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Art at the farmette


Hey everybody! New look, new feel for the new year. Hope you like it...

This weekend, winter came back to the farmette with another three inches of snow after a couple of weeks of near-spring weather. The world outside is still topsy-turvy with Trump making his misogynist, racist, horrible mark, but here in Grey County, things are coated in a comfy layer of white down. In keeping with the theme of anything-but-politics-please, and in order to bring a bit of sanity to your lives, this week I'll be writing about art. Because that's something that makes life worthwhile, really.

Yesterday, we went to the opening of a new exhibition at the Durham Art Gallery. It's by Tony Luciani, an extremely talented artist who has garnered international recognition - and he lives in our little village!

Tony's muse is his mother, and his works are incredibly intricate and stylized photographs, paintings and charcoal drawings of a 94-year-old reflecting on her life journey. Elia herself is a budding photographer, and her art is on display in a second room, too. I'm on the board of directors, so (small plug here) I'd love for friends to come visit the gallery and take in this extraordinary show. It's on until March 19th, so lots of time.

Rob and I are inveterate antique hunters, and when we were decorating the house in Guelph, I went kind of nuts looking for old drawings of fruits and vegetables to hang in the kitchen. We trundled down to the massive market in Aberfoyle, just south of Guelph or to the many shops in Campbellford or over to Elora. We especially used to like mooching around the stalls at the Freelton market.

We've been fans of the 15th century painter Breughel for a very long time and we have about a half-dozen prints. I think it's the detail he brought to painting scenes of everyday life in the villages and landscapes of Belgium.

Apparently he was one of the first artists to capture the ordinary man doing regular things. Before that, it was all religious icons and monarchy or titled dudes and dudesses (is that a word? I like it). Glad that the movement went the way it did.

Breughel also was known for his sense of humour. This print is 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus' - there's lots going on, but way down in the right corner, you can see a splash, two legs flailing and what looks like a wing sticking out of the water. After 600 years, these works still give me joy.

Finally, there's the portrait of my maternal grandparents that hangs in what we laughingly call the dining room, which is about the size of a postage stamp. This is Edna and Milton Heidt looking out from their wedding photo in the very early part of the 20th century. So young and beautiful and vibrant. Ahead of them would be the joy of having seven children, the peaks and valleys of farm life in Elgin County and the devastation of losing a boy in the second world war.

Odd how you go through phases of collecting one thing or another. None of these are great works that cost a bomb or anything. I just thought they were lovely, and I still do. When current events make me so angry and frustrated, it's nice to know I have art from this year, decades ago, or even centuries in the past to take the edge off.


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