Posts Tagged ‘water’

Each spring the water level in Lake Ontario rises as the snow to the north of the city melts.  That’s a given.  The question has become just how much water there will be.  This year the water level is very high again, perhaps as high as it has ever been.

below: Sea gulls enjoying the pond that has formed at Woodbine Beach

Leuty lifesaving station in background, lifeguard station on beach, with water and sea gulls in front of it

below: Some of the many different coloured Muskoka chairs that now dot the beach.  How many hundreds? thousands? of similar pictures are online now?  They do add an interesting and cheerful burst of colour.

4 muskoka chairs lined up on the beach, pink, blue, yellow, and red, lots of water, a person is sitting in one of them but photo is of back of chairs.

a line of muskoka chairs along the edge of the boardwalk, beach, Lake Ontario

a woman is sitting in a blue Muskoka Chair reading, with her legs sticking out the side of the chair, view from behind, water in front of her as well as a line of rocks with seagulls on them, Lake Ontario

below: A quiet reading spot of a different kind…. as the swans swim by.

a person sits by rocks and a tree on the beach by Lake Ontario, reading a book, swans swimming past

rocks and sand at Woodbine Beach, with water behind the lifeguard stations because of flooding of Lake Ontario

below: Sandbags and rocks protect part of the boardwalk from Lake Ontario water.

sandbags, some empty, line the shore up against rocks and a boardwalk with a railing, flooded,

two women push strollers along the boardwalk by Kew Beach, CN tower and Toronto skyline in the distance, other people on the boardwalk and beach too

a woman in a bright red coat is about to throw a large stick into Lake Ontario for her dog to chase, empty lifeguard station beside her

below: Putting up the volleyball nets where it’s dry, Woodbine Beach.

a man is putting up volleyball nets on the poles that aren't in the water at a flooded Woodbine Beach

volleyball court poles standing in the water, flooded Lake Ontario at Woodbine Beach

a flooded Woodbine Beach because of high levels of water in Lake ontario, poles in the water for volleyball courts, nets, but too much water

rocks and pebbles along the shore of Lake Ontario, a small island of rocks with a small tree growing on it

fence surrounding dog park, tall grasses, shrubs and trees in dog park, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance, Woodbine Beach

below: The fence around the dog park is in the water

a tree in the water, part of a fence also in the water, Lake Ontario

water behind the lifeguard station, Woodbine Beach, someone has put a cross made of two branches lashed together

a flooded Woodbine Beach

below: Making friends

a woman holds her black dog while a girl in pink jacket reaches out to touch it.

below: As I was returning to my car, I spotted a slightly fancier car than mine…

pale blue and black mclaren car parked in a parking lot, woman with dog in the background

Something new or something different.
And for sure, something’s changed.

below: Too cool for school. Dundas Square.

a young boy in sunglasses stands on one foot in front of a water fountain at Dundas square

sitting by the water at Dundas square, a mother and two kids, an older man in a hat is nearby

a man stands in dundas square, with a rolling suitcase in one hand

two men sit beside a store window with female mannequins in summer clothes, another man is walking past

below: The north east corner of Victoria and Lombard (looking north on Victoria).

downtown buildings

below: This building is on the north west corner of Victoria and Richmond.  It is the Confederation Life building, constructed in 1892.   According to Wikipedia, afire gutted the top floor of the building and destroyed the roof in June 1981 but the rest of the structure remained intact.

the top corner of an old red brick building with a green roof, with a new glass building behind it

below: A 1912 picture of the Confederation Life Building.  Photo source

vintage photo from 1912 postcard of the confederation life building at the corner of Victoria and Richmond streets. built 1892, large red brick building with ornate roofline

three buildings joined together, one red brick, one beige stucco and one a purplish brown. A small tree grows in front of them. Four windows.

below: Fran’s restaurant at the corner of Victoria and Shuter – a Toronto institution.

scaffolding around the building with an orange Frans sign on it - Frans restaurant at Shuter and Victoria streets

below: And just a bit farther north on Victoria is the Senator which is even older than Fran’s.  That’s a lot of food!

large mural on the side of the Senator restaurant, a man in glasses holds a steaming cup of coffee with plates of food in front of him, by his shoulder, bacon and eggs with toast as well as a plate with a sandwich and a side of salad. A third plate has a piece of chocolate cake

below: Signs on Victoria Street including a marvelous old Green P Parking sign.

signs, senator restaurant, public parking, and an old green _ parking sign

below: Protest poster with a message for Prime Minister Trudeau.  Will you compensate us for the mercury crisis?

