BEYOND THE PINES
HOMER WATSON AND THE CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN LANDSCAPE
September 24, 2015 - January 1, 2016
JASON BROWN, JENNIFER CARVALHO, APRIL HICKOX, BRIAN JUNGEN AND DUANE LINKLATER, GAVIN LYNCH, REINHARD REITZENSTEIN, MONICA TAP
Homer Watson is considered to be one of the founders of the Canadian landscape painting tradition. He aimed to give a ‘truthful representation’ of the Canadian wilderness in his work, as distinct from the more romanticized style found in depictions of the English and European countryside. Contemporary Canadian artists looking at landscape must also find a way to access the ‘truth’ of a subject that is not only strongly represented in our national artistic history, but one that is both deeply political and personal. Placing contemporary work by emerging and established artists alongside that of Watson illustrates the universality of the quest to appreciate and capture the landscape in which we live.
A special acknowledgement and thank you to AGM Board Chair, Robert Tattersall and the Community Foundation of Mississauga for their generous sponsorship of this exhibition.
Presented in partnership with Homer Watson House & Gallery
1855 – 1936
Homer Watson devoted himself to painting the countryside of Doon (now Kitchener, Ontario). Combining romantic and realistic elements, his landscapes reflect Canada’s physical nature and early pioneer life. The house where he lived and worked for most of his adult life is called the Homer Watson House and Gallery. A self-taught artist, Watson was encouraged to paint at an early age by both his teacher and his aunt. He moved to Toronto in 1874, where he spent time in the Toronto Normal School and the Notman-Fraser photography studio. Travel continued to influence his work. He began to follow the Hudson River school after a trip to New York. In France, he learned from the plein air Barbizon painters. In 1907, Watson became a founding member and president of the Canadian Art Club. He served as president of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1918 to 1922. In 1880, the Marquis of Lorne, then-Governor General of Canada, purchased The Pioneer Mill, 1878, for Queen Victoria. This event launched Watson’s career. However, he considered The Flood Gate, 1900, to be his masterpiece. This painting later received a bronze medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. In 1914, Watson was commissioned to paint the first Canadian Expeditionary Force at Valcartier, Quebec. He was awarded the bronze medal at London’s Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886. The following year, he won four prizes at Toronto’s Industrial Exhibition. Days after his death, the University of Western Ontario awarded Watson an honorary doctorate.