What is it catches the eye? Holds our attention?
Dolls Gone Wild Blueberries at Life of Pie
Life of Pie is a casual neighbourhood cafe with delectables aplenty on offer. Here, the story-telling imagery of artists Peter Evanchuck and Helene Lacelle is to be found in the café’s two washrooms (three framed pictures in one, four in the other). The artists declare this to be art at the “loo, not the Louvre, ” another installment of their ongoing “Life of Pie” series. The current selection is entitled “Dolls Gone Wild Blueberries.”
In 2016, after an ice storm, Peter Evanchuck photographed a series of shuttered blueberry stands along Highway 7 between Perth and Kaladar. Evanchuck's photographs became the base for storylines in colour and line added by Helene Lacelle – each composition a vignette linked to summers long past. For example, we see in “Nr. 3”, a shuttered blue and white shack. It displays a battered sign reading: “Sorry we're closed.” On its rooftop, three flagpoles hold aloft Canada flags, worn and shredded. In the snow is a child’s doll baby. What child lost her toy here? Far off in the distance are a few houses. No lights on there. No pathway to take us from here to there, either.
Once there was summer. It may return.
Why are the artists’ compositions in the washroom? Well, why not? Sometimes in our most personal moments, thoughts drift to another long lost from view. The ongoing collaboration of Peter Evanchuck and Helene Lacelle is one they label “Marvelous Realism.”
Maureen Korp, independent critic, curator, and historian, has lived long in Ottawa.
Originally published in the April 2019 OSCAR.