Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Commerce Court

Bill had to do some banking last week at the Headquarters of the Canadian Bank of  Commerce at King and Bay Streets in the Financial District of Toronto. It's hard not to be impressed with the Deco tower of the 1930 Headquarters contrasted to the glass and steel facade of I.M. Pei's new  addition  (1975) to Commerce Court. 
The older building exhibits grand entrances and lots of decorative ornament and an incredibly opulent interior. Just look at those ceilings!
Mr. Pei connects the old and new buildings with a delicate, otherworldly, covered passageway
and the lobby of the new structure is a vision in gleaming marble, glass and that wonderful, endless, violet information desk. 
What a surprise to find a mother elephant striding in front of her young in the inner courtyard.Bill couldn't help wondering if an elephant in the courtyard has the same negative connotations as the elephant in the room. 

Richter's CAGE

Sunday afternoon, John had a good close look at Gerhard Richter's new book: CAGE. It's another terrific publication of the Tate Modern. Cage is a new set of 6 large abstract paintings. They made their debut at the 2007 Venice Biennale which is where we first saw them. Fun to see them featured in their own book.
Look at these early versions of Cage 2 and 4: absolutely lovely.
Bill and John agree that these look finished. But look where Richer took them. The book features these rich full sized double-page spreads of details. They are absolutely ravishing.
Here is the Maestro at work.
John looked up and everything looked fresh and beautiful. You can't ask more than that from an art book.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Queen West Art Crawl

 Yesterday we started with brunch at the Gladstone Hotel Cafe, such a beautiful, light-filled room. John liked this denizen at the bar. We also liked this 10 by 14 foot Stag by Grant Heaps. It's assembled from thousands of square pieces of reclaimed fabric, lightly stitched together.

The Fly Gallery is just a window (fly as in theatrical fly-space). That's John's bike. 
Try to get by to see these beautiful paintings by Allison McCall. They'll be there until the end of April.

No visit to Queen West would be complete without a look-in at Katharine Mulherin's Contemporary Art Projects. Katherine was at her desk, friendly and welcoming as ever. We talked about the gorgeous Elsie Rasmussen photographs hanging behind her.

It's been a while since we made it this far West so we were surprised to discover two new collectible shops had opened up: Art History and The Melissa.
The stores are conjoined and both had great stuff. Here is some Melissa.

We were tying up our bike's outside Paul Petro Contemporary Art and who should appear but Greg Couillard, the infamous Toronto chef. He was deeply jet-lagged having just arrived last night. He was doing the food for a gallery opening and had been up with the larks buying the ingredients. He's living in Mexico and loving it. He thinks he might like to do 6 months here and 6 months there. He told John again how much he loves John's food pictures and told me they had been a big hit at the Culinary Institute of Guadalajara.

We went into Paul Petro's and were particularly struck by new paintings by Mark Bell. We'd not seen his work before. Don't miss the one at Reception. Love it! Until May 1st.

MOCCA had a lovely installation, Untitled Seven, by Emma Hart and Benedict Drew, involving film and slide projectors and musical instruments. The din was beautiful and the experience was great fun. It's part of the Images Festival.
You might find yourself projected on the wall as you walk by.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bus ride home

After visiting Reta, we took the bus back to Toronto. While Bill read Colm Tóibín's The Master, John took pictures out he window.

Easter with Reta

Bill and I went to visit his mother in St Catharines last weekend. 
She served us lunch and we watched Sandra Bullock's All About Steve, which was, indeed, Raspberry material, but we enjoyed it.
Then we were ready to go out and in high spirits Reta let me snoop around her bedroom and take pictures.
Here are Bill and Reta waiting for the taxi. A faux-Annunciation?
We got into the taxi and roared through the city
to the Swiss Chalet at the Fairview Mall.
Did I mention we were in very high spirits? Reta looks like we all felt. Then we walked over to the mall to the Zehrs for some grocery shopping.
I was looking for pictures so fell way behind. I loved this car and its reflection.
I loved this collection of shopping carts.
We have Reta's list-driven shopping thing down,
so we were lined up at checkout in a twinkling.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Caffé Florian

Bill and I thought it might be fun to put up some of our older pictures -- pictures of extreme happiness.
In the photo above, I'm standing on the dock out back of the Ca'Rezzonico on the Grand Canal. Bill took the lower picture from the third floor of the same building.
Below find the beloved Piazza San Marco
Magical in all weathers.

Our friends, Rob and Theresa, took Bill and John for hot chocolate at Caffé Florian.

We chose to sit inside the famous, 18th century establishment. It was for my birthday. Look at these lovely's comfortably ensconced.
The service is great because it is almost invisible.
You order something and then, somehow, it's just there in front of you,
and you're carrying on talking about how wonderful it is to be in Venice.
Rob fell into chatting in French with the Parisians at the next table. They'd had lunch and were chilling, enjoying the antics at our table. They had suggestions for interesting cafes and restaurants in Paris, Rob and Theresa's next stop.
It was a very comfortable place to spend time -- no sense of being rushed.
Thank you, Rob and Theresa! It was a perfect gift!