December 26th, 2014

hiroshige: foxfires on musashino

Out and about

In epoch-making news, I actually got down to a show at the Art Gallery today. As far as I can recall, I haven't been to the AGO since the late 90s, and even then I think I was only at the gift shop.
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The exhibit itself was our High Realism god, Alex Colville. Whom I like well enough but always found... washed out, in a way. Which is explained by him living in Sackville NB, in the washy maritimes with their saturated atmosphere. No sharp-edged light as in the dry heartland of my own province.

But two things stand out from this exhibit. First, his devotion to his wife of over 70 years, whom he painted lovingly at all stages of her life. The last painting he did, at 90, three years before his death, is of her, grown transparent, standing before a grandfather clock without hands.

The other is a quote of his: "I've never had the slightest interest in going to an 'interesting' place, because places are equally interesting to me. Wherever I am is reality, things are happening here, and this is '‘as good as it gets,' as they say." Which is so much the reverse of my own feelings that it leaves me stunned. Yes of course it's reality here, but a familiar and constricting reality; surely there's a better reality somewhere else?