The old song says “The best things in life are free”, I wonder if many today still think this way in our hyper consumer society. This song was very popular back in the XXth century written by the songwriting team of Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown (lyrics) and Ray Henderson (music) and published in 1927 but it continued to be popular up to the 1960’s and you can still hear it today on some radio stations, a classic you could say.
This week was the opening of the Summer show at the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre and since I am a guide there, as always I make a point of attending all the lectures with the curators and artists.
This year the theme is about life and its transitions from birth to death. The artists are all emerging young artists funded by the Royal Bank Of Canada (RBC) for the last 10 years. This program in cooperation with the Curator of the Art Gallery gives an opportunity to young artists to work with a gallery and curators in a professional setting, organize an exhibit and get exposure. In PEI the Art Gallery is the only venue offering such an opportunity. All the art is Canadian as per the mandate of the Gallery.
The funny thing is that people are not always comfortable with the idea that we all die one day, it is the human condition can’t escape it. We have two solo shows one by Philippa Jones (Perpetual) of St-John’s, NFLD. Perpetual brings together a selection of recent work by Philippa Jones that explores ways of dealing with loss and mortality through the neutralizing effects of preservation, aesthetic arrangement, immersive ritual, and ultimately recognition of a natural continuum, the temporal cycle that encompasses all being. Catalyzed by the untimely death of close friend and collaborator, Newfoundland curator Mary MacDonald, the artist’s explorations of the processes of extraction from the everyday world, common to art and science, take on a heightened resonance.
The other solo show by Inuit artist Shuvinai Ashoona (Mapping Worlds) from Kinngait (Cape Dorset) Nunavut which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year as an Inuit territory in Canada. This gigantic area of Arctic Canada is 1500 miles North of PEI with a population of 33,000 mostly young people.
The other shows are group exhibits and explore the transitory aspect of life, Split Images: Truth and Fiction, something that also disturbs a lot of people.
In the concourse of the Centre is the exhibit of Ian Funke-Mackay: Serpentine Signs, an artist from Halifax, produces images and signs for a new visual field in which past energies resonate within the present. His colourful and faceted arrays and forms echo the worlds of computer-generated imaging and video-game animations, aspiring to fuse the future-oriented legacies of abstract painting.
I do like Philippa Jones work because it is challenging and offers a chance to listen to what our visitors have to say and see their reaction. So this is the show for this wet and cold Summer so far in Charlottetown. Let’s hope it warms up!
In closing I have added this video of a favourite singer of mine Peggy Lee with Benny Goodman sextet and the famous song On the Sunny Side of the Street. Right now we have no Sun in PEI.