Category Archives: Vancouver Island School of Art

Here’s an interesting idea….or two…..

….courtesy of John Luna, who is giving a series of three lectures this month at the Vancouver Island School of Art.  (John reminds me of the writer, Adam Gopnik.  He has an encyclopedic knowledge of art, history, philosophy, literature….His lectures are dense, entertaining and fast-moving. I certainly didn’t understand all the references, but I enjoyed the experience!  The lecture was entitled “Empty glances: photography, painting, witness and imagination.”)

The first idea is pretty obvious, once you think about it….but it hadn’t ever occurred to me before. All of those still life paintings, and domestic scenes in Dutch painting of the 17th century are a direct result of the Protestant Reformation.  The Biblical scenes and the saints were left to the Catholics.  The Protestants, and the humanists, had to find new material.

The Putnam Foundation

Still Life by Pieter Claesz

The second idea came from a viewing of Vermeer’s painting Woman with a Pearl Necklace. ( I wasn’t familiar with this painting, and immediately thought of Girl with a Pearl Earring.)

Vermeer Woman with a Pearl Necklace

John pointed out that Siri Hustvedt, in Mysteries of the Rectanglehypothesizes that this is a coded Annunciation painting.  I find that a fascinating idea.

As with all of Vermeer’s painting (all being a mere 36 in known existence) light, perspective, shadow, framing and editing are paramount.  The first time Ms Hustvedt saw this painting, she spent four hours looking at it.  It’s a hint, perhaps,  of what we might see if we gave artworks more time and attention.

 

 

Paradise Lost

 

Paradise Lost at Slide Room Gallery

Paradise Lost at Slide Room Gallery

 

I was very happy that I stopped by the Vancouver Island School of Art a couple of weeks ago to see the art installation, Paradise Lost, by Xane St. Philip.

Xane’s installation completely transformed the gallery.  (If you haven’t been there, imagine an old school –and I do mean old school— building’s basement, dark and dingy, albeit with a few windows and doors….not the most aesthetically pleasing, or comfortable space.)

The space itself became a work of art.  Xane gave an artist’s talk, and explained some of the features of Paradise Lost.  He talked about colour theory, as espoused by Josef Albers.  He touched on the components of a classical garden, and he elicited participants’ responses to the title of the installation, Paradise Lost.

Just as the beauty of a garden is transitory, Paradise Lost has come and gone from the Slide Room Gallery at VISA.  I look forward to the catalogue, and I’ll never again look at that gallery space in quite the same way.