Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Beautiful Book #43
Imagine a Night. Paintings by Rob Gonsalves. Text by Sarah L. Thomson. Athenaeum, 2003.
Canadian magic realist painter, Rob Gonsalves, has published 3 picture books of his paintings: Imagine a Night, Imagine a Day, and Imagine a Place. The formula for each book is simple: paintings are paired with suggestive captions by Sarah L. Thompson and the rest is left to the reader's imagination. While Thomson's captions bring a dream-like quality to the books, Gonsalves' art is really where it's at. On the books' end papers, he acknowledges the influence of the Surrealist movement, particularly artists, Remedios Varo and René Magritte, but his work also owes a lot to the architectural illusions of M.C. Escher. Each painting is a work of precision but one does not follow the underlying logic or math needed to make it work, one simply surrenders to its visual sleight of hand. Imagine a Day won the Governor General's Literary Award for illustration in 2005, but I think Imagine A Night is my favourite because the combination of magic realism with a dream-like duskiness takes the imagination in so many directions at once.