Monday, January 1, 2018

AGO: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

At Home with Monsters by Guillermo del Toro, showing presently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), is an incredible exhibition. A collection of pieces from Bleak House, del Toro's home outside Los Angeles, this is the personal collection of a creative mind that sees monsters as the darker side of each one of us. He believes that we have to recognize and face this side of our inner world so that we can make peace with it.

I would agree with del Toro. I experience my raw emotions as my monsters. To deal with my monsters, I need to admit I am even feeling the emotion, name it, and understand why it is there, inside me. It may be justified, it may be an offshoot of something else other than what it first appears, For instance, I may reject someone for the demands that person makes on me, but rather than allow the emotion to destroy our relationship, perhaps I need to learn to say, "No!" Only if I turn and face the monsters of my frustration and anger, and deal with them, will I be able to prevent them from destroying me, and perhaps others.

Shape of Water Drawing
The collection ranges from the Rain Room in which del Toro does his writing, to Edgar Allan Poe, Frankenstein, the Faun and The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth, to The Asset from The Shape of Water. There are comics, and books, and all sorts of fantastic pieces of horror. So often Art is thought of as simply beautifully painted pictures, but this show demonstrates that Art takes many forms. This drawing for the film of the same name, The Shape of Water, is beautiful Art to my eyes. There are many others, including pieces of sculpture.

The exhibition has previously shown in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and now at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto. The recent film, The Shape of Water (2017) was filmed in Hamilton and Toronto, so Guillermo del Toro's connection to Canada is already strong. This exhibition has certainly strengthened it, as the response has been hugely positive.

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