Saturday, July 18, 2009

Out Today: Finding Spirituality in.... Yorkville? Yep.

Earlier this week on Twitter, Toronto critic Marissa Neave alerted me to UK writer Robert Fisk's a dead-on critical review of the Royal Ontario Museum's much-vaunted Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition.

Fisk does well to pull apart the layers of marketing and politics around the show, as well as point out the timid Canadian sensibility that made it all possible. The article is most definitely worth a read. Having seen the show myself, I agree with him, especially on the lack of delivery on "how these artifacts bind together three religions." This theme, as he indicates, is confined to the final room.

In any case, the scrolls show—as well as an unexpected "Save Yorkville" poster campaign for architectural heritage activism—got me thinking about the things we hold sacred, whether it's a book, a building, or being Canuckly accomodating. So for this weekend's gallery column in the National Post, I sought out other shows in the Mink Mile area that might speak to spiritual concerns. Here's an excerpt:

“God is in the details” would seem to be the theme at Kinsman Robinson, with displays of hyper-realist painters Tom Forrestall and Michael French gracing gallery walls. Forrestall, based in Nova Scotia, has a 50-year track record for rendering exquisitely detailed still lifes and landscapes, often in the tricky medium of egg tempera. While earlier works, like 1971’s Burning Field, impress with a rural-Gothic feel, Forrestall’s more recent paintings use webs of twisting threads and isolated placements of striped, shooting arrows to more strongly suggest a process of spiritual searching and connection. For his part, Michael French, a renowned B.C.-born realist now based in Mexico, is represented largely by scenes of water. His oil-on-canvas depictions range from Alberta’s Bow Falls to San Miguel’s cobblestoned vistas. Through it all, French handles elements of light and nature with extreme delicacy. This art isn’t going to revolutionize the world, but it will remind one of the world’s finer aspects. Through summer.

Image of Tom Forrestall's The Entangled Obstacle 2008 from Kinsman Robinson


Monica Forrestall said...

My dad, Tom Forrestall has a museum show up now at McMichael Museum of Canadian Art. Hope you can get up to see it, it's his retrospective, which is traveling accross Canada, and this is it's first Ontario stop. It has some marvelous pieces, including a shaped painting from 34 years ago, of
lightening striking and a strangely silent Victorian room.

Here's my blog entry about the show.

Monica Forrestall

Leah Sandals said...

Hi Monica,

Thanks for the reminder. I'm aware of your dad's work in other ways, having done a piece on his Swissair flight 111 work some years back. Like a lot of urban dwellers, it can be hard for me to get to Kleinburg. But I know about the show and look forward to seeing it if I can.