I am changing the focus of my blog this summer to write about pieces of art that I’ve collected over the years. Summer is an appropriate time to take a break from the heaviness of politics and policy. I want to think and write about art works that I cherish. I also want to connect with, or honour the memory of, the artists and get in touch with other collectors of their work. For example, a post I wrote a decade ago about the glass artist Michael Robinson has attracted the attention of several other collectors of his work and has become a channel for communicating about it.
Life and Art
I bought these pieces because they appealed to me aesthetically. But aesthetic appeal is not simply a matter of what attracts my eye, but rather a reflection of a deeper link between the work and what was going on in my life at the time I bought it. I will look inward to tell these stories.
What I’ve Collected
I’ve mainly collected landscapes, in the form of photographs, paintings, and prints. I’ve also collected art glass. For three decades, my family and my wife’s family had summer cottages in the Peterborough area. I often bought pieces at Whetung Ojibwa Centre, on Curve Lake Reserve, and at the Buckhorn Art Festival. And I’ve also purchased at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, which I’ll be visiting in person (yes!) this weekend. These venues show my mental association between summer and collecting art.
I’ve also purchased paintings, scrolls, and prints in China and Japan on visits there. I hope to write about these works as I learn more about their provenance.
Here are the names of some of the artists I’ll be writing about. Most are Canadian, but not all. Most aren’t well known, but some are.
- Canadian artists Norval Morrisseau, Charles Pachter, Peter Shostak, Mary-Ellen McQuay, Bent Reinert, Margaret Ludwig, Bev Abramson, Wayne Mondak
- Kunisada, a Japanese woodblock print artist better known in his lifetime than his contemporaries Hokusai or Hiroshige
- Contemporary Japanese print-maker Hideaki Kato
- Bauhaus artist Xanti Schawinsky
- British painter John Piper
- American glass artist Steven Maslach.
I’ll begin next week.