Cornered

3 February 2017 – These days, my favourite corner in the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) is, literally, a corner.

This corner — in gallery 229, Canadian permanent collection, 2nd floor.

detail, Gallery 229, AGO

I visit it when I’m walking my beat on shift; I return outside shift hours (e.g. today), just to spend more time with it.

Above all, for me, it’s the wolves.

No. Above all, for me, it’s the electricity between the wolves. Their stance, their gaze, their fierce connection, frames the corner, defines the space.  I cannot, cannot, break that force-field & walk between them. I always go around.

The signage includes a comment by curator Wanda Nanabush, along with the usual artist information.

sign for McEwen wolves, gallery 229

I have my own personal association: my Husky dog Kim, long a cherished memory but still vivid for all that. We’d walk trails and every now & then she’d freeze into exactly that posture, intensely focused on the messages flooding into her brain through nose & ears.

Every time I visit the corner, I drop to my knees behind one wolf or the other, sight down the spine & between the ears as if down a gun barrel, to see as he sees. (I did that once with Kim, walking a trail in Banff National Park. Aligned between her ears, thankfully quite distant, I saw a bear. He, like Kim, was on full alert. We all chose to back up and walk away.)

the McEwen wolves, gallery 229, AGO

One of my favourite paintings in the entire Gallery hangs on the north wall, within the wolves’ triangle of protection.

Aforim, by Rita Letendre

This time the artist herself comments on the work.

signage for Aforim

Here again, I bring my own personal association to the image. I look at this, and I see Lake Ontario from the eastern end of The Beaches, with sky & water married at the horizon in shimmering blue-grey light. I no longer remember if I brought familiarity with Lake Ontario to the painting, or if, one day, I stood at the lake and saw it through the painting.

It doesn’t matter. Each time I visit one, it dances with the other.

The wolves & Rita Letendre are so comfortable with the corner’s third element that I was immediately comfortable as well. Even though I’d never heard of this artist.

Folia #1 and #2, gallery 229

The first time I saw it, I just cocked my head and enjoyed myself. It was maybe my third or forth visit before I got around to reading the signage.

sign for Kubota's Folia Series #1 and #2

Zen Buddhism and wrinkles on the brain. That makes me enjoy the work even more.

My visit today was after my shift, so I could linger as much as I liked. Which I did.

And then I turned to go, with a last look back over my shoulder …

one wolf, with Aforim behind

a last salute to the vigilance of the wolves.

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Love the wolf…wonderful shape…lovely post Penny ☺

    Reply
  2. It is true! I feel the same with the wolfs and do not like to cross the “line”!! Love this space do much!! I see many triangles in the space

    Reply
    • Oh, someday when we cross paths, tell me about the triangles that you see but I am not seeing! I would love to see more in that magic corner. I’m happy you feel the same way about the wolves’ gaze

      Reply
  3. Fantastic imagery. The wolves are intense.

    Reply
  4. How did I miss this corner??? I want to get back to the AGO sometime. No, I neeeeeed to! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Wonderful work!,,,and how amazing the placement in just a corner of the gallery. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
  6. Mick

     /  4 February 2017

    I keep meaning to comment on your posts (I enjoyed the recent trip to Peru) but feel compelled to do so now, as I absolutely love this little corner of the world!!! & the last photo captures it beautifully! Thanks so much for sharing this Penny!

    Reply
  7. As always an enjoyable post but more than that so informative. Great that you also photographed the accompanying comments by artists.
    I am now looking at Modern architecture esp Dame Zara Hadid. There is an exhibition of her early work in the Serpentime Gallery.

    Gosh just realised missed the Peru posts – will look back.

    Reply
  8. Mary C

     /  21 February 2017

    I was back there today. The wolves are still staring at each other!

    Reply

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