When I’m driving downtown and heading east on Jasper Avenue I say a little prayer to the traffic light gods as I approach the 121st street intersection. I’m not wishing for a green light as you might expect, instead I have my fingers crossed for a red light so I can stop and face the 1960 built Jasper House apartment building. High on a smooth facade sits a sculpted mural I never tire of looking at. It’s stunning and dramatic like a beautiful brooch on a sleek column dress.
I love the collage of colourful squares set atop a doodle of line work. It’s a contraction with lines that look so delicate and threadlike yet stand strong and endure the elements year after year. The shadows intrigue me as much as the piece itself and create a playful kinetic quality.
It was created by Quebec artist Jordi Bonet (1932 -1979). He was a painter, muralist and sculptor. Although he primarily worked in Quebec, his works are peppered across Canada in places like a metro station in Montreal,Quebec or a mural in Moncton, New Brunswick to name a few spots. Often his work is integrated into our landscape and daily routines and because of that we relate to it differently I think. It seeps into our soul and intellect from a different angle compared to when we go to a gallery or museum with an intent to view and analyze. This piece in particular opened my eyes to all the little known gems that live without fanfare in our cities and towns yet offer so much. I’ll let Jordi Bonet have the last word in this post. I’m always moved by this quote.
To often we work in solitude, far from the fields of action where our destiny can blossom, towns are built around us but we are not there. Yet art is as at ease in the streets and public places, as in the museums, it is the collective richness of all men, everyone has a right to find it in their homes, in the objects they use, everywhere in the country where they live.
If as artists, we must express the anguish of our tormented civilization, then our work must, above all, express hope and what we will become.
Close our eyes, open our minds, see
“Art is the scripture of visions to come”