large black and white poster on an empty building with plywood covering doors and windows.

below: Breaking my habit of not photographing people sleeping on the streets – it was the large green frog pillow that made me chuckle and reach for my camera.

a person is sleeping on their back on the sidewalk. Their head is on a large green frog pillow

below: And speaking of frogs, a group of them have appeared at College Park.   A group of frogs is called an army… but if these are actually toads then a group of toads is a knot.   Hmm…. frogs prefer water while toads live on land.  There are also differences in their eggs, tongues and teeth but the most noticeable difference is in their eyes.  Frogs have round eyes that bulge out.  Toads eyes are more oval and don’t bulge.  Conclusion – these are frogs searching for water.

two bronze sculptures of frogs in a park

Bronze sculpture of a large frog with a water pond (no water in it) behind it

below: Looking north on Yonge street towards Alexander.  The very tall building is at Yonge & Bloor.

looking north on yonge street towards alexander and bloor. tall buildings, old buildings, cranes, traffic

below: More Yonge Street.  Another juxtaposition of old and new; the opportunities for this kind of image are becoming commonplace.  Also,  I could probably take pictures on Yonge every day and still miss some of the changes.

a variety of ages of buildings on Yonge street from those built in the 1800s to modern glass buildings.

below: Plaid, paw prints, and pink

people at an intersection, a woman in a red and black plaid jacket and pink shoes

below: One is happier than the others.

a man and a young girl look out the window of a TTC streetcar with a poster on the side advertising Aladdin movie

below: Dundas Street, just west of University Ave., looking towards Simcoe and St. Patrick streets.

a cyclist with an otange shirt sits on his bike while looking at his phone. He's stopped behind an orange and black striped construction cone on the side of a street

below: North side of Dundas street, just west of Bay.

downton buildings with a construction zone

below: Who doesn’t like bacon?  I prefer mine a bit crispier.

a woman is dressed in a bacon costume and standing on the sidewalk on Dundas Street giving out flyers

a couple crosses a street by a streetcar, an Asian man and a woman in a teal head scarf

“Days go running and hiding
The weeks are going slippy and sliding
Years leave quicker every time they come”
from “When We Were Young” by Passenger

 

‘Women in Focus’ is the name of a photography exhibit on at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) at the moment.  I want to talk about that exhibit in this blog post but I also want to expand the post to include a few other women at the AGO that caught my eye the other day when I was there.

below: A woman’s portrait by Modigliani and a sculpture of a female form in the room beyond. The latter is “The Leaf”, 1948, by Germaine Richier.  She’s a forlorn figure, standing naked and all alone.

a painting of a woman's head by Modigliano on a gallery wall in a fancy gold frame and a sculpture of a woman in the room beyond

***

The ‘Women in Focus, 1920s – 1940s,’ exhibit is fascinating. The history, not only of photography but also of the subject matter, is wonderful. The world was changing. Photography was there to be a part of that change as well as document it. Cameras and processing techniques advanced. Magazines flourished. The way that we looked at the world and at ourselves evolved. Photography became an artform.

below: ‘Hanja Holm with dance group, New York’, around 1938, by Lotte Jacobi. Gelatin Silver print. The photo is actually sepia toned and not as ‘black and white’ as shown here. Hanja/Hanya Holm (1893-1992) was the stage name of a German born choreographer and dancer; she was Johanna Kuntze (nee Eckert) but considered her name “too heavy” for a dancer. She is also considered one of the founders of American modern dance.

photograph from 1938 by Lotte Jacobi, of women dancing, light and shadows on the back wall

below: ‘St. Moritz, Frau Wernod-Gtoffel with a modern film camera’, 1932, by Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995). Eisenstaedt began his career in 1929 with the Associated Press in Germany. Because of the war he emigrated to the USA in 1935 where he became a photographer for ‘Life’ magazine. I love the old camera… and what’s that in her mouth?

old sepia tone photo of a person with an old fashioned movie camera

below: ‘Bewegungsstudie’ (‘Movement Study’) 1926 by Rudolph Koppitz (Austrian, 1884-1936), bromoil print. Koppitz was a leading avant-garde photographer of his time. Bromoil prints are slightly fuzzier than other photographs as the image is produced with an oil based paint.

