Monday, August 15, 2016

"Adult Colouring Books Speak to the Infantilisation of the Therapeutic Imagination "

Being without wheels meant I had to get a ride with my neighbour at six thirty in the morning Friday. We were off to Amherst where she dropped me at a friend's who put me up for the night, fed me and was a very gracious host. Saturday she drove me to the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery for the opening of the group exhibit Small Wonders 6" x 6" 2016, which I participating in.

It was a wonderful day for lots of reasons, meeting and talking to the other artists who exhibited, meeting up with creative friends, and I even saw a first cousin I hadn't had contact with, in probably 30 plus years.

Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery is a very special space, in a very special place. It's inviting, intimate, and in a very personable and, friendly atmosphere. It's a gallery full of a variety of original art, prints, books, and there are many classes/workshops and exhibitions that are offered to the public.

 It got me thinking about the difference between large and small commercial gallery spaces. You will find no colouring books in this gallery.

My life long friend who came to the exhibit had just returned from Winnipeg and shared with me her experience visiting the Winnipeg Art Gallery. We discussed something that seems to have become our shared nemesis, colouring books.

Over lunch she told me about a wonderful exhibit of Marc Chagall's work and of an Inuit art exhibit. They both sounded beautiful, and I longed especially to be able to see the exhibit of Marc Chagall as I love his work. My friend said she wanted to find something, a book related to Marc Chagall. She found nothing nor was there anything available, published about the Inuit Artist Exhibit. What she did find was many colouring books. I presume they were printed reproductions of past artists, and work that could be filled in with coloured pens or pencils etc.

This infantilisation of the imagination that sociologist and commentator Frank Furedi refers to in his article, appears to be taking over art gallery gifts stores, and wherever else they can be sold. It all reminds me of that science fiction movie, The Night of The Triffids. I liken colouring books to being the contemporary Triffids, deadening imaginations and creativity.

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