15 February 2010

Heart to art

spent our anti-valentines day at the city art museum.

we had been saving the visit to the art gallery of nova scotia for particularly bad weather. but, some weather is so crummy we didnt want to walk the several blocks from our apartment to the gallery and most other weather is not particularly lovely, but reason enough to get out and do other things. anyway, today we bit the bullet and it became art day.

(dave and a comb[?] in front of the art museum; me and a swan[?] in front of the art museum)

the art museum isnt particularly large or filled with famous works, but it does have lots of nova scotian works of pride. for example, they have a full room dedicated to whimsical folk artist maud lewis who was a treasured nova scotian. she was born and lived in extreme poverty near digby. she had severe rheumatoid arthritis as a child which mangled her hands for the rest of her life. but, she found painting to be a joy and started by painting christmas cards with her mother. people loved her bright, happy pastoral creations and started buying slightly larger works. she never became wealthy from her work, but she seemed to have a lot of fun with it. the small 10' x 12' house she shared with her husband was almost completely painted in her cheerful designs.

(photo of maud [note her hands]; a sample of mauds work; this is mauds actual house. tiny and painted. looked like a happy place)

upon being exposed to her paintings when we arrived in nova scotia, it seemed like i had encountered them before, but im not sure. her little scenes are very simple and happy and perhaps are just universally pleasing in a way that makes them familiar whether or not youve actually seen them before. either way, she not only succeeded in creating pleasing images, but, having lived here for a bit now, i find that she also managed to perfectly capture her homeland. the countryside, the winter, the animals, the boats, the churches are all very "nova scotian." just like my naive surprise that the famed french artists were accurately painting the true essence of french life, so too does maud perfectly capture rural maritime life. funny how that works.

anyway, the other wing of the museum was fairly small and crammed with stuff. the top floor had maritime sea, seaside, and fishing industry paintings. meh. interesting as a collection, but to sit and try to cherish each piece individually was not capturing my attention. the floor below was packed with all manner of nova scotian folk art: wood carvings, handmade rugs, samplers, carved and painted furniture, lawn ornaments, home accessories, etc. normally this stuff is somewhat boring to me as well, but the collection captured the energy, focus, and spirit of these maritime people and their lives. plus the colors are so cheerful. finally, the bottom floor was the more contemporary art, including abstract paintings and photography. while this is normally my favorite section, it wasnt as absorbing as the other parts of the museum. many items, i think, were from local artists, so it was a representation of another form of regional expression, but it wasnt as interesting as the folk art to me.

(uhhh...in the nova scotia folk art area, its a wood carved obama family, complete with bo the dog [although his name was misspelled 'bow'])

after touring, we had tea in the museum cafe. it was also here where we had started our visit to the museum. a group of older dutch men had called us over to help orient them on their map of the city. what they were doing vacationing here in february is beyond me. and their opening question was "wheres the city center? every city has one." which made me think that perhaps they were all senile and had mistakenly gotten on a plane that landed in nova scotia.

thus far, we havent really encountered much that could be called a real downtown. there is a business center, a touristy waterfront area, three different university campuses, a shopping/student street, a "seedy" strip, an "alternative" neighborhood drag, a hodge podge rundown road, and historic stuff and restaurant clusters thrown in every so often. so, we tried to advise the men as best as possible. it was also a sunday, so im really not certain what they thought they were going to be able to see and do. strange. oh, and one of the men remarked that he thought i was having a girl.

after our tea, we toured the small museum gift shop. lots of cute stuff including baby onesies with maud lewis designs on the front. but for $24, i couldnt justify it. plus, at that point we wanted to exit the area due a remarkably audible fart emitted from another customer. um...thanks.

1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

Why do you think they call it artsy-fartsy?