While recently in Vancouver I did what I try to do every time that I make it to that city – visit the Vancouver Art Gallery and very specifically to visit their collection of Emily Carr paintings. The Vancouver Art Gallery occupies a wonderful old building in downtown Vancouver with the top floor gallery devoted to Emily Carr. There are however 3 other floors, exhibiting other shows and what ever I can see there is just a bonus for me. See my previous post about what I saw on the Emily Carr floor on this visit.
Perhaps the highlight for me on this visit was the exhibition “Jock Macdonald: Evolving Forms“. I must admit that before I got there, I’d heard there was an exhibit of work by the Canadian painter J. MacDonald and I just assumed it was J.E.H MacDonald, one of my favorite painters from the Group of Seven.
But wrong I was. It was a different Macdonald and while I guess I’d heard the of Jock Macdonald but never really seen his work – I got a good education!
Jock (more formally James William Galloway) Macdonald was a leading Canadian modernist painter of the 20th Century. He was born (1897) and raised in Scotland before coming to Canada in the 1920’s. He first settled in Vancouver but would live in a number of places in Canada before passing away in 1960 in Toronto after over a decade there.
His early training was as a designer and some of his early work bears the influence of commercial design. In Canada he worked with Fred Varley of the Group of Seven and produced some fine landscape canvases that fit right in with the work of the Group.
But most significantly (and enlightening for me) was his development as a leading modernist abstract painter. In fact he was an important member of the Canadian Painters Eleven group.
Jock Macdonald: Evolving Forms runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery until 2015 January 4th.