Thursday, January 27, 2011

Portraits by the Group of Seven

Mrs.Oscar Taylor, 1920, Lawren Harris.

self portrait, 1919, Frederick Varley.

Ludivine, 1930, Edwin Holgate.

The members of the Group of Seven are known for their landscapes, most of which could be described as expressive, impressionistic and abstract. One thing I appreciate from studying their work is that they all explored and experimented with different ways of painting. I thought it would be interesting to see what portraits came from this group. It turns out that Varley and Harris were the only 2 from the Group that painted portraits. I added one by Holgate who was apparently considered the eighth member.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A look back to end of the 19th century.

The young gleaner, 1888, Paul Peel.

The Spinner, 1881, Paul Peel.

The young biologist, 1892, Paul Peel.

Lady in the garden, 1889, Paul Peel.

A wreath of flowers, 1884, William Brymner

 Boy with Bread, 1892-99, Ozias Leduc.

The young student, 1894, Ozias Leduc.

My mother in mourning,  c.1890, Ozias Leduc.

Forbidden fruit, 1889, George A. Reid.

Here are just a few paintings from the end of the 19th century. A small selection that includes work by Paul Peel, William Brymner, Ozias Leduc, and  George A. Reid.

I was extremely surprised at how difficult it was to find any resource for realism in Canadian painting from this time period. Surprised and a little disappointed. I understand that when "Canadian art" is mentioned most people think of The Group of Seven. I would love to be able to change that, even if only a little bit. I do have an appreciation for the work of the Group of Seven, one that is growing as I get older, so I don't mean at all to sound dismissive of their contribution to the rich artistic heritage that is in Canada. I am however trying desperately to find more realism.  Something that has that flavour that comes from serious academic study with a long tradition.  This selection is some of what I managed to find. I see now how much more research is going to be needed if I plan on looking back at all. Hope you enjoy these pieces. I've seen some at museums, and as with most paintings, the impact is much stronger when seen in person.

Looking at some work coming out of contemporary painters these days it feels like a reconnection is being made after almost a century. I am thrilled to see this momentum toward realism again and to see a return to sane and logical methods while exploring new ways of looking at the world. It's a very exciting time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Artist Profile : Scott James Owles

A Daughter's Gift

One size fits all


A Gaze to a Glare

I have  always been drawn to anything done with skill, quality and care. Getting a chance to see work by Scott Owles certainly falls into that category.

There is a charm in Scott's work that is hard to ignore, especially when viewing his paintings in person. The quality of the craftsmanship is exceptional. The paint feels rich, controlled, never excessive. There seems to be only what is needed. Collectors and artists alike have a great appreciation for the skill that Scott brings to his work, a skill that is balanced with his ability to tell a story as he explores visual language through painting. Each piece is definitely saying something and as an art lover it is a very engaging experience to stand before his work and listen to what is being said.

Scott James Owles was born in 1964, in Peterborough, Ontario. In 1973, he and his family moved to Toronto.  In 1987, while studying at Ontario College of Art Scott was introduced to artist Michael John Angel at his studio and soon after decided to become a student in his school. Michael John Angel's rich understanding of the place of art in the tradition of Western liberal humanity helped Scott to experience art at a deeper level.  In 1990, he traveled to Florence, Italy for an in-depth study of painting. Since then, Scott has been actively producing works that are uniquely his own, yet steeped with historical language.

"I see my work as the acquisition of an understanding, the most essential comprehension of art as a visual language; exploring both the techniques and practices of those from centuries past. Like any language, to survive it must grow, and this growth comes from an understanding of its past or tradition with a firm grasp on the present and an eye forward."

Scott currently lives with his wife, artist Bonnie Bews and daughter in Muskoka where he also works and teaches out of his studio.

Scott James Owles is represented by Ingram Gallery in Toronto.