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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Act 3, Scene 5

The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1 on April 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to blog archive at the bottom of the page.

Boyle (hugs Whiten. Aside from a few tourists, they are alone in the Canadian Pavilion, in the last month of the Venice Biennale.)
Wow! Great to see you Colette; I'm so glad you could come, and by the way I haven't had a chance to congratulate you in person. Amazing – the GG award. That is fantastic, and boy do you deserve it. I wish I'd brought Vag Halen with me; I'm sure they'd write something just for you and dance naked in celebration right here if we asked!

Whiten (laughing, hand to mouth)
No Shary. Thanks all the same, I've celebrated enough since the announcement. Oh ... how on earth can you still be here? You must be so exhausted. Or are you just back for a quick check on your babies before moving on to something else?

Yeah, just here for a day or two. I fly out tomorrow, but I had to have a look to see how these pieces survived six months – well about five for now, but there's another month still to go. I am tired – maybe I have a bit too much on my plate right now, but I'm having fun with it all.

I get it, really I do. It's hard to walk away from a big project like this that is still in a show. You wonder who has poked at it, and whether anything has been damaged.

Shary Boyle, The Cave Painter, photos by Raphael Goldchain

Well, of course you would understand. Wish I had been there to see that show at Isaacs, the one with the cocoon-like plaster sculptures. I'd have loved to run my hands over those when no one was looking. They were so beautiful ... kinda spooky too. That was pretty early stuff for you, but people must have messed with the casts and the big wooden benches that were at the AGO around that time too.

Maybe. I remember worrying about it. I guess when there was any small damage, the staff at the AGO  fixed it – no doubt with me anxiously watching every touch (laughs again). But listen, how are you enjoying Venice, especially now that you aren't working to deadline? And what do you think of this time-warp fiction we have been dropped into by this guy, Newkirk?

Oh, Venice! What an amazing place. How could anyone not love Venice? It's actually been kinda fun bumping into people like Helen Fankenthaler and Agnes Martin and Artemisia Gentileschi, and you of course, even though you and I really do know each other. But this idea of meeting people from different eras ... well there's nothing really new about it. There was that Woody Allen movie a couple of years ago, Midnight in Paris, for example. Although the point of that film had more to do with longing for the past. I guess what Newkirk wants to do is simply connect the dots ... past to present.

You're too young to remember this, but in the early eighties there was a TV series hosted by Patrick Watson – a CBC cronie – called Titans, and in it Watson "interviewed" great figures from the past. It was fairly cool at the time. Then there's that old saw: if you could invite anyone at all to dinner, from any period in history, who would you choose? It's fun to imagine what those great artists were really like. And I like this idea Newkirk has of putting the question: do young artists actually care about the past anymore? I just read an article by Sarah Milroy in the Globe and Mail, and it touched on this very issue. She was reviewing a survey show of 60 Canadian painters, called The Painting Project, curated by Julie Belisle at the Galerie de l'UQAM in Montreal. What I found interesting was that, just at the end of the article, Julie was quoted as saying that "all these painters ... really know their art history."