On first seeing an Alex Colville

Ominous evening
lone black stallion
gallops between
iron rails
resolved to defy
the single headlight
of approaching train

Funny to think
that the horse
might win


So many passions are bound up in possibilities. The Canadian painter Alex Colville has passionately posited various ‘what if’s’ in much of his work. So, what appears to be some kind of simple statement about nature and technology/’the machine’ opens up as one considers the imaginative possibilities layered into this Colville classic.

The passion that led to this work has a kind of transference of imaginative energy and possibility to the viewer. If, indeed, the horse might ‘win’ (being somewhat tellingly larger in size), what else may be possible in this world with the passion of imagination, the passion of creation, and the passion of beautiful expression? Consider then the passions of the many other great artists, be they painters, architects, composers, musicians, writers, or filmmakers. The passions that teach, that inspire, that inform, that move, and that powerfully connect.

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