spent a glorious morning and much of the afternoon at the Art Gallery of Ontario, November 21, 2017, going for one reason only:  to see Norval Morrisseau’s 6 panel “Man Changing Into a Thunderbird”, acrylic on canvas, 1977.  last time i saw it was at the National Gallery of Canada, 2006, and the time before that, in the book: The Art of Norval Morrisseau, 1979.  of course the book, filled with colour plates, is one thing, seeing the actual, is completely another.

so off i went on the Go Train to Union Station, subway to Yonge and Dundas, and on foot to the gallery.  without fussing with the collection i asked the lady at the front to walk me to the room where the Morrisseau paintings were hanging.

it’s an awesome thing for this Anishnabe boy to see these giant paintings:  Norval M. IS the founder of the Ojibwe Woodland School of Painting and the making of Man Changing Into a Thunderbird is a classic rock and roll story about art and art making.  my question, after viewing the work for a few hours yesterday, is:  What brand of acrylic paint did N.M. use to create this work?

pretty soon a class of high school students were brought in with the “native interpreter”, a very Indian dude about my age, sporting a long braid.  so i thought i’d stand back and listen to him make the pitch with him asking these kids, who he’d obviously lost by this point in time, why is this art work important?  boy oh boy he was plum off the map!  he wasn’t even in the ball park!  it’s pretty clear he hadn’t done his homework on this one.

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here is a photo with some kids in the shot, to give you some idea how big these paintings are.

after a few hours with the pieces i decided to boo through the rest of the gallery and see what they had.  it wasn’t long before i heard Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies:

(i’ve never been to Paris so this is pretty much “Once Upon A Time in Tehkummah” for me, switch out the beautiful Edouard Cortes paintings for some “range scenes”)

i thought i was hearing a soundtrack for an installation so i followed the sounds and found myself at the entrance to Guillermo, “Del Toro: At Home With Monsters”, an exhibition of his collections, films and notebooks.

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“Del Toro: At Home With Monsters”

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“At Home With Monsters”

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“At Home With Monsters”  (how would you like to have that thing sitting in the living room, over the fireplace, when the power goes out…  )

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“At Home With Monsters”  (is that Edgar Allan, giving you know who, a reading?)(those windows were live:  they had the thunder going, the rain on the glass, the trees moving with the breeze:  ultra spooky!)

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“At Home With Monsters”  (hmmm…  )

so anyway:  i’m walking around in there, eyes wide open, ears too because i’m hearing some of my favourite solo piano music and check this out:

WOW!  there is the source of the music:  a young and spooky looking whippersnapper on a black baby grand!  mega WOW!  i LOVE the music but i love it even more when i see it happening right there in front of me!  now hey, that really made my day, right there.  and so i stayed on, enjoyed the beautiful sounds coming up and out of that baby grand.  nice work!  and i said so, to the kid.

well you can’t have too much art in one day.  so i’ll come back tomorrow with Chapter 2:  Mark’s Day at the AGO.

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