking out

paste up of a man's face over a wood door, door and wall have blue and red splotchy spray paint on them

Welcome back!

I spotted this image and knew that it was going to be part of today’s theme.

the word see is in block letters on a tinted window, some sky is reflected in the window as well

It was a beautiful summer Sunday today – a great day to get outside and walk around.  Although I started my walk by looking for little details, I ended up finding a lot of colour along the way.   Cheerful colours that I want to share with you.

below: Colours like this red van parked in the partial shade of a tree.

the side of a bright red van, with some leaves and shadows from a small tree

below: Or the blue of the sky.   Streetcar wires – hard to ignore when you’re downtown.

streetcar lines held together with a ring, the blue sky behind them.

below: The painting of a young woman’s face on the wall of the Cameron House was partially obscured by construction equipment as the work on Queen Street West water pipes continues.  I tried to find a way of taking her picture without the obstacles.  Pink and flesh tones.

close up of a wall painted with the face of a young woman, showing lips and cheeks and part of nose

below: Instructions that are hard to miss!   Not sure which one is the doorbell though!

ring doorbell sign in large pink letter

below: I very carefully lined up the picture on the metal box (painted by elicser) with the diamond pattern on the Pizza Pizza wall when along came a streetcar.  Photobombed by a streetcar.   What is the girl holding?  I’ve passed her many times (she’s on the corner of Queen St. West and Spadina) but I’ve never looked closely at her.  I always assumed that it was a mug with something hot in it – doesn’t that look like steam?  Tonight I realized that it’s a smartphone and that’s not steam, it’s light.

a metal box on the sidewalk is painted by elicser, a young girl in a red shirt and blue jeans, holds a black phone, behind her is the orange diamond tiles of a Pizza Pizza restaurant, the very front of a streetcar is on the left.

below: To take good pictures doesn’t require a fancy camera.  Great photos have been taken with phones and bad photos have been taken with expensive equipment and I’m sure that’s not new to you.  I only mention it because where equipment sometimes matters is the type of pictures that can be produced.  Today I was walking with a telephoto lens that was useless for things close to me but fabulous for distance.  Best distance – across the street, like the photo below.   It was the bright blue and white stools that caught me attention.  It wasn’t until I was lining up the shot that I saw the people (an added bonus!).

white, teal, and blue metal stools beside a wood table, in the window of a restaurant, in the sun, a man is sitting with his back to the table.

below: While on the subject of stools, these were close by the ones above.   In this case I cropped out most of the people.   Keep it simple and keep those shoes in the center!  I just want to add that different cameras or different lenses impact how I look at the world when I walk.   Do I zoom in on details? Or do I go for the wider story?

yellow metal stools, men, onw standing and one sitting on the stool with his feet in turquoise shoes, resting on a bar of the stool.

below: More yellow. Yellow gas pipes.  They are everywhere.

along an old brick exterior wall, there are two yellow gasline pipes that are held onto the wall with clamps

below: Flowers in bloom but no idling here.

floors overflow from a hanging basket on a telephone pole, ivy on the wall behind it, also some traffic signs, one says no idling and the other says no vendors.

below: Green.  Shadowy.  Incomplete.

part of a green sign, with white letters that say restaurant.

below: This is almost too cliched (add the accent to get the correct spelling!).   But when the two taxis drove into the picture I had to take it as an “orange picture”.  You can add the comment about Toronto’s two seasons here – I know you know it!

street scene, two orange and green taxis drive by a construction site with orange traffic signs, arrows saying the right lane is closed.

below: Purple wall with a doll.  I’m going to assume that it is a lost doll.  Someone dropped it and didn’t notice and then someone picked it up off the ground and tucked its arm into the wire to keep it safe and visible.

purple wall, graffiti onthe wall, also a chain runs horizontally across the bottom of the picture. A toy doll with no clothes has its arm tucked into a green wire.

below: The colour of the curtain in the window above a store caught my eye and then I noticed the book holding open the window.   Oops another case of ‘look again’.  It’s not a book, it’s a box that once held a Razor kick scooter.

a window above a store is held open with a book

below: Abstract.  I vaguely remember painting something similar back in Junior High.  It involved masking tape and I never got the lines right.  The paint always leaked under the tape.  Do you recognize the building?

abstract composed of a red roof, a grey textured wall and a building with three tones of blue windows

below: Behind the painted metal grille is a small colourful Stikman in his little frame.

a small brightly coloured stikman in a tiny wood frame is behind a metal grille that is rusty.

below: I will admit that my first reaction when I saw this, small and close to the ground, was “I’ve found Jesus”.  Not as bright and cheery as the other pictures but alas brown and grey are colours too.

dirt on an exterior wall that looks like the top part of a person

below: And last, the perfect colour at the end of a walk… a beer on a patio with a friend.

a Bettys glass, full of beer, in the sun

#mycuriouseyes

A large part of the inspiration for this blog post came from participating in a week long photography project called ‘My Curious Eyes’.  Each day we were challenged/encouraged to find interesting things to photograph based on prompts such as shape, colour, and texture.  Part of the project was to photograph things that we hadn’t noticed before, or to look at ordinary things in a different way.

