It is with great embarrassment that I admit that I finally visited the recently renovated Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday for the first time! Designed by the world renowned architect, Frank Gehry, it has been open for almost a year! This is Toronto-born Gehry's first building in Canada, and according to the AGO website, it marks the very place where he made his initial connection between art and architecture.
I was completely stunned by the beauty of it as soon as I entered the building. I mean stunned! The wheelchair ramp near the front door, with it's wooden floor and half walls winds like a ribbon to the ticket desks. There is a hush to the building. It's quiet and still. Enormous circular staircases wind their way to heaven in the central courtyard and archways from other staircases look through to see them from other angles. Maybe it's because the building is just so new to me, but I almost didn't care if I saw any of the artwork. In fact, I would say that the building far surpassed ANY of the artwork. Is that a good or bad thing?
The Galleria Italia was the highlight for me. The window wall that looks out onto Dundas Street, has ribs that make you feel as though you are inside the body of a whale. I once had a cellist play in my house and because of all the wood I have in my home--wooden floors and beams--the sound was magical. The cellist told me that the wood of the cello resonated with the wood in my home. I couldn't help but wonder what a cello would sound like in the Galleria Italia.
The energy in the Art Gallery is totally different than before the renovation. It's so calming, inviting and actually healing. It feels like a living being. I just wanted to bathe in the light and energy of the space. Can't wait to go again. Maybe I'll look at the art next time.