Tuesday, June 30, 2009

30 June, 2009

I had a holiday near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. That area is a high-energy geological wonder. The explanation given in the brochures about the area tells us that the bedrock was formed 380 million years ago when two ancient continents collided. This collision created such heat and pressure that parts of the continents melted and formed a molten mass under the surface of the earth. The magma cooled over time to form igneous rock granite. The millions of years of weathering and glacial activity resulted in the surfaces of rock on which the hundreds of tourists walk when they visit Peggy’s Cove.

One can walk through the barrens of the area on designated paths among the low-growing greenery. The residents of the area urge us tourists to respect the terrain and not trample around on the growth that covers the surface of the soil. The carnivorous pitcher plant is one of the flowers that totally captivated me. All I could see at first was a deep burgundy coloured flower on a tube-like stem that curved at the top so that the blossom turns to face the ground. It wasn’t until later, when a local resident told me about the leaves, that I saw the foliage low to the ground. The leaves collect rain water, insects fall into the water, drown and - yummy! - the plan has its dinner. The plant slowly digests the insects. Amazing!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

In May I went with a friend to Chicago to visit the Chicago Art Institute, which has just opened a new wing, a light , airy addition. Chicago is a beautiful city , exhibiting a delightful mix of architectural styles that can be seen by boat on a river architectural tour. (Do I sound like a promo?) I especially like the Art Deco buildings.

Millenium Park in downtown Chicago must the be the pride of the city, with its "bean," a shiny reflective huge sculpture named Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor. Photographing it is great fun. I think it's a wonderfully successful scultpre everyone can enjoy, from a two-year-old who stands against it and sees herself, to a ninety-year-old using a walker.

What stands out for me from my three days in the "windy city" is the exhibition at the Art Institute of Cy Twombly's work, the American abstract painter who during the last few years did a series of peonies. Also exhibited in the show are calligraphic works, huge gestural markings that seem to be language from somewhere in the depths of Twombly's many years of experience and wisdom. Those gestural forms have stayed with me for the last two weeks, as have the peonies, large dripping abstract forms that delight my visual memory.