Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Art’

I Went Up To The Mountain

January 19, 2009
This is mine.

This is mine.

That lovely picture is as close as I get to making visual art.  It’s a sketch of a picture that I took at Mt. Rainier in Washington, USA.  It was a windswept, snowy day on the mountain when my good friend Kern and I headed out on the trails to see what we could find. Once the snow was up to our knees we surrendered and turned around.  After some watery hot chocolate and cheesy nachos we returned to our warm hotel in Kent.

I am posting this to let you know that The Alder Fork Podcast has booked its first artist guest. Emily Chen, a graphic designer, artist, and friend of Kathleen Edwards (you might’ve noticed Emily’s comments on an earlier post) will be chatting with me about her work and what not on a future episode. You can find out all about her, and check out her great blog, here.

I am snowed in Guelph for one more evening, then I will be back to Hamilton. I will have the blog back up to full speed with all of the usual features you have come to expect. The last few days have been great fun for me, and I hope you have enjoyed the change of pace. As promised here is Part II of my piece, An Ecology of Peace. If you missed Part I, check it out here.

How is an ecology of peace framed within the context of this human-nature relationship?  As I understand an ecology of peace, and I am essentially borrowing the term and establishing my own definition, it advocates the same things as the concept of sustainability.  An ecology of peace is a religiously rooted relationship between people and the natural world, that emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices to the mutual benefit of both.  It is religious because the reasoning for an ecology of peace is rooted in an ethical system of divine love.  I will use Christian terms to explain myself, but there is potential for other religious groups to adapt my meaning to their own belief system.  I have already acknowledged that people have taken on part of the role of creator on Earth, and this has to be accepted for an ecology of peace to have real meaning.  If we pretend that what we do is wholly controlled by a divine influence then there is little impetus for change. Religious societies have made many of the great advancements in the history of our species.  People have been the force driving those changes, through their ingenuity and creativity, whether initiated by a divine spark or not.  At this point I might be tempted to abandon any notion of religion completely and move on with a humanist ethic.  If you decide to do so, go right ahead, it is certainly possible. But if you wish to maintain your religiosity or spirituality as you grasp at the meaning of sustainability please stay with me.

The theology that I ascribe to considers human love as the primary driving force for people.  This does not mean we all act out of love constantly because it is obvious that we do not.  I believe that it is our capacity to love that creates many of our greatest accomplishments.  Thus any healthy relationship with the Earth will involve a great deal of human love.  Nature is fairly neutral in its feelings towards us.  The planet would go on with or without us. Yet in an unintentional way (after all “the Earth” has no intentions) it provides us with the means for survival, and an environment we can thrive in.  Whether this is by chance or on purpose it is an undeniable fact.  Although people have struggled to adapt themselves to extreme climates, ultimately we have always prevailed. This is not hyperbole because at this moment there are human beings on every continent. The Inuit are probably the best example of the adaptability of people. They found a way to exist in the unforgiving Arctic, with ingenuity and cunning.  Today, in those hash places, humans are using technology to over come these challenges and be world builders.  My point is that in the face of an ambiguous Earth, one that we cannot destroy, we dictate the nature of our relationship.  As the masters of destiny we make the choices about our planet.  If we look elsewhere for answers, we will find nothing.  Other creatures may adapt their environment somewhat (I think of ants as an example) they are still incapable of the radical changes we have made.

An Ecology of Peace will be continued. Radio 2 Concert on Demand tomorrow, featuring The Empiricals, and The Flaps apparently going head to head.

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Thunder and Lightning

January 12, 2009

You, me, and Emily Carr.

The Wheat Pool

Emily Carr

A new podcast will be up today.  No interview this time, but lots of me! I will leave the content as a surprise but please check it out over there –>.

Recently I travelled to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. This picturesque gallery is home to a large collection of art by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and native and inuit art. Obviously, I was extremely excited about it.  I particularly enjoyed the work of Lawren Harris and Emily Carr because I had never seen any of their paintings in person.  Although any collection of Canadian art is important becaue it contributes to the promotion and preservation of our national culture, the McMichael Collection is special because of its specific focus.  It is more than just the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, but less than a braod collection of art from all over the world (as is the case at larger galleries across the country.

As I was enjoying the art and reading the descriptions, I noticed that the paintings (and occasional sculpture) were donated by a wide range of people from their private collections. Some had received the art as gifts from the artists, while others had purchased them over the years.  Of course this is true of most galleries that have large permanent collections. It raised, however, the question of what is the more important role of art, as a personal memento or as a public spectacle.  I imagine most artists, like most other creative people, would prefer that their work was admired by the largest number of people.  On the other hand, selling art to private collectors is probably a better business strategy.  The real answer probably lies somewhere in between.  Not all art is not necessarily going to be treasured like the Group of Seven or Tom Thomson, and a lot of those pieces will hang in people’s homes and be passed down. I used to work in a museum that had a collection of art, most of which was donated by the local community.  The pieces were rarely displayed and instead were kept with the other artifacts.  Many of the paintings were not remarkable in any way, some were not even particularly good, but to someone they were important enough to be donated.  While this doesn’t really answer the question I considered above, I think it is safe to say that art, no matter how it is cherished is a significant cultural phenomena and personal experience.

For all you artists out there please check out this site for information about an exciting opportunity to possibly be paid for your work, and to contribute to a volunteer intiative.   Click on apply as an artist for all the info.

I’m Not Your Cup of Tea

December 1, 2008

Looky looky I got Hooky!

Rufio

Hook

New episode of the podcast will be up in the morning. This one features some of the music of The Mass Romantics, a discussion of volunteerism, and an interview with Dave and Crystal Fallis about the hilarious times of Pinstripe Mystery. You can find it on iTunes.

I chose to quote Hook today because it is a ridiculous and yet charming movie, and this post will be ridiculous. I want to point out some of the links I’ve added over on the side there, you know over there–>. We have Daivd Hein’s music. He’s a talented singer-songwriter from Toronto. There is also The James Clark Institute, one of my upcoming guests on The Alder Fork Podcast. His new album is great! There is also a link to The Mass Romantics, a group composed of my friend Max and his musical talents.  I have also added Lovesick Designs, which is the work of my old friend Caillin Kowalczyk.  He sells t-shirts and will do commission work as well. He is extremely talented so click on the link and discover his work. The final new link is my friend Iwona’s guide to medical testing in Toronto. Don’t laugh, lots of people make hundreds and thousands of dollars being medical guinea pigs. Check it out, even if you just want to laugh at what people will endure for money.

Alright that’s enough advertising for one day.  Has this blog become a billboard for other things? Not really. There are still a great many things to discuss.  I am interested in hearing from the readers of this blog about what specifically Canadian artists, musicians, and theatrical folk they enjoy.  With the internet it is really easy to find these people, but it must’ve been a real challenge twenty years ago. If you get a chance to travel to Ottawa I highly recommend the National Art Gallery. I was particular impressed with the Group of Seven area (no surprise given my extreme love for them).  I was blown away by the panels taken out of the MacCallum Jackman cottage.  Imagine going away to a cottage deep in the wilderness and having incredible beauty outside and inside. I wish I had the means to pay talented artists to use my house as a canvas. Art on the wall is nice, but when art is the wall, it’s even better. Really if you can get to any gallery that showcases top notch Canadian art, I’d highly recommend it.  We have a strong tradition of unique and diverse culture.

Tomorrow I want to discuss a favourite album of mine, one I’ve listened to many, many times in my life: the self-titled debut disc by Wide Mouth Mason. It’s Canadian, from the prairies, and a rock classic (at least I think so).