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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Visiting galleries and museums

Sshhh, don't tell anyone.

But I love going to art galleries and museums by myself. Yes, you heard me right. I admit it. By preference, I'm a solo gallery and museum goer.


At the top of the list is that I'm an odd combination of a sprinter and a loiterer and no one else wants to see galleries the way I do. I tend to rush through a new exhibit at the speed of light to see what there is and then, when I've done my race-through, I go back to the three or four, occasionally five, pieces that I've fallen in love with. I don't want to hang around looking at things I'm not interested in, art that may be famous but just doesn't grab me.

If it's a permanent exhibit, or an exhibit of paintings I've mostly seen elsewhere, I'll head for the ones I already know I love. I can ignore everything else and spend an hour in front of the one thing - the thing - that I'm passionate about.
I like to revisit museums or galleries, like the familiarity of space and art. If I'm in New York by myself I might go to the Frick three days in a row. Oh, I'll go to many other places while I'm there, but I'll spend a lot of my quality time at the Frick. It's an intimate place and it contains my favorite Rembrandt self-portrait. I can sit in front of that painting for hours.
If I'm in Ottawa? I might run in every day for half an hour and sit in front of Carl Schaefer's Ontario Farmhouse and see nothing else. Schaefer was a student of J.E.H. Macdonald, one of the founding members of the Group of Seven, and I'll post about his work next week.

This all brings me back to the Audain Collection that's showing at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I did my usual race-through one pouring-with-rain evening this week. By myself.

Yes, the Emily Carrs and the E.J. Hughes paintings were gorgeous and, as always, I fell in love with the couple of Lawrence Paul Yesweluptun's - the political mockery always pulls me in.

But this time what I went back to see were two things, both artists unknown. One was a portrait mask from the early 19th century which reminded me a little of a Japanese Noh mask. The other was a guardian spirit, maybe three feet tall - all stained and cracked with age, yet beautiful. They spoke to me. I fell in love.

That's the way it always happens.


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