A woman I know went into the night three nights ago. She slept near the heat of a sewer and breathed the hours till dawn. A bit later, at St. Patrick’s, watery hotcakes were slapped onto a plate and slid beneath her hunger. This woman’s street-home is steps from the Art Gallery of Ontario, down the hall from Emily Carr’s Indian Church.
Trees dwarf this white church. It resembles something a child might roughly shape out of dough. I think of a kitchen: a woman, pressing and pounding, rolls out bread. It springs back at her then she turns to touch a child beneath the countertop. She hands the girl a fist full of dough and says: make art.
There, on the tile near her mother’s feet she constructs a white church and the woman smiles down on her, resumes pressing deep and hard, relentless. Later, she’ll pick the dried glop from between her daughter’s fingertips. The kitchen smells pumpernickel breadly.
There is a slight splash of yellow on a bough; more yellow glimpsed through the Queen Charlotte fine forest. Emily Carr paints no figures but I see them. I lean against the fence watching school girls rustle up pinecones, spread havoc among the squirrels.
Carr’s Christ becomes shrouded by lush green. Five slight single crosses stab dirt while nearby ogreish pines cast oblique shadows. Whose deaths does she paint?