Betty Guggenheim - An Homage
Well it is finally complete, a one year effort of producing one painting every day in homage to the prolific art purchasing and collecting of Betty Guggenheim. Toronto Artist and gallery owner Ranko Pavic, took on this project and with persistent determination completed it, and has been exhibiting it in his St. Clair Ave. gallery in monthly instalments. The final installation , like all the others , does not disappoint.
Living in the neighbourhood of the gallery I tend to drop in with varying degrees of frequency to see the progress of Ranko's project, and with each viewing I find myself drawn to his sense of avant garde . First there is the paper on which he has chosen as his backdrop . The first time I saw it I was quite taken that he has seen a usefulness in this paper that would otherwise never have dawned on me. I have been using it for years in my construction day gig to cover and protect finished floor surfaces. So Ranko doesn't go to a hipper than thou art material outlet, but rather Home Depot for his paper which is available in 100' x 3' rolls for slightly more than $20. A true recession statement if I have ever seen one. It offers the Artist both a fragile and course surface to work on. I also have ventured into its' use.
Now the work itself. Cut into perfect squares Ranko sets up a series of repetitive form, then again applies a repetition of recognizable banner type forms . Almost flag or emblematic in their appearance each stand out as individual statements, but more importantly is the collective imagery that reflects a social democracy in the work. This series of 365 works is indeed a reflection of our own desire to exist as individuals within a society with a singular purpose. There is that constant struggle between the "I" and the "Us", that tries often in vain, but with increments of success at a mutual reconciliation.
Whenever I enter the gallery to view the latest instalment of the Homage, I find myself at peaceful odds with my own individual existence within the collective that exists mere feet from Ranko and I out on the bustling sidewalk as our fellow humans rush about expressing their own desire to survive on their own terms.
The final instalment will be on view until the first week of March when new projects by other Artists will come marching into the gallery Out/Aut. For those of you craving a taste of what I think is the only true avant garde space in this city, I would strongly advise a visit.
1346/c St. Clair Ave.