vintage sepia toned photo of four women moving together, 3 are dressed in long plain dresses and they are close together and supporting a naked woman who has her back arched while she walks (with her head looking backwards)

below: ‘Sea of Ice (Genevieve)’, 1935, by Ilse Bing (1899-1998). Bing was born in Frankfurt Germany. She spent the early part of her career in Paris before moving to the USA in 1941. The exhibit at the AGO includes more of her work (and it’s all good).

anold photo by Ilse Bing of a woman standing on a rock high upon a mountian. She's looking down over the valley below

below: “Good Night Marie’, 1932, by Herbert Bayer (1900-1985). It looks very contrived, doesn’t it? The study of the nude as a photographic skill – getting the skin tones right and all that. Or is it just soft porn?

old photo of a man's hand on a door handle as he opens the door to expose the backside of a nude woman

below: On the left is ‘Colette’, 1939, by Giselle Freund (1908-2000). Colette (1873-1954) was a French author and in this picture she is writing in bed. Her best known book was ‘Gigi’. She was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. The other picture is a portrait of Virginia Woolf, also a writer, by Man Ray (1890-1976).

framed photographs on a gallery wall

***

Vija Celmins was born in Latvia just before the Soviets invaded during WW2.  She emigrated to the USA and settled first in California and then in New York City.  ‘To Fix the Image in Memory‘ is a retrospective of her work at the AGO (until 5th August).  Most of her work is in very muted tones if not shades of grey.

a man in an art gallery is looking closely at a pencil drawing that is hanging on the wall

below:   Five of a series of drawings (there are 6 in the series) of water done in graphite (i.e. pencil).  One is the original and five are copies of it.  These photos are small but I think that you can see that they are of the same waves.   A lot of her work was intense – detailed drawings of water and the desert floor.  She also did a series of drawings and paintings of stars in the sky.

five similar drawings of water

below: A spider web painted in oils on linen. Celmins experimented with pictures of spider webs done in different media on different surfaces.  This was my favorite – muted and slightly blurry.

a painting of a spider web in shades of grey

below: I’ve cheated a bit here…. this is a screenshot of the top part of the results of a google image search on Celmins’ name.  It gives you a much better sense of her work that I can convey.

screenshot of images of artwork by Vija Celmins

***

As I was walking towards the exit of the AGO I was still thinking about how women are portrayed in art. I found myself in the ‘religious art’ section of the gallery, from a time in history when the church was a major patron of the arts in Western culture. Apparently, it wasn’t a good time for women. There are plenty of Mary’s either in her virgin mother role or seen weeping at the foot of the cross, but there is a dearth of other women. Ponder that for a while but try not to get too depressed. And while you ponder, here is a photo of a small white statue bathed in light coming through a stained glass window. Mary’s watching over you.

a small white statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus, lit by light coming through a stained glass window behind it

The merging of events, the overlap of months.
At the Distillery District, many features were made yellow in April in honour of cancer awareness month.

the heart at the Parliament street side of the Distillery District that is usually red has been made yellow

Towards the end of that month, some large pictures began appearing on the brick walls.  An early installation for CONTACT month, May, these are Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart’s  “Good Stuff Bad Stuff” which is a series of conceptual photographs attached to the exterior walls of some of the buildings.

From the CONTACT website:  “a series of bizarre self-portraits that connect concepts of home and identity. The artist’s own grungy apartment and various public spaces serve as the backdrop to the photo series. Using physical experiences and found objects, the photographs in this exhibition explore the relationship between ourselves and the personal objects we buy, inherit, and throw away.”

picture on a wall at the Distillery District

below: I’m not sure that a candle on one’s head ‘explores’ anything… but maybe I was missing something?

a woman's head with a lit candle on it, melted wax has run down her face and hair, bright orange wall in the background.

And so we go off on a bit of a google tangent to see what there is for ‘candle, head’.  I find candles as a Christian symbol for light in the darkness.  There is also an image of a black man with a real lit candle on his head with melting wax running down his forehead, lit by his pastor “to deliver him from the spirit of homosexuality”.  Searches also yield skulls as candle holders (or candle holders in skull shapes) used as a novelty item, or as method of casting spells if you believe in such things.   And last, Tim Burton made a music video for “The Killers” (a group) where at the end, two people are sitting across from each other at a table, both with a lit candle on their head.  In this last case there is melding of reality and fantasy as one character is a wax figure that occasionally comes to life.   Whether this has anything to do with the image above, I have no idea.   But I’m sure that my ramblings, although entertaining (ha!) are probably just a detour.

below: Hope floats. One of the photographs on a wall surrounded by “graffiti” ( of the fake kind).  No candles here?  It’s the paper boats that are burning.  If there were candles, they are long gone.

