Group of Seven exhibition on view at Vancouver Art Gallery
Comprised of 50 oils sketches and 10 paintings from the VAG's permanent collection, the exhibition showcases works produced by the Group during their treks into the nation's back country, alongside the full-scale paintings for which they are best known. Dawn includes works by all seven original members of the Group: Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frankin Carmichael, Francis Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley.
The landscapes depicted in their paintings -- mountain peaks, desolate lakes, villages, industrial settlements and decaying forests -- have come to represent quintessential Canadian visions. Although they had differences in ideology and application, the artists collectively responded to their environment around them so as to articulate the distinctive qualifies of Canada. The paintings do not depict the land in realistic terms, but are an emotional response to the breath and drama of their nation's landscape and the character of Canada's people.
The Group of Seven have left an indelible mark on Canadian culture. The landscapes depicted in their paintings--mountain peaks, desolate lakes, unassuming villages, industrial settlements and decaying forests--have come to represent quintessential visions of Canada. Despite differences in ideology and application, the artists collectively set out to respond to the environment around them in order to articulate the distinctive qualities of their country. They did not aim to depict the land in realistic terms. Instead, they chose to reflect an emotional response to the breath and drama of the Canadian landscape and the character of the nation’s people.
Working directly from the dramatic scenery they explored, the artists captured the landscape in small scale paintings rendered on board. This on-the-spot process fostered experimentation with new subjects, colors and techniques, resulting in a wide range of styles and the incorporation of a variety of influences outside traditional Canadian artistic practice.
Originally intended as studies for later elaboration on larger canvases, the Group’s sketches stand on their own as examples of the artists’ expressive talent. Presented together with a selection of the Gallery’s paintings by the Group, these studies provide an intimate look into how the artists created some of the most iconic images of the Canadian wilderness ever produced.