Monthly Archives: August 2019

Swoon worthy art

Do you have a favourite piece of artwork that you make a point of visiting, whenever you find yourself in a certain gallery, or in another city?  I have several;  they seem to act as touchstones for me.  Perhaps they give me a sense of familiarity in a foreign setting  as I explore new things.  This impulse certainly speaks to the power of good art to inspire me, and reassure me.

At one of my favourite small art museums in New York City,  The Frick Collection (I know, I know, it’s impossible to choose favourites in NYC!) is a Rembrandt van Rijn self portrait from 1658.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait, 1658, The Frick Collection

This painting almost makes me swoon….and I don’t swoon easily.   In person, it appears luminous. Technically speaking, it is gorgeous: the rich colours, the play of light and dark, and the composition guide our attention to his hands, and his steady gaze.

Rembrandt was about 50 years old when he painted this self portrait.  Not only does the painting reflect his technical virtuosity , but it provokes a strong emotional response.  He portrays himself confidently.  He is dressed sumptuously.  With a staff and his hat, he seems ready to meet anyone and any challenge in the world.

He looks directly at the viewer.  He certainly engages this viewer, who feels an uncanny connection to this man.  His gaze seems open, and honest.  It appears that he acknowledges, and accepts, the complexity of life.  Does the set of his mouth suggest a bemused attitude, or a resigned one?  Whatever the interpretation, the portrait exudes humanity, warmth and  life.

The next time you’re in New York, you might want to drop into the Frick, and experience this portrait.  As far as I know, it’s on permanent display….and rightfully so.

 

 

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Travel through time with Boom X

All live theatre is an act of courage, wouldn’t you say? In some ways, it’s risky for everyone: the performers, writers, producers as well as the audience.  As an audience, we expect to be entertained, inspired, and challenged in exchange for our time and money.  The creative team displays the product of months (sometimes years) of work, distilled into a couple of hours of live performance, subject to amateur criticism, dismissal or rejection.

It’s a precarious situation.  Despite all of the challenges, live theatre continues, thank goodness.

This week, I had the privilege of attending a presentation of Rick Miller’s BoomX at the Belfry Theatre.  I made a point of going to the show because I had seen one of his previous shows, Boom.  I remember it being a creative, interesting and thoroughly entertaining performance.  Maybe you are familiar with Rick Miller, as his show MacHomer, originally performed at the Montreal Fringe Festival, has been presented in 130 countries.  (Yes, one hundred and thirty!)

Rick Miller wrote, directed and performed in all of these shows. Click here for two very brief trailers for the shows, Boom and BoomX.  It will help you get a sense of his many talents, and the tenor of the work.  The shows are well researched;  I particularly liked the inclusion of Canadian content.  It’s a multi-disciplinary, fast-paced  performance, with a variety of visual and sound effects. Miller welcomes us –the audience–into the performance.  It ends on a thoughtful note as Miller speaks about the merits of live theatre.  I left the show looking forward to the final instalment of this trilogy of plays.

Actually, I may go to see it again.  There’s still time as BoomX continues to Sunday, August 18 at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C.