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May 27, 2002
The larch.
Canadian culture goes out on a limb

This just in from our Orangeville art critic. Pay attention, eh?

I had the opportunity to go on a tour of the AGO with my french class a while ago. I had been the year before, but who am I to pass up such a wonderful cultural experience, followed by French cuisine at Le Papillon (that's "The Butterfly" for all you non-french speaking people), and a day off school? The class was divided into three separate tour groups, and so off with my group I went.

After examining some fine abstract art - Dadaism, surrealism and impressionism - we realized we were running late, and decided to skip the Group of Seven. And as the tour guide apologized for us having to miss their exhibit of Canada's greatest artists, I turned to one of my fellow classmates, and said, "It doesn't matter, I've already seen the trees." Remember, I had been the year before, and had the chance to see the Group of Seven. Lots of talent, and great pieces of our Canadian Heritage eh, but no inspiration. All they seemed to paint was trees. I could just see them all getting together in the afterlife to show off their artworks. "Look, I drew a tree!" "So did I!" "Nice trees gentlemen, but look at this one!" "Ooh, barky..." "Beautiful foliage!" and so on. It's scarcely a wonder that the Americans think we live in the frozen forests...it's all we ever paint.

This also leads to some little known history about the Group of Seven...they used to be the Group of Eight. They had a member by the name of Francois Thibedault, who was a marvelous French Canadian tree painter. He could paint with the best of them, with his lovely portraits of spruces, oaks, and even the mighty maple. The young Francois showed promise to be the most recognized of the Group of Eight, until a horrible discovery was made...Francois was a closet portrait painter! He was discovered one warm June morn, as he was painting a self portrait. When the scandal went public, his wife divorced him, his parents disowned him, and he was kicked out of the Group of Eight. The poor man was so ashamed, that he burned all his paintings, and then himself.

The moral of the story is, never do more than what's expected of you.

Thanks to the artist formally known as Sexy Matrix Man. Your secret is safe with me (ish.)
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