Sunday, January 10, 2010

Renaissance Polar Bear

Here's something I've been working on. I've had this polar bear wearing a ruff, in my head for two years. He needed out. So I put him on paper (variety of Japanese washi, pencil, pen and ink, acrylic ink, vintage geological map of the arctic with embroidery floss). I got interested in the possibilities of working just with texture and pattern making those monochromatic 'chunky pages' for swaps. Somehow, the aurora was nonetheless called for.... I've been hoarding vintage frames.

polar bear & aurora

The thing about bears is that they can stand on two legs, but they are not shaped like us. Their heads to not sit at the top, and as his back appears to hunch away from his ruff, I wonder in hindsight if people will misinterpret it as an anorak, though his coat is rather Henry VIII, so I hope it is clear.

polar bear multimedia

A lot of the Japanese papers have iridescence or gold or silver foil laminae (haha! there's a word) so it changes in the light.

aurora detail
renaissance polar bear

I like the reflections of the sky light.

I was going to have him more off to the side, to indicate the vast arctic emptiness, but I couldn't resist the 'Mackenzie King Island'.

William Lyon Mackenzie King
Sat in the middle and played with string
He loved his mother like anything
William Lyon Mackenzie King

Or at least, that's how I remember Dennis Lee's poem. I also recall visiting his home in Ottawa, with my family, when I was a child.* The guide told us that William Lyon Mackenzie King, who lead this country (successfully) through WWII, used to consult his mother about affairs of state. Which would not have been unreasonable, except, she was, um, deceased. Further, he apparently consulted his beloved dogs - also deceased. And, the position of the hands of the clock. But, you shouldn't quote me on that. This is what I recall from a tour guide's story, sometime in the 80's.** (Actually, I just checked the wikipedia entry and the 'Personal Life' section is far more salacious. Like something straight out of Gravity's Rainbow.)

This is posted with the ulterior motive of inspiring F. in wrangling her former downstairs neighbour. There will be more of this sort of thing... for the art show, which will materialize. The bear says so.
polar bear with ruff

*I believe we visited every single historic site between here and Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. Sincere indoctrination - it was effective. See, I care about Canadian history.
**His grandfather was the revolutionary William Lyon Mackenzie, one-time mayor of Toronto, general shit-disturber, who donned three bulky overcoats In case the bullets flew.

No comments: