2 September 2014 — I think this is a post about relationships, about dynamics. About how images can trigger questions, and then stories to explore those questions. Different questions for each viewer, and so different stories.
On Sunday, we went to the magnificent Alex Colville retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario here in Toronto (until Jan 4). Colville painted hyper-realistic scenes that are absolutely specific to their time & place, yet they arouse in viewers questions that swirl throughout time & space. What led to this moment? What is just out of sight? What next?
Colville said he was always addressing the question, “What is life like?” and he pulls viewers into that mystery.
It has inspired me to do a different sort of post. (You understand I do not compare myself with Colville.)
Usually I weave words & images to tell you the story of my day. I’m delighted when you run with it in your own minds & imaginations, making it yours through your response to it — but still, I have started with my images, for which I supply my story.
Today, i am not telling a story. I riffled my bank of images with a different eye. I wanted images that stand alone, that provoke questions, invite stories. Here are a few …
Down on The Esplanade this summer in David Crombie Park, my eye was first drawn by the glorious mural on the backboards, but then by the young woman.
I remember watching for a while. She was entirely focused on her coach and his instruction, her intensity creating a force-field around the court. Who is she? What is her dream? What is she not doing, in her life, in order to do this?
Mexico City, now, a hot day in one of the city’s main zócalos (plazas).
At the time, I was fascinated by the great blocks of ice, glistening & sweating in the sun. Only later, I wondered about the young man, also glistening & sweating. I hope he is not spending his life subservient to blocks of ice.
Also Latin America, now Habana Vieja in Cuba. I sat on shady steps opposite the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, watching Cubans respond to the statue commemorating a legendary street-person, El Caballero de París.
This little girl would have no memory of him, why did she run to give him a hug?
I returned later, to see flowers tucked into the Caballero’s hand. It must have just happened, the blooms were still fresh despite the heat.
Friends had told me that people often left flowers, but … who paid tribute this time? Why?
Story-moments are everywhere.
I know I have already shown you this woman blissfully reading her book in Riverdale Park East, but that was in the context of my story about my walk up to Taste of the Danforth.
Now let’s think about her.
What do you suppose she is reading? Why here?
Or, let’s think about this classy pooch, in a classy red convertible.
He was in a beer store parking lot. Will his owner be just as classy? Will said owner have purchased the classy product of a micro-brewery?
Enough with dogs. Time for a cat.
The little statue is in complete contrast, not just to the sleek 21st-c. cash register, but to the coolly elegant & very modern Danforth shop as a whole. Whose idea was the cat? Is there an older owner behind the smart young assistant greeting the public? What does the cat mean to each of them?
You know my fascination with decorated bicycles, “bike art” I call it.
I liked the whole look of this bike on Dundas St. East — painted vehicle plus fresh new colour-coordinated flowers plus matching helmet.
Look closely, the word “love” is all over the helmet. This cyclist loves her bike (I am guessing gender); she has or seeks love in the world. I hope she is happy.
Queen St. East now, in the forecourt of Metropolitan United Church (at the corner of Church St., where else).
I wasn’t there for the line-up of chess boards and their followers; I was tracking preparations for this year’s Nuit Blanche, and a spectacular installation was in the process of being erected farther back on the property.
Nuit Blanche, who cares. These guys were playing chess.
Yet my focus wasn’t on the two players, it was on the kibitzer behind them. Why has he lost interest? Are these guys so evenly matched that nothing is happening? Or so mismatched that the game has no tension? Or has something astounding just happened, one board over?
One last thought: if you find you like working your mind from image to possible story, check out Terry Barca’s posts on araneus1. This Aussie (east side of Melbourne, he tells us) is a master at finding a strong image, then weaving a compelling story around it.