Saturday, October 15, 2016

McMichael in the Fall

I have to admit, the trip to the McMichael was more exhausting and stressful than I expected or remembered.  Also, it really started to go downhill on the return trip, so it sort of spoiled the day.  I am getting closer and closer to just not going and doing anything that I have to drive to (which probably precludes going to the zoo, though that at least might have an express bus that goes there).  However, I don't want the post to be a downer, so I'll talk in general terms about the return trip but then end with some of the beautiful fall foliage we saw on the way and then a bit about what is at the McMichael at the moment.

Probably the best that can be said for the trip back was that no one got car sick.  I had planned to go into Kleinberg after visiting the McMichael, but it actually isn't marked as well on the way out and the turn-off just didn't look correct, so we shot past it.  Then trying to approach Kleinberg from the other end, I got quite hopelessly lost.  Eventually I ended up on Highway 50, which is pretty far west of Kleinberg.  I pulled over and got some directions, though they weren't terribly helpful, since the cross-streets were labelled with signs that you just could not see in time to make the move to get into the left-turn lane.  I decided to bail on Kleinberg (much to the chagrin of the children, who had been promised old fashioned ice cream).  I eventually made it to the 427 and at least knew where I was.  It was a tough call to try the 401 or go all the way down to the Gardiner.  In hindsight, maybe I should have taken the 401.  In any case, we were making slow progress on the Gardiner (after we finally got there) but at least traffic wasn't completely stalled.  At that point, one of the children had to make an emergency rest stop, but there were so few options (and in this particular stretch of the Gardiner there are few off-ramps).  We made it to Exhibition Place only to find that basically all the buildings have been shut up and even the bathrooms near one of the playgrounds have been locked.  So ridiculous.  Fortunately, one of the staff at Medieval Times took pity on us and let us use the bathroom.  Then I was stuck on Lakeshore and it really was stop and go traffic, and the clock was ticking.  In the end, I dropped the car off with 2 minutes to spare, and was so frazzled that I didn't even make it over to the mall before it closed.  So I'll have to deal with a few things over there tomorrow once it opens.

So that was the bad side to the trip.  I'll focus more on the positives, which is how I do hope to remember the trip in another day or so.  The trip north on the Don Valley Parkway was pretty, and we started seeing a fair number of trees turning colour by the time we hit Eglinton.


Traffic was heavy until just after the 401 junction.  As usual, the east-west traffic was even worse than the north-south traffic.  We did make a stop at a Spirit in Richmond Hill to get some Halloween costumes and then kept going.

The McMichael was all aglow in its fall colours, and we ran into 3 or even 4 wedding parties shooting pictures on the grounds.

I'm not sure when the McMichael changed its photo policy, but now you can take photos on a gallery by galley basis.  Most of the photos I took (that turned out at any rate) are of Lawren Harris paintings, and I've gone a little Harris-crazy over the past few months, so I'll just post two that I thought were particularly nice (and were appropriately autumnal).

Lawren Harris, Northern Lake, ca. 1923

Lawren Harris,  Early Houses, ca. 1913

Here are two other paintings from the permanent collection that I thought were quite nice.

J.E.H. MacDonald, Northern Lights, 1915-16

David Milne, Black, 1914

I was a little surprised that they had given up two galleries usually reserved for the permanent collection for a second exhibition on Colleen Heslin.  (Jack Bush was actually the main exhibition, and I have to admit, that he generally does not do all that much for me.  I had come fairly close to travelling up to Ottawa for a Bush exhibit at the National Gallery, but I'm glad that I didn't go in the end.)  I was a bit disappointed that the Varley ferry painting was not on view (I discuss it a bit in this post), but I have seen it a couple of times before.

The Heslin exhibit was interesting in the sense that she doesn't seem to actually paint, but pieces together dyed linen.  Here are a couple of examples.

Colleen Heslin, Monochrome, 2016

Colleen Heslin, Latchkey, 2016

So the gallery was nice, though we really did not spend a lot of time there, considering the time we spent travelling there and back.  I'm guessing at this point I am going to go less often to the McMichael, and it will have to be a particularly impressive exhibit to bring me back (unless they decide to start running a shuttle bus from downtown Toronto -- then I'd certainly go with more frequency).

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