Lawren Harris at the Art Gallery of Ontario

I recently visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to see it’s latest exhibition, The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. Here are some of my thoughts on the show.

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Of all the art shows to come to Toronto this year, none had me more excited than The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. I finally got to see it a few days ago and as I had expected, it was impressive.

The exhibition, which is broken into three parts, begins with work inspired by life in one of Toronto’s poorest neighborhoods, the Ward. It was there that Harris cut his teeth as an artist, and as such, the paintings at the beginning of this section bear little resemblance to those at the end. They’re all good, but the later ones are better.

The middle section stands in stark contrast to the first and contains some of Harris’s most beloved work. The paintings here were inspired by Canada’s arctic, and owing to that, are sparse in nature and grand in scale. Although a bit cold (no pun intended), they are strikingly beautiful and provide a nice escape from the summer heat.

The final section represents yet another shift for Harris and the works on display are mostly abstract. While I can appreciate his artistic evolution, I liked these paintings the least.

If I’m being honest, this exhibition isn’t perfect. I would have liked a little more info on Harris because as great as the paintings were, I didn’t leave knowing much more about him than when I entered. That said, I suspect that for most folks, the artwork itself will be more than enough – there were a lot of people when I went, and they all seemed engaged.

The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris is at the Art Gallery of Ontario until September 18, 2016. I highly suggest you go.

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Summer Art Shows in Toronto

In addition to all the city’s outdoor arts and craft fairs, there are two very big artists coming to town this summer – one a national treasure, the other an international star.

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ABOVE: Lawren Harris, Lake and Mountains, 1928, oil on canvas, 51.5 x 63.25 inches

BELOW: Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 2012, installation, 25 x 15 feet

For those looking to see art by notable artists:

The Idea of North: The Painting of Lawren Harris

Art Gallery of Ontario July 1 – September 18

Co-organized with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and co-curated by Steve Martin, The Idea of North brings to the AGO over 30 paintings by one of Canada’s most beloved artists.

CHIHULY

The Royal Ontario Museum June 25 – January 2, 2017

In a few weeks, acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly will be bringing some of his fragile installations to the ROM. Critics be damned, this show promises to be a crowd pleaser.

For those looking to buy art at reasonable prices – from artists who need the support:

Riverdale Art Walk

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

Art Walk North

Queen West Art Crawl

Canadian Art Quotes

I’m feeling lazy this week, so instead of writing another post, here are a few quotes from some of Canada’s greatest artists. I’ll post more when I’m feeling lazy again.

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Emily Carr

I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.

Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don’t know in your own soul.

The men resent a woman getting any honour in what they consider is essentially their field. Men painters mostly despise women painters. So I have decided to stop squirming, to throw any honour in with Canada and women.

Lawren Harris

Beauty is a living abiding presence completely untouchable by all the devices of man, such as moral codes, creeds, intellectual analysis, games and cliches, the acquisitive instinct, or lust for anything whatsoever.

Art must take to the road and risk all for the glory of adventure.

Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation – it changes us.

Norval Morrisseau

Among the Indians, as among other nations, some people are born artists, but most are not. I am a born artist. I have as much interest in my people as any anthropologist, and I have studied our culture and lore. My aim is to reassemble the pieces of a once proud culture, and to show the dignity and bravery of my people.

My goal is to break the barrier between the white world and mine. I wish only one thing, to be an artist and to be respected as one – and my paintings to be seen by all people.

My heart and soul is reflected into my mind and my mind is reflected into my hands.

A Few of My Favorite Canadian Artworks

Last week, I added several pins to my ‘Canadian Artists’ board on Pinterest. I was amazed by all the great artworks I saw – the following are some of my favorites.

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ABOVE: Lawren Harris, Decorative Landscape, 1917, oil on canvas, 48.2 x 51.9 inches, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

ABOVE: David Blackwood, The Great Peace of Brian and Martin Winson, 1985, etching, 32 x 30 inches, private collection

ABOVE: Mary Pratt, Smears of Jam, Lights of Jelly, 2007, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver

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ABOVE: Edward Burtynsky, Nickel Tailings #34, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, 1996, dye coupler print (Ektacolor), 40.2 x 61.2 inches, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

ABOVE: David Altmejd, The Eye, 2008, wood, mirror, 129.5 x 216.5 x 144.5 inches, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York