Spent a lovely afternoon in the East End yesterday – had a great meeting with the AD of Atrium Theatre and we’re going to work together on a couple of things. Then I trundled off with my friend Colette to Pentimento Gallery to see what John had up on the walls.
Mr Davies may be known to you for the 2005 dispute with Lambton College in Sarnia, which tore down his outdoor sculpture, Homage, claiming the sculpture was a danger to children who attempted to climb on it.Created in 1974 of red cedar, it was his first public commission — won over more than 100 other artists in an international competition. Davies sued the college for than $1 million over the destruction of his artwork, saying it was a violation of his rights as an artist and a cause of “emotional distress.”
He won. He’s done something marvelous with the money.
All the pieces in the gallery are obviously model sizes of these giant works – there’s a beautiful feeling the tension in them – like they’re all being held together by a breath. You can see Japanese influence, you can see Stonehenge influences.What do I like most about him? That he resigned as senior vice-president and director of McCann-Erickson Advertising in 1976 at the age of 55 to become a full-time sculptor. To leave at the top of your game because you`ve succeeded and on to the next thing is truly admirable. To me, anyway.
I always stand with my hands clasped behind my back in sculpture galleries – something about them makes we want to touch them, the feel the smoothness of a curve, or the sharpness of an edge, to get the sense of heft of something. John asked why i was standing that way and I explained – and he said I could touch the art. Happy me. It adds another dimension of experience to the work.
Plus when we go visit during the week, John is usually alone in the gallery and so he has time to talk, really talk about the work, and the artist behind it – things that make them a human being (fun fact – Haydn and Eva met when they were children, selected to attend very special art classes at OCAD. At the time of his death, they`d been married 60 years.) We`re lucky to have that opportunity to essentiall yhave a personalized tour of a gallery and its work.
It`s always a treat to visit John and Pentimento. I learn something every time I go, whether it`s about the current show, the last show or a showdown on the set of something. Lovely day indeed.