Posts Tagged ‘Lawren Harris’

small painting of a red headed woman torso, amrs, and head, in a gold frame on a wall with lots of other paintings, except on e is missing and there is a white sign saying why its missing

All kinds of thoughts went through my head as I stood and looked at this painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  A little ho hum and a little melancholy and a little well what next.  There were no new exhibits since the last time that I visited the AGO and quite a few galleries were being prepared for new showings (i.e. closed).   A little bit of that’s a waste of time.   Even here there’s a painting missing.  … no, it’s only a waste of time if I let it be.

I stood and studied her face, the expression on her face, the tilt of her head and one hand held up.  What was going through her head?  Was the artist trying to tell us something about her?  Or was he just playing with composition in a limited space?  And that’s when the game began – what expressions hang on the walls of the AGO?  A sample:

 

below: part of “Time Dissolve” created around 1992 by Carl Beam (M’Chigeeng Ontario 1943-2000) using photo emulsion, acrylic and pencil on canvas.

part of Time Dissolve, an artwork by Carl Beam. Old photo of a woman seated on the ground bRed letters saying my mother are written on the woman and a red circle is around the boy's head

below: manipulating a series of portraits by Will Gorlitz (b. Argentina 1952).  The paintings were done in 1984 and are called Genre IV, Genre XVI, etc.  Nameless.   Unless her name was Genre and he’s painted her 6 times (one of the paintings in the row is not included here).

a series of 5 women's faces hung in a row on the art gallery wall, paintings by Will Gorlitz

below: Two pieces.  A sculpture called  “Eskimo Mother and Child” (about 1938) by Frances Loring and the portrait “Bess” by Canadian painter Lawren Harris.   I have talked about Loring in a previous post.

a sculpture of a woman with a child on her back, called Eskimo Mother and child by Frances Loring. She stands by a painting by Lawren Harris called Bess which a portrait of a woman in a black hat and black coat

below: part of “Melancholy”, oil on canvas, by Hendrick Terbrugghen (The Netherlands, 1588-1629)

a painting of a young woman sitting, with her hand resting on her hand, elbow on table, lit by candle light, called Melancholy painted by Hendrick Terbrugghen

below: part of “Waitress”, oil on canvas, by Shelley Niro, 1986  (b. USA 1954)

a painting of a waitress wearing black glasses serving a plate of food to a surprised looking red head woman with green eyes, called Waitress, painted by Shelley Niro

below: Engraving on paper, “Drunken Men at a Table” by Gillis Van Breen, Dutch, around 1600.

engraving on paper called Drunken men at a table, by Karel Van Mander, done late in the 1500's

below: The last picture is obviously from a painting with a religious theme. Unfortunately, the photo that I took of the tag with the artist’s name is too blurry to read.  I tried a google search on the image and the first hit was the Wikipedia page for Paul Bernardo.  Oh dear, Google that’s a fail… apparently it’s similar to a figure in a painting by Bernardo Carbone who was a painter in the 1600’s.   So Google put 2 and 2 together and got 17.   Hopefully you (and I) don’t get many 17’s!

part of a religious painting of a young man in a red robe kneeling before another man in white who has one hand on the young man's shoulder.

A comparison of sorts.  Two painters from two different time periods.  One looked north and the other looks south.  The north with its barren cold and blue in comparison to the south and its lush greenness.  A famous anglo Canadian painter who went searching for simplicity and a relatively new British painter with Jamaican roots who explores complexities.

Lawren Harris and Hurvin Anderson.  You should know which is which!

I didn’t purposely set out to compare them.  I saw the ‘The Idea of North’ exhibit that features the Steve Martin paintings of Lawren Harris first.  As much as I like the Group of Seven, Harris’s minimalist snow and ice paintings have never been my favorite.  Still, it was an interesting collection to see.  After I finished there, I headed up to the contemporary art floors.  The fifth floor is still closed (new installation opening later this week) but I discovered that the fourth floor is devoted to the works of Hurvin Anderson.  As I walked around the Anderson installation I kept thinking of similarities and differences between him and Lawren Harris.

many people in a room in an art gallery, standing around and looking at paintings.

below: Mountains in Snow: Rocky Mountain Paintings VII, 1929.  One of the many famous Lawren Harris snow and ice paintings.  Light, reflected light, shadows, and contrasts.  The elements reduced to their simplest form.   The landscape itself is almost secondary.  Or the landscape is the medium, not the message.

a Lawren Harris painting of a snow covered mountain, blue sky in the background.

below: The large painting on the right is ‘Pic Island’ painted about 1924.  Pic Island is an unpopulated island along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Today the island is part of Neys Provincial Park.

a woman walks through a gallery with paintings on the wall. She stops to look at one of them.

below: Two of Hurvin Anderson’s paintings from his Caribbean landscape collection.  On the left is ‘Beaded Curtain – Red Apples’, 2010.

