/** Google Analytics tracking code*/ /** End Google Analytics code. */

From Danica in Sydney

Says she, “I’m so impressed how Sydney has incorporated the old with the new and created lovely promenades and public spaces all over the city centre.”

By way of example, she sends photos of Foundation Park

Eight modest homes dating back to the 1800s were destroyed, but their foundations have been preserved as public park space. Steel “furnishings” evoke past uses of the rooms.

You can blame me for the next shots. I asked to see something of everyday life.

So I see that public transit is clean and modern, but that accessibility problems have been designed in, just as with our Toronto buses. Who chose the blue and yellow spatter barf motif for the seats?

Sydney is ahead of Toronto in use of electronic cards for fares and Danica loves their system for that. Also, she mentions “Tons of construction, including the adding of rail tracks to one of the major streets – yes they will be adding street cars!”

Cobalt Gallery artists talk

By chance, I noticed the poster in the Cobalt Gallery window the other day, and I’m glad I did. I love listening to artists talk about their art-making processes … not so much their motivations and inspirations; their means and methods. Shop talk.

Of the 4 local artists, only one was known to me. We have a couple of Stefan Berg‘s Buddy Bolden Blues linocuts. So it was an opportunity to see work and hear from Patrice Carmichael, Anne-Marie Olczak and Benjamin Wieler for the first time. All work in different ways and styles, which added interest. We got to ask questions. too. Very informal and relaxed.

The coffee was good, compliments of the Grinder Café on Main where a number of Berg paintings are on display. They were closed when I went by, so another day.

Stefan Berg in profile, talking with Benjamin Wieler. About 20 participants turned up. Good response! I believe more such events may follow this first one.

Has it really been 30 years?

It’s been more than 30 years, actually, since I walked across the street from the ad agency where I worked, and had my attention drawn away from getting some lunch. Drums and chanting in College Park?

As it looked on Friday. Holds its own, doesn’t it?

The sound led me to the base of this magnificent trio of Haida poles. Bob Davidson was there with members of his carving team, performing a ceremony for the installation. I met Bob in Vancouver when his mentor, the great Bill Reid, brought him around to our sculpture class and introduced him as an up-and-coming Haida master.

To my delight, Bob remembered me, too. We stood and chatted for a few minutes, as if we were in our own back yard, not standing in a glass and concrete atrium, thousands of miles from the West Coast. Nice.

The Drowning Girls at GAS

I am sitting in the Gerrard Art Space, looking at the plywood stage boxes from the second row. I probably shouldn’t take photos during the play. More after the show. Lights are dimming.

Set design and construction: Emerson Doerksen

OK, show’s over and I am impressed and delighted. The Mortar and Pestle production of The Drowning Girls gave me everything I love about live theatre in small venues. The set is ingenious in its simplicity, brought to life, or should I say death, by three talented actors … Melissa Beverage, Danielle LeBlanc and Riley Anne.

I said “death” because the play is about three brides who drowned in their bathtubs, represented on stage by those 3 plywood boxes. I won’t give away more of the plot in case you want to catch one of the remaining performances, February 1st to 3rd at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $20 at the door. Gerrard Art Space

Top: Director Paulina Golborne chats with GAS staffer Samantha at the front table. Bottom: I permitted myself a couple of grab shots at the end, when the women rose from their tubs and left the stage, followed by enthusiastic applause.

The Drowning Girls is a Canadian play, written by Daniela Vlaskalic, Beth Graham and Charlie Tomlinson. I found this particular production thoroughly engaging for the whole 70 minutes. (No intermission) There are only 3 actors, but maybe a dozen characters have speaking parts. Go see how they pull it off.

Japanese contemporary prints

Pamela and Craig tipped me off (thank you!) about a show of Japanese prints at a marvellous place I didn’t know about. The Japan Foundation is on the 3rd Floor of the Hudsons Bay building, corner of Bloor and Yonge.

I will show you one example, a large serigraph (silkscreen) print. One of the student attendants said it was her favourite and the girl at the desk said that the artist is very famous in Japan. I can see why.

Lemon Squash by Yayoi Kusama, 1988, silkscreen, 6/50

Here is a detail, so you can appreciate the variety and play of shapes that make up the image.

Do go and see the show if you can. There are many artists and pieces on display, in a beautifully quiet, uncrowded space. Most are much more abstract than Lemon Squash They date from the 1960s through 80s.

Variation and Autonomy, until March 29, 2018. Admission is free and you will receive a handsome, full colour catalogue of key pieces.

A dietitian on holiday

Danica would point out that she is no longer a dietitian, having ceased to pay her professional dues. Nevertheless, when she was in practice, her sensible eating advice was always “All things in moderation”. That includes …

Photo: Visnja Kosanovic

Visnja sent the photo this morning … um tomorrow morning? … from Sydney, Australia where Danica is on a visit.

Visionary or villain?

Walking through the Ryerson campus, I saw that the statue of the man for whom the university was named remains in place … as I, personally, think it should.

Use of the sculpture to create a focal point for discussions about social issues strikes me as appropriate, but if we remove all of the artwork that makes people uncomfortable, what happens to things like crucifixes?

What did Egerton Ryerson do to provoke statue removal protests?