Canada Art History ~ 1600s to date ~ 197 Slides ~ Major Artists & Movements
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This is a powerpoint presentation about Canada Art History. To best assess this presentation, download the preview, which contains 16 actual slides. The thumbnails show another 4 slides. This listing contains text excerpts, below. In all, there are 197 highly visual slides.
EXCERPT 1: Overview
For many art lovers Canadian art is linked in their minds with American art. Canadians do not like this linkage because it usually conveys the idea that Canadian art is very like American but somehow lesser and not worth as much in the art market place.
It is true that American Art is a behemoth to the South, which also contains the art world’s capital, New York. There are certainly many more major art movements which began in America than in Canada. Its artists are much more well known world wide. But there are unique aspects to Canadian culture which are absent in America. Like all cultural influences, these seep into the art works.
There are competing heritages in Canada which are different from those which compete in the US. There were two major European groups which settled Canada. These were the English and the French. The French settled in Quebec and the English further west. These two groups are often at odds over many issues. It is no different in art.
Then there are the indigenous peoples. These are those people who were the natives of Canada before Europeans settled it into the country it is today. The government’s first approach was to make indigenous artists assimilate with the rest of the population. The government switched positions in the later 20th century so that indigenous art is appreciated, encouraged and funded. This is the direction many countries have ultimately chosen, such as America, Australia, New Zealand and others with these cultures of native people.
Today both America and Canada have experienced immigration from other countries from all parts of the world. These groups will ultimately form their own hybrid artists, such as American Syrian or Canadian Syrian artists.
Canada’s vast lands and its colder climate also affected the art work which emerged. Landscape painting, especially in the wilder portions, became a Canadian painting specialty. With the increased focus on the environment, going on nowadays, that painting is sometimes classed as “environmental,” which enhances its value and stature.
What should emerge from studying Canadian art is that while the student will notice certain similarities, especially UK and American ones, there are also uniquely Canadian forces at work which make the art intriguingly different.
EXCERPT 2: Painters Eleven (bullet points)
In 1953, eleven abstract painters from Ontario banded together over one shared artistic goal: a commitment to abstraction.
The artists were: Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Hortense Gordon, Tom Hodgson, Alexandra Luke, Jock Macdonald, Ray Mead, Kazuo Nakamura, William Ronald, Harold Town and Walter Yarwood. Three of these artists went on to great success with their own art careers: Jack Bush, William Ronald and Harold Town.
The artists called themselves “Painters Eleven” and held their first exhibition at the Roberts Gallery in Toronto in 1954.
Artist Jack Bush arranged the first major commercial exhibition of abstract expressionist art in Toronto.
Because they had only the one shared goal, there was great diversity among the group's members as to: age, education, profession, stature in the art community and other traits.
EXCERPT 3: Group of Seven (bullet points) Toronto, Ontario
Artists who grouped together to contribute to giving Canada a distinctive voice in painting. The group’s niche became painting the North American wilderness. (Canadian landscape paintings)
original members were: Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.
its aim was to create a distinct Canadian art through direct contact with nature.
first major Canadian national art movement came about from efforts of Group of Seven. The group had the support of Eric Brown, the director of the National Gallery.
All of these men had a considerable problem to overcome. This was that most in the art community thought the Canadian landscape was not worthy of being painted.
The Art Gallery of Ontario was the site of the first exhibition of the Group of Seven art. The National Gallery began purchasing art from the early exhibitions before the artists even identified themselves the Group of Seven.
Excerpt 4: Quebec and Saskatchewan (bullet points)
Saskatchewan: In 1961, art gallery director, Ronald Bloore, mounted The May Show at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. He displayed his own work along with paintings by fellow Regina artists, Kenneth Lochhead, Arthur McKay, Douglas Morton and Ted Godwin.
Regina became a center of modernist abstraction. Regina is in Saskatchewan, Canada, north of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Quebec: “Eastern Group of Painters,” based in Montréal. These artists had an art for art's sake aesthetic. Some members were: John Goodwin Lyman, Alexandre Bercovitch, Eric Goldberg, Goodridge Roberts, Jori Smith
This group became highly resentful of the Group of 7, based in Toronto, which purported to have an artistic vision for the entire country.
Some of these Montréal painters were also Jewish and they strongly allied together in that niche as well.
Members went on to be part of the “Contemporary Arts Society,” made up of Canadian artists who encouraged the public to like modern art.
Excerpt 5: Emily Carr, Vancouver, British Columbia
Carr’s artistic reputation rests on her work from 1928 until the start of the 1940s with two distinct periods: her 2nd body of First Nations work; and her Natural world of her province, especially in or near its coastal forests.
In the summer of 1928 she made a trip north to visit the First Nations villages. She created a body of First Nations work which was very well received, through to today. She was not documenting the First Nations but instead was creating works of art from her exposure to them.
She turned from her First Nations work to her art of Canada’s forests and the wooded coasts in British Columbia. This is the art which is much beloved by environmentalists and others. She had become much more modern in style by then and also began exhibiting with the Group of 7 through her friendship with Lawren Harris. Harris also introduced her to the spiritual and mystic ideas of that time. Those influences also appeared in her work.