From my balcony, I look at that chair. Each season, it shows itself differently.
In the Summer, the chair can barely be spotted, as it sits behind the tree leaves of a third floor back lane balcony.
In the Winter, the chair reveals itself.
For over a decade, I have never seen anyone sitting on that chair.
Meanwhile, it was only on February 15, 2017 I noticed this amazing particular light shinning on the chair while I was enjoying one of my contemplation breaks on my balcony. I decided to photography that chair.
On February 16, the following day that I took that chair’s photos, one of my neighbors told me that the man who lived in that house had died. She came with a newspaper in hand to meet me on our shared lane way. The 87 years old woman opened the papers and started reading the obituary in her English Portuguese accent. At the time I did not registered his name. It was the emptiness of that chair that opened up for interpretation.
My interest on that chair continues. Since February 2017 I have been exploring the image in a series of paintings and prints.
Most recently, my interested on the context surrounding that chair grew. That chair, as an image in itself fascinates me and I keep exploring it. But, how little I know about whose that chair belonged to. My curiosity about the person who used to live in that house increased as up to this point I had known nothing about who lived in that house and left that chair empty.
Since we moved to Kensington Market, neighbors have referred to that house as the “Architect’s House,” noting on its unconventional modern and industrial design in the surrounds of Victorian Houses.
And, since February 2017, when I started working with its image, I have made a series of paintings and prints.
That chair, as shape and form, is a theme on itself, even though I feel that the story behind it is asking to be told.
Most recently, my interested on the context surrounding that chair grew. That chair, as an image in itself still fascinates me and I keep exploring it. Meanwhile, my curiosity about the person who used to live in that house also increased.
Recently, I learnt from Yordana Savard Peric, a next door neighbor, that Stuart McLean was the person who lived in that house. He was the Canadian well-known storyteller who used to live there and he was particular admired for his Christmas Stories told on the radio for many years.
Alternative Point of View (P.O.V.),
acrylic and pastels on canvas, 40” x 30”, 2017
Once I had his name, I found wonders about Stuart McLean who left a legacy on his radio shows. He died at 68 years old, he was a “gentle and optimistic humorist” and who hosted The Vinyl Cafe for more than 20 years on CBC Radio.
The storyteller who I never met become the story behind these artworks.
What type of storyteller was McLean? How did he looked like?
My perception is that he was a unique person immersed in deep existential thoughts. I feel that who says that McLean “delivered universal truths, which is what made him such a special storyteller,” is saying the truth about him.
My interest on the chair has been growing overtime as I explore the image on different media as paintings, linocuts, etching, mezzotint and monotypes.
Stuart McLean, the man related to that chair and who lived in that modern designed house had a fascinating creative life. The chair is still there, a symbol of the impermanence of things. A symbol of the migrations that built one of the most diverse communities as is recognize Kensington Market in Toronto. Also, the chair is a symbol for solitude, the emptiness of the void space, a open ended narrative.
I am glad to add to that chair’s chain of meanings, a life story. I am grateful to Stuart McLean for yet another unexpected story.
My”Letting it go” painting is a reference to the stories that live into the community and the presence that is sensed by absence.
Letting it go, (window series), acrylic and pastels on canvas, 32” x 32”, 2017
“Selected Memories” (Triptych), 6” x 12”, A.P.,
linocut, gampi paper, 2017
“Chasing Memories,” 10” x 9.5”, A.P., etching on zinc plate, 2017
“Flashbacks” (Triptych), 6.5”x 15.5”, A.P.,
mezzotint and etching on copper plates, arches paper, 2017