An Unusual Relationship - No RegretsTuesday, June 26, 2018
|All photographs by Nora Patrich
I have two daughters. The older one, Alexandra is pretty independent. The other, Hilary reminds me of my mother. I have always regretted not telling my mother how much I loved her and how I appreciated all her sacrifices for giving me a good education. Because of that sense of guilt I try to do everything for Hilary to make her keep smiling that crooked smile she inherited from me and from there from my mother.
I regret not having been curious enough to ask my-then-alive relatives the answers to questions I can no longer ask because they are dead.
But I don’t regret how my life has been up to now and I appreciate and treasure my 50 years of marriage to my Rosemary. Without her I would be teaching English in Mexico while regretting that I could have been a photographer.
I don’t regret selling our beautiful corner lot house in Kerrisdale (the buying of it was all intelligence of my savvy wife) even though Rosemary does. We have been able to inherit our daughters while we are still alive. Rosemary will come around soon.
My mother sent me to a Roman Catholic high school in Austin, Texas. I do not regret having gone there and only until a few years ago did I lose my mentor from there, Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. whom I saw just a few months before he died.
I had another mentor in Mexico City, Raúl Guerrero Montemayor who instilled in me a love for culture, manners and propriety. He even championed my relationship with Rosemary. And like Brother Edwin I was able to see him on his soon-to-be dying bed and tell him how I loved him and appreciated his help in my life.
What all this is leading towards is all about two Argentine mentors Nora Patrich and Juan Manuel Sánchez. They lived in Vancouver for many years in a bohemian sort of life. They were painters and they painted every day. I met them at Argentine Tango classes and I quickly attached myself to their artist life. I could call them at any time of the day or night. They were always keen for conversation over a mate. Best of all they never said no to any suggestions I might have about working together. And this we did. We had a show in which the Argentine beauty (sensational as my other mentor Sean Rossiter would have said) Linda Lorenzo with Patrich and Sánchez and I explored our nostalgia for Buenos Aires and Argentina. We had a large show in a South Granville gallery. After that we worked on many projects until the two left for Argentina on separate airplanes and then divorced.
This did not stop me from visiting the two and having some of their enthusiasm rub off on me. Since they left I have never been able to find a an artist in this cold city who might want to work with me on a joint project. In particular I have not found anybody willing to sketch from life a subject that I would photograph.
So this September at the Buenos Aires Galería Vermeer, Nora Patrich and I are having a show (they call them muestras in BA) with the tentative name of Dos Retornos. Not three because Sánchez died two years ago. The show will be a sort of homage to the great painter that Sánchez was.
In our years of working together either in my then large studio on Granville and Robson or at the Patrich/ Sánchez home I sometimes felt irritated on the fact that Patrich would click behind me with her Nikon camera. It was a pain. She would laugh telling me that in almost every case my behind played a prominent central role.
Now with Sánchez dead I have been scanning these postcard-sized photographs. Some of them have an unusual charm and point of view. But best of all her photographs show two-and-a-half artists (I am that half!) at work.
But while I may have had regrets about other things in my life like not telling my mother how much I loved her, working with these two was something I savoured and realized how special it all was. The memory is all there and the show will be a proof of it.
The pictures here are the ones that do not show bits and pieces. All the pictures will be in a loop which will be installed in the gallery monitor. Perhaps those who linger with them will come to understand how lucky I have been and how lucky they will be to get that glimpse.