Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Green eggs, ham and twig fish

After a careful examination of cities, I have concluded that those closest to achieving the Buddhist state of nirvana are old factory buildings. These red bricked structures with their tall chimneys and wrought iron window decorations tend to be reincarnated as art galleries and sushi bars which Sex in the City assures us is a step towards paradise.

In Toronto, one such area is Liberty Village which was undoubtedly once thick with soot, but now is thick with gym goers mooching down from their loft conversions to pose by a running machine. It is also the location of a photography exhibition of a friend of mine, Ken Yan.

In keeping with the area, we began the day with brunch at an airy, pine attired restaurant with floor to ceiling windows. Attractive arrangements of greens were served with the dish of your choice which in my case was ....

Green eggs and ham.

It rocked, Dr Seuss style. (In case of alarm, I should probably mention the 'green' part of the scrambled eggs was spinach.)

The art gallery was in a boutique-sized shop down from a dance studio and opposite a yoga class. One wall was dedicated to 18 prints by Ken and the other had a massive wide angled photo of ....

.... So the problem with high resolution HUGE images is you spend all your time staring into the windows of taxi cabs and forget to look at the complete view. Yeah, I've no idea.

Ken's photos (she adds hastily) I did remember. One that particularly stood out was a picture of sunflowers in a similar design to van Gogh's famous painting. While produced with a camera rather than oils, Ken printed the photo on canvas to give it a painted feel. The result appeared to be a hybrid between a photo and a painting, leaving you unsure exactly which you were looking at.

Another photo I was admiring showed light reflected in a serene lake from which a few thin branches protruded in an arc. Ken told me a couple he had previously been showing it to had been indifferent until he had explained the title. My eyes slid down to the small square of card underneath the frame: "Twig fish". I was no artist and concluded this probably meant something deep. Maybe a commentary on the loneliness of the plant in the water, cut off from the lake shore. Or perhaps it was a reflection on the stick's sparse bark, a vision of scarcity in today's material world. I turned my head on one side.

Then again, maybe it was because the twigs combined with their reflection looked like a fish.

I nodded, tried to pretend I'd seen that straight away and made a mental note to not give up the day job for one as art critic.

When we left, it was starting to snow. It would have been so much more impressive if the UK hadn't got landed with twice as much. Perhaps if factories are on the doorstep to heaven, the UK is moving in the opposite direction.

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