Some closer looks at the robin’s nest which was shown here a little while ago. Birds are such amazing builders, wouldn’t you agree?
Last weekend I had a chance to brush up my rusted skills in macro photography with interesting subjects in our daughter’s garden up in the North Thompson River valley. A touch of a breeze seemed to often come at just ‘that’ moment so only a few photos worked out well. I should have packed along the tripod.
We have been away for several days in the interior of BC, enjoying long scenic drives to the Kamloops area, twice to Vernon, then down to Skaha Lake in the Okanagan before heading back home. We spent time with daughter and son-in-law. We twice visited a friend from long ago school days who is very ill and now being taken care of by his daughter. We were hosted by good friends whom we’ve not seen in 12 years. A weekend of much laughter, great food, and sadness too – isn’t that life?
The photos above are of a fallen robin’s nest my daughter found in her garden as she showed me around. I was excited to have the opportunity to take some photos of it, some in very bright sunshine, some in shade. There are numerous grasshoppers (pests really!) in her garden this year, and this little guy jumped in for a portrait, not moving even when I came very near with the camera. More photos to come…
The second installation of sculptures installed by the Vancouver Biennale in the City of North Vancouver (in addition to Wang Shugang’s sculptures) are the Walking Figures, a group of headless cast iron figures by one of my favourite artists, Magdalena Abakanowicz. These are installed individually on the sidewalk over several blocks of Lonsdale Avenue.
I still remember well Abakanowicz’ similar stunning figures called Vancouver Ancestors, set together as a powerful group on a grassy slope in Queen Elizabeth Park in 2006, also part of that year’s Vancouver Biennale.
Though I did not have the time to visit all the Walking Figures, I was excited to see several of these. Yet I did not feel these had the power of the Ancestors because they stood alone and apart next to a very busy street. I can understand the reasoning for this kind of installation – to expose art to people in their daily movements on the street, so much more prevalent in many European cities. In my short time there as I took photographs, I also observed the human traffic and it seemed not one person paused to look at them, though maybe some had already viewed them earlier if they regularly passed by them.
As part of the Vancouver Biennale for 2014 – 2016, some installations of sculpture are on display in North Vancouver City. Yesterday evening we happened to be in the neighbourhood of Ray Sargent Park on Lonsdale Avenue, right by the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art (seen in the background of the second image). I was excited to view the works of two internationally noted artists’ works.
The first group of figures, made of painted bronze, is by Wang Shugang of China.
It is not without irony that the red figures are placed in a circle, static and crouching with cupped hands, open to various interpretations, from one of thoughtful contemplation to one of latent energy ready to leap up. Wang Shugang’s installation for the Vancouver Biennale, Meeting, is painted a shade of red that is known as Chinese Red, the colour associated with the Chinese government and communism.
According to the artist, “… the colour red has multiple cultural meanings in China, historically representing happiness but during the Cultural Revolution it symbolized terror. Today red is the colour of the faded lettering praising Mao on the ceilings of the factories, coats of the Buddhist monks and the colour of wedding decorations”.
Besides noticing the sense of contemplation mentioned, I felt that there is some humour here as well! Children do love them. I’m only sorry that the light was not ideal for photography at this time of the evening so please visit the link for better photos and also more information about the artist.
(I will show photos of the other artist’s work in the next post.)
About to throw out this dirty stained strip of paper, I looked closer and became quite intrigued by the marks which look as if made by a brush in an artist’s hand. About 5.5 x 27.5 cm (2″ x 11″), it’s too wide to show well here, so I’ve cropped some details to show below.
I may be strange, but I think these are beautiful! Hmm, how might I use them?
Added 28th July: a suddenly recalled and found related object
July’s long heatwave (often up to 35c with the humidity) has made me lazy
watering the garden mornings and evenings
much reading of books, from very good to some disappointing
a cooler weekend with a bit of rain restored some energy
and an urge to play a little more with a favourite image
here are a couple of variations on the black and white hand with magnolia leaf
now it’s back to hot weather and laziness and more books
sorry for being so quiet here – I’m on vacation time
hope you are all having a great summer!