Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Should Toller Cranston's Figure Skating be considered a visual art?
See the title embedded on this You Tube Video? It leaves no room that whomever posted this video considers Toller's skating to be an artform.
But where do the visual arts begin and end? I have taken a rather traditional view that art is what is produced by the hands of the artist. And, its tangible. It can be held and looked at and stepped back from. It can sit on display on a coffee table, or hang on a wall.
Then along comes someone like Toller Cranston who challenges my understanding of the visual arts, by moving his interpretation of life into athleticism and instead of hanging it on a wall, he puts it into the television screen in the corner of the room.
Toller Cranston, is arguably the best male figure skater that Canada has ever produced even though he never won an Olympic Gold. He came along when male skaters had arms that stuck out like airplane wings. Toller used his total body to express himself and he used the ice as his stage.
Toller Cranston turned figure skating for men into ballet on ice.
Later when his days of skating ended, he became known in the traditional sense an artist. But yet, I find it almost impossible to separate the two - for Toller challenges us by pushing our limits of understanding of what the visual arts really are.
Join me now, to watch this video of Toller at work on the ice. I will follow this in later weeks by presenting his paintings.
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A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.
Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.