This blog post is part of my continuing fascination with walls and the other things that you see on walls such as windows, shadows, pipes, bars, and other architectural details.  I like to look at how the elements interact visually and how they come together to form compositions.  Sometimes they tell a story and other times they are just an abstract picture.   Here are a few that I have collected over the past few months.   The first one in the group is a photo that I took this morning; it was the prompt that led to this post.

below: the contrast of red, black, and right angled yellow

red wall with black door and yellow pipes

below: blue from the inside, shadows on the outside

grey wall with peeling paint, small window with metal bars and a blue board covering the inside of the widow, telephone pole with shadow, metal vent in the wall

below: yellow pipe, orange concrete

bright yellow pipe against a bright orange wall, with shadow.

below: a window seat

bright red wall with window. A chair is in the window, also reflections of chinese signs, number 52 on the wall

below: frosted reflections

hazy reflection of a window and a grey wall

below: from a different angle, still a wall

on an angle, rusty brown coloured wall with horizontal windows on a white section

below: nailed links where the hinge once was

chain link fence nailed to a bright blue wood fence, corrugated plastic behind the chain link

below: aging shingles and plywood

grey and rust brown shingles cover most of a wall with two windows that have been boarded over with plywood that is peeling, three basement windows with pink trim

below: yellow people and books above and dandelion specks of yellow below

dandelions grow against a concrete wall that has large yellow panels on the upper part

below: dollar signs in the winter

grey concrete wall with window, someone has drawn a dollar sign on the wall, leafless shrub growing against the wall, winter time

below: cracked and peeling

yellow wood door with peeling paint, red gate, also with peeling paint, up close of parts of them

below: vertical reflections, horizontal grooves

horizontal window in a wall with horizontal grooves

below: open days a week and empty frames

4 nespaper boxes lined up on a sidewalk in front of a beige wall, store, with sign that says open days a week.

below: painted square shining in the sun

partly hidden by shadow, brick wall with reddish painted square on it.

below: At 972 and 972A, a hidden doorway and a trophy in the window.

brick wall with recessed doorway on the left and window on the right. There is a trophy in the window

below: rectangles, diamonds, and trapezoids

trapezoid sections on a concrete exterior wall

below:  a deep red curtain and a few exposed bricks

window with deep red curtain, grey painted brick wall, lower basement window

below: The last few pictures are of this wall and the ghost remains of a house that once stood beside it.

side of a building with the ghost remains of the house that once adjoined it.

below: (16″) 2 steps from landing

wall with patched brick and concrete sections, also words written in marker

wall with sections of brick and plaster. Plaster covers what once was a doorway

old exterior wall, brick, mortar, plaster

Previous blog posts about walls:
1.  wall compositions (Nov 2015)
2. walls in the abstract (Oct 2014)

You’ve probably never heard the word asafo before.  You probably have no idea what it means.

Until last week I didn’t know the word existed either.

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.  There were 100 excellent pictures of insects, animals, marine life, the sort of thing you’d expect.  There was no photography allowed in that exhibit so I have no photos of the images on display.  You’ll have to take my word for it that I was there.

I can appreciate the skill and patience that it takes to capture rabbits in the snow or a school of fish in a certain light underwater but those kind of pictures don’t excite me.   That’s not to diminish the work of the photographers, it was all very high caliber both technically and visually.    What I think I’m trying to say is that I left the exhibit wanting more, something more from my visit to the ROM.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far.  In the next room was Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

museum exhibit of asafo flags from Ghana, colourful flags of militia groups in yellows, reds and black. Many are hanging in display cases.

Colour, lots of colour.  And a subject that I knew nothing about, asafo flags.  I wasn’t even sure what part of Africa Ghana is in (It’s on the south coast of Western Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast as it turns out.).

The flags are hand made with an assortment of different motifs.  The British Jack in the upper left corner is a very common feature.  That’s a clue.  Yes, Ghana was a British colony.   Reading the history of Ghana is like reading the colonial history of large parts of Africa.  The Portuguese built a fortress at Elmina in 1482.    Interest in the region was piqued by the presence of gold, hence the name Gold Coast.   By the early 17th century the first African state,  Akwamu, controlled an extensive part of the coast.  They were displaced by the Ashanti who were very involved in the slave trade, especially in trading slaves for weapons.   When European countries outlawed trading in slaves in the early 1800’s,  Ashanti power suffers.   Some tussles ensue, a few battles, some back and forth, and by 1902 what was Ashanti becomes is a British colony.    It remained a colony until 1957.

close up of a flag, hand made, British Jack in the top left corner, a man walks in front of a church in the center, a black bear in the top right.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand African history.  I’m only trying to give some context to the flags.    First, jump back to my mention of Elmina and the Portuguese. When the Portuguese arrived in this area in the 15th century, it was the Fante (or Fanti) people that they encountered.  Both the Fante and the Ashanti belong to the Akan people.  The Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portuguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them.  Soon after, the Dutch arrived.  The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and Dutch traders on the coast.

