We volunteered this afternoon with the Tri-hards bowling league and on the way home made a stop at the Neilson Park Creative Centre to see an exhibition called Elemental Time featuring the work of Bruce Parsons. We’re aquainted with Bruce as he taught at York University during our years there in the early 80s. I haven’t talked with Bruce – or seen what he is up to artistically – in many years, and I can tell you it was a treat to do both today.
The exhibition features a huge labyrinth floor painting called OBOR, referring to the Chinese, Russian and Eurasian bear or “the New Silk Road system” linking the Atlantic and the Pacific. This work was painted on a black tarp with oil markers, enamel, spray + has fish decals by Jenny Chen. Viewers are invited to take their shoes off and walk on this and the other floor paintings.
Bruce has written: “The labyrinth is a walking meditation device that I use when I am painting. The sticks are for walking meditations. I imagine using them as instruments used for searching for sources of underground water, but also pointers that uncover answers to subtle questions that a person might want to explore for better clarity and fun. It is a game of discovery like the Chinese book of chance and change called The I Ching, which is a quest for strategic advice on how best to proceed with the task or road ahead”.
I really enjoyed this exhibition. It’s bold and inventive and sensitive and fun and interactive. Bruce even put on some music to accompany or enhance the experience.
The exhibition is on until the end of the month. Outside the main gallery there are some other walls featuring works by Bruce’s brother John Parsons and Jenny Chen. The Neilson Park Creative Centre is in Etobicoke very near the 427 and Dundas. The gallery is a bit hidden away but it’s well worth the trek. It’s a beautiful big gallery space and the work is top notch.