Art Auction Fundraiser

Reviewed by Chris Miner
Auction Previews Nov.22, 23 from 2-7 pm
Friday, Nov. 24 from 2 - 4pm
Kingston Arts Council Gallery

Photographs: Chris Miner

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.

Then 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 no exception.

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)
Gala Event
December 3, 1-4pm
Wellington Street Theatre
Tickets for the auction are $20 at The Grand Theatre Box Office



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