Friday, August 09, 2013

Visiting the Varley - The Plasticiens and Beyond exhibit

I took myself over to quaint Unionville today. The Varley Gallery is there in a very picturesque setting.
Right near the parking lot is a "pond" called Toogood Pond.
Pond doesn't describe how big the body of water is.

I walked the shoreline and two things struck me.

1) there are no barriers to the water. In fact, several spots invite the visitor to go right down to the water's edge.
In one part there are stone steps deliberately set into place with handrails leading you to the water. I found this very exciting.
It would have been better with swimming.

2) At Toogood Pond you can fish, (25m from the fish run spawning waterfall), but you can't swim.
Well, the water didn't look swimmable, truth be told, but there are few places to swim around here so I am always on the lookout.
Several people had their lines in the water but I didn't see anyone with anything.
It was 11:30am or so when I got there, bright and sunny, not what I think of as a good time to fish. So that could have been it.

I walked over to the gallery after doing the pond's perimeter and was surprised to discover free admission to The Plasticiens show. The regular entrance fee is only $5.00, but FREE is always good.

Mid-century abstract art here I come!

I've never been to the Varley before. There appears to be only one large gallery space subdivided twice. I kept thinking that I'd see "shapes" and what I forgot was that I would experience "colour". Some pieces vibrate. None of them are done any justice by seeing them in a book or online. You have to stand in front of them and feel them.

But the thing that brought me back for a second and a third look was the curator's information card for Claude Tousignant's paintings Hypnosis (1956) and Affirmations (1956). There it was in-between the two paintings and it said:
Claude Tousignant (b. 1932)
          Hypnosis (1956)  Affirmations (1956)

At that time I had an exhibition of hard edge paintings that I consider, along with Molinari's exhibition the same year, as one of the most revolutionary acts made in international painting.

This is how Claude Tousignant recalls the exhibition of his new paintings, including Hypnosis and Affirmations, at L'Actuelle in 1956.  Executed in enamel, applied with a roller, these paintings are composed of large, flat, vertical or horizontal planes of bold and contrasting colour. Tousignant sharply defined his edges using masking tape.
 The initial critical reaction to the exhibition was entirely negative.

Toogood Self Portrait

The Varley Gallery -- les Plasticiens and Beyond

les Plasticiens  entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia

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