WHAT B.C. MEANS TO NINE OF ITS BEST ARTISTS

”The overpowering presence of nature has been their prime inspiration”

May 10 1958

WHAT B.C. MEANS TO NINE OF ITS BEST ARTISTS

”The overpowering presence of nature has been their prime inspiration”

May 10 1958

WHAT B.C. MEANS TO NINE OF ITS BEST ARTISTS

”The overpowering presence of nature has been their prime inspiration”

ALAN JARVIS, THE DIRECTOR OF THE National Gallery of Canada, once remarked that "there are more good artists in B. C. per square mile than in all the rest of Canada.” It was with a similar impression in mind that Maclean’s commissioned nine of the province’s most gifted contemporary painters to set down their personal revelations of British Columbia.

interpret their favorite province B.C.’s famous and controversial portfolio on the next six pages

Commissioned by Maclean’s

members

m their own way, art colony produced the striking

B.C. ARTISTS continued

”The overpowering presence

of nature

has been their prime inspiration”

Al AN JARVIS, THE DIRECTOR OF THE National Gallery of Canada, once remarked that "there are more good artists in B. C. per square mile than in all the rest ol Canada.” It was with a similar impression in mind that Maclean’s commissioned nine of the province’s most gifted contemporary painters to set down their personal revelations of British Columbia.

The artists represented here rank among Canada’s finest. All have had work accepted by the National Gallery, and at least two, Lawren Harris and Jack Shadbolt, have achieved international recognition. I hey are all friends but are banded together in no formal school. They range in age from the septuagenarian Harris, to the husband-and wile team of Molly and Bruno Bobak, in their mid-thirties. Some, such as B. C. Binning, are pure abstractionists; others — Mrs. Bobak for one—have left non-objective art completely alone. Only one, Ed Hughes, supports himself from his art. "Each of us goes his own way,” explains John Korner, a Czech whose relatives run one of the province’s most prosperous lumber firms. "We’re individualists.” says Joe Plaskett, a minister’s son.

Yet in the pictures shown here there seems to be a common approach: no single human being, and little of man’s w-orks, are shown— only sea, forest, mountain and river. For the overpow'ering presence of nature has always been the prime inspiration of B. C. painters.

Another inspiration is the memory of F’mily Carr who died in 1945 after spending a lifetime interpreting the moods and mysteries of the coastal rain forest. “She w'on the artist a place in B. C. society,” says Jack Shadbolt; and the evidence is impressive: an expensive new gallery about to open in Victoria; a lengthy waiting list for children’s art classes at the Vancouver gallery; and a swelling enrollment at the Vancouver School of Art whose student body has doubled itself in five years. It is to this art school that Lawren Harris gives most of the credit for the flourishing state of painting in the province. All of the group except Harris taught or studied there; and it was there, too. that Frederick Varley, Harris' contemporary in the Group of Seven, “laid the foundations of B. C. painting," in Shadbolt’s words.

Both Harris and Shadbolt also feel that the mysticism of the neighboring Orient has made its influence felt in coastal art. True, perhaps, but the paintings shown here remain peculiarly British Columbian. They have all the zest, all the color, all the drama and all the iconoclasm usually associated with that province.

This complete new collection has been presented by Maclean’s to the University of British Columbia where it will be on display in Brock Hall, the student’s building, as a permanent memento of B. C.’s Centennial Year.

FISH BOATS, FRASER RIVER MOLLY BOBAK With her husband, thirty-six-year-old Molly Bobak is the youngest among these painters. Looking at this painting. Jack Shadbolt says, "Molly probably went aboard each boat for tea.” She chose to paint fish boats moored at the mouth of the Fraser River because “fishing is an important part of our economy as w'ell as so much a part of our coast landscape.”

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