Friday, September 9, 2011

The Organic Killing of the Group of Seven

Creating to a theme with a timeline establishes parameters.

The new show at Patrick John Mills, entitled, I Killed the Group of Seven, really taxed me. I looked at what I do. I am a keyboard artist. I work with computer keyboards. Fat chance of doing anything remotely to do with landscapes or portraits, oil, canvas or anything that has to do with brushes and careful strokes.

After my brutal assault on Renoir a few posts ago, and since art is due at the gallery over the next couple of days, I came to the conclusion that it really was time to kill the Group of Seven, or El Grupo Siete, as I affectionately refer to them in Spanish.

I started with Tom Thompson, he who never really belonged  to the group, being dead before the group started in 1920. But who really pays attention to this. The Group factored him in. So I killed little Tom first. 

Tom and his paddle. He was found drowned with fishing line was around his feet, not a strand of wool around his neck. A moot point.
And then I looked at the other seven, eight, really, if you count British Columbia's Emily Carr who was born before any of them and who outlasted the majority. She never was considered a part of the group but it is admitted that her work was influential.

So little Em, she was next.
Emily, every inch a lady. She was into that native turquoise thing.

And then I thought, I'd better tackle the rest, Frank Johnston, Lauren Harris, Frederick Varley, Frank Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, J.E. H. MacDonald and old A.Y. Jackson, himself.

I made a series of string dolls out of a variety of materials and originally, was using small foam balls for the heads but when I sprayed them pink, they disintegrated. Tom Thompson is the only actual doll used in the piece because I happened to have an outdoorsy doll that fit to a T.
El Grupo Siete

I think the concept of voodoo dolls impaled by plastic paint brushes is perfect but my execution, perhaps less so.

Still, it's clever and sure to astonish if not amuse.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A few suggestions:

(Salon de )

Corporate Refusal

Submissions that have been refused or rejected from other corporate, government or community exhibitions (or purchases).

The Naked City

A exposure of the realities of urban life and the cityscape.

States of Terror

Images that reflect on world terrorism and its effects

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

A good excuse for a combined/exhibition/musical event party

It don’t mean a thing… (if it ain’t got that swing)

A battle of bands(paintings) between abstract and figurative images

The House on the Hill

Images that reflect on political (and parliamentary practice in Canada)

Blue Tractor

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Killed the Group of Seven: A Rejection of the Past?

With less than two weeks until the opening of the new show, we are considering what the meaning of it actually is.

When people ponder the importance of Canadian Art, they often conjure images of the Group of Seven. Their landscapes essentially changed and shaped the perception of Canada to the world beyond and the group, in theory, are considered quintessential in shaping Canada’s cultural image. For the sake of argument, one could say that popular opinion determines that the Group of Seven represent an ideal, artistic vision of Canada.

To say that one “killed the Group of Seven”, therefore, is to say that one is attempting to transform the popular definition of “Canadian Art”. From just considering the title alone, for me, this becomes a celebration of all things that go against the traditional. It celebrates and favours the reconstruction of a new Canadian cultural identity through works that seek to expose a new image – an image that goes beyond the painted landscape. To have a show of chaotic, thought-provoking, crazy, disturbing, and cool art with this title is basically to say, “this is how we really want Canadian Art to be known.” This is what’s happening now. It’s a rebranding of Canadian Art through a rejection of its past.

I think that this show is pretty important for the Ottawa art scene based simply on this idea. We want to get more thought-provoking work out into the world and this is how we do it.

Just a final note about myself: I am interning with Patrick until December and I’m very excited to see how this show does in the next few weeks!


Just Sayin'

If we are killing the Group of Seven, I think we should include Renoir, too.