Monday, February 09, 2004

Reading locally


On Friday it became obvious that there are certain things that are more well-read in this town than this here blog. Back on the 23rd of January I gave a brief snapshot of the various Arts reporters in town. Then, while talking with a friend over the weekend, I realized that unconsciously, I have always been trying to get the artists who exhibit here written about in places other than the "Visual Arts" section of the various media outlets. The reason for this being that there are more people who read general stuff, than who flip to, and then devour the "Visual Arts" section.

But then today, I was going through La Presse, specifically to see if there was anything that lent itself to a rant, and Bingo! I found it. hence my preamble. Jerome Delgado wrote about exhibitions by Dennis Ekstedt and Dominique Goupil [the link is a joke, too] in Sunday's paper, and believe it or not the article runs 409 words. That isn't a review, that's a nice mention in local newspaper. I don't blame anybody if they simply note that "oh, there's a show happening at Art Mur, or MdC Frontenac (or was that Simon Blais?")

In his 171 words about Mr. Ekstedt's exhibition, M. Delgado says something along the lines of � Figurative Painting is back, Dennis Ekstedt paints cityscapes that might be pointillism, but are extremely dark, because he paints the city at night. His show at Art Mur consists of a bunch of oil paintings on wood that give one a sense of softness. Hmmm, almost makes one want to read some multi-syllabic words. Almost.

Now I'm not in the habit of reading movie reviews (except for those written by John Griffin) But it strikes me that someone at La Presse has decided that Art reviews should take up about the same amount of space as a movie review. I'd suggest that they go all the way, give the various shows stars, and realize that attempting to give an analysis in less than 500 words ain't going to work. Give an overview of the exhibition (equivalent of plot summary) explain the technique used (equivalent of explaining how the special effects are created) mention if there are any naughty bits (the obligatory parental warning) and at the end tell if it works or doesn't. Simple straight forward and easy.

Trying to balance between the two sides (serious criticism and fluff for the general public) in under 500 words in a medium that is designed to be for the general public just ain't gonna happen.

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