Batman, Picasso & Snow

No, this is not gonna be some wacky new mash-up. Though, you know…

This is about the visual feast that was the latter part of my long weekend – a riveting, edge-of-your-seat action/drama and a couple of mind-bending trips into the creative minds of two artists.

Sunday, I finally got out to see the final installment of the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman team: The Dark Knight Rises. The film picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight: Batman’s battle with the Joker, the deaths of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes – and Batman taking the fall so Gotham could have a hero in its battle against crime and remember Dent as a good person and not the psychotic monster he had become. Speaking of psychotic monsters, there are a new batch this time around – and not all of them are misshapen and hideous. Men in suits doing bad things for power and money feature prominently, but terrorist leader – and main villain of the movie – Bane has ideas of his own about where the power should be. Bruce Wayne, having hung up the cape and cowl, and still in mourning for lost love Rachel, has become a recluse – not even attending fundraising galas hosted in his own mansion. And cat burglar Selina Kyle is more than she appears. Like Wayne/Batman, she too is seeking redemption.

What I especially loved about The Dark Knight Rises – besides its stunning cinematography and special effects, and compelling story – is that the characters are so well-written, not to mention well acted. The good guys are flawed and living with demons, and the bad buys have heart and loyalty. Well, except maybe for the bad guys in suits. Outstanding performances from regulars Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman, and great to see Marion Cotillard (the lovely and intelligent Wayne board member Miranda), Anne Hathaway (a kick-ass and yummy Selina Kyle), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (young cop turned detective Blake) and Tom Hardy (the big, scary Bane). Socially, an indictment of Wall Street and the one percent, while at the same time condemning violent action against them. And the ending is nothing short of  a spectacular, heart- and gut-wrenching ride. Best. Batman. Movie. Ever.

Here’s one of my fave trailers:

Since it was a long weekend in August – when a lot of folks are out-of-town and I figured that those who stuck around may not be aware of the special Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) Monday opening (they’re usually closed Mondays), I decided to visit the Picasso exhibit. Turns out it was a good idea – the crowds weren’t too bad and the line to get tickets was very short when I arrived late morning. Featuring works from the artist’s private collection – which now have a home at The Musée National Picasso, Paris – this exhibit is a stunning overview of the man’s work, and creative mind and life.

“I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary.” – Pablo Picasso

Two Women Running on the Beach (The race) – Pablo Picasso

From sketches, to sculptures, paintings and collages, Picasso’s evolving life and art – and shifting moods – are reflected throughout, the artist always passionate, and always offering a fresh look at people, objects, landscapes and the relationship between them in each piece. Musicians and instruments, models and settings, lines and space all combine with geometric beauty. Colours and images surprise and excite, move and disturb. Images of death and mourning – the “Death’s Head” sculpture and “The Weeping Woman” paintings – contrast with pieces inspired by happy times at the beach like “Two Women Running on the Beach (The race)” – one of my favourites.

Looking at his work, we can see him inspired by the women in his life, music (guitars and violins feature prominently), bulls and bull fighting – all his pieces driven by a deep love of life, observation of the world around him and social consciousness. Art as a weapon against despair and brutality.

Check out WikiPaintings for more of Picasso’s work: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/pablo-picasso

I also took the opportunity to drop by one of the AGO’s featured exhibitions Michael Snow: Objects of Vision. This is a collection of 14 sculptures – some of them interactive – examining the concept space and our perception of space. I really liked this exhibit a lot. There’s a window piece with different surfaces on either side, a steel girder piece you can sit inside, an abyss to peer into and a four-walled fence-like structure you can walk through, among others. And the very large, sharp pointy stick suspended in the middle of the room is the stuff of location-specific murder mysteries. For details about Michael Snow and images from the exhibit, click here: http://www.ago.net/michael-snow-objects-of-vision

The Picasso exhibit is up at the AGO until August 26 and the Michael Snow exhibit is on until December 9. For more info and advance tickets, visit the AGO website: http://www.ago.net/

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Author: life with more cowbell

Arts/culture social bloggerfly & Elwood P. Dowd disciple. Likes playing with words. A lot. Toronto

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