You, me, and Emily Carr.
The Wheat Pool
A new podcast will be up today. No interview this time, but lots of me! I will leave the content as a surprise but please check it out over there –>.
Recently I travelled to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. This picturesque gallery is home to a large collection of art by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and native and inuit art. Obviously, I was extremely excited about it. I particularly enjoyed the work of Lawren Harris and Emily Carr because I had never seen any of their paintings in person. Although any collection of Canadian art is important becaue it contributes to the promotion and preservation of our national culture, the McMichael Collection is special because of its specific focus. It is more than just the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, but less than a braod collection of art from all over the world (as is the case at larger galleries across the country.
As I was enjoying the art and reading the descriptions, I noticed that the paintings (and occasional sculpture) were donated by a wide range of people from their private collections. Some had received the art as gifts from the artists, while others had purchased them over the years. Of course this is true of most galleries that have large permanent collections. It raised, however, the question of what is the more important role of art, as a personal memento or as a public spectacle. I imagine most artists, like most other creative people, would prefer that their work was admired by the largest number of people. On the other hand, selling art to private collectors is probably a better business strategy. The real answer probably lies somewhere in between. Not all art is not necessarily going to be treasured like the Group of Seven or Tom Thomson, and a lot of those pieces will hang in people’s homes and be passed down. I used to work in a museum that had a collection of art, most of which was donated by the local community. The pieces were rarely displayed and instead were kept with the other artifacts. Many of the paintings were not remarkable in any way, some were not even particularly good, but to someone they were important enough to be donated. While this doesn’t really answer the question I considered above, I think it is safe to say that art, no matter how it is cherished is a significant cultural phenomena and personal experience.
For all you artists out there please check out this site for information about an exciting opportunity to possibly be paid for your work, and to contribute to a volunteer intiative. Click on apply as an artist for all the info.