If you’ve ever walked around the north end of campus, you’ve probably noticed a building with a red door close to Nat Sci and Social Science Centre. This is the McIntosh Gallery that most students walk past without thinking twice about going inside. Recently, I was forced to enter as part of an english course I’m taking and found that the building was actually a beautifully relaxing exhibition space.
One of the paintings in particular attracted my attention, Seascape, because it was one of the few that used colour. The boats are drawn using much darker and harsher colours than the warm yellow sky. When both hues meet in the middle of the picture, their differences create a striking clash of colours and the warm yellow sky is overshadowed by the dark black and grey of the boats. Below the boats, dark brown and grey water fills the rest of the piece. It is portrayed as if the dark boats are blocking the cheerful sky from penetrating the depths of the water. One may interpret that this piece of art is a warning to society: technological advances—when not carefully controlled—may take away from the beauty of nature. This nineteenth century warning has now come to life in the twenty-first century as we struggle to reduce the negative consequences of technological advances on the natural world.
I suggest you take at least ten minutes to visit the gallery before the end of your time at Western. Even if you’re like me and usually aren’t too interested in art, you may find yourself surprised as you leave the building with the red door.