Back from a weekend in Montreal, I continue my love affair with the Group of Seven. Le musee des beaux arts (yes the French was painfully dusted off this weekend) features many works by Lawren Harris and Tom Thomson. I actually didn’t realize they had such a large selection of Harris’ work. Of all the members of the group his work is probably the most attractive to me. Though I have Casson, Thomson and Harris prints in my room, it is Harris’ deep blues and strong lines that inspire me most.
The relationship between the work of the Group of Seven and their favourite subjects (Northern Ontario, BC, Quebec, and the Maritimes) is a fascinating one, because it seems to me that above all else, these artists are interested in translating the experience of their location. Obviously, most visual art intends to convey a perspective, and a set of feelings associated with the object of the work. But like the Impressionists these Canadian masters captured the essence of the location along with its appearance. For me at least, and I suspect many others their art replicates the intense feeling of viewing a natural vista, be it a forest around Lake Superior, or the hills of Algoma.