It was polygamist love at first sight.
At about twelve years old, I acquired a book about modern
art and obsessed over Arp, Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso,
Pollock, Chagall, Maholy-Nagy, Dadaism, Futurism and the
like for years. The freedom they represented, their acts
of hubris, even their exotic names helped me survive suburbia
and high school. The small reproductions in that book revealed
strange laws of physics and aesthetics. These mysteries fascinated
me, capturing my attention and feeding my imagination, contributing
to a belief that anything is possible.
I moved to downtown Toronto and camped out at the AGO whenever
I could. Moore, Oldenburg and Giacometti
became my new heros. I felt I sort of understood their languages - ideas,
invention, recognizable and unrecognizable forms, texture
and colour - far better than those of billboards and
catalogues. Paradoxically, my formal studies were in the
more realist media of photography and film.
I was reminded of all this when invited to
respond to the works offered in the current Modern Fuel/
Grand Theatre art auction. They are on display at the Kingston
Arts Council space in the Masonic Lodge - a wonderfully
open space, with high ceilings and too many echos, it seemed
both a museum and an ideal studio at the same time. I immediately
felt at ease there, surrounded by the silent presence of
paintings, sculptures and photographs, a number being the
efforts of friends. Exhibits have often helped me escape
habitual worries and brought me to my senses, and this was
I first noticed large paintings and small sculptures. My
eyes refused to let one painting, mostly red acrylic, stay
flat on the canvas - it appeared to ripple and wave
into the room. I studied a collection of objects (a croquet
ball, Scrabble letters, a button, a little rooster) which
may contain many stories, but maybe haven't any except those
I make up. A screen, but not a t.v. or a computer, the remains
of an Etch-a-sketch, was converted to a sculpture. Within
a different frame, a group of four well-loved tools had their
ends covered with what might be described as knitted caps.
All, to my mind, suitably inscrutible and unfamiliar but
also what I hope for from art - the chance to challenge
my assumptions, to know both inner and outer worlds differently.
About four dozen pieces have been donated to this fundraising
auction by local artists. I've written here about my enthusiasm
for modern art, but more conventional genres are well-represented
also. What makes this an effective show for me is that a
true variety of styles are brought together and juxtaposed.
With work of consistantly high quality, the artists involved
have created an atmosphere of fun and generosity I hope many
will choose to enjoy and support. You might fall in love
with art - maybe more than once.
Chris Miner is a Kingston photographer. He prefers to create
abiguity and narrative in his photographs. He works with
traditional materials and methods. He will have a show in
the Atrium at the Central Branch of the Kingston and Frontenac
Public Library in late fall, 2007.
Art Auction Fundraiser
Previews Nov.22, 23 from 2-7 pm
Friday, Nov. 24 from 2 - 4pm
Kingston Arts Council Gallery
Wellington St. Theatre building
126 Wellington St. (Johnson St. entrance)
December 3, 1-4pm
Wellington Street Theatre
Tickets for the auction are $20 at The Grand Theatre Box Office