June 28th, 2006
I’ve taken yet another trip into the In Your Face installation. I’m getting pretty excited. The exhibition opens in just three days and the walls of our big gallery are covered in over 10,000 faces. I’ve definitely never before been in the presence of so many personalities – all at one time. On each visit I try to look at a few portraits carefully. I’m impressed by the expressive quality of the eyes (and there are so many different ways of capturing them), but then I think, no, perhaps it’s the mouth that is the most telling feature of the face. And then I think, what about the eyebrows, or perhaps more importantly the brow – which fascinated Rembrandt so much. Rembrandt studied the brow and used it to express the notion of the sitter thinking – a challenge to any portraitist. So now I’m not really sure….What is the most evocative feature of the human face?
June 21st, 2006
Yet more portraits! The In Your Face project is about to break the 10,000 submissions barrier. Hurray. I continue to watch the process of installation on a daily basis. For many reasons I get a warm feeling inside. But I especially like the idea that children, teenagers, and adult amateurs – as well as distinguished professional artists in our community – have all come together in the same space. What a powerful sense of collective energy you get. I think it’s going to take hours for visitors to take it all in. Don’t we have a lot to learn from one another about being creative?
June 15th, 2006
Wow! There’s a lot of creative juice out there. I’ve just checked the submissions to the In Your Face portrait project. The Gallery has received a staggering 8000 entries as of yesterday. There’s such a variety of facial expressions amongst them- though not many smiles. This is true of the art of the past too. Of course there is the Mona Lisa, but big toothy grins aren’t common and when they do appear they are usually associated with avarice, or lust or drunkenness. But given the fact that we’re so used to smiling and saying cheese for the camera, it seems a bit odd today. Don’t know why. Thoughts?
June 12th, 2006
The Art Gallery of Ontario is deeply saddened by the passage this morning of longtime friend and benefactor Kenneth Thomson.
"We at the Art Gallery of Ontario are enormously saddened at the untimely death of Ken Thomson, a great Canadian and the greatest benefactor of the Gallery," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO. "We express our deepest sympathies to the Thomson family."
"For the past number of years the Art Gallery of Ontario was privileged to work with Ken to realize a shared dream, of making our institution one of the great cultural centres in North America.
"It saddens us all that Ken will not be with us to realize and celebrate this great vision. It was, for all of us, a dream to share our pleasure with him at our opening."
An avid collector and Transformation AGO’s lead donor, Kenneth was chairman of Woodbridge Company Ltd. From 1978 to 2002 he chaired the Publishing and Information Group of Thomson Corporation. In 2002, the AGO announced his unprecedented gift of $50 million to initiate a transformation of the AGO and $20 million to endow future operations.
Concurrent with his gift was a spectacular donation of more than 2,000 artworks from the Thomson collection, including important works by the Group of Seven and the masterpiece The Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens.
"The Art Gallery of Ontario has always held a special place in my heart, and I am confident that it represents the best opportunity to share my passion for art with the people of this city, Ontario, Canada and the world," Thomson said last year at the public launch of Transformation AGO. "Knowing Frank and knowing what he’s putting into this building, I know I’ll be intensely proud of the Art Gallery of Ontario and it won’t be difficult for people to catch that spirit."
The Art Gallery of Ontario announced a $500 million transformation, including an unprecedented donation of art and funding by Kenneth Thomson (right) and a physical redesign and expansion led by Frank Gehry (middle). Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, joins Kenneth Thomson and Frank Gehry for the announcement made on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 at the AGO in Toronto.
(CANADA NEWSWIRE PHOTO/Art Gallery of Ontario)
Bercement Silencieux, 1956
oil on canvas, 114.3 x 145.4 cm
The Thomson Collection
© Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (Montreal) 2006