VISUAL ARTS - TORONTO STAR
Toronto artist Gina Rorai’s Corkin Gallery exhibition shares a new way of seeing
By Deborah Dundas
We’ve all been on the inside looking out during lockdown. Gazing out a window, perhaps, we might feel as if the boundaries of our world have closed in. We might lean out, trying to get a glimpse down the street, to see what’s coming or what we’ve missed.
We might think that our frame is restrictive, but perhaps it’s simply a way of making us focus more closely on what’s around us. We can look at it another way, as an opportunity to see our familiar world with a fresh eye, now that our world is framed in a way that focuses our attention on aspects we might not normally take the time to observe.
There’s a lesson in perspective in Toronto artist Gina Rorai’s work. Her exhibition “Where One Finishes the Other Begins,” at the city’s Corkin Gallery, suggests ways of looking at the structures that frame our perspectives.
One of the paintings in the exhibition, “The Hawthorn Tree,” is based on the view through her studio window, she says.
“The window and curtain isolate the textures and colours of the tree, which make it possible to incorporate it into the pattern of the drape and interior space. It frames the outside world as an abstract thing and it also becomes a part of a dreamlike domestic interior. When I was a child my parents planted a tree in our yard, and I grew up watching the tree grow and evolve. I became aware of its ever changing nature over the years. Enhancing the sense of temporal change and acting as a metaphor for the agency of time. Mirroring the passing of years and the ephemerality of being.”
Like all of us, she says that quarantine has further changed the way she looks at the world.
“Recently my approach has been intensified. Quarantine has focused my practice as a painter, observing nature and the world in time and as time passes.”
While our perspective might be restricted by our decreased mobility, it’s been expanded by encouraging us to take a closer look at the familiar.