COLOUR OF THE RIVER RUNNING THROUGH US is the title. Brian and I visited on our way home from Orangeville and I freely admit that I am not an installation artist’s ideal viewer. I like to view visual art with a minimum of associated instruction and reading, just to see what I make of it as it appears. Clearly, this weakens my connection with artists’ intentions, but frankly, I am more interested in my unguided impressions. I can always read up later.
What I saw were monumental tripods, well-built and made of wood, like tent poles. Small, broken branches centred under each of the 13 pieces reminded me of fuel for campfires.
A pulley hanging from each tripod suspended mason jars filled with papers upon which haikus were written. There were objects in the jars, too. Offerings? Counterbalancing the jars, large, clear glass bottles dangled, contained in wire mesh. The bottles looked molten on the bottom, and deformed.
I knew (slightly) what the poems were about because I had skimmed a write-up. The preserve jars suggested bygone times. Preserving the past? Past emotions? The bottles held no particular meaning for me; just interesting textures and materials.
The tripods, campfire and hangings from a pulley suggested an outdoor cooking set up, perhaps? I noticed that the pulleys were the kind used for clotheslines. But what about the crescent shapes on top, and the irregular spheres? A canoe? A moon?
Then suddenly, when I looked up to view several of the structures out in the landscape, each one seemed to be a kind of human figure, arms reaching up. The spheres were heads. All the figures alike. A tribe.
I had more impressions, favourable ones, about the scale, the setting, the materials. construction and so on, but how was my response compared to the artist’s intent? See for yourself.