a head partially submerged in water, surrounded by little white trays with flames

 

below: More yellow

the four legs of the large spider-like sculpture at the Distillery District are yellow and the head part is wrapped with blue plastic

below: Another picture.  Flowers and hands.

a large poster attached to brick wall, outside, hands coming out of a large bush with purple flowers on it.

below: More picture.  This time an ode to junk food and trashiness by the looks of it.  The lion is blue but unmoved.  With a fast food paper crown on her head and a cigarette in her mouth.  Garbage randomly strewn but carefully placed so there is no product placement.

picture on a stone wall, blue tones, lion sculpture, sitting beside flight of stairs, woman leaning against lion, cigarette in her mouth, food in the other hand, garbage strewn on the stairs around her feet

below: The last bit of yellow for today.

distillery district, love sign for locks, the heart has been decorated with a lot of yellow flowers

fake yellow flowers placed by some locks

below: And one last photograph to give you some ideas of what to do with the photos of Venice that you might have, you know, the ones that look like everyone else’s.   There are many more on display at the Distillery District.   As I type this I am warming up to the pictures but I am still torn.   Does anyone want to offer an opinion?

large photo on a brick wall, taken by a canal in Venice, of a woman covered from head to toe in black weeds as she stands beside the canal

Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart is on Instagram

…and social decline, and capitalism, and a few more…..
The many dangers that we face.

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to xenophobia

The demolition of older residential buildings in Regent Park continues as that area of the city is redeveloped.

6 storey brick apartment building stands empty, a fence around it as it waits for demolition

Around the demolition site, someone has hung 18 “danger due to” signs, printed with different “causes” of danger, such as industrialization.

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to industrialization

It’s spelled wrong, but you know what it’s trying to say (hypocrisy).

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to hypocrisy (but spelled as hipocrisy)

chainlink fence in front of the entrance of an older brick lowrise apartment building, snow on the ground, dust, dirt and garbage on the ground

Apathy

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to apathy

two trees standin front of a construction site, green bin, fence around building next to be demolished in Regent Park

Over consumption

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to over consumption

workmen spray water as a machine arm pulls apart a building that is in the process of being demolished - sidewalk view

a small black heart drawn on the blue walls of building now being demolished

Political subterfuge

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to political subterfuge

workmen spray water as a machine arm pulls apart a building that is in the process of being demolished

Doug Ford

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to Doug Ford, premier of Ontario

workmen spray water as a machine arm pulls apart a building that is in the process of being demolished

close up of dust and debris as workmen spray water as a machine arm pulls apart a building that is in the process of being demolished

GM food

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to GM food (genetically modified food)

green machinery demolishes a building in Regent Park

Human infestation

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to human infestation

green machinery demolishes a building in Regent Park - one room still has a white fridge in it

Mass surveillance

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to mass surveillance

Misuse of signage

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to misuse of signage

green machinery demolishes a building in Regent Park - 3 storeys remaining

Shrinking resources

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to shrinking resources

partially demolished brick building in front of an empty building waiting to be demolished

Predatory economics

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to predatory economics

Shitty pop music

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to shitty pop music

Capitalism

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to capitalism

Urban decay

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to urban decay

Misinformation

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to misinformation

reflections in a broken window

Social decline

red and white sign, danger due to signs, on a chainlink fence at a construction site in Regent Park, danger due to social decline

Back in November, before I went away, a friend and I ventured out to Long Branch because we had heard that there was a new Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street. Just north of Lakeshore Blvd., 30th street passes under the railway tracks.  This is where the new mural is.  It’s a collaboration with fellow artist Phil Cote and it’s nearly 500 feet long.

below: North of the railway tracks

a large section of the mural by Nick Sweetman on 30th street as it passes under the railway tracks

Photos of the mural, in no particular order:

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, close up of the face of a creature with white whickers and a blue nose

a butterfly

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, large butterfly

some turtles

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a large turtle and a smaller turtle, by the railing along side the sidewalk

two birds in flight – all of a redwing blackbird and part of a cardinal

a red wing black bird in flight and the back part of a cardinal, part of a mural

a bee on two orange flowers

a bee, on two large orange flowers, Nick Sweetman mural

some fish

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a yellowish fish with blue fins

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a purple fish with yellow speckles and fins

a fox, a duck with duckling, and a purple owl

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a fox, a duck with yellow duckling and a purple owl

a cute furry animal

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a small furry animal bside a plant with pink flowers, as well as a person standing on the sidewalk and taking a picture of the mural

… and hiding under the tracks in a place where it’s difficult to take a picture is this large moose (elk?).

