Gallery Gab: Curator talk with Niamh O`Laoghaire
Thurs., Oct 20 | 7 – 8 p.m. | Free | www.gabRWT.eventbrite.com
Join Varley Art Gallery Director, Niamh O'Laoghaire and Curator Anik Glaude in a discussion about the various themes and concepts behind our fall exhibition Rock, Water, Tree: Group of Seven Works in the Jack MacQuarrie Collection
About Rock, Water, Tree: Group of Seven Works in the Jack MacQuarrie Collection
As we near the 100th anniversary of their first exhibition at the then Art Gallery of Toronto, the Group of Seven has become Canada’s unofficial “National School.” Their works are immediately recognizable to the mass of Canadians, who can identify with ease their recurring motifs of rock, water, tree. While our adjacent exhibitions (Pudlo Pudlat: Works on Paper; Jeff Nye: Recovery Rooms) explore the mark and how it may be a fundamental element of creativity, this exhibition focuses on motifs. Drawing on the Jack MacQuarrie Collection, and supplemented by works from the Varley Art Gallery’s permanent holdings, the exhibition explores the basic elements, rock, water, tree - or, sky, prairie, building, which constitute the compositional building blocks that have been combined and recombined in numerous ways to produce the iconic images of the Group of Seven.
Despite the similarity of overt subject matter in these and other Group of Seven works, the paintings and drawings here foreground not just the similarities, but the variations on each theme. Although specific elements recur and reappear, we also see significant shifts – of mood, scale and approach. Through the imagery of rock, water, tree and other motifs, we are offered all of: movement and stasis, confinement and panorama, sparseness and plenitude, intimacy and grandeur. The landscapes on display appear both void of human presence and inhabited; as untouched, virgin territory and heavily worked, all of which variations affect how we understand them today.