September 4, 2018

Mohr than just a painting

Jurgen Mohr has new spark in his creative soul. The 70-year-old abstract artist recently discovered the joy of painting like a child again.

Well-established in many permanent public and private collections, Mohr found another gear for his artistry after a 13-year-old student from Mexico named Jorge gave him a lesson for the ages. 

The painting above is the result of the collaboration.

And such is the storyline behind Mohr's donation to the Look, Listen and Laugh (Because Dementia Sucks) fundraiser for the North Bay Alzheimer Society. 

The silent online auction on this website begins Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., it's featured at the sold-out music, art and stand-up comedy event Sept. 14 at the Grande Event Centre, and closes Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.  Donations so far include originals, prints, photographs, framed and unframed, as well as lessons and other services up for bid. There might even be a quilt. A drop off event is taking place Thursday, Sept. 6 at the business hive in the former Tweedsmuir school at Lakeshore and Gertrude. And more donations are welcome to be included right up until noon Sept. 13 (email [email protected]).

Mohr said his piece isn't symbolic of Alzheimer's Disease or the effort to increase local respite care services. But there is symbolism in his contribution, with his craft getting a spark from youthful outlook and a good life philosophy considering how time always runs short.

"His response and interpretation was so bright, enthusiastic and original, that Jorge inspired me to try something similar," Mohr wrote in a description of the painting, a mixed media and oil paint on Peterboro Board on Masonite.

Jorge was a foreign student from Mexico who studied in North Bay in 2016 and the artwork is titled: Dedicated to Jorge #17 Circle, Square, Triangle.

The studio price is $960 but for the auction the reserved bid will be $450 with 100% of the sale price going to increase the hours of North Bay Alzheimer Society respite care services.

A transcription of a video interview with Mohr about the painting is below:

"The story with Jorge, where he was painting without any self consciousness whatsoever, almost in automatic mode, that’s the spirit of artistry, I think, ah, that’s just the way it is, that’s where the juice is … that’s where the real artistry comes from ... We can slave over a painting, some realistic portrait of somebody or a landscape or a still life, trying to imitate the values of a bloom on a grape or the reflection on a glass ... Where is that going to take you? The brushes get finer and you get more frustrated. It doesn’t take you anywhere."

"But I realized, I’m finding out, now that I reached this age, I really do recognize the beauty and the joy of spontaneity and playfulness of artistry," Mohr said, noting that Picasso could paint like a classical master at 16 years old.

"And you know what he said? It took him a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child … there’s so much wisdom in that."

Mohr described his first painting after Jorge created his first ever piece.

"I sat down and I looked it and said, "Why don’t I try do something like that?" he said, recalling how he gave Jorge only enough instruction to get started and once he realized there were no bounds or rules, the teen painted for three hours straight with intense energy. 

Mohr said he followed the same instructions he gave Jorge.

"I went at it and was really, really pleasantly surprised with the playfulness that came out of that moment… And that’s probably the most important part of it, there was no thinking done about it, very spontaneous, very free, free to choose colours and tonal variations

"Jorge, thank you, thank you very much."


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