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street, a moose or elk with large antlers

part of a Nick Sweetman mural on 30th street - plants, with a real tree growing in front of it

 

below: ‘The Encompassing’ by street artist Javid (aka JAH) stands in one of the reflecting pools between the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum.   This is one of a number of pieces on display.  Each is painted on reclaimed corrugated metal.  They are an examination of the geometry in Islamic patterns and architecture.  His work will remain on display until the 31st of October.

a painting called The Encompassing stands in a reflecting pool in front of the Aga Khan Museum.

below: On the other side of the above painting, is this one – “Beyond”, also by Javid.  The Ismaili Centre is in the background with its large pale blue dome over the prayer room.

A painting in blue, pink, and purple, of stars, by Jacid Jah, in a reflecting pool with the Ismaili Centre behind it

 below: The large wood beams that cover the entrance to the Ismaili Centre were being re-stained this morning.

a pick up truck and a lift in front of the entrance to the Ismaili Centre, workmen are re-staining the large wood beams that support the glass roof.

The Toronto Ismaili Centre is one of 6 around the world.  It was designed by Indian architect Charles Correa and opened in 2014.  If you go on the tour of the inside of the Ismaili Centre, you will see a building that is filled with natural light, as well as natural woods and stone.

below: A calligraphy based medallion made of stone is on a white wall.  The Arabic word ‘allah’ is in the center and surrounding it are the ninety nine attributes of God, written in Arabic.

chairs and sofa in a large room, on grey carpet, most of floor is polished stone, medallion of stone on the white wall.

below: A closer look at the wall.  It took two men, a father and son, fourteen months to carve the design into this wall and a matching wall on the other side of the room.  They worked six days a week .  The arabesque design was penciled on using a stencil and then carved by hand.

carved white wall, plaster

below: A second medallion is on a wall across the room from the one above (on the other wall that was carved).

medallion of stone, calligraphy, arabic, on a white wall

Crossing back past the reflecting pools to the Aga Khan Museum….

below: Another Javid Jah painting, this time “The Manifest”.   (To the left, you can see a metal sculpture called “Big Heech” ).   Like all of Jah’s paintings here, this one is based on geometry.  The basic shape here is a pentagon (sacral chakra) and it is seen on the floor.  This type of archway is called a muqarna and it is unique to muslim architecture.  Here the shape of the indentations in the muqarna are based on the pentagon.

a painting called The Encompassment stands in a reflecting pool in front of the Aga Khan Museum.  Painted by Javid Jah, blue arch over red entranceway

The “Big Heech” is the work of Parviz Tanavoli, made from stainless steel in 2014.   It is derived from the Persian word for “nothingness” and it is an important word in Perian Sufism.

“Emperors and Jewels: Treasures of the Indian Court from the Al-Sabah Collection in Kuwait”, is a temporary exhibit at the Aga Khan Museum featuring artworks and historical objects from the treasuries of Mughal emperors.  The Mughal Empire ruled most of present day Pakistan and India in the 16th and 17th centuries.   The Mughals were Muslim but the majority of the population were Hindu.

below: Part of a larger picture depicting a hunting scene, reproduced and enlarged especially for the exhibit.

part of a painting at the Aga Khan museum of a moghul ruler on a horse in a hunting scene

below: Three glass bottles

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, 3 glass bottles, rounded bottoms and narrow tops, one is marroon, one is teal and the last is royal blue

below: Two fish joined to make a circle, a standard.  From India, late 18th century.   Made from silver.  There are many myths and symbols that feature fish.  In Hindu tradition, the fish was associated with Brahma and Manu, a progenitor of mankind.  In addition, one myth is that a fish was believed to hold up the globe.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, two fish joined in a circle, a standard, for the top of a pole

below: A portrait of Nawab Bairam Khan, painted around 1710-40, watercolour and gold on paper.  He is pictured in profile, sitting alone in his peaceful garden.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, a painting, portrait of Nawab Bairam Khan, painted around 1710 to 1840, watercolour and gold on paper, scene is a man sitting on a carpet, under a tent roof, leaning on a large pink pillow

below: Knife with jade handle carved in the shape of a horse head and neck.

on display at the Aga Khan Museum, a metal knife iwth a jade handle that is carved into the shape of a horse head and neack, decorated with gold bridle