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Welland's Murals:
19. The Welland Club

About the Mural
The Welland Club by John Hood, Toronto, Ontario. Painted in 1988, at the corner of Hellems Avenue and East Main Street, 50' by 30'. John stumbled on a technique that lent his painting a nostalgic tone. He used an old photograph as the subject of his mural. A photocopy of the old photo had a "peculiar quality," John explained. The lines were blurred. The mural has the same quality, but the colours are intense, as in a vivid dream. It is the largest mural painted in the Festival of Arts.

The Welland Club on the banks of the Old Welland Canal is still in operation today. John depicts the club as it was in the early 1920s, complete with a blazing Union Jack and the lawn bowlers in the foreground.

The Artist's Interpretation
"The image quality of this piece derives from its conceptual point of departure. I conceived of a mural where the viewer is seeing the image, not as if he or she was actually standing there in 1925, but rather through a medium or screen. The screen may be memory, a dream state, a hallucination or a transcendental vision. Whichever it is, it is something between the image and the viewer that alters, simplifies and heightens the perception of that image. People have remarked that this piece has the appearance of a scene reflected in water or seen through water. This is a satisfying comment as water is an apt physical parallel for the screen of memory/dream/vision."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
The subject is unmistakable, but the treatment is most unusual. The effect is to impress upon the viewer the transitory nature of our vision of reality. Our contemporary perception of the Welland Club may become blurred in time, as has the image in the mural and our memory of the unidentified men out front. "Sic transit gloria" might be an apt title for the work. 
 
 

About the Artist: John Hood, Toronto, Ontario
John was born in Montreal and obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University. He usually paints small-scale figurative scenes in acrylics and watercolours.

In 1987, he won a competition to paint an outdoor mural in Athens, Ontario and created a 700 square foot masterpiece. "It was a chance to work on a very large scale." Hood reflected. "I like having a canvas that's ridiculously big." He is one of two artists who painted three murals for the Welland Festival of Arts and is the youngest of the artists involved.

John has had solo exhibitions in Montreal and Brockville and has produced a series of acrylics and watercolours of the Toronto waterfront and surroundings. He has also worked on book illustrations.

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