An elegant sufficiency

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blog as aide memoire

We've had a great day here in Ottawa, mooching around Parliament and then the National Gallery. Made lots of lists, which I will surely lose, so I thought I'd blog a bit. I know where I'll find the information then! The picture above shows one of the five ladies in a collection of bronze statues commemorating the successful attempt to admit women into the Canadian Senate in 1929. What character!

We began our gallery visit with a beer in the cafe...but moved swiftly on to the contemporary galleries where photographs were allowed! This room came as a surprise, for not only were the exhibits somewhat minimal, we both found we liked them! The picture above shows four: a rope, a black steel cube, a heap of industrial felt and lastly,"cayman", an arrangement of blocks in the angle between floor and wall. It rather snook up on us, because we'd walked past it without noticing it until we saw the information card on the wall. Mark especially liked the pile of felt - some wonderful twists and turns in there and it had quite a bit of personality. Unfortunately I failed to note the artist details, for which I apologise.

Unsurprisingly, no photographs were allowed in the permanent collection, so a click will be needed to see the pictures. The National Gallery of Canada website is a great one, though, and I've had fun setting up my own "cybermuse" gallery. The first painting to really grab our attention was Jean Paul Lemieux' "The Noon Train". This deceptively simple oil painting seemed to hold our attention and we would have loved to have brought it home with us! Other paintings which caught our eye for a variety of reasons were:

William Brymner "In the Orchard" and "A Wreath of Flowers"; Gustav Hahn's "Hail Dominion", which was painted thinly onto burlap (hessian) leaving much of the weave showing through; George Reid "Ave Canada"; Franklin Brownell "Lamplight" and H Mabel May's "The Regatta".

We would have cheerfully brought home any of the "Group of Seven" works, but especially coveted the small oil sketches by Tom Thomson, a Canadian artist of whom we knew nothing until today. One of this group was Lawren S Harris, whose "Snow II" had both of us amazed by the use of colour - by painting the snow in the foreground a deep lilac, Harris managed to create a wonderful sense of light in the background. Clever!

Finally, a curiosity. We stood for a while working out how Angelique Merasty managed to create the patterns by biting into birchbark. Described as a "birchbark biter", she created the "bittenbark patterns" with her teeth... I guess that creative people have to use whatever means they can to create their art.

Wonderful day. Terrific gallery - and we only did the Canadian bit. Thought the European art could wait until our next visit!


  • Sounds like you're having a great time. Looking forward to reading more.

    By Blogger MandellaUK, at 6:51 pm  

  • Should have said that what caught my eye in the Wreath of Flowers painting was that one little girl is sitting knitting!

    By Blogger Gill, at 2:27 am  

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