Those mountains look familiar, too

Danica at Blue Mountain, laughing at the thought of Canadian winter. Say, I’ve seen those rock formations before, haven’t I?

Sure, enough. It’s in one of the slides from Peter Sever’s Round The World motorcycle ride. I wonder how many other sites Danica will also have seen. The opera house, certainly. Danica actually went to a performance of The Merry Widow and says the acoustics were fine, contrary to complaints I’ve read. Maybe it depends upon which stage. There are several in the Sydney landmark.

A reminder that we have summer, too.

Danica has been enjoying Sydney’s beach culture so much, she plans to take a renewed interest in our own this summer. After all, it’s within walking distance.

Back of a store at Queen and Lee. Artists Saretta Khan, Holly Allirellie, Gabrielle Hoole and Benjamin Nero

True, it will be a while until wading weather, but we can check out this year’s Winter Stations … February 19 to April 1. I know … brrrrrr!

Nest is one of the winning entries, by Ryerson University. Adrian Chiu, Arnel Espanol, Henry Mai

Seen and liked

The other day, I tried to describe this cartoon to Danica, via Facetime. It appears on Lynda Barry’s Tumblr. There are follow-up panels  but I find them less satisfying than this first one.

I love the little figure’s question, “What’s s’posta happen?” He reminds me of Curly’s immortal line …

Who hasn’t looked at a piece of art and wondered what it was about? Artists themselves can be very opaque if they try to explain their own work.

But what tickles me about the little character’s s’posta question is the implication that art is a sort of gadget that should deliver an effect. If it doesn’t, it might be busted, or a dud.

When artists DO use tried-and-true tricks to make something happen, don’t we feel conned? Maybe not. They don’t make tear-jerker movies or sentimental cards because there is no market.

Tricky bank shot

My friend Ian had his bank book eaten by the machine yesterday, so he went in today to get it back.

“I wrote an Out of Order message and put it on the machine, so the same thing wouldn’t happen to others,” said Ian.

Bank employee: “Well, if it had an Out of Order sign, you shouldn’t have used it.”

Feeding my inner geek

John Robert Colombo alerted me to the existence of the Foldscope, a cheap microscope for smartphones … but not cheap enough! JRC found that a USD $1.00 foldscope would cost CAD $54.00 because only the deluxe model was available.

Once I knew about the idea, I found many similar DIY projects online and liked one that recommended scavenging a lens from a laser pointer. I got one at my local Bargain store for 2 bucks and tried the lens on my iPad Mini camera. Not bad, really.

Brace yourselves for more of these, as I think of other things to enlarge and check to see if my iPad Pro camera does any better. I’d love to make a movie of microscopic wiggly things.

You can click-enlarge any of the slide show pictures, BTW.

Figures of Sleep: U of T Art Museum

This exhibition is curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan and she gave a tour yesterday, speaking about a few works by the 19 artists represented.

Sculptures, drawings, a tapestry and even some well-lit pyjama tops benefit from gallery display. Photos and videos could just as well be viewed on devices or in books, but it makes sense to bring them into the same physical space as the other sleep-themed objects.

Old Woman in Bed, Ron Mueck, 2002. On loan from the National Gallery in Ottawa

The figure is tiny, as you can see compared with the blurry figure of a viewer.The detail is Madame Tussauds creepy and the diminutive size makes her seem very frail. It feels voyeuristic to peer at her and visitors hushed, as if not to wake her. A deathbed scene? Odd that the real hair still seems in scale.

A large blanket on the wall is a digitally-sewn tapestry from a photograph of an Indigenous woman asleep on the sidewalk. Real inclusions … pennies, a feather, a hank of hair, have been appliqued onto the surface.

Dream Catcher, Rebecca Belmore, 2014.

A complex and contradictory image, the Dream Catcher blanket is normally displayed on a real bed.

Details showing some the appliqué items.

We do have many easier ways to watch video. Why hike to a darkened room to stand and watch projections? Well, when part of a larger collection of related works, it helps to bring them together. I’ll include one example, about sleep-deprived marathon dancers. The video side was shot in the Hart House gymnasium.

It turns out that sleep is a rich vein for artists to mine. The show touches on insomnia, sleep deprivation, torture (self-induced and otherwise), the Big Sleep, laziness, sleep disrupted by artificial light, privacy rights, and even the right to take a nap in a park without being molested. Figures of Sleep, until March 3rd.

Gerrard Art Space Heart Show

It’s the month of Valentine’s Day when Joanne Filletti puts out the annual call and artists respond with works loosely themed around the concept of heart.

Saturday’s opening reception was a light-hearted, crowded affair. 16 artists exhibiting 42 works. The show offers a lot of variety in media, sizes and interpretations of the theme. It will be up until February 18th. Gerrard Art Space 1475 Gerrard Street East, west of Coxwell.