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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Curator’s View: Holidays

This post comes from the desk of Linda Jansma, Curator 

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Mt. Chocohura, NH

Some of my holidays are purposefully full of art. This past March’s trip to New York City and last summer’s long weekend in Chicago are two examples of such trips. Plans are made according to the opening hours of museums and galleries and what special exhibitions are being shown. These are great trips, but aren’t necessarily relaxing.

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(image of TOAE via BlogTO

This past week’s vacation started off with art, but, after that, was deliberately meant to be a no- art holiday. The first Saturday saw us heading to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE), an annual ritual. Along with the wonderful art by both emerging and established artists, it’s always interesting to see what’s trending—in the past, it’s been “Marcel Dzama” style drawings; painting on wall paper, and there’s always loads of painting with encaustic (the smell of wax being particularly aromatic on hot days in July). This year the trend was anthropomorphic drawings and paintings— animal heads on humans. Animals have been somewhat topical over this past year—the RMG hosted the exhibition Animal that dealt with our relationship with animals, while Montreal’s musée d’art contemporain is hosting Zoo this summer, an exhibition about the place of animals and nature in the universe.

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Our non-art holiday began on Monday. We headed out on the 401 east bound to Vermont and the next morning got up to make the rest of the drive to New Hampshire and a few days of hiking, golfing and reading. We drove for a couple of hours before stopping for breakfast at the Dancing Goat Cafe in Plainfield, Vermont. Our meals ordered at the counter, we turned to find a seat. Imagine my surprise on seeing four framed lithographs on the wall: two by Inuit artist Ashevak Kenojuak and two by West coast artist Bill Reid. Plainfield, Vermont has a population of around 1300 people and it wasn’t a place where I expected to see some really wonderful Canadian prints. The proprietor, who was scrambling up our eggs, said that yes, they were part of his collection.

 

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A conversation followed with his childhood recollections of standing in line in the 1970s with his parents when he was a small boy, waiting for the coming editions of prints to be released at their local gallery. He was both passionate and knowledgeable about his collection speaking about his preference for myth-related imagery in the works he owned.  His wife took over the breakfast-making duties while we chatted about the RMG collection and the 2013 exhibition that will feature some of its Kenojuak prints.

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It’s great when a non-planned art moment can sneak into a no art holiday.