Around 1724 the Dutch either established or made important a number of militia groups of local Fante.  These are the Asafo companies.  Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community.   At the height of the slave trade they protected individuals and communities.   They exerted power, exercise political influence and maintain codes of conduct within Fante communities. Each company has a flag and that flag has many roles.   They represent proverbs and depict narratives of pride and wisdom.  They accompany oral history and provide a means to preserve customs and traditions.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. “Only a brave man goes under a large tree” because only large animals go under large trees. Made sometime between 1950 and 1957.
  2. bottom flag, artist unknown, Kromantse Workshop. “Only tie a bull to a large tree”. Both the animal and the tree are acknowledged to be strong and mighty.  Made around 1980.  It has a Ghanese flag in the top left corner.

 

two flags displayed on a black background, with three femail mannequins dressed in traditional Ghanese costume.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. A crocodile dominates and controls a pond of fish. Made around 1940.  The prey can not escape.
  2. bottom flag, by Kwesi Budu, Saltpond Workshop. The fish cann’t escape the net of the fishermen just like enemies will not be able to escape when confronted by the company.  Made around 1950.

two flags displayed on a black background, with two male mannequins dressed in military Ghanese costume.

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, chickens and roosters,

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, griffons

two mannequins in military uniforms as part of a museum exhibit at ROM

 

 

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes,
ROM, 4th floor,
until March 2017.

 

 

 

me a visitor, a looker, and and a skeptic.

I happened upon a gallery yesterday, the Robert Kananaj Gallery, on the second last day of a show by Oscar Figueroa called ‘me a talker’.    As I type this, the show should be wrapping up.  So you’ve missed it.  I’m not sure what you’ve missed.

below: The paper that is half on the floor and half propped up by the wall has the words “Think Less With Me” written on it.  This summarizes a lot of Figueroa’s work in that it is a rejection of the verbose and often jargon filled ‘artist statements’ found in contemporary art and especially conceptual art where the words on the wall are more important than the technical or visual aspects of the work.   The gallery website says this: “What if instead of a logical artist statement we decided to write thoughts, or sentences, that go through our heads when making art. This is not poetry per se, this is a form of idea communication, just as the conventional artist statement was intended.”  Does it make you wonder?

walls of a n art gallery with some of the work of Oscar Figueroa. A projection of a woman's chest in a bikini top, a piece of brown cardboard with the words 'Make me wonder' and a piece of paper, large white paper, half on the floor and half propped up on the wall that says

I want to cheer him on for trying to reject the overthought concept behind art these days.  I appreciate the fact that he does not confront me with an essay that bears no relationship to the artwork.  But all is not well.  He wants us to think that his art is special because he rejects the mainstream thinking. Too bad it also rejects all attempts at, well, everything.  The gallery looks like a space that someone has just moved out of but neglected to take their garbage with them.

a piece of paper with a happy face drawn on it, with ampersands for eyes, and a single red light bulb hangng from the ceiling and stopping just above the paper.

below: A yellow rubber glove taped to the wall, a happy rock on floor.  Does it talk to you?

a black happy face scrawled on a piece of paper, a yellow rubber gloved taped to the wall that is holding the paper. A small rock on the floor with a happy face painted on it.

I found it all rather depressing.   There could be more to it than this.  No, make that: there should be more to it.

blog_britney_spears_athiest

below:  him: “Be a sidewalk or be a balloon, there’s no fucking difference.”
me: Be a piece of art or a piece of garbage, there’s no fucking difference.

4 pieces of art in a gallery. a white happy face on black paper, a shiny piece of paper with a corner ripped off with the word picturesque written on it.

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.

I was going to go looking for autumn but, silly me, I soon realized that I didn’t need to look for it.   It’s all around us.  All you have to do is look out the window, or better yet, step out the door and you’re in the middle of it.  It’s falling in front of you, swirling in the breezes and crunching under your feet.

street scene, large trees with yellow and orange leaves, with a park in the center

a pot of purple flowers with a yellow tree in the background

a stone fence with a metal gate, large trees, autumn leaves
a branch of yellow leaves, autumn tree with blue sky and the turret of Casa Loma in the background

two storey brick house with large tree in front, smaller trees with yellow leaves in the background.
park in the fall, leaves on the ground, trees still with some leaves in oranges, rusts, and yellows, playground in the distance

a metal bench in front of a large tree in a cemetery, tree has yellow leaves, autumn colours, change of season, fallen leaves on the ground around the bench

trees in autumn, red leaves and yellow leaves