I was known as Sputnik during my childhood , conceived and delivered in the same year as the first artificial earth satellite named Sputnik.Things could have turned out so very differently. Had my parents lived in Quebec, I could have been called Poutine.
Considered one of Canada’s greatest inventions, it was created in the same year.
It evolved in rural Quebec when a customer regularly asked a chef to add cheese curds to a plate of chips, gravy was added later to keep the whole dish warm.
The chef involved declared “Ça va faire une maudite poutine!” (“It will make a damn mess!”)
It has become the perfect comfort food. Crispy chips, rich meaty gravy and squeaky curd cheese. Textural, gustatory ecstasy for mouths and minds.
I discovered Poutine in Toronto, at a bar overlooking AGO, the Art Gallery of Ontario.
It was a day of great discoveries. AGO was full of wonderful but unheard-of, to me, artists, none of them ever mentioned during a British Fine Art degree. There was something really thrilling about discovering new-to-me contemporary 20th Century Western Art. It was refreshing not to have the opinions of art historians,critics or lecturers already seeded into my head before viewing the works.
There were so many that I loved but this vivid work is the first to come to mind. Beyond the colours it is the certainty of mark making that gives it such impact.
This work is by Rita Letendre one of Canada’s best known living artists, she is 91 as I write this. Known for her bold visceral style, her images are created using many techniques, printing, painting, scraping, bare hands, knives.
This one is called The Joy of Living.
I’m not sure I get ‘Joy’ from this image. Energy, powerful passion or excoriating pain are my immediate responses.The work has creative exuberance and I love it but I think I feel joy more calmly. Maybe it was the carb overload at the time of viewing!
After researching her many works I realise that one of my earlier synesthesia images painted to a piece of Jeff Beck music has some of the qualities of a Letendre . ( Who do think I am! )
I will add an image of my painting to this blog at a later date once I’ve contacted the current owner.
So much pleasure and knowledge gained in one day. A good amount of calories too.