Friday, 28 November 2014

All Quiet on the Public Front

A Grand Dam in Paris

Although not so much behind-the-scenes, as you will soon discover….

Not surprisingly, I'm still playing catch-up in a big way: the pictures in this post date before the last one was published, and I've only recently had the chance to sit down, look at/post pictures to Flickr, and reflect on what's happened in the last five weeks or so.

As I mentioned here, one of the few fun things I got to do when I was in southern Ontario was to take in some art shows: one of them was at Michael Gibson Gallery, a lovely, small private gallery in downtown London.

The Mill Pond #2

Back in late September, they announced that there would be a small Greg Curnoe show (the gallery handles sales for the estate), subscribers to their email list were asked if they wanted to own a book from Greg's library. The catch was that you had to tell a Greg Curnoe story in return, with a list of books and the stories being provided to the Art Gallery of Ontario for their Curnoe archive.

Not knowing when I was going to be able to pick mine up, I sent off a story, and was saddened when barely a month later, I was able to stop by to get my book. I'm now the proud owner of The Brave Never Write Poetry by Jones, as Daniel Jones was writing under at the time.

Like all the books in Greg's library, the inside flyleaf has "G. Curnoe" and the date the volume was purchased (Feb 1/86, in mine): it's a slim (less than 100 pages) volume of gritty prose poetry, with several pages of the most interesting haiku I've ever read.

The Mill Pond #3

I've written a few haiku in my day -- won an Alberta Views contest with one a couple of years ago, in fact -- and wrote another one this week to accompany a short time-lapse video I shot 18 months ago that will be appearing in an upcoming show in Copenhagen, Denmark.

But mine are nothing like Jones.

It's more than passing strange to read a book with a gritty feel, knowing that the author, who was four years younger than me, committed suicide in 1994, especially after picking it up the day before my mother-in-law's funeral, and I've been thinking a lot about it a lot since I've returned, which is one reason things have been quiet here on the blog.

I think my next challenge is to find a copy of his only novel.

Sumac #3

The other reason is that I've spent what free time I've had sorting through the photographs I took in my fifty-seventh year, the first full year between birthdays after I lost my wee mannie: I spent much of it on the road, trying to run, unsuccessfully, away from the pain. With being homeless, about the only art I was able to create was with my camera, and I shot close to 3500 photographs (I think, but I may have lost count).

The original plan was to find my favourite 57, and collect them in a little book for friends and family who asked what are you going to do with all those pictures?, although I still have the last four months to go, when I was spending a lot of time in Ontario and Quebec. The initial pass may be done by the end of Sunday, which would mean I successfully completed my NaNoWriMo challenge, but I'm already at more than 80, so there will be a fair bit of winnowing-down to do.

(But the cover's done, I've got an ISBN from Library and Archives Canada, and what started as vanity project has taken on a bit of a life of its own. If you're interested in getting one, let me know. I may also put it out as an ebook with added features, such as more panoramic pictures, and some audio and video elements.)

Sunday dinner

And then there's been a long string of job applications, show proposals, new-work creation, lightbox-building to let me document the new sculptural works, and other miscellanea to fill my days before I start packing to head back to my winter house-sit: perhaps most importantly, I will put up my Christmas tree this year, for the first time since I've been back on my own, which I am looking forward to.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Roller Coaster


The last three weeks have been crazy. I got a phone call wanting to set up a job interview, followed not five minutes later by reading emails from my brother- and sister-in-law to let me know that my mother-in-law had died. sigh. That's her above, at the family reunion this past June.

Shadows and light

So off I set to Ontario for the funeral, and waited to hear the results of the interview: as I suspected, I was not the candidate they wanted, which, at some level, was somewhat of a relief. It was only a six-month contract, and while it would have paid a tidy sum, I'd be back job-hunting soon. Perhaps it's just age taking over, but I'm less and less enamoured with doing that.


Emotionally, it's been a draining stretch, and I haven't spent enough quality time making art through it, although I have, at least, been seeing a lot, including the opportunity to go to fibreworks 2014 (the Canadian fibre biennale held in Cambridge, ON) on the way to the airport to return to Calgary from the funeral. I had submitted a piece and wasn't selected, so I was curious to see what 23 works (out of a total of 161 entered) had made the cut. There were a couple of really interesting pieces, but an awful lot of it didn't get me terribly excited. It's a great venue though, and I'll likely put something in next time.

Foliage #4

There were also a couple of interesting displays up at the University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, barely a ten-minute walk from fibreworks that I also enjoyed, and with my little brother-in-law as my chauffeur, we had a lovely drive through the countryside.

Foliage #1

(The scenery pictures aren't of Ontario though: I took them the weekend before I headed east. I needed to blow some fresh air through my brain, and ended up going for a nice walk on Nose Hill, a large natural reserve in north-west Calgary. Hadn't been for awhile, and just needed to see the mountains, the vegetation turning colour, and to remind myself that I don't get out often enough, since I started working part-time.)

Books for Sale

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