Friday, July 18, 2008

The Land Makes a Pixel of Itself

The cover of the current summer edition of Hamilton Magazine features"The City's Best Edibles: Hot Eats" and a retro 50s kind of picture of showing how "Hamilton Magazine Style Editor Alisha Townswend stays cool and composed." Hamilton Magazine is a bit like Toronto Life in its glossy mix of fashion, style, shopping, arts, and discussion of city issues. I was astounded to find the above page (see illustration) recommending my past books as well as some other Hamilton (or Hamilton-related) writers -- Klyde Broox, David W. McFadden, David Collier, Joe Ollman, Emily Holton, and Trevor Cole. (See his cool collection of writers reading their own works at AuthorsAloud.)

The magazine also mentions the current Earth Art exhibition at the Royal Botanical Gardens, featuring a number of interesting artists including my neighbour, Simon Frank who lately has been creating earth art that is simple, iconic, extremely evocative, in an archetypical, ritual kind of way.
The above is an older piece. This chair was one of two facing different ways of the High Level Bridge between Cootes Paradise and the Hamilton Harbour. The wooden chair faced industry. The metal chair faced the natural area of Cootes Paradise.

My favourite of his works are large collections of natural materials brought together into resonant enigmatic objects that seem 'just so.' A few years ago he created a very large (6 feet tall?) ball made entirely out of burrs, as pictured above. At the more recent TH & B exhibition at the Imperial Cotton Centre, he created a piece that was a large rectangular prism of evergreen clippings.

Below is the piece that Simon is working on for the RBG Earth Art exhibit which opens tonight. Again, beautiful, cryptic, iconic. And very connected to the natural world, its materials all mediated through some kind of human magic, ritual consciousness, like Stonehenge, but yet bringing up other issues about our relation to the natural world, how we represent it and change it.

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