My Story

After graduating from Art College in 1952, I slowly began to find my way within the demands that the radical departures from traditional modern canonical norms in the culture at large and the 20th century visual art world in particular presented to me. It would have been easy to lose my way amid the deconstruction and relativism of the postmodern world if I was looking for some degree of philosophical certainty. With the potential of promise on the one hand and hazard on the other, I embarked on a quest for meaning in a time of fundamental change. I adopted a mythic, narrative mode of...

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The Group of Seven, 1920-1931.

If I recall correctly, I was 13 when I first became acquainted with the paintings of the Group of Seven – that was some 70 years ago. I learned a great deal about painting the Ontario landscape by copying reproductions of their work in oils on pieces of wallboard that my dad had given a coat of white primer house paint. The fresh, bold images that these artists brought back from their painting excursions in the natural environment spoke to me then as they do now, on some deep level of my awareness. As with most innovators in the fields of creative endeavour, their departures from...

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Jackson Pollock

The immense forces affecting the very foundations of traditional Western world views were on the move in the 20th century and set the course for rapid geopolitical, cultural, scientific, and technological change in the 21st century. Once the capsule that held the old cultural canon was breached, the creative energies that had sustained previous aesthetic practices exploded to the four directions sparking a deconstruction and recapitulation of everything that had supported the traditional image making process. Evidence of the results of this radical departure from pre-existing canonical norms...

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Origins Revisited

Beyond the trash heaps of found objects, in a fee-fall away from traditional aesthetic conventions in the early years of the twentieth century, artists entered the precincts of the personal and collective unconscious that encompassed the primordial content of the ages. “In the final count, every individual life is at the same time also the life of the eons of the species.” Psychological Reflections, page 41, C. G. Jung. The “… inward turning descent and deconstruction of the self …” (Tarnas, blog #3) lead to the domain of the archetypes of the collective...

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The Vacuum, Enter the Unconscious

“Our epoch is a time of tragic collision between spirit and matter – a time of terrible, inescapable vacuum, a time of enormous questions. When religion, science and morals (the latter by the strong hand of Nietzsche) are shaken and when the outer supports threaten to fall, man turns his gaze from the external to the deeper essence within him.” Kandinsky “I paint forms as I think them, not as I see them.” Picasso The 20th century departure from the traditional outward referencing of the world of objective reality as a source upon which visual artists could...

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The annulment of certainty

Blog #2 mentions WW1, 1914 – 18, as a major change agent in the events of the first quarter of the 20th century. The appalling ferocity, brutality, the carnage, death and destruction, and the untold individual suffering of millions amidst the reenactment of archaic tribal instincts of aggression, left despair and dissolution in its wake. A European juggernaut of hegemony was once again equipped, uniformed, decorated and let loose come hell, high water, or the mud of torn up landscapes. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall...

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