Mosaics have been produced for thousands of years. The whimsy of patterning stones and other durable elements has long been a means of expressing the delight, beauty and strangeness of the surroundings and oneself. Moreover, mosaics have played an important part in enhancing public facilities, like churches and palaces, whereby specific, quite narrow types of chosen constructions prevail.
In the course of our work in Europe for the sake of finding the optics of vintage posters, we were very fortunate in having brilliant and generous artist friends–now in France, but first met in Toronto, Kim Andrews being a painter, Christine Crepet being a mosaicist. Today we’d like to display, from out of that source in our collection, the magical qualities of this work.
We choose, for our first example, the most odd and daring work, which Christine describes as an amphibian, meaning it can survive on land and in water. Monstrous features come to the fore, with its jagged spine and tail, fashioned out of thick glass brought to a menacing and sustaining point. The large stones along its upper reach serve to characterize a violent attacker. But, getting past that, the chromatic black and gold flourish constitutes a lovely gift of nature. The little toes and lively eye also place this creature as a powerful gem.
With a handsome, regular pattern of square, milky glass for a face (and with puppy-dog, black eyes)the lizard, a creature of the badlands introduces us to an aura of surprising charm. The varieties of similarly small elements upon variations of brown create an elegance you wouldn’t expect. The supple pivoting on tap adds to the beauty.
The stillness of the presence conveyed by this fine work brings to light how the raw ingredients of a frog can amount to rare beauty.
Whereas the frog was a curious and playful visitor, its neighboring toad (positioned next to it on our wall) was hard at work trying to find the best grounding. Its multiple welts seem to gravitate to the earth, reminding us that pleasures of stillness can be a great blessing.
With the black cat in the foliage, waiting for a bird, we have a display of hard reality (those leaf-fangs at the bottom) and breathtaking, loving uncanniness.
Some turtles present a smooth surface. Our turtle today is chic but also rough, on the order of its perilous slowness. The fully living part is largely hidden. The main view seems more mineral than animal. A long-lived creature for the ages.
We conclude this first part, of two marvellous displays, with mineral entirely. We recall a trip, with Kim and Christine and their (then) toddler, Willy, to the Roussillon district of Provence famous for its rich deposits of ochre pigments found in the clay near the village. As seen from above, Christine’s sculpture (12” x 15 ½”) presents a study of forms, color and texture. The very old and the very new! This special artwork enjoys proximity with our aquarium.
Blog Two will follow, adding 11 more wonderful mosaics!