Part lightning bolt, part Asian parade dragon, A Roar, A Boar y Alice [say it quickly and you’ll get it] started life in Toronto’s Arcadia Art Gallery‘s 2012 Quay Sera, Sera show, part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, as Transit in Colour. In 2014, Transit in Colour became In the Cloud at Reid’s first solo show at Arcadia Art Gallery. In the Cloud morphed into its final incarnation as A Roar, a Boar, y Alice in the 2016 Art Garden, Carol Binns-Wood’s annual summer sculpture garden at Local Colour, Flesherton. Many thanks to SourceworksCeramics for giving it a stunning backdrop, the stamped metal ceiling of a 15-foot-high drive shed, installed for the 2018 Grey County Autumn Leaves Studio Tour in Rocklyn. Now hanging in yet another Grey County drive shed [why couldn’t we have bought a house with a drive shed!] of yet another Grey County artist. Though sky-blue in most of these photos, it cycles through a palette of rainbow colours.
At its inception in 2012, Transit in Colour was an exploration of rapid movement, dare I say lightning. Construction began in our flat in Arcadia Housing Co-op for Artists, a short walk from Lake Ontario at the foot of Bathurst Street in Toronto. Thank goodness for a long dining room-living room-hallway!
Moving Transit in Colour from our fifth-floor flat to Arcadia’s porch for the 2012 Nuit Blanche installation was easy–each acrylic tube can be gently unhinged, though assembling it in place took two pairs of hands. Many thanks to musician neighbour Ben Cleveland for holding up his end.
And here’s how she looked:
Reid writes: “I wanted Transit in Colour to hang in my first show at Arcadia Art Gallery in 2014, but it wasn’t working for me, so I added some hardware to it. I started to think about something in between a real cloud and the data cloud that we’re all in love with, that we pull things from and add things to and share with each other. Hard data, hardcloth, perfect squares of binary data racing along…What would a visual representation of that look like? Here it is: In the Cloud, Arcadia Art Gallery, 2014.”
The saga of this piece continues; in 2015, we moved to Flesherton, a village of 700 people halfway between Toronto and Tobermory. In the Cloud required special attention: another trip in the elevator, and then careful placement through the middle of our old Subaru Forrester. If something had to come between us, I’m glad it was Reid’s art.
Reid: “In our Arcadia flat, I had hung In the Cloud in the hallway outside my office; the steel mesh arranged around it was, I thought, on the right track, but it still needed more. The year after we moved to Flesherton, I felt it was time to give the sculpture a facelift. I assembled it in our living room–no longer the lofty 10′ ceilings of Arcadia, but the 70’s-style drop-ceiling someone had installed in our modest, much-added-to late-19th-C Flesherton home. I liked the changes, though that meant that, during construction, even Cara had to duck.”
“When it came time to installing A Roar, A Boar y Alice at Local Colour’s annual summer Art Garden, all I had to do was unhook each section and walk it down the road, from the lower west to the upper east side of town, about three blocks. Since it was now to hang from a single linear cable, it took me hours to figure out how to cantilever it with a piece of T-bar and a rock, but I always make my deadlines–the show opened at 7 and my piece was switched on at 6:59 p.m.”
In honour of her new form, she got a new name: A Roar, A Boar, y Alice. I like puns, though I admit this one is a bit of a stretch. But I think the name is appropriate; yes, she’s a strange form that shines in the night, but she’s also named after two important Alice’s: our mothers both bore that name, and neither alas lived to see Reid’s work. But both loved nature, art, the stars and us.
Current installation: many thanks to painter Susette Godin and luthier David Prentice for lending their drive shed ceiling, where “she flies through the air with the greatest of ease”, style and grace.