Surrealism is the new Real

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"At Home with Monsters" at the AGO - Praise for Guillermo Del Toro

I had the unique opportunity to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario during an amazing show which I have been super excited about for some time. (More info here.) Namely, since my last visit to the AGO, when I saw the "At Home with Monsters" posters in the hall after the Georgia O'Keefe display.

Keep in mind, I've been passionately madly in love with Del Toro's work for years. Anyone who knows me would be aware of my love for the Book of Life, Pacific Rim, Pan's Labyrinth and Crimson Peak. I'm fairly certain my barely contained glee was evident to Alli, my companion for the evening, as I stood in line in the hopes of being able to get an autograph from the master himself. Alas, I was there too late, but I have a nice drawing I can someday perhaps have him sign the finished version:

The coolest part about the show was that it didn't just include bits & pieces of regalia and props from his movies, it included a goodly size portion of his art collection as well. Concept art for Disney's Sleeping Beauty, original drawings by Geiger himself, and bits and pieces he's made, collected, and kept as inspiration throughout his life.

Seriously y'all, I WISH I could sit down with him in amongst the monsters and books and just ask for the stories behind everything. (I'd need a TON of tea.) Overall, the show is brilliantly done. The lighting is perfect, and the focus of each section is spot on. I really didn't have enough time to take it all in (which is why I'm going again in a couple weeks) or to examine a few parts like the wall-o-comics like Hellboy and others, and the table full of readable books. Seeing the concept art close up and personal, and seeing the costumes from the movies makes the monsters strangely all the more real, and all the more creepy.

I mean, it's hard not to be immediately feel your heart skip a beat or three when you walk in to see this staring at you:

It is also interesting to hear a decent portion of the life story of someone who's been in the business for years. Apparently Guillermo has seen a lot of traumatizing things that have helped to shape his art and his fascination with the macabre. 

For some reason I was especially taken with the hillside painting, that had similar style and colouration to the Disney's Sleeping Beauty style, though the palette was slightly off from the blues and purples that dominate the movie. Perhaps it's just the fact that the stretching shadows show a moment that's difficult to capture in time, just before the world goes dark. 

And just a few more of my favourite highlights before posting for the night.  

I'm looking forward to seeing The Shape of Water for many reasons, and I'm hoping it's another one of Del Toro's triumphs. So fair, the trailers look amazing, and possibly heart-wrenching.

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