Winnipeg Arts Council

Brendan Michal Heshka: Words In Paint

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Public Reception: Thursday, May 16, 4:00 – 9:00 pm

Gallery Hours: 10am - 4pm (& by appointment on evenings and weekends)


“Don’t judge a book by its cover”

Where does this English idiom come from? To whom do we attribute this quote?

In George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860), Mr. Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing Daniel Defoe's The History of the Devil, saying how beautifully the book is bound. A conversation between Auctioneer and Appraiser Mr. Riley and Mr. Tulliver is interrupted by Tulliver’s nine year old daughter as she drops to the ground a heavy, handsome book that she’s been carefully admiring.

Riley engages with the child and asks, “Come, come and tell me something about this book; here are some pictures, —I want to know what they mean.”

The two men are stunned and impressed by the small girl’s profound analysis of themes of good vs evil presented in the tome.

“‘The History of the Devil,’—not quite the right book for a little girl,” says Riley With petrifying wonder. “How came it among your books, Tulliver?”

“Why, it’s one o’ the books I bought at auction sale. They was all bound alike,—it’s a good binding, you see,—and I thought they’d be all good books—sermons mostly!

“But it seems one mustn’t judge by th’ outside. This is a puzzlin’ world.”

“Well, I advise you to put down the ‘History of the Devil,’ and read some prettier book.”

Words In Paint is the first solo exhibition of artworks by Brendan Michal Heshka in the Wild Wild West of Canada. Here at 226 Main Street, Heshka shares a selection from his collection of rare and noteworthy first edition books—presented together as a conceptual reading room. A dozen canvases. Dutch oil paint. Burnt animal bone black. Gold leaf. Spray paint. The covers of first edition books are redesigned and painted from auction house catalogues. This series of paintings were rendered in the posh neighbour of Steglitz in West Berlin, at the end of the U6 subway line south of Neukölln, and above the railway tracks that split North and South Point Douglas.

“Have you no prettier books?”