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ImageI thought it apropos to write about this painting as Calgary is cleaning up the mud and debris after the devastating Alberta Floods. Painted in 1962 by Calgary artist, Harry Kiyooka, it’s titled “Sticks and Stones”. It was inspired when the artist was visiting his brother, (famed artist Roy Kiyooka) in Vancouver. He was standing on one of the many bridges over the Fraser River and watching how the logs jammed in the water below.

Harry painted many paintings with this theme, refining and minimizing as he went along. The Glenbow Museum in Calgary has a few in their collection and one was shown at the National Gallery in 1963 during the 5th Biennial of Painting. This work marks the beginning of Harry Kiyooka’s interest in minimalism which he still pursues today and can be seen in him most recent “Kalpa Series”.

I love the optimism of this painting. The colours are bright and equal to each other in value, harmoniously vying for the eye’s attention. The composition is bursting yet contained. Smudges of deep violet settle the scene and hold it all together. Brilliant!