three young women sitting on a couch with their backs to the camera, they are looking at two large paintings on a wall, by Hurvin Anderson.

below:  ‘Constructed View’, 2010.  Anderson’s Caribbean paintings have grilles incorporated into them.  These are the security features prevalent on houses and businesses in the Caribbean (and elsewhere in the world), metal fixtures over windows and doors to keep out the unwanted.  They contain what’s inside.  They are a barrier.  They intrude on the landscape and cut it up.  Again, the landscape is almost secondary.  The message, or emotion, is more important.  [aside – There is a grille in the painting above (right) but it’s more subtle.]

a landscape painting in shades of green with fragments of white grille overlayed, repeating pattern of 4 circles with a square

Lawren Harris painted his famous mountain pictures in the late 1920’s.  In 1930 he visited Baffin Island and a few paintings resulted from that trip.  I learned that although I associate Harris with icebergs and arctic scenery, most of his snow and ice paintings were from the north shore of Lake Superior or from the mountains around Banff Alberta.

The repetoire of both painters is not limited to landscapes.  Harris painted many houses and street scenes from downtown Toronto including houses and streets that were demolished years ago.  The examples of Anderson’s non-landscape work were interiors.  Both men used bold colours but Anderson tends to show more detail in his paintings.

below: ‘Welcome: Carib’  The Welcome sign of the bar in  juxtaposition with the red metal work covering the window.  The picture beckons to us but keeps us out.

a man in a straw fedora stands in front of a painting called Welcome: Carib by Hurvin anderson, it features a red star patterned grille over the painting, over the window that is in front of the interior scene.

below: One of the paintings from Anderson’s Barbershop collection, ‘Flat Top’ 2008.

two young women walk away from a large painting hanging on an art gallerywall.  two barber chairs in a barber shop, empty.  Bright pink wall with squares of colour.

below: A selection of colourful Toronto houses in winter painted by Harris in the 1920s.

two women look at a line Lawren Harris paintings of brightly coloured houses in winter on a wall in an art gallery

In the 1930’s Lawren Harris’s personal life went awry.  The words on the wall at the AGO says that he divorced, remarried and moved to the states.  That’s a bit of spin.  He didn’t divorce his wife because that would be messy, apparently.  Instead in 1934 he just married the wife of an old friend.   And of course that turned messy and the new couple left for the USA for a few years before eventually settling in Vancouver BC.   Harris’s post-1934 work is very abstract and was never as successful as his earlier paintings.

below:  You can see the influence of the mountain paintings in this,  ‘Painting No. 4’, about 1939, painted when he was a member of the Transcendental Painting Group.  This was a collective of artists in New Mexico that Harris help to found.

an abstract painting by Lawren Harris, circles and diamonds in an egg shape

below: Since I have no idea where the art of Hurvin Anderson is headed, I will leave you with one more of his present paintings (I’m not sure those two ideas actually go together!).  ‘Foska Foska’, the interior of a shop behind yellow bars and black mesh.

a painting by Hurvin Anderson called Foska Foska, shows the interior of a store with a yellow metal gate in front.  and a wire structure covering the ceiling too

 

The Idea of North – until 18 September

Hurvin Anderson – until 21 August

#HarrisAGO | #HurvinAndersonAGO

Douglas Coupland’s
everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything
at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Queen St. West
until 19 April 2015

Secret Handshake
What makes Canadians Canadian?
What do we identify with that others don’t recognize?

close up of part of a quilt.  One of the squares is made from fabric with a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player on it.  Old chrome hubcaps have been added to the quilt.

A quilt made of plain beige fabric into which dreamcatchers of various sizes have been incorporated.
A low hutch with three drawers.  The handle of each drawer is on old pepsi advertisement on an old bar from a door - the kind of bar that you would push on to open the door.

 One of the rooms of the exhibit features Coupland’s re-imagining of famous Canadian paintings,  paintings by Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven to name a couple.
In the center of the room is a black metal structure that is supposed to represent a damaged hydro transmission tower reminiscent of the ones damaged by the eastern Canada ice storm of 1998.

A large metal structure that is supposed to represent  a damaged hydro (electricity) transmission tower is in the center of a room.  There are paintings on the walls.

A large metal structure that is supposed to represent  a damaged hydro (electricity) transmission tower is in the center of a room.  There are paintings on the walls.

***

Growing up Utopian

A portion of three Douglas Coupland creations are visible.  In the foreground are numerous lego houses complete with yards and garages all laid out in a grid.  In the background are wood shelves with household articles from the past.  In the middle are lego towers in bright stripes and interesting shapes.
below: Towers, 2014
An urban jungle of imaginative lego towers created from selected parts of towers that were “crowd-sourced” at building events at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Close up of some of the brightly coloured lego towers in the art exhibit

below: 345 Modern House, 2014
One hundred identical houses built from a kit that was first issued in 1969.

A grid of white lego bungalows with black roofs with detached garages, green lego lawns and red fences.

 

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