The earth without art is just "eh". ~ Unknown
I felt the emotion bubbling to the surface when I opened the package. To Prince Edward Island by Alex Colville peeked out at me from the brown paper packaging. It was 2007 and my Aunt Judy had mailed the print to me to help cheer me up. In that moment I realized how powerful art can be to your mind and your soul. I had just moved to Manitoba and was missing Nova Scotia like crazy and the simplistic and nostalgic painting made me smile and feel more at peace. As a child I had taken the ferry to Prince Edward Island and the painting brought back pleasant memories of my childhood and family. Although much time has passed since I received that print from my Aunt Judy, every once in a while a little twinge of homesickness will hit me and I look at To Prince Edward Island to soothe me. It always reminds me of how important art is in our lives - everyone has at some point or another been moved by a great painting and felt comfort in the brush strokes - everyone has their own special story about how a piece of art stirred their emotions.
When Tourism Winnipeg arranged for me to attend the 100 Masters: Only In Canada at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I was very pleased and looked forward to experiencing how some of the most famous paintings in the world would touch my soul and draw raw emotion from me. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is currently celebrating their anniversary and arranged this very special exhibit with 100 pieces of art by some of the world's most influential artists. I knew the big draws to the exhibit were artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and Warhol, but I was particularly excited to see what other artists, such as my beloved Alex Colville who lived only a short drive from my hometown in Nova Scotia, would also be featured in the 100 masters.
As I strolled through the Winnipeg Art Gallery the magnitude of the exhibit hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was in Winnipeg, in my own province, surrounded by the best of the best in the world of art. It's not every day you get the opportunity to gaze at art in your own province in such magnitude and feel an exhilarating collection all under one roof. Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and others were as stunning as I imagined, but when I walked into the room and saw the painting "Infantry, Near Nijmegen, Holland" by Alex Colville my heart skipped a beat, my wish to see a new-to-me Alex Colville painting had been granted, and I was satisfied. Not only was I seeing another Alex Colville painting, but it was of infantry soldiers near Nijmegen. My husband is named after his great uncle who was an infantryman in WWII and is buried just outside Nijmegen and we have recently been discussing the possibility of a trip to his grave site to pay our respects. It was powerful and a moment that will last a lifetime forever etched on my soul. I am grateful to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for making this moment possible.
100 Masters: Only in Canada is at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until August 18, 2013. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that Manitobans really should take advantage of and experience for themselves. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Once you experience it please come back and tell me all about it. I am certain there is a painting in this collection that will move you and stir your emotions too.
For more information on 100 Masters: Only In Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery click here.
Rest in peace, Alex Colville. Thank you for your contributions to the art community. You will be missed.