NW Week

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Paintings transformed trees into central figures in Canadian art

central figures in Canadian art

Key Takeaways:

  • Dr. Anna Hudson spoke at the Orillia Museum of Art & History’s Carmichael Art History lecture fundraiser.
  • It was a moment of thanksgiving.

Ninette Gyorody, Executive Director of the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH), paid tribute to Qennefer Browne’s introduction to this year’s Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraiser.

Browne established our annual Art History Lecture and named it after Franklin Carmichael, a Group of Seven members born in Orillia. Browne was a speaker organizer for many years until her death.

This year, we were extremely good to have Dr. Anna Hudson, who teaches Art History and Visual Culture in York University’s Arts Music Performance Dance (AMPD) Department, as our distinguished lecturer.

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Her compelling presentation, “Art and Social Consciousness: The Toronto Community of Painters, 1933-1950,” was titled “What Came After the Group of Seven.”

From 1933 to 1950, a group of socially conscious painters imagined a society transformed by art and collaborated to develop a shared visual language, building on the legacy of the Group of Seven.

Dr. Hudson discussed how artists build on each other’s work, imbuing form with meaning over time. Her presentation was accompanied by images of Canadian paintings and photographs from the period, which illustrated ideas in the lecture and allowed us to connect with the art.

‘TREE, BODY, INDUSTRY, LAND, HOME’ were the visual themes of the lecture. The first paintings to be discussed were those by Franklin Carmichael: Autumn in Orillia (1924), Farm, Haliburton (1940), and Autumn Hillside (1944). (1920). The dominant figure in the landscape in the 1940 painting is a tree. Dr. Hudson investigated what this could mean by referring to the historical context of 1940.

Following that, Tom Thomson’s images of Jack Pine and West Wind were shared. Rather than being part of a pretty European-style landscape painting, these paintings elevated trees to the role of central characters in Canadian art.

Dr. Hudson continued her discussion of paintings, sculpture, photographs, and commercial art by Canadian artists from 1933 to 1950, sharing her interpretation of this period in our national art. The History Speaker Series would be on hiatus in December and will resume via Zoom on January 19, 2022.

A well-known Orillia historian, Dave Town, will be our guest speaker, delivering his talk titled ‘Yellowhead’s Revolt.’ Rama’s Chief Yellowhead, a local Indigenous leader, stood defiant against the white man and his fellow Chiefs at the Great Meeting in Orillia in 1846.

Life-changing policies were at stake, the most significant of which was the establishment of Canada’s first residential schools. Chief Yellowhead fought for what he believed to be suitable for his people. Don’t miss Dave’s enlightening talk about this significant event in our community’s history.

Source: orilliamatters

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