Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Clementines over Autumn Algoma

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12''
Painting #232, 2015

I was introduced to the book, The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson during a visit to the Moncton Public Library during the fall of 2014. Not long after I returned it on loan, I had to purchase a copy for my own.  Although the book was first published in 2005 by Firefly books, it somehow flew under my radar during the past decade. It was written by art historian, David P. Wilcox (b. 1937). It is one of those quintessential books that no art library should be without. The massive 441 page volume encompasses different aspects of the life, spirit and physical environment of the Canadian landscape as seen through the eyes of the celebrated Group of Seven and affiliated luminaries.  

The front cover is graced with Autumn, Algoma (1920) by Lawren Harris. The Group of Seven also known as the Algonquin School was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933.  Tom Thomson is often associated with them, but in reality in died at age 39 under mysterious circumstances on Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario in 1917, before the group was even formed. Thomson's artwork is often considered as a main source that inspired the group to explore the landscape in a post-impressionism manner.    

While the Group of Seven may not be widely known outside Canada, things may be about to change. Actor Steve Martin, a serious art collector has just curated an art exhibition that will feature Lawren Harris in is first solo exhibition to travel south of the border. It was done co-jointly with the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Hammer Museum. The travelling exhibition will see stops on both U.S. coasts. ''The Idea of North'' just opened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and runs through January 24 before heading to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from March 12- June 12, 2016. The collection will later be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario on it's final stop from July 2 to September 11, 2016. You can read all about it on this LINK and on this LINK.

I did the photo study for this painting during the dead of winter, while outside, the deck and backyard were completely covered in a blanket of snow. It was quite a challenge to paint in details, the partially abstract rendering of the book's cover with refracted light.