I was in Toronto in the week, and my first stop was the Brookfield Plaza. It is the atrium space between Bay and Yonge Street close to Front Street. It is a magnificent space, serene and soaring. Jonah in the Whale is the metaphor that seems to describe this space for me.
What would draw me to this space? It has an art exhibit that I was looking forward to experiencing - Floyd Elzinga's Pinecone Exhibit. It was a delight. The space is so vast that some of the pinecones appear small. But this is not the case - they are large. I found these natural forms to be beautiful and enchanting in the space.
I find out that I would clearly fail Art Appreciation 101. And I got a lesson in how an artist gets good press with interesting stories. Floyd's intent is the opposite of what I see. Here's what he says in an article about the pinecones.
'These “Colonization Devices“, as Elzinga has dubbed them, illustrate and explore the dichotomous nature of seeds — simultaneously seen as innocuous and aggressive. With that in mind, Elzinga sought instead to aim attention at the threatening, almost hostile nature of the seeds, using the ordinariness of steel and its commonplace use to liken them not to the organic yet geometricized form they resemble, but to machinery and artillery; in turn, equating them to hand grenades.
This juxtaposition of the seeds’ reason for being – colonization — and the sculptures’ shape emulating a hand grenade or bomb inserts an irrefutable political agenda into the artwork and fouls the pine cone’s purity. By comparing the potential of both seed and bomb, Elzinga insinuates that the pair possess the innate desire to stay alive — to invade and colonize.'