Sunday, January 17, 2016

Magic Potion Against Sorrow and Suffering? Who Could Ask for More!

It's beginning to look as if we may have had a dash of Norovirus this past week, rather than food poisoning. Paul managed to get us home Friday (the car rental was only in his name, on work expenses, so I couldn't help with the driving) before succumbing to his iteration of Yuck!! We're on the mend now (I ran, slowly, yesterday, and he insisted on doing a short run today), but still fatiguing easily. Also, sadly, we're staying away from the grandkids for fear of infecting households, especially one that's dealing with a bout of pneumonia. A grandson has pulled himself to standing, moved his crawling skills up substantially, while we were away, and I'm itching to see them. But. Anything with the "nickname" of Winter Vomiting Disease should not be released on any household.

So I'll wait another day or two, packing for my trip in the meantime, and reviewing photos of Portland. In my last post, I mainly shared images of the brick architecture that caught my eye -- so much evidence of a wonderful tribe of artisans hanging out in this city in the early decades of the 20th century. Some day, I'll do a bit of research about this -- I'm curious to know why we have so little of this (left?) in Vancouver, comparatively. What social or economic conditions or aesthetic trends and preferences could account for the difference.

I love the way the clean edges of these stolid buildings meet the sky, especially the wintry sky, softened in many places by the rather melancholy beauty of bare deciduous trees. And I'm crazy about the rich, subtle, sophisticated colours, the way they're drawn from the fields and forests and hillsides of the Pacific Northwest.


But I promised last post to show-and-tell you more about this sculpture, introducing glorious curves into a rectilinear context and sparking a dialogue between buildings and colours and spaces.  More than that, the sculpture brings Nature into the conversation.  It's one of several (I've got photos of two more) made by Dan Corson of fibreglass, steel, a photovoltaic system and LEDs, so that it glows, although I never managed to get back after dark. The sculptures are titled Nepenthes, an acknowledgment of their inspiration in the carnivorous plants more commonly known as Pitcher plants, of which there is one native to Oregon. The plants draw their name for the mythical Greek potion, antidote to sorrow and suffering.
Check it out! As such an antidote, this uplifting beauty. . .

Had I been sorrowful or suffering (from, say, the lingering effects of Norovirus!), these glorious curves would be the potion I'd choose. . .
I'm head-over-heels with the way the sculpture carves/curves negative space out of the sky
and plays nicely with other silhouettes on the horizon, changing with every perspective, different in all weather -- I'd love to get back and see it against a night sky or against a cerulean background.
What do you think? If you're interested, I've got photos of the other two I saw (next visit, I'll be sure to seek out all four) plus a few more examples of the buildings and the ornamentation I love. I'll leave you with a teaser,  probably my favourite of all the photos I took last week. I hope you enjoy it as well.

24 comments:

  1. Wishing you both a speedy recovery...
    those sculptures are breathtaking...rather Chihuly-like in many ways.
    Have fun packing!

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    1. There is something that evokes Chihuly, absolutely, although the material is quite different than glass -- the colours and shapes and exuberance?

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  2. Yes,please! Magic art potions are always welcome!
    I hope you both are going to be well soon
    So clever decision not to visit little ones (and temptation must be strong)
    Shall we got the packing post too?
    Dottoressa

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    1. Oddly, Dottoressa, I'm finding it more of an UN-packing process, realising I don't need as much as I was first inclined to include. Portland helped me see that. Perhaps I could post a bit on the process, although realistically, I'm heading out tomorrow and then I'll be wanting to talk about actually being there! ;-)

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  3. Oh how awfu1-nasty virus. Yes best to wait till chance of infection passes, but in the meantime, wishing you a full recovery very soon.

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    1. Thanks, K. Feeling much better today (was dreading having any lingering malaise on a long flight!)

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  4. Happy that you're feeling better Frances. How awful to have illness ruin your trip...and then not to be able to crawl into your own bed and hide under the covers. I remember one trip I was deathly ill (obviously a slight exaggeration) during our tour of Abel Tasmin National Park in New Zealand. So disappointing! I dragged myself out of bed each day and trailed to the car with a pillow and blanket from the hotel room, some parts of the day I slept through. But at lunch time Stu parked the car beside a grassy field overlooking the ocean, and I lay in the sun on the blanket and looked at the scenery while Stu heated soup on our trusty camp stove. Love that blue and turquoise sculpture...I'd love that pattern and those colours in a scarf.

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    1. Oh, that does not sound like fun at all, although it sounds as if it made for a memorable afternoon.
      And yes, I think the sculpture could make a good scarf! ;-)

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  5. That's a nasty bug! Sorry it happened while on your trip. It's easier to be sick at home. That sculpture is uplifting. So fun to see on the street. Feel better soon!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Home is definitely a comfier place for convalescing!

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  6. My goodness! I hope that you both feel better soon. You wouldn't want to start out on your solo trip in a weakened state or worried about Paul. We still have a few older brick buildings around my hairdresser on Beatty Street but they are disappearing. The sculptures are really fascinating!

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    1. On the mend thanks!
      Yes, I do see some older brick buildings, especially in areas like Gastown, Yaletown, parts of New Westminster, but disappearing fast. And I don't notice as much ornamentation as there is in Portland's buildings -- so much cast-iron decorative-work on facades and great detailing in the brickwork...

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  7. Oh dear! Wishing you both a speedy recovery.

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  8. Ugh to the norovirus. The curves of the sculpture are exactly right and present a striking contrast to the straight lines, as you've pointed out. The colour is a great antidote as well.

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    1. Especially at this time of year, the colour is SO welcome! ;-)

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  9. great to see this pictures of Portland. I hunted down some of those Nepenthes in the Siskiyou mountains the year I lived there. I'll see if I can find a photo.

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    1. Great photo, thanks for sending it! (literally, a lifetime -- Sofie's -- ago). Such fascinatingly strange and beautiful plants...

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  10. The only time I've spent in Portland is the airport. I really need to remedy this at some point soon.

    So sorry to hear it was a bug. Hopefully, you'll both be feeling much better and non-contagious soon!

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    1. It's worth a stopover, especially since I seem to remember you and your guy are keen on craft beers, no?

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  11. Noro is the pits, enough said. A hundred years ago when I was an art history student I did a seminar paper on Graves and the Portlandia building. I got to see it in a trip to the US a few years later and loved it and Portland. When were the sculptures put in place? It's lovely to see a traditions of public art continuing there and yes please can we see the other pictures!

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    1. Okay, this is why I should ask my readers for suggestions before going anywhere. I've just spent some time researching the Portland building (at first I read Graves as Rupert Graves and was surprised there would be a connection!). Our hotel was only a 12-minute walk from Graves' significant contribution to architecture, and yet I missed this! Next trip, absolutely for sure! Fascinating!
      As for the Corson sculptures, the plaque says they were up in 2013. More pictures coming soon.

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  12. Being sick on a trip is not fun -- no comforts of home and often no simple way to get tea and crackers. I love the placement of "street" art in cities when it is unexpected and fun. This one is just gorgeous. Hope you get to see grandchildren soon.
    Lynn

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    1. That's exactly it, Lynn. When you're finally ready for a cup of tea or a very lightly buttered piece of toast, it's not that easy to get. In our household, Lipton's Chicken Noodle soup is the classic remedy for testing out a returning appetite without overwhelming it --- instead, my husband brought me back a bowl of Tomato Basil from the cafe downstairs. I couldn't believe him! He'd been so sweet, so helpful, so solicitous, but Tomato? Acidic much?!
      I'm a huge fan of public/street art, and glad to know you enjoyed my sharing it.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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