It amazes me how proximity to great art inspires, perhaps requires one to respond, to dig deep, to examine one’s own emotions and motivations for making art. I found myself in such an introspective mood this past weekend after reading Toronto Globe and Mail visual arts columnist Gary Michael Dault’s remarks about Kitchener, ON based painter Melissa Doherty’s four-piece show at Toronto’s Edward Day Gallery.
“… a miniature tour de force, an essay in tree-spotting that transforms the tree into a structural object, and then into a site of high emotional energy”
What sent me off into a bout of navel gazing was the image of one of Doherty’s paintings that accompanied the article in the “dead-tree” edition of the Globe. The painting was a soaring rendering of a magnificent willow tree very near my home in Kitchener. (Unfortunately the image doesn’t appear with the online version of the article, but you can get a look at Ms. Doherty’s other work on her website.)
My musing led me to the image above, made in the pre-digital era on a mild winter day when the wet, blowing snow was sticking to the trunks of trees creating an etched effect. I dug out an honest-to-goodness, black and white, silver print I made at the time. I copied it with my camera because it was too big for the scanner bed.
I find the trees that demarcate the line where farm fields merge of particular visual interest and in their leafless skeletal form they are even more appealing.
This second image also came to mind. The graceful curving trunk of this tenacious specimen opposes the spiral of the parking structure. Despite its beauty and placement, this trees was cut down shortly after this photo was taken in May 2007.
So, I humbly respond to the greatness of Melissa Doherty’s paintings.