Last night Mom and Paul met me in the city after work and we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario. This weekend is the last weekend of the Lawren Harris exhibit and we were determined to see it.
Harris is one of my favourite artists. Famous for monumental pictures of smooth-sheen shorelines and mountains, often bathed in beatific light. One of the things the exhibit showed was the artist's talent for building heavy counterweights to those spiritual landscapes with deep, uncomfortable context all around them.
It starts with Harris’s earliest pictures of Toronto, a teeming brew of industry and people that coalesce in its gritty, hardscrabble streets. The Eaton’s manufacturing plant looms above the Ward, a tight warren of immigrant worker’s cottages where Nathan Phillips Square now sits, cloaked in a smoky shroud. A gas plant belches steam over the dun-grey snow of the city’s filthy core. A weathered two-storey shack perches on a desolate street, its plaster hide crumbling into the muck below, the sky the colour of ash.
You can see in the contours of the snow above the evolving style the later evolved in the looming pictures of the north, a place Harris only visited once yet it formed the basis for his most renowned period of art.
After feeding our souls we went to the gallery restaurant, Frank, for another type of feed. Mom was pokey in the gallery so Paul and I were there a bit early - perfect for enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.
I ordered a Ginger and Lemongrass Daiquiri.
Paul ordered an Old Fashioned made with the Canadian Whiskey - Great Northern, that has taken the world by storm. He doesn't normally order 'straight up' cocktails so the booze hit him like a brick and loopy Paul soon joined the table.
The soup of the day was watermelon gazpacho.
My main was the chicken and biscuit - sweet corn pudding, summer squash succotash, smoked sage biscuit, bee pollen dust, honey mustard. MMMMMM Pure comfort food.
Mom and Paul both ordered dessert - I stayed out of the pool to some extent with coffee and a biscotti.
After dinner we had a bit of an adventure getting the car out of a parking garage when all of the entrances were locked. SIGH Once we figured that out we zipped home and to bed. It was an awesome finish to a crazy week but a good reminder that there is more in life than work.