Can't say I'm a huge fan of the recentish renovation, though it's much much better than the Museum's. But still an awful lot of stairs to go up and down to get places, and dodgy elevators of the 'this doesn't go to the 3rd and 4th floors- take elevators from the atrium' kind, which is a pain when you're on the second floor. And vast quantities of empty space that does, essentially, nothing: which is a waste. (The ROM's empty space was intended for use by gala parties and such, which is half understandable, poor funding-deprived institute that it is. This empty space is full of swirly ramps that turn around three times to cover what a short flight of stairs does at the side; or it's empty corridors about open courts in what used to be, yanno, *the second floor galleries* which are now an architectural statement. The architectural statement seems to be 'tremble, puny mortals.'
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?