An all-star artistic Mexican couple is being featured at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
No, not Dora and Diego. It’s the legendary Frida and Diego.
While my three-year-old son was jumping up and down with excitment at the thought of coming face-to-face with Dora and Diego, and kept muttering something about Diego’s “rescue pack,” he wasn’t too disappointed that the famous cartoon cousins weren’t there. He particularly enjoyed the paintings with monkeys and fruit.
The exhibit is that good.
It’s more than an exhibit actually. It’s a love story, complete with the highs and lows of their volatile relationship (which I won’t give away here). Seeing their works, side-by-side, is a real treat. Through their art we can see how different they were, yet why they were “drawn” to each other – through passion, politics and love for each other and their country.
A quote from Frida at the exhibition particularly struck me: “I paint flowers so they won’t die.” This statement says a lot about the artistic impulse in all of us. What drives us to create? To take a photo, put pen to paper or brush to canvas. Sometimes it’s to express a feeling, but other times it’s to maintain a feeling, preserve an amazing moment in time, or make something beautiful live forever. Not only will Frida’s flowers live on, but so will her image – and torment – as displayed in her many self-portraits.
The exhibit covers a lot of ground and a wide cross-section of artistic styles. You will see beautiful landscapes and stilllifes, horrific images in hospital beds, and other paintings you’d swear could be Picasso. If I wasn’t with my three-year-old, I would have stuck around a bit longer.
Frida and Diego lived an extraorindary life. I’m not sure it’s possible to fully comprehend it’s complexity in an hour visit at an art gallery, but it’s a worthy effort by the AGO.