I have not written an update on how things have been going cause quite simply I’ve been too busy living my life for once instead of commiserating about it. Things have been going really well for me these past three months or so. I have gotten into a schedule of sorts which I have lacked for the past five years or so. I am doing well in my classes (as far as I know since my teachers are being procrastinators with posting grades). I actually did an assignment recently in my “Drawing Techniques” course in two point perspective that I adore. It was a simplified version of the Iron (a building in New York City).
My Assignment of The Iron in 2 pt perspective.
I also had the pleasure of visiting my best friend in Toronto this past weekend. We went to a VIP Lounge on Saturday night and then the following Sunday we went to one of my favourite places in the world – The Art Gallery of Ontario. I also per chance went to the gallery at the perfect time as they had just made available year-long an “infinity mirrored room” by the art-icon Yayoi Kusama.
“Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever” uses the infinite reflection of the subject (the viewer) and the motif of polka dots to visually allow the self to disappear in the eternal abyss. The clever irony of this concept in our modern, social media era of selfies might be Kusama’s most important contribution yet. After booking a viewing time upon your arrival at the AGO, you get to experience this mirrored chamber of endless reflections. Small stainless steel orbs—which also act as mirrors—fill the room, whimsically hanging from the ceiling as well as covering the peripheral part of the floor. The centrepiece, however, is you, reflected in the large rectangular mirror box in the middle of the installation. Viewing this box in relation to the perimeter of the space is what allows for the type of other-worldly, infinite experiences Kusama’s installation are famous for. Below is a a few images I captured while in this space…
It was a literal dream come true to experience one of Kusama’s mirrored infinity rooms as I discovered this artist through a deck of art oracle cards last year and was fascinated with her room installations since researching her work. I felt a little overwhelmed though since the staff at the AGO only allow you 60 seconds to experience the room (which is fair given the demand). I did not know where to look so I scanned the room as fast as I could and took in the projected image of myself on the reflective surfaces (there were oh so many!) set back into what seemed like infinity. I had the great pleasure of experiencing this room with both my best friend and boyfriend and enjoyed our images being reflected back to us in so many different ways.
Another art work I found breathtaking was “Untitled (Blur)” by Sandra Brewster which was a larger-than-life gel transfer. Below you see the artsy photograph of me posing in front of it to seem like I am inside of it.
The Toronto-based artist was born to a Guyanese immigrant family and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at York University in 1997 and Master of Visual Studies at University of Toronto in 2017. As a Black Canadian, Brewster’s work deals with themes of identity and representation in a world that is often excluding. She is especially attuned to the experiences of Caribbean-Canadians with their migration to Canada and relationships back home.
“Untitled (Blur)” depicts Toronto singer Tuku Matthews and takes up almost the entire wall on which it’s set. Matthews, a personal friend of Brewster, is a fitting subject for the artist’s work exploring legacy. Matthews’ mother is jazz musician Salome Bey and her father was a co-founder of The Underground Railroad, the first soul food restaurant in Canada.
After taking her subject’s photo, Brewster uses a gel medium to transfer the image, a process that captures changes and imperfections. The image is both subdued and gritty, with creases, tears and empty spaces showing throughout the obscured image.
“I work on the walls of spaces because I am drawn to the idea of the work being everlasting,” says Brewster. “Even when the work is being removed, after it has been sanded down then painted over, it’s still there. We may not see it, but there is lasting legacy.”
The work, which was commissioned by the AGO, is just one of Brewster’s that explores layered experiences of Black identity throughout time and space, from their native lands to their journeys in Canada. With Brewster’s laborious transfer process and the experiences of the pictured Matthews, this idea of movement is multi-faceted. Movement is seen through multiple angles, from the creation of the piece to its subject, to its end result.
The AGO had a lot of amazing work and I have several more pictures of it but to keep things simple I am just going to mention these two works. I had a beautiful time in the gallery and city of Toronto in general. It was bittersweet as it reminded me of the hustle and bustle I miss so terribly from my days at University in Ottawa. I find bigger cities operate at more of a pace I can tolerate when compared to the small city I reside in now. It also reminded me of my Art History studies and made me yearn for those days of constant engagement with art. Art brings me the ultimate joy whether I am studying it or producing it. It alleviates my depressions and gives my manias context. Art is my lover who never leaves. I am thankful for rediscovering it in my classes this semester and for my weekend reconnecting with it in the big city.
To sum up my life update – Life is Good. Life is beautiful once again. My spring has finally come after a very long winter.