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Baroque twists and turns

January 2, 2007


It was a grey misty afternoon and the young bride was in a predicament. What was her name? It had been her idea to change their names legally to his Irish mother’s maiden name but now due to administrative errors here she was two months later not really sure who she was. She played with the new cultural identity as Irish. Her T-shirt read “Kiss Me I’m Irish” but with her dark shining eyes, black thick hair and permanently tanned skin she didn’t look Irish. When we arrived in the provincial capital, I decided to wait for them at the Gallery. There she was my painting!

Well, let me explain these paintings never belonged to me alone. But as a docent in the largest gallery in the country, they felt more like mine than anyone else’s. I have spent more time with certain works of art in the NGC’s collections, than I have with some of my close embodied friends. The lush, leather chairs and ornate carpet in the Baroque room in the National Gallery of Canada became one of my favourite meeting-places in downtown Ottawa whether I was ‘working’ that day or not.

I guess I came to believe that if I looked long enough at these works and really observed, felt and internalized subtle details that gradually entire social histories would open to me. They would remain open long after the glass, granite and steel building was closed. I had made them into my palace of memory. They embodied a certain kind of indexicality that allowed me to reference enhance understanding for myself and others — of visual, social, poltical, economic, cultural, ethical and historical phenomena.

All my tag clouds can be illustrated one way or another through works of the National Gallery of Canada.

Curators at the National Gallery of Canada are meticulous in terms of their references and resources. However, as in any other discipline where funding is never as hands off as knowledge management really requires, there is a professionalism that prevents the mingling of certain blood lines. National Gallery of Canada is a crown corporation. Pierre Theberge, the Director has an autocratic, quite dictatorial, top-down, hands-on management style. Unlike his prededessors xxxx, Shirley Thompson and Jean …., he created havoc with his staff. He is mindful of the politically expedient and had nurtured relationships with Canada’s corporate elite, for example the Chief Executive Officer of Chief Executive Officer’s  management So there is some misinformation by omission, or what I have learned to call, the Positive Presence of Absence.

I use references as noted in any

. . . tbc A Woman at the Toilet

One Response to “Baroque twists and turns”

  1. eau.flynn Says:

    You’re lovely Maureen 🙂


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