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Brian Dedora

Stratford (Ont.), Aya/The Mercury Press, 1989. 63pp, paper, ISBN 0-920544-68-1. CIP

Reviewed by Bob Haxton.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

There is a strange tone to this little book. At first glance it seems banal: some uninteresting photographs of a framing workshop and a short story of what went on there. If it weren't for the names of William Kurelek and Av Isaacs, the pioneering Toronto gallery owner, one might dismiss it, though not with-out looking hard and long at the painting reproduced on the cover. This and the few paintings reproduced inside are quite different from the busy Bruegel-like prairie scenes usually associated with Kurelek.

Here a single small item from the framing shop fills each picture; a spool of wire, a tape dispenser, a brush, and in the disturbing cover picture entitled "Frame Finisher's Glove," a stained rubber glove, retaining the shape of the hand that used it, and an end of 1 x 2 with two sharp nails sticking up. The 1 x 2 is spotted with stain looking much like blood. It, like the glove, is simply a tool of the trade, but their juxtaposition produces a mood both serene and ominous.

This painting effectively captures the ambivalent tension in Kurelek and the need for the discipline of this medieval craft to fend off the horrors of an unstable psyche.

Brian Dedora is a B.C. author with several titles to his name and is a per­formance artist. There is an introduc­tion by Ramsay Cook and an index of photographs, drawings and paintings giving size, date and media of the paintings. The vocabulary is simple but the subject requires the motivation of some prior interest. An eighteen-year-old interested in Kurelek might find it very interesting, though if the interest is in his technique one longs for more information on the actual business of painting. As I've mentioned the book is illustrated with photos, drawings and paintings.

Bob Haxton, Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School, Vancouver.B.C.
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